Rachel Gaffney’s Letter From Texas - A Day at the Beach



Crawford’s Rock is an area off the County Down coastline and it is here that Michelle Wilson and her family forage the beaches for seaweed.

Tracey Jeffery from Northern Ireland Food Tours and I parked our car along the gravel road and made our way to the meeting point where Michelle was waiting for us. It was raining softly. I knew it was raining because I could hear the crackling sound it made on my jacket rather than feeling it.

A tent was set up along the beach and it was here, in this tent, that we were going to do some cooking with seaweed, of course. A selection of fish caught only hours before was packed upon a bed of ice. MourneFishbox.com supplied the fabulous selection of hake, cod, salmon and mackerel.

A culinary experience by the water would not be complete without a selection of oysters to shuck and so I willingly shucked, squeezed lemons and savoured.

Individual stoves stood side by side. What a perfect set up. We used rapeseed oils infused with seaweeds to heat our pans and tossed in assortments of seaweeds, fresh lemons, scallions and peppers. We laughed as we cooked side by side and sampled each others offerings. Accompanied by crusty bread and Irish butter, this meal, however simple was delicious.

Afterwards, we walked the beach and Michelle taught us how to cut the seaweed. We gathered the seaweed and packed it into a piece of net to be used later that evening. Michelle shared a vital beauty tip with us for our skin. From the seaweed she makes a gel that you lather on your skin. Leave it for 1 hour and up to 10 hours and wipe clean.

After an exhilarating afternoon learning, laughing, cooking, eating and foraging I retired to my hotel. That net bag I mentioned earlier was put to good use. I placed it, as instructed, in the bath, ran hot water over it and relaxed for 30 minutes in the water. The science behind bathing in seaweed has proven that it relaxes your muscles, moisturises your skin and even detoxifies. I can tell you this, it did leave my skin smooth and soft as did the seaweed gel treatment from Crawford’s Rock.

After a day at the beach along the County Down coastline I slept like a baby.

***Crawford’s Rock produces a range of Seaweed Salts, Seaweed Botanicals, Seaweed Seasonings and Seaweed Sprinkles as well as a Seaweed Capsule, they call ‘Vitamin Sea’. 

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