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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Fish of the day

SELF-confessed foodie Diana Brown, a finalist on ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish last year, has her finger in many culinary pies.

The cook, who calls herself an ‘amateur professional’, regularly does cooking demonstrations at local farmer’s markets, as well as running her own B&B, Thythebarn House in Holme with husband Vic, where she offers residential cookery weekends.

She somehow also finds the time to be a consultant with Pampered Chef, organising cooking shows around the county.

On Sunday, May 20, Diana is doing a cooking demonstration on behalf of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, promoting sustainable seafood.

She says: “I was doing a demo at Kendal Country Festival last year and the Trust were there and my husband said I should give them a ring to see if I could get involved with what they were doing.”

In line with the sustainability ethos of the Wildlife Trust, Diana says that sourcing and using local ingredients is also key to all of her recipes.

She explains: “I always try to promote local food when I can. In fact when I was on Britain’s Best Dish I made a damson and apple pie using local fruit.”

Next Sunday she will be using a selection of locally-sourced seafood to create three delicious dishes: “I am using Flookburgh ‘flukes’ (flounder) to make some fish parcels which are ideal for barbecuing or steaming, some local crab to make fishcakes and I am making some simple canapes using Morecambe Bay potted shrimps.

She says the emphasis in her demos is on simplicity: “I love inspiring people to get cooking and try to keep my dishes delicious but simple to recreate. I want to make cooking accessible to everyone and show that it’s really easy to be a success in the kitchen.”

Diana, who comes from four generations of bakers, says that a passion for food and cookery is in her blood and that she likes to develop all her own recipes.

“I am quite an experimental cook and I am always adapting recipes. I have always been interested in food and we ran a restaurant 30 years ago in Kendal before starting our B&B,” she says.

Diana, who won the Great Cumbria Cookery Competition in 1983, was initially reluctant to enter Britain’s Best Dish. She says: “I wasn’t keen on all the television razamatazz but my husband kept pestering me.”

l Diana’s Talk and Taster demos on Sustainable Seafood take place on Sunday May 20, at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm at the Dock Museum in Barrow. The session offers a chance to take part in an interactive seafood workshop and learn about how to be more sustainable in your seafood choices. Diana will lead people through the preparation of some simple seafood dishes, while some insights and ideas are offered surrounding sustainable practices for buying and consuming seafood in Cumbria and the North West. To book on to one of three workshops (approximately 45 minutes long) call into the Dock Museum where tickets will be available in advance and on the day. The event is £2.50 for adults and 50p for children and numbers are limited.

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