Back in May, The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company won the award for ‘Best Street Food/Take Away in the UK’. While I’m seriously considering a trip to Wales for just one of their legendary hot lobster rolls, in the meantime I’ve been making do with a few of the other products that earned this small Welsh company such national acclaim.
Embracing ‘the essence and soul of the sea’, this is proper beach food made from local seashore-foraged ingredients. The traditional Welsh delicacy of laverbread (cooked seaweed) is at the heart of the whole enterprise, with the seaweed even hand-collected by company founder, Jonathan Williams, and his team of Welsh ‘mermaids’ at their flagship beach shack in Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire.
At £3.50 it’s a whole lot cheaper than the fish-egg variety, and while there’s no denying it’s an acquired taste, the dried and toasted flakes really do ramp up any plate of food: their suggestion for Morning Glory perhaps the easiest way to elevate a simple fried egg sandwich.
Also making the most of laverbread’s unusual taste is the Ship’s Biscuits (£2.99). Baked with laverbread and topped with dulse seaweed and Halen Mon sea salt, these savoury, fish-shaped crackers are usually served with Beach Food’s hot seafood chowder but can just as easily be munched like crisps or served with dips, pates and canapes. Unfortunately they do contain wheat, so steer clear if you’ve an allergy or intolerance and instead save them for a quirky Christmas present for foodie loving friends and family.
The final product on my tasting table was Captain Cat’s Môr Seasoning. It’s the latest in the company’s range of nautical-inspired food products and was launched at London’s Specialty and Fine Foods Fair earlier in September. Inspired by ‘Captain Cat’s dreams of tempestuous mermaids, salt encrusted decks, exotic citrus from distant shores and dark laver black stormy seas’, this herb and spice seasoning blend combines smoked paprika, laver and dulse seaweed with (deep breath) black pepper, mace, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, mustard, ginger, bay leaves, cloves, celery powder, dried lemon and orange peel. With so many ingredients I decided to keep the rest of the dish simple, sprinkling the spice mix over a simple cod fillet, wrapping in tin foil and baking in a preheated oven for around 15 minutes. It’s a good job someone took note of Captain Cat’s dreams as the flavours are faultless.
My next trial dish was slightly more adventurous, a seafood risotto made with frozen mixed seafood. The seasoning once again stole the show and allowed me to concentrate on simply getting on with stirring the rice, confident that the flavour side of things was taken care of. Although intended as a product for foodies, it’s this ease that makes me think that Captain Cat’s Môr Seasoning is actually just a pretty damn handy ingredient for any home cook. It’s certainly an easy way to impress and the nutritional benefits are endless. Priced at £3.50 it’s also more than reasonable, and means I feel fully justified in feeding my new seaweed addiction.
Find out more via their website: http://www.beachfood.co.uk/
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