Fish and Smoke Shed, Colyton, EX24 6LS

Sharing food

As you may have read at the beginning of the recipe page on the website I am not a trained chef, I just like cooking.

I also like entertaining friends and cooking is central to that. I will always remember a friend once saying it is not about the food it is about the company. I completely agree but it is great when you have cooked a lovely meal and everyone enjoys it.

So, when a friend who had just become the Social Secretary of the local yacht club reintroduced the monthly Sunday Lunch for 40 people he asked if I would cook fish for one of them...... it seemed like a good idea back last November. But, we have just cooked for 40+ at the yacht club and not only did we manage it, everyone loved it.

We decided for ease that a fish stew type dish would work well and settled on the recipe we have on the website for Italian Seafood Bowl with garlic bread and 2 puddings to choose from. After doing a test run on some friends at home we up-scaled the recipe to 48 just in case.......

6 litres of homemade fish stock, 3 hours of chopping veg, 16 tins of toms, 8kg of monkfish, prawns, smoked haddock and mussels, 1kg Orzo pasta, 20 garlic baguettes and 3 french sticks later and a helping hand to serve and we had done it. It really is such a healthy dish – without the garlic bread.

It is just about being organised and prepared really.

I must also mention the puddings which were purely the work of Monica – bread and butter pudding with sultanas soaked in dark rum or icecream sundae with rum soaked sultanas, nuts, sauce and a chocolate wafer stick – none of these survived seconds.

Would I do it again? Yes, but not until after the summer when we are quieter, better start thinking of another recipe I can do for 40 people!!