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Book review: The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from Ullapool

28 January 2021 by
Book review: The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from Ullapool

The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from Ullapool gives you exactly what you expect from the title: delicious seafood recipes woven together with tales from the sea.

The first story this book shares with its readers is that of Fenella Renwick and Kirsty Scobie, who set up their Seafood Shack in the Scottish Highland village of Ullapool in 2016. The pair detail their journey and day-to-day lives, while also providing their recipes for a range of dishes you would typically expect to be served from a shack by the sea, including a fish finger sandwich, curried smoked haddock scotch eggs, deep-fried oysters and lobster macaroni cheese. More complex dishes also feature, including Kirsty's favourite creamy hake risotto with roasted butternut squash, super-green Thai langoustine curry, pan-fried langoustines with garlic and thyme butter, and a delicate crab, mango and avocado salad.

Between the pages of each chapter (which cover white fish, smoked fish, molluscs, crustaceans, sides, sauces and dressings) there are stories from the local producers the Seafood Shack relies on, which read like love letters to the sea. You have the likes of Gary Lewis, who dives for scallops at a depth of 35 metres in the near-freezing temperatures, while the jolly-looking fishmonger Stephen Couper, with his love of haddock, shares a stark warning about over-fishing, describing how he can no longer financially rely solely on his own trade. These first-person accounts are joined by similar heart-breaking anecdotes about our waters, and will encourage anyone to think more sustainably when it comes to cooking and eating seafood. The Seafood Shack is as much a tribute to Ullapool as it is to the fish that swims in its waters.

Fenella and Kirsty's story provides inspiration far beyond their recipes – if you've ever dreamt about upping sticks and relocating to a coastal village in the middle of nowhere, this book may just encourage you to turn your dreams into reality.

The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from Ullapool, by Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick (Kitchen Press, £20)

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