Seaweed Workshop: Tuesday 23 May 2017

Date: 23/05/2017
Event Time(s): 18:30

Location: Upstairs at The Atlas, 16 Seagrave Road, Fulham, London SW6 1RX

Number of places left: 12

Price: £15.00 (Members) and £25.00 (non-members)
How to Book: To provisionally reserve a place, please email

A superfood for everyday eating

Photograph of Seaweed

Seaweed has gone from cult health food to mainstream ingredient, with chefs, cooks, and nutritionists all singing its praises, and food and drink producers are using it in products such as gin and chocolates.

But many of us still don’t know much about this sea-sourced delicacy. What are the different types? Which ones work best in food? What are its seasons? How do you buy different kinds – or gather them yourself at the seaside? What are the health benefits and environmental issues?

The Guild is delighted to have seaweed experts with a great love of food to take us into the intertidal zone to gather knowledge and tips about this special and unusual type of food.

Seaweed has long been part of Scottish food culture, from dabberlocks (wakame) to chewing on dulse to stave off hunger pangs or as a salty bar snack.

Photograph of Xa Milne

Edinburgh food writer and new Guild member Xa Milne (pictured above), author of The Seaweed Cookbook will talk about how to make seaweed part of your kitchen, along with Fiona Houston (pictured below) her co-author on Seaweed and Eat It.

Photograph of Fiona Houston

Seaweed brings out the flavours of other foods and can act as a spice, as well as being a main ingredient. Xa’s book shows how to use seaweed in many dishes, from a powerful umami paste to seaweed butters and salts to drinks, soups, main courses such as dulse-marinated beef and kombu cashew nut curry, and also in sweet foods: puddings and baking.

Following on from their interest in wild food and seaweed in particular, Fiona Houston and Xa Milne set up Mara a Scottish seaweed company that makes a range of dried seaweed flakes and blends to make this type of food more accessible for everyday eating. From a conversation on a Fife beach – ‘why don’t we eat what’s on our doorstep?’ – they’ve gone on to harvest, process and sell seaweed, including in a new Japanese-fusion furikake spice mix, through independents all over the country, in M&S and Morrisons, and now exports to the US and Europe.

Xa and Fiona will take us through a tasting of different types of Mara’s seaweeds, including the partnering of chocolate and seaweeds, plus the company’s new seaweed butter, developed with Brett Graham of The Ledbury.

Japan has an embedded tradition of eating seaweed. Guild member and acclaimed author Kimiko Barber (pictured below) will share her knowledge of how to use many different kinds in Japanese food, not least in her excellent noodle broth.

Photograph of Kimiko Barber

Kimiko left her native Japan to attend an English boarding school in the early 1970’s, and quickly realized that she would have to recall her grandmothers’ cooking skills if she were to survive. She now teaches Japanese cooking in a number of cookery schools and her eighth book Cook Japanese at Home was published May 2016. Different types of seaweed are part of her everyday kitchen and she’ll talk about the five types that she finds most useful and delicious.

Photograph of miso soup

For the big picture, Guild member Dr Kaori O’ Connor (pictured below) will give a global context to seaweed, past and present. It now seems that seaweed was a food that enabled the great human migrations of prehistory, for example. She’ll give a short survey of how it is used and eaten globally – including some surprises she discovered when researching her new book, Seaweed, A Global History.

Photograph of Kaori O'ConnorCover of Seaweed by Kaori O'Connor

We’ll also be toasting this joys of seaweed with Isle of Harris gin, flavoured with hand-dived sugar-kelp, and enjoying the well-chosen wines at the Atlas, a lovely old wood-pannelled pub.

Photograph of Harris Gin


Directions: The nearest station is West Brompton (District Line and National Rail). For help planning your journey go to

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