21st March 2015
The day we were to go to Billingsgate, Reena knocked on my door at 5am in hotpants. Astonished, I opened the door. “You do realise this is a working market, don’t you?” I said. “Oh well, I’m here now and this is all I have”, she said defensively.
The amount of attention a pretty Filipino girl in hotpants, even if they were cut off jeans, attracts at Billingsgate has to be seen to be believed. It’s a predominantly male dominated market and although her legs were below the levels of the fish counters, many necks were craned in our direction. One young man bravely, under the gaze of the whole market, attempted to engage us in conversation, much to the envy and merriment of his colleagues. We explained to him about the supperclub and that we were cooking for charity – and he donated us a huge box of mackerel. And then promptly, of course, asked for Reena’s number.
Whilst Reena was occupying herself with how to disentangle herself from the situation of her own making (I had no sympathy!), I was worrying about the mackerel. Never mind how we would carry it (we had already bought our haul of fish, which was almost more than we could carry), but, given I’d already bought enough fish for the dinner, how would I fit another 12 quite large mackerel into our poor guests (almost 1 each!) without leaving me with tonnes of leftovers.
In the end the mackerel went into a Filipino ceviche I tasted in Cebu and got an interesting recipe for – interesting for the spelling as much as anything else, the slip of paper was still sitting on my desk years later, waiting to be tried – and a dish that will forever be named “Legs” mackerel, which proved to be a great hit. We had no left overs of mackerel.
We miss Reena, our first sous chef, very much (she’s back in America), but now have many other excellent volunteers, one of whom will be coming to Billingsgate with me. She toyed with the idea of hotpants but I think has decided against it. We’ll have to pay for our mackerel this time. But this supperclub will forever be called 2 Little Mermaids.
This menu is very much “selon le marche” – or dependent on availability - but typically includes some of our most popular fish dishes (this is what we cooked last time):
Filipino Ceviche made with coconut milk
Chee's Favourite Mussels - a dish I invented for a friend 20 years ago that's stood the test of time
Spaghetti Alla Vongole (spaghetti with clams) - there IS a benefit to all those weekly trips I made to Italy for all those years! At least it's authentic...
Classic Cantonese Steamed Sea Bass
Cha Ca Thang Long - Vietnamese Turmeric fish with dill, a really delicious dish
Mackerel aux "Legs" - Mackerel Fillets with a green bean and caper salad
Fish Curry - a classic Indian fish curry with fenugreek
Mograbiah Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Bulghur Wheat
Tarte Tatin (our famous)
The price of the dinner will be £45 of which £35 will go direct to the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres
To book, please email us at email@example.com
On the 15th April we will be teaching a fun fish lesson where you will learn to scale, gut and fillet fish as well as 4 delicious fish recipes, for more details click here