Tag Archives: Fish4Ever

Chard pesto – eat your greens


Sitting in back of a car last night looking at pics on my ‘phone with my niece, Charlotte, she says (re above pic): Wow, that looks nice.

Really? I say.

Charlotte enthuses when I tell her what it was: a made-up quick supper dish brimming with health. Thus I am encouraged to share:

Chard pesto for pasta

Traditionally, pesto uses garlic, basil, pine nuts and parmesan. This one replaces the fifth ‘umami‘ (pleasant savoury) taste of parmesan with anchovies. I used Fish4Ever anchovies because they are truly carefully caught and conserved which shows in the taste. And conserved in organic oil a) because organic farming saves the sea by not polluting coastal waters and b) authentic (mechanically not chemically-produced) olive oil.

I replaced the basil usually used in pesto with a pack of freshly-picked organic kale (from Radford Mill Farm shop which by-the-by is having a Frack-free festival in May) – or organic chard on another occasion. You could also use freshly picked nettles.

Then I blended the greens etc with my hand-blender (a £20 kitchen equipment must-have). By blending it into a sauce, it made eating healthy greens into effortless, comfort food.

I poured the green sauce on to a bowl of freshly-cooked pasta. You can use any pasta but I used Sweet potato and buckwheat pasta which is wheat-free (as wheat, an argumentative fellow, rarely agrees with me).


Fry about 4-5 anchovies in their oil so gently they…melt

Fry half an onion sliced, also gently

Add sliced/chopped garlic – as much as you want – I like lots! (and do not overcook so I can have more of garlic’s immune-boosting qualities)

Finally, add a pack of chopped organic greens with (half a cup?) water – enough water so the chard/kale cooks down quickly but is not over-watery. Simmer for 5 minutes or less.

Takes about 15 minutes to cook pesto and pasta at same time (in different pans).

Apologies for my unscientific amounts. As my grandmother used to say when asked for precise amounts in a recipe: “Vifil nemen” = As much as it takes.


Pinterest UK

PIF Badge 150

I admit it. I was flattered. Pinterest wants to feature one of my Pinterest boards during its registration process for new UK users.

Right, what is Pinterest? It is a new social media network – based on sharing images – that has grown phenomenally in its three-year existence.

Thanks to Mike Farrow for turning me on to Pinterest – companies were finding Pinterest was driving more sales than Facebook.

Explaining this phenomenon, Steve Longoria quotes stats that 80% of Pinterest users are women, saying, “women love to shop” (ouch, goes feminist-self).

But there is more gender-balance in UK, according to David Moth at Eco-Consultancy. Do see Eco-Consultancy’s analysis of how huge (and small) brands use social media. Most instructive.

Yes, I can see how retail is suited to images. Selfridges is on Pinterest, so is OcadoYeo ValleyClipper Tea, campaigners such as the Woodland Trust, and (I like this one) National Rail Enquiries.

F4E tuna fishing

I set up action brand, Fish4Ever, on Pinterest. Its pictures tell the stories of sustainable fishing and its the fight to support small fishers, so suited to image-led Pinterest.

Then, when browsing Fish4Ever products on Ocado, I noticed a Pinterest button on each of its product pages. Ooooh, that made it easy to upload the product images to a new Board I titled: Fish4Ever on Ocado.

Then, when you click on the Ocado Fish4Ever product image at Pinterest, the link takes you back to the UK online supermarket so you can buy the product. Neat.

I also set up my own Pinterest account. It is a way of mapping out interests online – pleasingly visual. I have just started a Board to gather my recent blogging/journalism.

Book tower
And I also made a Board for Books. (Above a pic of pile: books I am reading, want to read or have read but can’t bear to be parted from).

Pinterest UK launched on 9 May. Why an UK launch when Pinterest is global, right, like Facebook? Pinterest guest blogger, interior designer, Will Taylor, admires this localised approach and thinks it makes sense because Pinterest is “probably one of the most personal platforms…highly influenced by where you live.”

Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann indicates its success may also be be down to this marketing approach: having local events to engage local bloggers. Verrrry interesting! (see my comment below in ‘Comments’).

According to marketing blog, Pinster, Pinterest has been very successful at generating traffic for US bloggers and invites UK bloggers to share reports of  any traffic increases as a result of this current marketing drive.

Getting ten UK bloggers a day to Pin It Forward for 30 days sounds a Herculean task especially if they were as recalcitrant as I was (haven’t I got enough to do?).

