Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I love a smoker

It's true. I can't help it. Since my time at Ballymaloe and meeting all the hardworking local producers, I've become a little bit obsessed. The first one I came across was Frank Hederman, smoking genius that he is and then, we met Bill Casey who works literally a stones throw from the school grounds. Frank does hot and cold smoking, Bill only does cold if I remember rightly. Everytime I meet another smoker I get a big knock somewhere in the back of my head telling me how I'd love to do this, what recipes I would try and what my smoke shack would look like...

While I was visiting the West Coast of Scotland I managed to go and visit Mandy. Shieldaig's very own smoker. Ever since I can remember smoked salmon from this smokery has been finding it's way into our postbox every Christmas. First John started it and since he retired Mandy has taken over. She does both hot and cold smoking and the recipe hasn't changed since John started smoking back years ago

Roughly 2100 salmon find their way onto the filleting block and into the smoker to either be smoked cold as a whole side or sliced into fillets for a hot smoke. The taste is fantastic and with all the fish coming from local fishermen in local waters it really doesn't get any better. Salmon deemed for a cold smoke is first dry salted and the hot smoked is brined instead.

I loved visiting and seeing that anybody can set up a business in their back garden. It gave me real hope that I can be that person, I can have my own food business and be successful. Keeping it local, seasonal and being passionate about what you're doing are the real key components and I can't wait to find my way.


  1. oh how cool. smoked fish is the best.

  2. Very cool indeed. Hot smoked is quickly becoming my fave!

  3. I tried smoked haddock for the first time last week. SO nice! I've never really eaten fish aside from tuna, so this year I'm trying a new type of fish every week. Smoked haddock is a definite favourite. I don't have the time to go to local producers, nor the cash to get there (I don't drive), but this is something I really hope to do over the summer; Morrison's gets a little boring week on week, although it's definitely the best supermarket for fresh, well source produce.

    - Nin xx

  4. I totally understand, it can get really expensive. But I think most of us in the food industry (chefs or producers) would rather the general public ate good quality meat/fish but less times a week. We weren't made to eat meat as much as we do nowadays. I'll be doing a post about smoking at home so keep an eye out. Glad you're loving smoked fish!!x

  5. wow, I love smoked salmon, but I'd never actually thought about how it became smoked before. This was so interesting to read!

    When it comes to getting locally sourced fish though, how do you go about it if you live nowhere near the sea?!

    Emily Jane xo

  6. Hehe, good question Emily Jane! First and ideally you want to buy from your fishmonger. He is going to be the most knowledgable person as to where the fish was caught. Look for fish that is in season and that was caught off the coast of the UK. There are lots of seasonality calendars on the internet and can make it really simple to find out what is in season. Second, a lot of producers like Mandy are posting their products. Ask away as they might not have thought of it and it could bring some well needed business to our fellow British entrepreneurs. The supermarket should know where the fish is caught but their knowledge might be quite limited. Hope that helps, glad you found it interesting!