I think living on the south coast of England we are rather spoiled with our options of local food. Up in the downs is the Goodwood Estate, where you can dine at the newly launched Farmer, Butcher, Chef restaurant eating a meal which has been entirely reared on the farm and down closer to the sea, you can have lunch fresh from the harbour. Of course if you want to prepare your own dishes there are some great local suppliers on the Sussex/Hampshire border that you can buy from too, here are a few of my favourites…
Three Harbours Beef – Beef raised on the grasslands around the harbour in conjunction with the Chichester Harbour Conservancy
Tuppenny Barn Organics – An organic smallholding in Southbourne with a veg box scheme and shop
Weald & Downland Flour – Stoneground flour milled at the museum
Fresh From The Boat – Emsworth based fisherman
Harbour Honey – Honey produced in assiciation with the Chichester Harbour Conservancy
Harry’s Sausages – Local freerange pork sausages, handmade in our traditional way produced by the Treagust family who having been butchers in the area since 1924
Adsdean Farm Shop – Locally reared beef, pork and turkeys
Chilgrove Gin – Made in the South Downs with Sussex grown botanicals
Leisure Range Cookers have recently produced a regional guide for places to shop for local produce around the UK and to celebrate its launch they asked us to create one course of a dinner party recipe using only local ingredients.
We decided to cook Sea Bass in our outdoor oven. This is a dish we had planned to do a lot when the weather warmed up, but we braved some open air cooking on one of the dampest January days to give it a trial run before summer.
Sea Bass is a popular catch in the harbour and we are lucky to have a good local sustainable source for it with Chantelle & Peter Williams’ Fresh From The Boat. This is the boat they fish from, a proper small traditional fishing vessel…
Sea Bass cooks beautifully with the bare minimum of additions, but we decided to create a sauce using another famous local product Isle of Wight Tomatoes. Just over the water from us is one of the UK’s biggest producers of tomatoes, so even at this time of year we can still buy fresh and local.
In fact this part of Sussex is known for its greenhouses and we have several salad and vegetable growers…. I told you we were spoiled!
To prepare the Sea Bass…
Combine the following in a food processor
3 Isle of Wight tomatoes peeled and seeds removed
3 or 4 spring onions
1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
1 teaspoon of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of chopped chilli
1/2 teaspooon of Tamarind and Harisa paste (not local, so leave out if you wish to be authentic)
Bake in a hot oven (brick or conventional at 200c) for 20 minutes.
Serve on a bed of pea shoots with potatoes.
Tips for buying local :
• Remember small producers often face variations in their supplies, be prepared to be flexible with your menu
• Check the social media followers of local food companies to find other similar businesses
• Visit food markets to sample new products
• If you have a Co-Op near you seek out their shelf of local foods