Seafood Pornography

There’s a superb episode of The Simpsons where various discussions of actor ‘Troy McClure are taking place:

Louie: Hey, I thought you said Troy McClure was dead.
Tony: No, what I said was: “He sleeps with the fishes”. You see…

Homer: You know, his bizarre personal life. Those weird things they say he does down at the aquarium. Why I heard…
Marge: Oh, Homer, that’s just an urban legend. People don’t do that type of thing with fish!

Now, before we go any further, I definitely have to point out that should you be a fish fetishist like Troy McClure then you won’t find anything of interest in this piece. But what I do want to talk about is late night TV, on a satellite channel, oh yes…

Rick Stein!

I’m not a great fan of cookery programmes – I cook a lot but don’t usually get much out of watching other folks cooking (except for the superb and much missed Keith Floyd) – but I can watch Rick Stein for hours.  I love seafood – which helps enormously – and I love the combination of heartiness and simplicity that many of his recipes have.  And he’s a great people person – watching him work with the local chefs in whichever part of the country (or world) he and his team end up in is always a great pleasure.

Stein scores for me in a very big way – I actually want to eat the stuff he produces.  The other evening he cooked eels, and whilst normally I’d probably draw the line at eating them, I quite fancied trying one out.  Then there was a (non-seafood) French hotpot dish that involved a side of belly pork, sausage and vegetables.  Oh my….just the sort of stuff I love to eat.

It’s a great irony in my life that whilst I love seafood and the sea I live in Sheffield – a rather land-locked place which has the Irish Sea and the North Sea as the closest bodies of salt-water to get to.   There is a good local fishmonger down in Hillsborough – Mann’s – and we’ve also got a couple of Sushi and Noodle bars in Sheffield City Centre which are pretty reasonable.  But I would love to be able to go and eat in a dedicated sea-food restaurant, on the sea-front, somewhere.  The only time I’ve actually achieved this was back in 1993 in Vancouver – and it was fantastic.

Back to Rick Stein – a second strong point for me is the love and passion he has for his craft and calling – and it comes out in what he does and his narration of the programmes.  I like listening to people who are genuinely passionate about what they do – it comes out in every word they say, and in their body language.  Floyd was the same – it’s something fantastic to see. 

But having said all that, it was still a brave man who first ate an Oyster, and that’s one thing I’ll definitely not be eating!

The Birth of a Brand

As some of you may know, I’m on the Board of the Hillsborough Forum, a group that works for the economic regeneration of the Hillsborough area of Sheffield, and also coordinates other activities in that area, such as ‘Yorkshire in Bloom’ and other community activities, such as Community Gardening.  I’m very proud of my involvement with HF – and certainly enjoy working with some wonderful people such as Wendy Wells.

Tonight we had an event to launch our ‘Made in Hillsborough’ brand – an attempt to provide a unique and easily identifiable brand for companies and businesses based in the area.  the brand was designed by local, highly skilled, Graphic Designer Emma Metcalfe and manages to encapsulate all the major aspects of Hillsborough – green spaces, soccer, the Barracks, the range of produce available in the area.  It’s so ‘hot off the press’ that the first time I saw the ‘full version’ of the logo was at this presentation, and it’s a smasher. 

It’s partially visible in the background of the above photograph and on the right you can see a larger version of the logo in all it’s glory!  The launch took place in the Hillsborough Hotel, who provided us with excellent surroundings, a nice buffet and a very nice special brew for the occasion from their in-house Crown Brewery – Hillsborough Pale Ale.  Of which a fair amount was quaffed by all, including me.

There was an excellent set of introductory talks from the Rt. Hon. David Blunkett MP, local author and historian Ron Clayton (Ron – if you’re reading this send me your web site address!!)  and Hillsborough Forum’s very own ‘member of the Queen’s Gang’, Wendy Wells MBE.  And then it was down to networking, brewery visiting, eating and drinking!  And a fine evening was had by all, with your correspondent finally strolling home through the drizzle at 11pm!

We had excellent support from many Hillsborough businesses for raffle prizes and give-aways on the night including Picky Miss Sock Monsters, Imogen’s Imagintion (milinery / hats), Simpkin’s Sweets, Teddy Bear Maker and Funks Butchers.  On a personal level it was great to see old friends again, and make contact with Russell Cavanagh who runs NW Sheffield News Online.  My major social gaffe of the evening was not immediately recognising the very friendly folks from the Java Lounge coffee shop in Hillsborough – given the amount of coffee and cheesey crumpets they’ve served me in recent months that was a wee bit embarrassing! 

But – thanks to all!!  Follow @Hills_Forum on Twitter, and if you want to help plug the brand, use the #MadeInHillsborough hashtag!