Nothing beats flapping fresh seafood landed on the Suffolk coasts yards from his kitchen for chef-owner Jonny of The Sail Loft in Southwold
Fruits of the Sea UNSURPRISINGLY given
that we are nestled under the dunes near Southwold’s lifeboat station that fish and shellfish are perennially popular with our diners. And when I can get seafood freshly-landed from a local boat in the harbour it is a real treat. When it comes to fish of all
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kinds I tend to favour keep it simple, less is definitely more. Old favourites are hard to beat, mussels marinière, shell-on prawns with aioli, classic prawn cocktail with a Bloody Mary twist, potted smoked mackerel, proper Adnams-battered fish and chips, the list of traditional
faithfuls Sail Loft-style are always in demand. Equally I like to play around on the specials board and do something a little more ‘cheffy’ albeit still keeping it all about the star attraction, perhaps lobster bisque risotto with herb buttered prawns and parmesan or roast hake with curly kale and mussel fricassée. But when I am relaxing away from the stove, nothing is better than a family supper, soulful comfort food is always the order of the day. Nothing beats a bubbling, indulgent fish pie on a chilly spring evening, rich and light at the same time.
If you are looking for great seafood, one of the best fish shops in East Suffolk is Chris Wightman at Maximus Fish in the grounds of Friday St Farm Shop (just off the A12 at Saxmundham on the Aldeburgh road IP17 1JX) or call Chris on 01728 605578. Or do one better, come and eat at The Sail Loft and pop down afterwards to one of the fishermen’s black sheds at Southwold harbour. Tuck into local fresh seafood! Enjoy, Jonny
Jonny Nicholson, Chef – Owner, The Bell At Sax’, Saxmundham and The Sail Loft in Southwold
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warmer, brighter sunnier weather now is the perfect time to look at home improvements. Whether it is a simple lick of paint to change the colour scheme or more major works such as an extension or new kitchen or bathroom. There is nothing quite like getting hold of your house and moulding it to fit your taste, lifestyle and needs.
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something like a new colour scheme or a change of carpet and flooring can really lift your home and bring it up to date. It is always advisable to use qualified professionals when looking at new flooring
– if you pick a quality product and it is well fitted it will comfortably last until you next decide it is time to redecorate. Similarly, new curtains or soft furnishings can add a splash of colour and fresh feel to a room – likewise, go to an experienced
get sound advice and excellent service. If you are looking at more major work then you need to speak with experts, after all, even the most enthusiastic DIY- er doesn’t want to be fitting new windows or building a conservatory. Of course, home improvements are not always just about making things look nice. New windows and doors do indeed look good, but they also have an environmental and economic benefit. Again, the
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the most of some otherwise unused space. This is where the knowledge and know-how of an experienced builder will be invaluable. Knocking down walls might look fun, but, you need to consider structural integrity, plumbing
electrical connections amongst other things. This type of work will need to meet building regulations and your trusted local tradesman will be able to make sure all work meets current standards. Don’t neglect the outside
space of your home – it is the first thing anyone sees, and a newly landscaped garden or hardscaped driveway will not only look good and give practical benefits but it also adds value. As with all trades and services you will find a number of related businesses in the pages of the Community News so give them a call and make an appointment for your local
builder, decorator, carpenter, gardener and landscaper to come and give you some ideas and a quote for your planned work. Do you some research, get a colour scheme in mind, put together an ideas board and most of all be creative.
David Burns Community News
The Bell At Sax’, High Street, Saxmundham IP17 1AF Relaxing neighbourhood restaurant-with-rooms with good food, lounge bar and two dining rooms.
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The Sail Loft, Ferry Road, Southwold IP18 6HQ
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Luxury Fish Pie This really is an easy dish to
adapt to whatever seafood you have to hand. Pre-cook the fish and shellfish to suit what you have to hand before building the pie and you may need more or less of the sauce and the potato mash top depending on quantities. It’s up to you what seafood you choose, cod, smoked haddock, salmon, dogfish, cooked mussels, prawns, langoustines, scallops, lobster meat all work well – I go for 3 parts fish to 1 part shellfish.
The mash, seafood and hard- boiled eggs need to be ready and hot when you start the sauce.
(feeds 4 – 6)
Pre-heat the oven to 180c. For the potato mash, simmer 1kg potatoes in their skins until tender, drain and peel when cool enough and mash with butter, seasoning and cream to taste.
Prepare poached, skinned
and boneless fish and shelled shellfish of your choice, you need 1kg once prepared. Hard boil six large eggs, then peel and halve.
For the sauce, you need to heat up gold top breakfast milk, I suggest 600ml is about right. Warm with a glug of dry vermouth, a teaspoon or two of Dijon-style mustard, a pinch of mace, a good splash of Worcestershire sauce, zest of a lemon and lots of seasoning to taste until simmering in a saucepan. Soften (not melt) a couple of tablespoons of butter on low in the microwave and mix with the same amount of cornflour to make a thick paste. Strain the milk into a clean pan, and over a low-medium heat, whisk teaspoons into the milk slowly simmering as it thickens until you have a rich, bubbling sauce texture. Finish by stirring in a handful of shredded parsley leaves and roughly-chopped cornichons and capers. Mix together two handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs, two teaspoons of English mustard powder and two handfuls of grated, strong cheese.
Pour one third of the sauce into a deep ovenproof gratin dish, add in the seafood and the eggs on top. Pour over the remaining sauce. Using a spoon and fork, gently cover with the mash and then sprinkle over the cheesy crumbs.
Bake for about 30 minutes until browned, bubbling and heated through.
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