Ramsbottom is a former mill town in Lancashire and today with the M66 motorway and the modern tram service from Bury to central Manchester it has become a rather trendy place with a fabulous range of restaurants, pubs, wine bars, cafés and gastro pubs.

This is where my son, Chris, lives with his lovely wife, Jenny.

It is quite a place and if you are ever in this direction then I can recommend the 1940s Weekend in May, the Ramsbottom Music Festival in September, a train ride provided by East Lancashire Railway or the Rammy Beer Festival, sponsored by the Irwell Works Brewery where you can enjoy a great pint of bitter which includes, Costa del Salford.

Sir Robert Peel, Conservative British Prime Minister for two spells between 1834-35 and 1841-46 was founder of the modern day police force, once named the Peelers and today still often referred to as Bobbies, as well as other and sometimes unsavory names.

To commemorate this rather popular politician The Peel Tower opened in 1852 atop of Holcombe Hill (1100ft | 335m). Today it is a popular landmark and easily visible as it keeps a beady eye on the Irwell Valley.


And during my brief visit Jenny asked me to cook sea bass for supper and this is my adapted version of Jamie Oliver’s Slashed Sea Bass Fillets.

Preheat your oven to Gas 9 | 475°F | 250°C | 230°C (fan)

Slash the fillets with a sharp knife making sure NOT to slice through the flesh. In the slashes force a mixture of chopped green herbs (parsley, coriander and basil, etc.) that you mixed with finely chopped garlic and olive oil. The fillets need to be thick, unlike mine.

Slice potatoes of your choice lengthwise if they are small about ¼ inch or less thick. Rinse under running water then dry by wrapping them up in a clean tea towel. Add to a bowl together with finely sliced onion a drizzle with little olive oil, loads of chopped parsley, finely chopped garlic and freshly ground black pepper.

Now layer into an oven proof dish then cook for 15 or 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice an assortment of mushrooms and sauté over medium heat with a good glug of olive oil, a large knob of butter and more finely chopped garlic. Season. When most of the liquid has evaporated or absorbed squeeze over juice of one lemon and another knob of butter. When done spread them over the potatoes placing the fillets over the top.

Dot the fillets with butter.

Cook for up to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Remove from the oven and cover with foil allowing 5 minutes for the juices to mingle and absorb into the potatoes.

The skin of the fillets should have crisped a little and some of the potatoes will be crispy too plus some will be deliciously juicy and meltingly wonderful.

Serve with a quarter of lemon each.

We drank this with a Sicilian red wine because the chef drank the perfectly chilled and dry Italian Pinot Grigio whilst prepping and cooking. Hic.

Sea Bass