Alex Ballard, who grew up in Bishop’s Stortford and will work as a specialist group dietitian for the NHS in West Essex, writes a fortnightly column, Diet program Chat, in the Stortford Indie about having little actions to a more healthy lifestyle…

Alex Ballard's Alex Talks Diet column (34777177)
Alex Ballard’s Alex Talks Diet program column (34777177)

Fish has often performed a massive role in British meals historical past, with classics which include prawn cocktail, sardines on toast and, the public’s favorite, fish and chips. Even the English-born Worcestershire sauce makes use of anchovies for a punchy element.

Alongside the flexible flavours, contrasting textures and loaded colours, fish supplies us with nourishing nutritional sources of protein, calcium, iodine, selenium and vitamin D.

Baked salmon garnished with asparagus and tomatoes with herbs. (34777005)
Baked salmon garnished with asparagus and tomatoes with herbs. (34777005)

Fish, and specially oily fish, is also a most important supplier of omega-3. In current several years, this household of fats has been positioned on a pedestal, with investigation showing that ample intakes can lower the threat of heart sickness, enhance swelling, protect memory and stop melancholy.

We are hence inspired to consume two portions of fish for each 7 days, which include a single of an oily selection, these types of as mackerel, kippers, sardines, salmon, trout, sprats, herring, whitebait and pilchards.

Tinned fish can also present omega-3, but just just take a peek at the label initial. An adult-measurement portion is either 140g of refreshing fish (about the measurement of the palm of your hand) or a single little can.

The varied selection of fresh fish available from Potter Street Fishmongers in Eat 17 (32212247)
The diverse variety of refreshing fish obtainable from Potter Street Fishmongers in Eat 17 (32212247)

Shark, swordfish and marlin can consist of concentrated sources of mercury and, therefore, must be prevented by gals who are pregnant or preparing a baby, and by all youngsters less than 16. All other grownups, which include breastfeeding gals, must restrict these distinct species to a optimum of a single portion for each 7 days.

If fish is off your menu, choice omega-3 loaded meals incorporate nuts and seeds, rapeseed and linseed oil, soya goods, inexperienced leafy vegetables and omega-3 enriched eggs, breads, yoghurts and spreads.

In spite of the prosperity of rewards this natural meals source presents, making sensible and environmentally-helpful options is crucial for the fate of our oceans. At the moment, global fish creation is nearing its sustainable restrict and exploitation has amplified threefold due to the fact the 1970s. Listed here are some straightforward tips to help stop inventory depletion and very clear purchaser conscience…

  • Minimize back if your household consumes far more than the proposed weekly sum and in its place up your plant-dependent protein activity with far more beans, pulses, nuts, seeds and tofu.
  • Plenty far more fish in the sea! There is certainly a full ocean to appreciate, so help give stocks a prospect to replenish by mixing up your weekly purchasing list and rotating involving a massive selection of seasonal alternatives.
  • Use less conventional possibilities for instance, by switching cod and haddock for coley and hake, making use of mackerel relatively than tuna and opting for United kingdom rope-grown mussels over prawns.
  • Shares of smaller, non-predatory fish (these types of as sardines and anchovies) swim reduce down the meals chain and typically replenish faster than greater, predatory species.
  • Help moral fishing methods by wanting out for and getting goods with MSC (Maritime Stewardship Council), RSPCA and ASC certified labels.
  • Where achievable, decide on organically-farmed seafood as this tends to allow for fish far more motion area and makes use of responsibly-sourced feed.
  • Verify out the Maritime Conservation Society Good Fish Manual or application for an up-to-day position method on the sustainability of far more than 150 different species of fish all over the planet – go for inexperienced, restrict amber and stay away from purple.
  • Continue to keep informed about the difficulties experiencing our seas by frequently browsing the Maritime Stewardship Council website.
  • Acquire British goods to help lower the meals miles from water to plate.
  • When taking in fish out, enquire about which menu alternatives have been sourced closest to your dining site.
  • Get chatting with community fishmongers to hold up to day on seasonal options, fish sourcing insurance policies, vacation miles and cooking tips (F.E. Tucker and Sons mobile fish van, Potter Street Fishmongers and supermarket fish counters).
  • Prevent binning any edible fish by preserving on leading of use-by dates, freezing alternatives ahead of they go off, getting and cooking only what you involve and incorporating today’s leftovers into tomorrow’s foods.
  • Minimize back on plastic as lowering use on land will help to lower the plastic floating in our waters. Say no, reuse or lower.
  • When you are browsing the coastline (or the River Stort!), set aside a little sum of time for a thoroughly clean-up. Appear out for organised Countrywide Have faith in and MSC situations.
  • A significant trigger of micro plastics sinking into our oceans is from motor vehicle tyre flakes. When achievable, wander, cycle or get public transportation.
  • Involve and educate youngsters so that they learn to respect the ocean from day dot and tactfully unfold these constructive messages to your household, buddies and colleagues and on social media.

