Tag Archives: smoked mackerel pate

My favourite smoked mackerel pate recipe

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Smoked mackerel pate must be at the top of my list of favourite things to spread on toast. Just imagine with me if you will, ….warm chunky toast, thickly spread with creamy, smokey pate, pure comfort. But don’t get me wrong,  it’s so good for you as well; packed with Omega-3 oils (great for brain function and health) and the antioxidant selenium..which is said to help prevent heart disease.

It’s a shame to see that it has now turned up on the ever-growing list of overfished species, but as long as you buy from as sustainable a source as possible (fish caught locally using traditional methods, including handlines, ringnets and drift nets) there is less threat. According to Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation UK stock is still well above ‘precautionary’ levels. It seems much of the problem revolves around Icelandic fisherman and those around the Faroes, who are catching over their quotas as Mackerel stock moves further North. An argument over fishing rights rages and until settled overfishing in Icelandic waters continues to impact on Mackerel reserves.

…and now I’ve put you all off buying mackerel I’m going to share my favourite recipe. There is as much debate about what makes the perfect mackerel pate and what you should add to it as there is what to do about controlling fishing!…. Should you add cream? What kind of cheese is best? Is butter a yes or no? What herbs work best? And then once you’ve chosen your ingredients there is the question of quantities.

I’ve made mackerel pate for years, tinkering on and off with a classic recipe made by my mum. I’ve tried adding different ingredients, varying quantities but I still come back to this one…I’ve made it for dinners, parties and weddings and it’s almost universally loved by all. My rules are….

*Don’t be stingy with the fish. Use plenty.

*DO NOT blitz it all to a pulp in the blender…hand flaking the fish is best, removing small bones by hand. If you must give it a quick pulse in the blender do it before you add the other ingredients and only pulse a couple of times, you want to keep a good texture…its not a dip.

*I use single cream as its slightly lighter.

*I also use sieved cottage cheese instead of cream cheese. Its less creamy and has a grainier texture which I like.

*Unlike many recipes I use butter. Unconventional maybe, but I like the rich artery clogging effect. It may seem perverse after I have used a lighter single cream and cottage cheese, but I love the decadence. For those wanting a lighter pate you could just leave it out.

*Like to add a teaspoon of fresh horseradish for a fiery hit as it marries well with the creamy smokiness, a good squeeze of lemon juice to cut through the creaminess and finally topped with a sprinkling of smoked paprika and a pinch of fresh dill.

Smoked mackerel pate:

150ml single cream

400g smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed and hand flaked

125g plain cottage cheese

100g melted butter

juice of a small lemon (3 good tablespoons full)

1 teaspoon fresh grated horseradish

black pepper

Sprinkle with a little smoked paprika, a lemon wedge and a sprinkle of fresh dill.

Put the flaked mackerel in a large bowl and pick over it to remove any bones. Sieve the cottage cheese into the bowl then add the lemon juice, horseradish, cream and melted butter. Mix well checking the seasoning as you do. It may not need more salt but a good sprinkle of black pepper is essential.

Spoon the pate into individual dishes….or just serve a dollop with some salad. I do think it goes best with a wholemeal or spelt toast but its up to you, either way it is a such a simple recipe you have to give it a go!

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Smoked mackerel pate with a seasonal salad of grated kohlrabi, cut-and-come-again leaves from Moelyci, cucumber and oak smoked tomatoes from the Isle of Wight, Tomato Stall and home made spelt toast

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Filed under British food, home cooking, local produce, Recipes, Seafood recipes, sustainable fish

Hooray for a sunny, summery, supper club!

a sunny spot on the patio


generously donated poppies from our neighbours garden

It was a supper club first…a hot sunny evening that meant we could serve cocktails on the patio! As our guests arrived we greeted them with a sweet and summery Glayva cocktail (1 part Glayva to 3 parts lemonade, some quartered slices of orange, ice and a sprig of mint) served under the shade of cherry tree, surrounded by the heady scent of honeysuckle, mint and thyme. Our guests enjoyed the panoramic view for which we are famous and soaked in the last rays of the sun. Just being able to do this one thing put a massive smile on my face and we hadn’t’ even started serving the food yet!

I really wanted to finish the patio last summer, but due to a lack of finances it didn’t happen; this year we managed it and it really was a pleasure to offer our guests a beautiful spot to become acquainted. So while our guests sipped their  cocktails and nibbled on tiny cherry plum tomatoes, goats cheese balls with herbs and olives (from Y Cwt Caws), we put the finishing touches to the food in the kitchen.

The menu had a distinctly summery theme, although I did hedge by bets a little knowing what our Welsh weather can be like.

For starter we served the ever popular smoked mackerel pate, with beetroot and tomato salsa, horseradish cream and a home-made spelt roll. I’ve made this pate several times for supper club and it always hits the spot, but combined with a chilli infused beetroot and tomato salsa, and horseradish cream it reached new heights of pleasure, every mouthful a taste explosion of smoky, creamy, sharp and spicy and just a hint of sweet. I would share the recipe but I’m mean! I’m trying to keep it under wraps in the hope it will go into my much longed for book!!

plating the starters: smoked mackerel pate with beetroot tomato salsa, horseradish cream and a home-made spelt roll

Main course: Beef and ale pie with local new potatoes, asparagus tips and baby broad beans. It should also have had Samphire but I failed dismally in my foraging mission. I found a small amount of Golden Samphire, but not enough to make the dish….But unperturbed I will be avidly following up leads for next time!!

I adapted the pie from Linda Carters Britain’s Best Dish recipe. I used dripping instead of lard in the pastry (this is just beef fat instead of pig fat) to make a crisper crust and it worked very well. My only concern was that the meat was as flavoursome as it could be. I’m not sure if it was the particular ale I used from the Great Orme Brewery, but the filling initially tasted slightly bitter. Because of this I needed to add a little more Demerara sugar than suggested in the recipe, plus I also chucked in a couple of tablespoons of mushroom ketchup, just for the hell of it to see what it was like, and I think it worked perfectly as it added just a little more depth to what was a rich beefy flavour.

Welsh ale used in the pie

serving pie


Welsh beef and pale ale pie, new potatoes, asparagus tips and baby broad beans served with extra gravy

During the week I’d received an email from one of our guests, requesting something special for their friend’s birthday. We do have lots of birthdays at supper club and usually I try to do something a little special, whether it be an iced flower bowl of sorbet (see my earlier post from last year) or Gemma’s cake topped with ceiling scorching flame thrower style candles, but usually most guests don’t want the fuss. It was nice on this occasion to make a big over the top dessert/gateaux. I’d already decided to use the first strawberries of the season, well who wouldn’t? So all I did was create an enormous strawberry meringue gateaux, topped with whipped amaretto cream and a strawberry, and vodka steeped loganberry coulis. A fairly simple dessert makes for a visually stunning conclusion to a lovely meal; rich, gooey and totally OTT!!

small child, lighter, candles...what would health and safety say!!!!!


singing happy birthday

We still finished with the obligatory coffee and local cheese course, this included the smoked Brie I’d bought at Derimon, some mild Seriol goats cheese from Y Cwt Caws and some Snowdon dairies Caerphilly, with two types of butter: smoked Anglesey and salted Rachel’s dairy and my own sweet caramelised red onion marmalade, but I really think everyone was full enough by then!

I started the evening with a smile and finished it with an even bigger one…no, not because I’d drunk too many Glayva cocktails, just because I’d made new friends, who’d enjoyed good food and good company and left happy, and that made me happy too!


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Filed under British food, home cooking, local produce, secret supper, Uncategorized, underground restaurant