In my massive decluttering purge I came across this recently…

It was in a box of paperwork from a house I lived in about 15 years ago and I have no recollection of buying it, but it has brought me a lot of fun just recently.

I put a photo of it on Instagram and my fabulous friend Jane spotted it.  She lives in Hastings which is famous for its herrings…

Jane was coming to stay for a couple of nights and she put a message on Instagram to say she was bringing herrings.  I thought she was joking but no!  6 fresh herrings purchased from her favourite Hastings fisherman arrived at Silver Screen Suppers Towers wrapped in newspaper.  Whoopee!

The fishermen in Hastings probably think Jane is a bit bonkers because she is a milliner famous for making hats from fish leather.

Yeah, you read that right.  She makes hats using fish leather.  For example…

Gorgeous eh?

Here’s an old photo of me and Jane DJing at a festival.  Hats by Jane of course!

If you need a hat for a very special occasion – zip over to Jane’s website IMMEDIATELY!

It was a thrill for me to have fresh fishies around the place but to be honest, I wasn’t too sure how to prepare them.  I don’t have much experience with scaling/gutting/filleting etc. but I decided not to be a baby.  This lovely blog post was a great help.

I realise that just because Merle is on the front cover of the herring recipe book, this doesn’t actually mean that she wrote it.  But I like to pretend that she did!  I read it cover to cover and selected Goodwood Herrings as the recipe I wanted to make. Mostly because of this fabulous picture.

It was a lot of fun.  Here’s my version, before baking…

It was really delicious!

I don’t think I have ever eaten roes before but both of my herrings had roes and they were yummy.

What shall I do with the other 4 herrings?  Watch this space…

Merle Oberon’s Goodwood Herrings

6 fresh herrings

6 large tomatoes

4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons butter or dripping

A little lemon rind, grated

A small minced onion or shallot

Tablespoon chopped parsley

Pinch of dried thyme

Clean scale and behead the herrings, but leave in the roes, then twist them head to tail and fasten with a tiny wooden skewer or cocktail stick.  Slice the top off each tomato, using a very sharp knife and keep the slice.  Scoop out the inside of each tomato, discard the hard core, keep the pulp.  Put the breadcrumbs, herbs, chopped onion or shallot, lemon rind, pepper and salt into a basin; to this add enough of the tomato pulp to make it moist.  Fill each tomato shell with this, and put a bit of butter on top, then lay the slice of tomato over.  Set a tomato in the centre of each curled herring.  Put in a greased fireproof dish and cook for 20 minutes in a fairly hot oven.  Serve in the dish in which they are cooked.

Cor! Thanks Merle,

but also thanks to Mrs. Arthur Webb, the “well-known BBC Cookery Expert” who was REALLY the author of this wonderful herring pamphlet!  I have of course googled Mrs. Arthur Webb.  Not much to find but I can tell you that she presented four morning talks on spare-time cookery on the radio in 1932!  Oooh, I’d love to get my ears on those!

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