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Mackerel Baked in Foil

One of the most interesting programmes on the new digital Gaelic television channel BBC Alba was a weekly visit to different museums such as Fort William and The Smith in Stirling. The one that really caught my eye started at sea and featured the Fraserburgh registered Fifie Reaper. The Reaper was built at Sandhaven near Fraserburgh in 1902 as a 70 foot two-masted lugger and was first registered at Fraserburgh in the same year (FR958). In 1916 she had an engine fitted for the first time – a Gardner 75 hp. She was purchased by the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstuther, Fife, in 1979 and restored to her original appearance and now proudly occupies a berth at Anstruther, just in front of the Museum. The museum which is open all-year round was founded in 1969 and has considerably expanded over the years. The site has connections to fishing going back over 600 years when the land was owned by the Abbey of Balmerino and rented to local fishermen. The collection of over 65,000 objects includes historic boats, such as the Reaper, paintings, fishing gear, costumes, photographs, domestic items and much more. The museum has been rightly recognised by the Scottish Government as being of ‘National Significance’. The Fisheries Museum also includes a ‘Memorial Room’ which tells the ‘real price of fish’ – the lives of the many fishermen lost around the Scottish coast. Visit for full details including visiting times.

Only a fish recipe would be appropriate for a week when we visit the Fisheries Museum and mackerel fresh from the Forth is just the ticket. Enjoy Mackerel Baked in Foil but remember that the real price of fish is paid in blood.

Mackerel Baked in Foil

Ingredients:  2 whole mackerel;  1 lemon;  4 fresh rosemary sprigs;  2 garlic cloves, sliced;  1 small red onion, thinly sliced;  4 tbsp cider or apple juice;  boiled potatoes;  roughly chopped parsley, to serve;  salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 or fan oven 180C/350F/Gas 4 from cold.  Put each fish on a large square of tin foil or baking paper on a baking sheet. Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper.  Slice the lemon, then cut each slice in half. Tuck the lemon slices inside each fish with a couple of rosemary sprigs and a few garlic slices.  Scatter over the onion and pour 2 tbsp of cider or apple juice over each fish.  Wrap tin foil or baking paper loosely around each fish to make a parcel, and bake for 25 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes sprinkled with parsley.

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