I've lived in numerous towns on both sides of the Channel - Hastings, Swansea, Brest, Dunkirk - but never more than a 5-minute drive from the beach, which is probably why I have such respect for the RNLI. I've seen the Hastings lifeboatmen rocking around on a very stormy sea with sheets of rain coming down almost horizontally and zero visibility, trying to find someone who had been swept out to sea, and they are definitely unsung heroes.
This week, the RNLI is encouraging people across the UK to cook a fish supper for friends and family to raise money for the volunteer crew members who often have to sacrifice dinner with their loved ones to help those in trouble at sea. Fish Supper takes place between 14 - 16 October, but you can hold your dinner party on any date suitable for you. To sign up. visit: www.rnli.org/fishsupper
From gourmet Lobster Thermidor, to the quintessentially British Fish ‘n’ Chips, Fish Supper is a time for family and friends to come together. The importance of togetherness and team spirit is central to the RNLI, and is what makes the charity and its volunteers so special.
I've put together a little round-up of fish dishes that you might like to try for the occasion.
How about a Moroccan fish tagine, made with fish balls instead of the more usual meat balls?
If you want something more homely and traditional, this Cod & Haddock Fish Pie is the perfect winter warmer.
You could go exotic with the amusingly named Amok, a Cambodian fish dish that involves a disconcerting blend of curry powder, sugar, fish sauce, coconut milk and raw eggs. Yes, I know, it sounds disgusting but it was actually very nice. It's traditionally cooked in banana leaves, but fear not - foil works just as well !
If you want a deceptively simple dish, Salmon & Spinach Puffs are the way to go.
Or if you're a curry fiend, you could give this Salmon & Prawn Massaman Curry a try.
There are plenty more recipe ideas over on the RNLI Fish Supper website too, if you'd like to get involved and help support a great cause.