The F.E. Tucker and Sons mobile fish van visits Bishop’s Stortford every Thursday, Friday and Saturday (34776947)
The F.E. Tucker and Sons mobile fish van visits Bishop’s Stortford just about every Thursday, Friday and Saturday (34776947)

Alex’s community handle: Tucker’s fish van in Bishop’s Stortford

F.E. Tucker & Sons is a third era business that has been up and sailing due to the fact 1956. They possess the oldest mobile fish models in East Anglia and have viewed the common marketplace city streets of Bishop’s Stortford evolve over the last forty two several years.

Trevor and his sons, Andrew and Daren, are passionate about furnishing outstanding-good quality seafood specifically from the coastline which is typically months fresher than supermarket alternatives.

They are dependent in Fantastic Yarmouth and pride themselves on ninety nine% of the fish they market remaining sourced straight from British waters. Not only this, but they can tell you who caught the lobsters and dressed the crabs!

With the ocean as their workplace, this father-and-sons collaboration can help guideline you to seasonal and sustainable alternatives just about every month of the year. Plaice is a excellent selection to plate up for your fish supper. It is flexible and can be baked with a squeeze of lemon, delicately mixed into a fish stew or stir fried alongside pak choi.

Grab on your own the catch of the day on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays outdoors Host in Stortford (ditch the plastic wrap and just take a Tupperware box).

Ingredients for Alex's flexible fish cakes (34776972)
Substances for Alex’s flexible fish cakes (34776972)

Alex’s recipe for flexible fish cakes

With inventory shortages, shelf wipe-outs and retail store cabinet dinners, now is a time for adaptable recipes that use a little to go a extended way.

(serves four)


  • 600g potatoes, peeled and slash into chunks
  • 3 tbsp chopped refreshing herbs, e.g. parsley, coriander, dill, basil
  • 2 x 120g cans sardines in olive oil, drained (or very similar sum of any tinned fish)
  • 1 little lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 little purple chilli, deseeded and chopped finely (or ½ tsp dried chilli flakes)
  • Simple flour
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil


  1. Convey a massive pan of water to the boil. Include the potato chunks and cook for about fifteen-20 minutes until tender
  2. In the meantime, drain the sardines and mash them in a bowl
  3. Mix in the chopped herbs, lemon zest and juice, and finely chopped purple chilli
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and mash until clean
  5. Stir the sardine blend into the mash potato
  6. Divide the mixture into eight even-sized balls (as soon as awesome enough to manage)
  7. With flour-dusted fingers, form the balls into fish cakes and lightly flour the two sides
  8. Heat a single tbsp of rapeseed oil in a massive frying pan and cook four of the fish cakes for about 5 minutes on every side
  9. Repeat with the remaining four fish cakes and serve alongside salad or vegetables

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Go through ALSO Alex Talks Diet program: I want my enthusiasm for healthy taking in to bear fruit with Bishop’s Stortford Unbiased readers