If you’re looking for ways of introducing fish into your family’s diet, don’t know how to cook it or what to serve it with, then you’ve come to the right place.
I’m Liz Alderson, editor of find-a-seafood-recipe.com – I started this site in 2004.
I live in Chatham, Kent, United Kingdom.
I’ve loved cooking since I was a child. I started by ‘helping’ my grandmother make pastry and cakes. I’d stand on a chair and she’d very patiently let me weigh and mix, cleaning up the mess with no complaints whatsoever!
That’s my nan, Nellie, in the photo below, with my grandad, Lewis, of the famed salt and vinegar mixture.
My dad (on the left here) was an excellent cook and I got the taste for experimenting from him. My mother (on the right) can cook but doesn’t enjoy it – she will prepare veg and wash up but says that anyone who can read and tell the time can cook!
She cooks when she wants to eat – my dad passed in 2005 – and does only the minimal amount of preparation. She moved to Kent to live with me in 2013.
In 1979 I bought a newsagents shop in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, the following year, my parents bought the greengrocers next door (photo above) and around the mid eighties, our local fishmonger Billy decided to retire.
There was space in the greengrocers to expand, so we bought the business from Billy, installed the fridges and counters and started trading.
I trained for a month with Billy prior to their closing and then he came and worked with me for a further month for a smooth transition. I learned how to clean, gut, scale, fillet, de-bone, dress crab, lobster, clean mussels, shuck oysters and the rest of it
I’ve looked for photos of this time – we didn’t have camera phones in those days – but can only find this one with my dad behind the counter.
I must apologise for the quality of the photos – if I’d known they were going to be on the internet decades ahead, I’d have framed them better!!
Customers would regularly tell me that they wanted to eat more fish, but…
- didn’t know how to cook it and/or
- what to serve with it
I wrote out recipes for people – and we also sold them the vegetables to go with their recipe 🙂
The recipes were handwritten to begin with, sometimes on a paper bag! and that was a slow old job, but I moved on to type them out and get them copied at the local printer.
This is really where my passion for seafood cooking took off. I took it a step further and did my own thing. From copying recipes out of books, I began to experiment and create my own.
We bought a second fishmongers, but this time in Cornwall – the plan was to move down there to live, but it didn’t happen and so we sold that one. I’d go down to Cornwall one week a month to let my dad come back to Worksop for the week – not a break as such, but it was rather lovely to be able to go to the beach after work!
In the late eighties, I met my husband, John, who worked for a fish wholesaler in Hull. We got married and had our son, Rory. This was us at a family party – my dad’s sixtieth I think.
Part of John’s job was to go round the country meeting new customers and helping them set up their business or do a relaunch of an established one. That was great fun as I used to go with him and was able to help, due to my experience in my own shop.
In the early 1990s, we bought a fish shop in Hull and developed a fish delivery business round Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
In 2001, John and I separated and Rory and I moved to live in Kent. I didn’t have anything to do with the businesses by then – I’d started training as a lawyer and had left the shops.
In 2003, my stepson took over the fish delivery business and was asking me for recipes to give to his customers. He suggested I write a recipe book, but the costs were prohibitive. I hit on the idea of putting my recipes online and that’s how find-a-seafood-recipe.com was born.
I love going out to eat and I dissect every recipe I come across – I ask the chef what they’ve used in their recipes. Most of them don’t mind telling me 😉
Over the years, I’ve longed to set up a catering business, a restaurant or cafe specialising in fish and seafood – I can’t explain why I never have. I don’t lack courage or organisational skills. I suppose that I’ve always had responsibilities and so can’t go ‘no income’ whilst a new business gets off the ground.
My friend Lesley (that’s us below in Amsterdam around 1979) and I put a bid in on a cafe in Loughborough, but it fell through. She used to work as a demonstrator for the Electricity Board. It involved taking groups in the kitchens to teach them how to use appliances. I’d always go along to the evening and weekend sessions doing the cookery demonstrations whilst she talked to customers.
My son Rory has a flair and interest in cooking – at one time, he wanted to be a chef and I so hoped he would have done, then I could have bought a pub or restaurant and helped him run it.
His first family meal he cooked was a tuna pasta bake when he was eight years old. That’s us around 2003 – there are more recent photos, but I love this one.
I have taken some formal qualifications, but like most cooks, it comes from experience, trial, error and a true passion for food.
I did a Food Health and Safety course way back when we applied for the change of use to expand into a wet fish business.
Recently I completed a Science of Food and Nutrition course with the Open University.
Most of my knowledge comes from reading thousands of recipes and experimenting with different seafood, seasonings and ingredients.
I rarely follow a recipe – mostly it’s a guideline and I substitute what I have to hand rather than go out and buy something from the store. I have a good variety of herbs, spices and seasonings in my cupboard and mostly that’s what I use.
I do love to try something new though. If I go out and particularly like something, then I’ll do a search for a recipe and maybe buy something like a new vegetable or paste that I’ve never used before, then the experimentation starts!
If you have any questions, requests for a specific recipe, how to use a certain type of fish, could you substitute this for that, then please drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you. Use the contact box below.
Subscribe to Seafood Recipe News to get recipes and ideas of how to cook fish and what to serve it with. You’ll get a free five part 50 Fish and Seafood Soup Recipes as a welcome gift.
This isn’t my only presence on this here interweb thing!
I also have a site on herbs – my other passion which fits very nicely into cooking – The Herb Guide and a YouTube channel where I concentrate on growing and using herbs – there are some seafood recipe there – Herb Guide TV Do drop in – if you want me to demonstrate a recipe, then ask.
About Liz Alderson