But I was intrigued by the marketing campaign so here I am, passing the baton to the next blogger in this 30-day marathon. Whom it turns out, I am already happily connected with…

Laura Scott is a fellow food blogger with a beautiful and practical blog, How to Cook Good Food, and do see Laura’s fascinating and share-able How to Cook Pinterest Boards.

Inspiring, too. I am gonna get pinning.

La Pirogue – stolen fish and refugees

“Y’a plus de personnes ici, y’a plus de poissons.”

“No more people here, no more fish,” says one of the characters in La Pirogue, the Senegalese film directed by Moussa Touré, selected for Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2012.

Here’s a clip from La Pirogue.

Illegal fishing on a fierce industrial scale is robbing West African coastal countries of its fish, often the only protein source for millions of people.

Instead of being used for local, sustainable fishing, the painted pirogue is used to transport desperate people on a perilous sea journey. The film is dedicated to the thousands of Africans who have died crossing the Atlantic to Europe.

If they had their fish, they would not risk crossing the ocean in a wooden boat.

Much of this stolen fish ends up in Europe, says the Environmental Justice Foundation in its recent report, Exposing Pirate Fishing: The Fight Against Illegal Fishing in West Africa and the EU.

Everything is connected. The would-be migrants who try to enter Fortress Europe are suffering from the illegal trade in seafood sold to Europe.

La Pirogue opened the Afrika Eye Film Festival on the 9 November 2012. I was helping the sixth Afrika Eye Film Festival with its social media, and saw a connection for another client, Charles Redfern’s sustainable canned fish brand, Fish4Ever.

He in turn saw a link with the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and sponsored their stall at La Pirogue’s screening.

Here is Charles Redfern and Kate, a marine scientist, who ran the EJF information stall at the Afrika Eye Film Festival, at the Watershed, Bristol.

Charles has family links to Sierra Leone, also ravaged by illegal fishing.  In 2011, he raised £9k to help the EJF buy Sierra Leone a new monitoring boat. This boat featured in an Al Jazeeera video investigation as it chased two South Korean trawlers fishing illegally.

David Dravie-John from Sierra Leone, and Charles, connected at the opening night. David Dravie-John wanted to interview Charles on his Bristol-based radio on Ujima 98 FM, but as Charles is Reading-based, I agreed to be interviewed instead.

Positive change starts with awareness. I have to communicate the problem because it’s part of finding the solution.

The Zimbabwean film maker, Afrika Eye Film Festival co-founder, and director of Robert Mugabe – What Happened, Simon Bright, says in my interview for Bristol247, “Film has the power to transform political events”.

…”so that the beautiful African pirogues will never again serve to transport human misery,” as a blogger wrote.

Fish4Ever’s ethical sourcing policy refuses to buy from long distance foreign fleets fishing in the coastal waters of developing countries.

And here’s a picture of Charles eating lentil soup I made with Fish4Ever anchovies, + cut-up sweated small cubes of fennel, leek and swede (a veg trio inspired by healthy-food-on-a-budget Square Food Foundation’s chef Barny Haughton).

Delicious sustainable fish, and food security for poor countries.

Have I helped join up the dots?


I ask Nadia over. Our plan: to make a video of cooking kedgeree, then scoff it convivially.

We assemble the ingredients, position Nadia at the cooker and I film the three-minute video on my iPhone without a script.

I like it fast and real, like my food.

According to Wikipedia, kedgeree ‘consists of cooked, flaked fish (sometimes smoked haddock), boiled rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, curry powder, butter or cream and occasionally sultanas’.

We use Organico Nerone (black) rice, into which, once cooked, we stir 1 tsp curry powder, quartered organic hard-boiled eggs, chopped dates, Fish4Ever peppered mackerel then lemon juice + chopped parsley.

We concoct curry powder with ground spices. Recipe for future ref: 4 tsp coriander + 2 tsp turmeric + 2 tsp chilli + 1 tsp ginger + 1 tsp mustard seed + 2 tsp cinnamon + 8 single cloves. We only use 1 tsp of this mix in the kedgeree. Would be wrong to overpower the rest of the ingredients…

No sultanas but miraculously I have dates, softening in water. We decide 8 cut-up small ones are fine. No butter because the fish is canned in plenty of organic sunflower oil. (I hope this encourages you to experiment when cooking).

