Catching (and cooking) the very freshest fish
Valentine is never happier than when he’s chasing a pike, or fishing for trout in the dark with worms in one pocket and a bottle of local cider in the other.
Wherever Valentine is and whatever he’s doing, his environment drives him. He regularly retreats to two beautiful but very different sections of the English coastline – Northumberland because it contains remnants of wilderness and England’s last great wild frontier, and Dorset because it’s easy to find pockets that let him get away from it all.
By his own admission, Valentine loves fish and shellfish more than just about any other foodstuff. And there’s nothing he enjoys more than catching his own fish and eating it straight away. ‘Nothing compares to waking up in a hut after fishing for sea trout, and breakfasting on freshly-caught trout added to a pan with a rasher of bacon and some butter.’
‘There isn’t a fish I don’t like, and I eat things some people won’t – I love bloaters (a Norfolk speciality of herring that are salted and lightly smoked without gutting, giving a characteristic slightly gamey flavour). If I’m in Devon I love turbot and brill. Woodsmoke as an ingredient is amazing - there’s nothing like turbot cooked over charcoal. Whiting makes the best fish and chips. Green shore crabs smashed up make an incredible soup. I’m crazy for shellfish. My menu is dictated by the countryside around me.’