Summer Newsletter 2015

Hello Lovely Customers,

Welcome to our Summer 2015 newsletter.  We hope you have been having a good year so far?  We recently added a summer special to the Fundamentally Fish range – fresh live Crayfish from the clean clear chalk streams of the River Kennet.  They taste amazing. We have a few more sustainably produced products in the pipeline – fresh organic wasabi root from Hampshire coming soon and we are working on some very interesting products, about which more later. If you want us to contact you directly with news, just give Nic your email and we’ll add you to our mailing list.
We hope your summer is going well with abundant customers and plenty of staff….

Very best wishes 

                                   Jane, Sue and Nic 


Eat Less Meat... 

Eat less meat is the mantra, both for your health and the environment – and surely that’s got to be good news for restaurant margins? But customers still want meaty and savoury.
Mushroom are closer to animals than plants. DNA analysis confirms that fungi are a separate kingdom of organisms alongside plants, animals and bacteria. They do not make energy from light and need to consume organic material from their environment.  The wide variety of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) found in mushrooms, lends weight to the old description of ‘poor mans’ meat’.  Just like meat, when cooked at high heat the Maillard reaction turns those mushroom amino acids into very savoury flavour elements.  Just like the crust on a roast.
One of the most savoury mushrooms (up there with cep and morelles) is Hen of the WoodsNot to be confused with Chicken of the Woods, this mushroom is native to the UK and found in the wild around the bases of trees. It is however classified as rare and should not be picked wild, especially as it is successfully cultivated these days.   

It has a pretty and delicate structure, the name Hen of the Woods comes from its appearance – like fluffy hen feathers. Simply slice thinly and saute or roast at high heat to get that browning from the Maillard reaction. Like all mushrooms you can intensify flavour by adding stocks or other flavours which will be absorbed.
We’ve just taken a large shipment of really fresh Hen of the Woods, all in small 150g packs, clean and ready to go.  You can hold them in the fridge for two weeks or more. We bring them direct from the grower so you get the benefit of the great shelf life with all those lovely peppery aromas still in place. 

Abalone – the big white chunky ones. The texture is really unusual – closest to ceps, puffball or chicken of the woods. Get creative, let us have a picture and dish description and we’ll put you on the website gallery and tweet it for you. 

Tweet us your fungus pictures @fungusgirls 

A Round of Applause for: 

We love seeing our customers doing so well, please join us in congratulating those below on their recent achievements. 

New 3 AA rosettes, Lord Clyde, Macclesfield, The Goring, London, House of Tides Newcastle, Stovells Chobham, Red Lion East Chisenbury, Amberley Castle Arundel.
New 4 AA rosettes for Simon Rogans Fera at Claridges, London, The French, Manchester & Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Rock.
AA Large Hotel Group of the Year – Q Hotels
AA Chef’s Chef – Nathan Outlaw.

Sunday Times Most Influential People in Food & Drink Category :  Simon Rogan and Alan Yau.

National Restaurant Awards Top 100
L’Enclume, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Brasserie Chavot, Royal Oak Paley St, HKK, The French, Le Champignon Sauvage, The Aumbry

Top 100 Good Food Guide, the peoples’ choice      
L’Enclume, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Le Champignon Sauvage, The Ledbury,
 Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, The French, Fraiche, Fera at Claridges, Michael Wignall at the Latymer, Freemasons at Wiswell,  Northcote, Red Lion East Chisenbury, Outlaws at the Capital, Restaurant 21212, Aumbry, Purslane, Royal Oak Paley Street, Orwells, Harrow Little Bedwyn, HKK, Stovells

New Michelin stars The Cross Kennilworth, Outlaws Fish Kitchen, Fera at Claridges                 

Sunday Times Top 100 
Fraiche, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons,  L’Enclume, The Ledbury, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Kai Mayfair, Restaurant 21212,  Nortcote, Fera at Claridges, The Latymer, Bath Priory, Hakkasan, Nobu, Le Champignon Sauvage , Harrow Little Bedwyn, Roka Charlotte, The French, HKK, Freemasons at Wiswell.