Before Nadia arrives, I hard-boil eggs.  Note to self: try 3 next time.

I boil the rice.

250 g Organico Nerone rice simmers for 40 mins in 800 ml water. A whole grain, cook black rice as if brown rice: 1 cup of rice for 2 of water.

Listen, sometimes cooking is guess-work. Jamie Oliver uses 170g of long-grain rice for his kedgeree recipe but give no quantities of water. Water has to cover the rice generously because rice swells.

Amounts-wise, I’m a bit hit-and-miss. (Gad, how I hate reading posts like this when desperately seeking a recipe. Sorry). How do you cook your rice?

STOP PRESS: After saying on Twitter that I could not find a classic kedgeree recipe online, chef James McIntosh blogged this one! Fresh!

I was dying to try Organico Nerone rice. Known as ‘forbidden rice’, it did not disappoint. Dramatically black, the cooked grains are fragrant, dense and vibrant.

A speciality grain, it is grown only in parts of the Po valley. Charles Redfern, Organico’s founder and MD, is rightly proud of his artisan suppliers – Organico Nerone rice is cultivated and packed by the Picco family, growing it since 1878.

Organico Nerone rice recently won two stars in the 2012 Great Taste Awards. “Two stars = faultless” according to the Great Taste Awards.

Declaring interests, Organico and its sister company Fish4Ever are clients. I only promote what is Winkle-tastic real food. And I did the video just-for-the-love-of-it.

Fish4Ever, the world’s first sustainable canned fish brand, is store-cupboard convenience with a conscience. In organic world, everything is connected. Fish4Ever’s eco-practices include supporting local day boats, artisan fishing and local canning, and 100% organic land ingredients. The result? Quality fish. It’s a virtuous circle.

Here’s me eating it. Yup, I overcooked the rice a bit. And still, utterly delicious.

Black rice kedgeree served with grated carrots

And here it is, served the next day.

Marine Ecocide trial sets legal precedent

Ecocide is the destruction of nature, and the Ecocide Act seeks to bring those responsible for this destruction to account.

Drafted by barrister and campaigner, Polly Higgins, the Ecocide Act is not law. Not yet.

Writing post-Rio, Polly Higgins says the Ecocide Act is “a fully-worked piece of legislation which is ready to be implemented. All we need do is mobilise people to say that this must happen.”

In this spirit, the Bristol Law School organised the Marine Ecocide Trial in the presence of Polly Higgins (seated in pic below).

It was cool to meet Polly Higgins – we chatted (as one does!) about vested interests lobbying politicians. Polly Higgins said, worryingly, political lobbying is regulated by voluntary guidelines only, and only since last year.

Now to declare my vested interests: Charles Redfern, the MD and founder of Fish4Ever, the world’s first sustainable canned fish brand, is one of my clients. I only promote causes and companies I believe in. My involvement in the Marine Ecocide Trial was passionate and, mostly, voluntary (as is writing this blog).

The Marine Ecocide trial took place on the first floor of Bordeaux Quay restaurant on 15 June 2012 during Bristol’s Big Green week.

Real barristers cross-examined expert witnesses in front of judge and jury as if the Ecocide Act were law.

Although not a “real” trial, the Marine Ecocide trial is nonetheless of huge relevance to future trials. As Bristol Law School principal lecturer in law and organiser, Benjamin Pontin, says:

“Documentation and arguments used at this trial will be used as legal precedents in future ecocide trials.”

The Bristol Law School is soon to launch a website dedicated to the Marine Ecocide Trial – watch this space.

The previous Ecocide trial at the Supreme Court – which found Tar Sands bosses guilty of ecocide – had actors as expert witnesses. In contrast, the Marine Ecocide trial used real expert witnesses.

In the Bristol trial, the UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman, was charged for implementing policies that “are causing damage to and destruction of UK fishing ecosystems…”

The government pleaded not guilty and did not appear. Instead Graham Watson the Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament  appeared as a defence witness. So did Jeremy Percy, the chief executive of the Under Tens Fishermen’s Association.

The defence focused on showing that Caroline Spelman was not in control of UK fisheries policy, because it was devolved nations and the EU also being responsible.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The words of Lewis Carroll’s poem, about the Walrus gobbling up the oysters, came to mind as I listened to the so-called concerns of the defence:

‘”I weep for you,” the Walrus said. “I deeply sympathise”.

