Catch & Cook with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall & Nick Fisher

Join us when we headed off on the high seas with Hugh (River Cottage Chef) and Nick Fisher (Screaming Reels) in search of the seasons best fish, from the first mackerel of spring through the black bream and bass of summer and autumn to the early winter squid. We learnt everything you need to know about preparing your freshly caught fish from scratch at River Cottage HQ.

We were given this absolutely excellent Christmas Gift by good friends – a Day fishing out at sea in Weymouth with Nick Fisher and then back to River Cottage Headquarters with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall to cook up a storm!

On arrival Hugh asked us if we were comfortable being filmed as they were making a video of Catch n Cook – we gave hime the thumbs up … Weymouth Harbour is picturesque and we were delighted to see sunny skies and calm seas!

Despite this the other couple were still very seasick! Poor them – Luckily we had taken tablets and did not suffer… We were soon reeling in mackerel!

To our surprise Hugh sliced and diced the mackerel there and then and we dipped it in sweet chilly sauce – DELICIOUS – never had fresher sashimi!

We then caught a few dogfish which we had not expected to take home!

We also snagged a few squid before we headed back to River Cottage Headquarters.

Hugh welcomed us and set us to work after doing a quick demo …

Paul was selected to demo the squid preparation – lots of black ink! A messy job! Pull out the tentacles from the main body. Cut just below the eye and discard the innards. Discard the beak and then trim the long tentacles level with the rest. Pinch the two fins together, thread thumb underneath and pull them away from the body, along with the membrane and discard. The squid ink sac is located in the innards. It looks like a black vein, and it is easily removed with your fingernail. To get to the ink, puncture the ink sac and squeeze it into a tablespoon of water, wine, or other cooking liquid. Tiny amounts of squid ink are also located behind the eyes. Be prepared when harvesting squid ink since it stains. Wear gloves, an apron, and protect porous surfaces such as the cutting board. It is particularly unsightly when it gets under your fingernails. A little bit goes a long way in recipes. A few drops added to the liquid in your recipe will be sufficient to both colour and flavour a dish, especially pastas and risottos.

We then proceeded to cook the dog fish… baked in salt crust…

Paul and I had taken a seat at the end of the dining room and then Hugh walked over to us and requested that we sat either side of him as he wanted us to be in the video. We were rather flattered and happily sat next to him.

He then overheard Paul being very effusive and expressing his delight and surprise at how good the dog fish tasted…he called the camera man over and asked Paul to repeat his enthusiasm for the camera…what followed was a stage struck and wooden response …. bless, it could have been the start of a wonderful TV career …but was not!

All in All it was a wonderful day well spent … a lovely treat!


In January 2005 Paul did Pig in a Day with a friend. They made their own Chorizo and learned all about making use of every bit of a pig!

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