Ahead of last year’s Plastic Free Mzansi campaign, I met with founder of The Beach Co-op Aaniyah Omardien at Tryn, a fine dining restaurant in Cape Town. Named after Steenberg’s 17th century founder, Catharina Ras, or Tryn; this restaurant is an apt venue for sharing a meal with the ocean-loving thinker and intersectional environmentalist.
On the table is a card with the ABALOBI QR code. All fish, in my opinion, should be served along with potato chips and this code.
Executive chef, Kerry Kilpin, started her relationship with ABALOBI soon after it launched four years ago. At the time she told me that there had been such a marked increase in the number of people ordering fish that she could barely keep up. While this relationship clearly works for Kerry, it also works to help conserve our fishing communities and our oceans. Using technology and data, ABALOBI is creating “thriving, equitable, climate change resilient and sustainable small-scale fishing communities globally.” This means that fish sourced via ABALOBI is local, fully traceable and harvested responsibly by small-scale fisherfolk using low-impact fishing methods.
As the first ABALOBI ambassador, Kerry continues to champion the cause and is motivated by the need to protect fish resources for future generations. “I want my sons to be able to eat fish when they grow up,” is her mantra. “In our restaurant you can order and eat responsible, traceable fish, caught by local artisanal fishers, delivered directly from their boats to our kitchen,” says Kerry.
To date, the ABALOBI managing director, Serge Raemakers, says that buyers who use ABALOBI “have contributed 10 million ZAR directly to fisher communities. That is just over 160 tons of fully traceable fish. Just over a 1000 buyers supporting 2000 beneficiaries in fisher communities.”
Not to buck the trend, Aaniyah and I stick to the ethical fish offerings on the menu for mains. One is cooked with turmeric and lime velouté and the other with lemongrass, both according the app are Cape Bream, which is indigenous to Africa’s southwestern coast. To share, we order the house salad and the pickled fish. Typical of Kerry’s cooking, there are Asian and Middle-eastern influences in everything we ate that cold night months ago. Before we start, we’re treated to the amuse bouche, superb kitchen delicacies. To close, we had a few scoops of ice cream and yogurt panna cotta, both infused and decorated with citrus fruits.
Oh, I forgot to mention the potato fries – remember, fish needs chips – and these were perfect.
Recipe: Pickled Cape Bream
- 1kg Cape Bream, cut into portions
- 150 g sugar
- 500ml white vinegar
- 5ml whole cumin
- 5ml coriander seeds, toasted & crushed
- 10ml fish spice
- 3 x bay leaves
- 5ml turmeric
- 5ml mild curry powder
- 3 x crushed garlic cloves
- 5ml grated ginger
- 3 x chopped onions
- 10ml corn flour
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil for frying
- Flour, for dusting
- Salt and black pepper
- In a pan over a medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil and gently sauté the onion until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and spices and fry gently for a few minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes. Thicken with corn flour to a nice coating consistency. Season to taste.
- Dust the fish with the seasoned flour and pat off any excess.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy-based frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish until golden.
- Place a layer of fish in a deep sterile glass or non-metallic container and pour a little of the hot sauce over it, to cover. Continue layering fish and sauce until all the fish is covered. Cool, then chill until ready to serve. Best made at least 24 hours in advance.
Did you know?
Did you know that globally 90% of fishers (60 million people) operate on a small scale, and that 40–50% of the global catch originates from small-scale fisheries – mostly informal in nature? And did you know that the United Nations has declared 2022 the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture?
Find out more
The #PlasticFreeMzansi campaign is an annual campaign active during the month of July