With sobs and tears, he sorted out those of the largest size, holding his pocket handkerchief before his streaming eyes. “”

Marine Ecocide prosecution

Jonathon Porritt appeared as an expert witness for the prosecution, swearing his oath on Gaia. He talked about the “systematic abuse of science” for political ends.

He also said that fish stocks don’t necessarily replenish once overfishing has been halted. In other words, overfishing can lead to extinction.

Another expert witness, was marine lawyer, Tom Appleby. When questioned by the prosecution about whether the UK government can legally hand out fish quotas, he said: “I do not believe Defra has this power to give out property rights.”

Dr Jean-Luc Solandt from the Marine Conservation Society gave the history of UK fishing and a factual but searing account of the damage done to the sea bed by scallop dredgers and beam trawlers.

Charles Redfern, MD and founder of Fish4Ever, the world’s first sustainable canned fish brand, was an expert witness for the prosecution.

He said that consumer awareness of the plight of the fish was a double-edged sword because now people care more about sustainability, it is possible for unauthenticated sustainability claims to be made.

Think how many times you see “Dolphin-friendly” on canned fish. Charles Redfern says you might as well label chocolate as “dolphin-friendly”; that is how meaningless the term is.

Time to present the Fish4Ever mermaids pretending to be sworn in

Imilia Lucas

Jane Victoria Powell

with costumes made by

fellow mermaid, Melanie Small.

Here is the Greenpeace fish talking to fisherman, Jeremy Percy – please check out Greenpeace’s new campaign to be Be a Fisherman’s Friend.

(Yes, fishers do seem to be mostly male.).

Results of Marine Ecocide Trial

In response to the jury’s failure to deliver an unanimous verdict in the time available, the judge acquitted the Secretary of State and ordered the prosecution to pay court costs.

I am not MEANT to know how the jury of sixth-formers voted but I do know so I am now going to tell you.

The jury at first voted 7 to 5 in favour of finding the Secretary of State Caroline Spellman guilty of ecocide.

The jury went away to try to reach an unanimous verdict. It returned a verdict even closer to a guilty charge, voting 8 to 4 in favour of finding the Secretary of State guilty.

However, the jury could not deliberate further because, unlike a real trial, we only had a day, and the day was ending.

So the defence jumped in and asked for the Secretary of State to be acquitted and costs to be awarded to the prosecution, and, wrongly – in my biased pro-fish opinion – the judge agreed.

As I could not be a mermaid that day, here is a picture of me

on Bias Lane (in Devon). Apologies for the diversion.

Whatever the outcome of the trial, it raises awareness of the Eradicating Ecocide campaign to make ecocide an international crime.

As Polly Higgins wrote recently:

“Big ideas always start out in the margins before they spread into the mainstream. Earth law and in particular the law of Ecocide is just that – a big idea worth spreading.”

Fish4Ever challenges big brands

As a journalist and food campaigner, I help Fish4Ever with its communications. I cannot work for a cause or company I don’t believe in.

So, I have the privilege of asking nosy questions and learning about the politics of fish.

Lunch: a fried-medley of Fish4Ever sardine fillets (Steenberg’s Organic online £1.60) on a bed of organic rice vermicelli.

Medly: I fry sliced shallots/onions, garlic and chilli in the organic oil in which the fish are canned – Fish4Ever uses 100% organic land ingredients.

I add the sardine fillets, mashing them (was that respectful?). I snip-in fresh parsley .

Fish4Ever canned fish is in a class of its own, fished traditionally (70% MSC-certified, the rest artisan) and quickly-conserved for freshness.

I am a real food lover and here’s why: you do good – it tastes good.

Why is it important to look after the fish?

Fishing technology is too effective. Desired species are being hunted to extinction.

Its hunting methods are indiscriminate, killing turtles, sea birds, dolphins.

There are too many factory boats and not enough fish. Regulations to control catches are insufficient and often ignored. Out at sea, where no one is looking, rules can be flouted. Poor countries suffer from foreign piracy on an industrial scale.

Hugh’s Fish Fight on Channel 4 earlier this month focused on changing the fishing methods of the big tuna brands and own-label supermarkets.

The food corporations’ proposed changes are far better than nothing.

However, although the big brands may well promise a “pole and line” range, their primary business remains likely unchanged.

Each Fish4Ever can has a story – including the smallest tuna fishing boats in the world.

This is not an eco-add-on. Fish4Ever’s raison d’être is care of land, sea and people.

That’s what I call an ethical company.