“Are you a local fish, is this local?”, I hear you mutter from under your head scarf.

There’s nothing more smug-infusing than the reality of a really, really fresh locally caught fish that tastes delicious, from the very embattled town that you have chosen to be your des res. We might sidle up to the fish counter and order our fish from a supermarket, checking from side to side that no-one has spotted us, like a pre-financial crisis debt free diva, or even Corona swigging eighties loud mouth: “Give us loadsa cod and some uncooked tiger prawns”, we’re all guilty. But, we all would like to support the fishing fleet in Hastings and now, here is a more fool proof way. “Hastings Fish” is a new stamp to show fish and seafood that has been caught by our local fishing fleet. The fish caught in Hastings are very big on the European and national market, especially flat fish such as Dover Sole and Plaice. The aim is to make these fish synonymous with Hastings through clear branding and make it easy for people to be able to pick fish that has been caught by an ancient fleet with sustainable methods of fishing.

You can chose to eat the fish that they catch by looking out for the “Hastings Fish” logo, in restaurant windows, fishmongers and, hopefully, on supermarket shelves. ( to be continued ). As part of the “Hastings Fish” scheme, Nick Hales, from the Old Customs House/ St.Clements and CJ Jackson from Billingsgate will be promoting the brand and giving seafood cooking masterclasses. “Hastings Fish” branding could be real progress in protecting the fleet and giving the fishermen the national and European recognition they deserve.

So my daughter and I wandered down to the sunlit shores of the Seafood and Wine Festival and here are a couple of our highlights…


My daughter and I happened upon a stall that not only served oysters, for me, but a Goan fish curry for her, ( she’s very advanced, maybe a genius ). I wolfed the shalotty oysters, as I am wont to do, very satisfied and then started to eye her curry. Leni was tackling some noodles and I stole her fish, like a parent is supposed to. She said “Oi’” but it was already being deposited, in the gullet, ready for my other young. Looking for a branding or sign, I asked the proprietors “ What is this place?”, wiping the residual liquid from our chins, “Sussex Coast College”, a chef replied, “Very nice too”, I said and it was.

Now I have to move to Penelope’s Pitstop. Oh cripes alive this place is, as Leni puts it, “What we like”. ‘Arepas” Venezualan corn pockets, “El Huerto”, roasted squash and beans,  let’s do it, lets have South American fusion food that is delicious rice and peas, salsa, roasted veg, spicy nonsense with homemade salsa. The Pitstop have taken all the loves of South American food with an inescapable touch of the Caribbean, Yumma. Leni said “ You like this”, I said “I do”. Leni knows when I like my food and I’m also aware, that if I wanted to, I could eat as a vegan, which you vegans might not like but I like. I’m wary of places that poke their head up and profess some unrealistic grab at authenticity but the Pitstop don’t do that: this is food that has been discovered whilst travelling and played around with. Plus, the jalepeno and watermelon lemonade with mint made Leni swoon. You’ve won our hearts “Penelope”.

Another beautiful day in Hastings and another very successful Seafood and Wine festival, lovely food washed down with Cobra from Jali and Oxney Estate organic champagne-style cider from Borough Wines. It’s hard work being me.

Penelope’s Pitstop work out of their kitchen in Silverhill and use “Hastings Fish”. You will be able to see them at King’s Road Market, Heart of Hastings, Ore Valley events and the St.Leonards Festival. Check out their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/penelopesproducts

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