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Recipes: Cookbook celebrates great British seafood

Following the success of her debut cookbook For the Love of the Land, a collation of recipes and stories from farms across the country, Cambridgeshire farmer’s wife Jenny Jefferies has now published For the Love of the Sea, a celebration of great British seafood

From old-school cod and chips and salmon en croute to exotic Morrocan spiced langoustines and mussels with seaweed, new cookbook For the Love of the Sea shares both signature dishes and personal stories from seafood experts right around the British coast.

A follow-on from last year’s For the Love of the Land, which celebrated inland producers, it’s the second instalment from Cambridgeshire farmer’s wife Jenny Jefferies. Among the people and places she’s singled out this time are Dee Caffari MBE, British sailor and the first woman to sail solo and non-stop in both directions around the globe; Cornwall’s National Lobster Hatchery; and Kames Fish Farming, the oldest family-run fish farm in Scotland, famous for its steelhead trout.

“This book aims to encourage everyone to fall in love with British fish and seafood again, making the most of our rich coastal waters and highlighting the skills and passion of those in the industry. It also champions sustainability and shines a light on women who take up this dangerous profession but whose voices are not always heard,” explains Jenny, who began both cooking and writing after switching her urban home and career for life and work on the farm.

Published in hardback last month, the book is being sold in support of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), with 22% of profits going to the charity. Aimed at everyone from the kitchen novice to the accomplished home cook, it promises recipes to suit every skill-set and, ranging from homely to more exotic, every palate, too. To whet your appetite, Jenny is sharing a pair of recipes. . .

Grilled Oysters with Garlic Butter

Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 5 minutes | Serves 2

For the Love of the Sea, Jenny Jefferies - Grilled Oysters with Garlic Butter, Scottish Shellfish (45795242)
For the Love of the Sea, Jenny Jefferies - Grilled Oysters with Garlic Butter, Scottish Shellfish (45795242)

“Our locally grown oysters are delicious cooked with garlic, velvety butter and fresh cracked black pepper, paired with zingy lemon. The perfect weekend starter treat.” - Scottish Shellfish


3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, grated

1 tbsp very finely chopped fresh parsley

Squeeze of lemon juice

Dash of Tabasco

Cracked black pepper

8 whole live oysters


In a bowl, mix the butter with the oil, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, Tabasco and some black pepper to taste. Place the closed oysters on a baking tray with the flat side of the shell facing upwards. Place under a preheated grill for 1 minute. When you start to see the shells opening, remove them from the grill.

Using an oven mitt to protect your hands from the heat, slide a shucking knife or a sturdy round-bladed knife into the gap between the top and bottom of the shell. Twist the knife to lever the shell open. Remove the top of the shell and place the oyster in the bottom half of the shell back on the tray.

Repeat this with all the oysters, then divide the sauce between the shells and grill for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the oysters from the grill, place them onto a large plate and serve with a crisp salad and lemon wedges.

Asian Style Oven-Baked Sea Bass

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating | Cooking time: 20-30 minutes | Serves 2

For the Love of the Sea, Jenny Jefferies - Asian Style Oven-Baked Sea Bass, The National Lobster Hatchery (45795241)
For the Love of the Sea, Jenny Jefferies - Asian Style Oven-Baked Sea Bass, The National Lobster Hatchery (45795241)

“This recipe was created by my lovely neighbour Chrissie Taylor and I love it! It also works with other white fish and I’d always opt to use one that is considered sustainable at the time, such as pollock. See cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk for advice on which fish are recommended as sustainable.” - Clare Stanley, The National Lobster Hatchery


1 whole sea bass (from a sustainable source)

Sea salt

Black pepper

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 fresh red chillies, diced

2 lemongrass stalks, cut diagonally into small pieces

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 small tin of coconut cream

Handful of cherry tomatoes

3 spring onions, chopped

Handful of fresh coriander, to taste


Ensure the fish is fully cleaned and gutted with the gills and any threads within removed. I like to keep the head on but you can remove the head if preferred. Slash the flesh on both sides of the fish, if it’s not already done, and season it inside and out with salt and black pepper.

Mix together the crushed garlic, grated ginger, diced chilli and lemongrass, plus a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Finally, add the light soy sauce to the mixture. Let the whole fish marinate in this mixture for at least 30 minutes.

Place the fish, including all the remaining marinade, in a piece of foil and add the coconut cream. Wrap the foil around the fish and crimp the edges to seal it at the top, forming a parcel. Make sure there is still some space around the fish.

Place the foil parcel in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 170°c. Halfway through the cooking time, remove the foil parcel from the oven, open it up and add the handful of cherry tomatoes and the chopped spring onions, making sure to close it again before putting it back in the oven for the remaining cooking time. Once fully baked, leave to stand for 5 minutes before opening the foil parcel.

Serve with a few coriander leaves scattered on top and rice on the side, fried lightly with a little butter and light soy sauce, along with some seasonal leafy veg.

For the Love of the Sea by Jenny Jefferies, featuring photography by Paul Gregory, is out now in 192-page hardback, published by Meze, priced £22 and available from Waterstones, Amazon and mezepublishing.co.uk. For more follow on social - Twitter: @j_l_jefferies, Instagram: @fortheloveoftheland&sea, Facebook: For The Love Of The Land & Sea.

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