Seafish and the Caterer Award for Restaurant of the Year competition (serving fish and shellfish) In top ten shortlisted:  Outlaws at the Capital Hotel, London and Crab House Café, Dorset 
Sterling White Halibut  - a refreshing change from Turbot? 

Short staffed and too busy for whole fish? Proving popular, we now offer quarter fillets of halibut. Direct from the grower, just let us know in advance and we will bring them in to order. That’s maximum freshness and traceability. Typically 400-600g each and no bones. 
Open Blue Cobia.

If you haven’t yet watched the National Geographic Video of the offshore deep water farming of Cobia. Take 5 minutes, it’s inspirational. It’s the future. You can find the link via our new website or click the link above.  
Crayfish from the River Kennet in Berkshire

You wanted fresh & local so here they are. From the clear waters of chalk streams they are superb quality (part of the starter dish at the royal wedding). 
Professionally sorted and purged, approx. 10cms in length and with you the following day, these are far superior to the Eastern European and Chinese imports and you’re doing the rivers a favour. 

Our native British freshwater crayfish populations in rivers and lakes are being decimated by the American Signal Crayfish. These invaders are bigger and more aggressive and they devour the much smaller native white crayfish. And unlike our native species, they also burrow into riverbanks causing collapse. Unwelcome guests indeed. 

These also SRA approved.  Some feedback…..

Michael Wender, Merton College Oxford. ‘These crayfish couldn’t have been fresher if we’d fished them out the river ourselves – aggressive little ******s aren’t they… ‘

Rosie Greenslade-Yeats, Roka Restaurants / Zuma Restaurants - ‘We just slit the heads and put them on the barbie, beautiful, sweet and big enough to have claw meat.’

Tweet us your Crayfish pictures @21stcenturyfish


There’s too much depressing stuff about fish in the news so we promise only to let you know about the good things that are happening. Small things make a difference too.   So here’s some fishy good news.


Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) is not just confined to the third world. Spain just took a massive step to fine Spanish nationals and more significantly the processors and distributors involved in illegal fishing.  Worldwide some 20% of fish caught (26million tonnes) is thought to be IUU and these activities are disrupting conservation measures. Other EU countries will follow. Thailand and Indonesia are also cracking down on pirate fishing.
The UK government recently announced formation of the worlds’ largest marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands. The area is 322 thousand square miles (3 times the size of the UK) and home to 1249 species of marine mammals, seabirds and fish.  It is one of the most near pristine marine habitats left on Earth so great news it will be safe.  And the Eye in the sky satellite is under construction in the UK to track and monitor fishing vessels to prevent illegal fishing. Its’ first job will be to police the newly set up Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve in the south Atlantic. 

Salmon-leather - Very stylish!

Fish skin is an unused resource and a project is underway in Finland to teach tanning of fish skins, product design and marketing. Why not?? They also make really lovely crispy bar snacks—try them at Texture Restaurant, Portman Square. Absolutely un-fishy. 


Feeding wild caught fish to fish, even when sustainable sources are used, is not a long term option.

But fish farming will be vital to feed future populations. An innovative source of cheap natural protein for chicken and fish feed is being produced in South Africa from the world’s biggest fly farm. 8 billion flies produce 22 tonnes of high protein larvae every day. And they eat garbage which would go to landfill. This must be a win-win.

Great News for North Sea Cod

North Sea cod stocks are recovering and may be MSC certified as sustainable within 5 years. Restrictions placed in 2006 have resulted in steady recovery. But still on the MSC list of ‘avoid’.

Flip-Flap Grid

The problem of unwanted by-catch and discards is ongoing but a simple but effective addition to trawl nets to allow bottom fish, especially larger ones, to escape. Really important as larger fish make up the breeding stock, and crucial for endangered species such as wild halibut.