Fish and shellfish are foods that many of us associate with healthy eating, not to mention they are delicious! But it’s important to choose them wisely. We always go for fish that is suitable; line caught or harvested by sustainable methods; and we avoid endangered species.

You can begin by finding a good fishmonger (Sussex Fish or ShellSeekers). They tell us what’s in season, where fish and shellfish come from, how they’ve been caught. Not to mention they will recommend new things for us to try!

And of course, buy local. Buy in season. It’s usually cheaper, with a smaller carbon footprint. And it tastes so much better!

As we enter into November, our fishmonger recommends shellfish such as cockles or clams. They are now in season and hand gathered. Do avoid eating them during breeding season from March to July.

These lovely heart shaped shells go perfectly with, what else, fresh pasta. Here’s how!

For a meal for 2 you will need:

Two cloves of garlic, minced
One leek, finely chopped
Two glasses of white wine
Two handfuls of cockles or clams
Two tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
250gr fresh pasta
Smoked dried chilli (to taste)
Capers (to taste)

In a large pan heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the garlic and the finely chopped leek. Season and cook until tender. Add two glasses of white wine. Once reduced, add the cockles and clams, but discard any that are open already. Cover with a lid and let them steam until they have opened. Discard any closed ones.

Meanwhile, boil some fresh pasta. When the pasta is ready serve on two plates and scatter the cockles, clams and juices from the pan. Sprinkle some dried red chilli (we used smoked), and capers.  The salty and sour flavour of these dark green flower buds, goes perfectly with this pasta. Drizzle some olive oil. Enjoy with a glass of white wine.


When asked to name a case of a bud, more popular than the flower or even the fruit, which one comes to mind? I always think about the caper.

Capers are beautiful pea sized, dark green flower buds known since the Palaeolithic-era. In Ancient Greece, Hippocrates mentioned its expectorant properties; Dioscourides advised mouthwashes with an infusion made with capers boiled in vinegar. It was also believed that its skin had toning and aphrodisiac properties. The poet Antiphanis mentions capers as one of the spices along with sesame, cumin, thyme, marjoram, vinegar and olives.

The caper bushes are native to the Mediterranean and usually grow in rocky, dry areas. Other varieties can be found in other places of Europe, as well as Asia and Africa. They are categorised and sold by size. Their price is usually high, due to their laborious harvesting method: not only do they have to be hand-picked but also picking needs to take place quite early in the morning. Then, they are sun dried and either salted or pickled. The unpicked buds, bloom into white- pinkish flowers and in the evenings, they release a sweet, pleasant scent. In Greece the caper leaves are considered a delicacy and are usually added fresh in salads or pickled as mezze. When opportunity comes, do try them- you are in for a treat!

These spice buds with their piquant, salty and sour flavour as well as their floral aroma, act as flavour enhancers. They are great with fish, tomatoes and onions and are often used in conjunction with lemon. Widely used as a condiment or a flavourful garnish, they are essential to dishes like Santorini fava, puttanesca pasta, Nicoise salad, as well as in tartar and remoulade sauces.

Nutritional value wise, they are very low in calories and contain many phytonutrients, anti-oxidants (high in in flavonoid compounds rutin and quercetin) such as and vitamins essential for optimal health. We would advise you to pay special attention to their high sodium levels.

So, what are you waiting for? Treat yourselves to our organic and wild capers in olive oil (not brine); they are hand picked, prepared and packed for us with love, care and expertise by Mrs Love (Κα. Αγάπη) in Southern Crete!