Author: Katie Burden

Golden colours and the taste of the sea – this dish from the chefs at Hive Beach Café captures the essence of a great day by the sea side.

Hive Beach Soup

Serves 4

  • Two small fish. These could be monkfish, sea bass or mackerel, depending on the season
  • A handful of king prawns
  • A handful of mussels
  • 1 bulb of garlic, outer layers removed
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel head
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • Handful of coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Fillet the fish, reserving the fishbones; dice the fish meat into chunks and set aside.

This is just how those feisty Jurassic marine predators, the ichthyosaurs, liked it. They loved fish, except they ate the bones too…. we know, because we find them in fossilised ichthyosaur droppings…

  1. Peel the prawns, reserving the shells. Wash the mussels in cold water and discard any that do not close when tapped.

More ancient peoples loved eating shellfish and left behind piles of discarded shells in prehistoric rubbish dumps.

  1. To make the stock, put the fish bones and prawn shells in a saucepan and gently heat. Throw in the garlic, carrot, leeks, fennel, onion and mussels, then add the tomatoes, saffron, thyme, bay leaf and fennel seeds. Cook until softened and then cover with water.

Some sea birds eat shellfish too, and so do starfish. Poor shellfish… they have been living in our oceans for over 450 million years, only to become the prey of other invertebrates, smarty-pants mammals and the squawking descendants of dinosaurs.

  1. Bring the stock up to a simmer (without letting it boil) and cook for around 30 minutes. Once the flavours have intensified, strain the stock and return to the heat. Reduce by half.

Hive beach was used as a practice area for the Normandy invasion. Thankfully, unlike your stock, the invasion force was not reduced by half when the real landings took place.

  1. Before serving, add the diced fish to the stock and cook for a few minutes. Divide between four bowels and sprinkle each with coriander.

Come to think of it Hive beach is a bit like a stew… a spicy stew of stories and memories ready to be savoured. Mmmmm…..yum.


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