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Crohn’s, Cooking and Me: Fishing around for the best Mediterranean diet recipes to utilise great local produce

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In her latest monthly column, mum of two, Debbie Hamilton, who lives with Crohn’s Disease, has discovered how a Mediterranean diet can help sufferers, while she continues to champion local produce.

May proved to be an exhausting month, work has been more than a bit busy and juggling everything else that life throws at you has been, let’s say, fun (the sun is shining as I write this so I am staying in a positive frame of mind).

These past four weeks have been difficult to try and manage everything and I haven’t shared as many of my recipes as I would have liked.

During this period, I have also struggled with a rising level of fatigue that I am trying to work with and not give in to.

Debbie has been cooking some grilled sea bass this week.

But I am a work in progress and will continue to learn to manage my condition and keep living my best life.

I consider myself quite fortunate as the medication that I take, although it’s pretty strong stuff, with a list of side effects that will make your eyes water, put me into remission 14 months after diagnosis.

Normal life

Although I am not completely symptom-free, I am managing to live a pretty normal life.

Unfortunately, Crohn’s has left permanent damage to a part of my small intestine. Basically, I have permanent scarring that has caused a thickening of the lining of my intestine.

It hasn’t caused too much in the way of problems but over the last few weeks I have found I am in constant discomfort in this area.

The IBD clinic at Ninewells Hospital is amazing and after a phone call to them, I saw one of the consultants just a little over a week later.

Debbie loves sourcing local produce for her dishes, like these strawberries from Seahills Farm.

I am having a CT Scan done very soon so they can see what is happening in that area and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it’s just another little bump in the road and nothing more.

This is the reality of Crohn’s for me, I don’t take anything for granted as it could all change so quickly. It’s a case of taking one day at a time.

Mediterranean diet benefits

I recently came across an article that Crohn’s & Colitis UK released, highlighting the health benefits that a Mediterranean diet has on the overall health of people who live with Crohn’s Disease.

Containing lots of fresh fish, olive oil, fruit and vegetables, and low in saturated fats and red meats, a Mediterranean diet is a healthy one to follow.

There are parts of it that are not suitable for me – legumes, nuts and beans, but the rest sounds like a no brainer.

A delivery from the local fish van which Debbie receives each week.

The recipes I have shared over the past month really have got more of a focus on seafood and local and responsibly sourced produce.

I have revisited lots of old and familiar recipes like smokie pot and smokie pancake. But I am trying out some different sauces with mussels such as a garlic, cream and white wine sauce, as well as trying them with lots of garlic and chilli – both were delicious.

Fresh fish

I was given some trout that my son’s friend caught. It was gutted and in my freezer the same day, along with some monkfish and hake. I have some recipes in mind for these fish so watch this space.

The family enjoyed some baked potatoes loaded with a smoked haddock and cheddar mix, these are a definite one to try. They can be prepared the night before and then finished off in the oven the next day to save on time.

Another box of delights from Carnoustie Farm shop ❤️ #crohnscookingandme #crohnsdiet #shoplocal #crohnsdiseaseawareness #crohnsdisease

Posted by Crohn’s, Cooking & Me on Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Sea bass has become a firm favourite and will be featuring heavily in the future in my diet.

I have tried a couple of different recipes but my favourite was grilled sea bass with sauce vierge.

Here is the recipe and I hope you enjoyed it as much as my family and I did.

Grilled sea bass with sauce vierge

Serves 4

Grilled sea bass with sauce vierge.


  • 4 sea bass fillets
  • 50g of butter, melted
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp of capers
  • Juice of half of a lemon
  • 100ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful of torn basil leaves


  1. Brush the fish on both sides with melted butter and season well. Lay on the grill pan skin side up and cook on a medium to high heat. Put your tomatoes, shallot, capers, lemon juice and oil in a frying pan and season well.
  2. Grill your fish for 5-7 minutes under a hot grill until the skin begins to colour. Meanwhile, cook your vegetables in the frying pan on a medium heat until they soften. Then add your torn basil leaves and stir them through.
  3. Add your fish to your plate and spoon the sauce over the fish and around it. Serve with your favourite variety of potatoes.

More in this series…