Tag Archives: smoked mackerel

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

The ’30 mile radius’ and a visit to Derimon smokery

All kinds of conversations spring up at supper club. As I settle down with a nice glass of wine post pudding I find myself chatting away to  my guests about all sorts of things. Obviously they ask about the origins and inspiration for the supper club but they are equally interested in my suppliers, the food on the menu and the ’30 mile radius’ ethos I try to stick to. It’s a lovely time for everyone to get to know each other and for me to explain my reasons for doing this (aside from my love of food and entertaining).Popularity for Moel Faban has certainly grown and I think it is partly to do with my support for local producers and as I explained at our last supper club, I’m keen to show local people that they can get pretty much anything they want on their own doorstep.

Ok, fair enough it takes a bit of extra time and imagination, a change in our conditioned way of thinking, to return to using seasonal, local produce. One guest talked long and heatedly about how Asda buy their chickens from Thailand claiming that “it just doesn’t make sense, surely there’s enough chickens here?”. Its true, it can be quite difficult  to find British produce in our local supermarkets and I often find myself asking assistants what they have from the UK. I wonder why that is?

I guess it’s about cost: keeping it cheap, but why does buying British mean its twice the price? I don’t think it does and I find myself quite bemused at how it can possibly be cheaper to fly things in from South Africa, or Spain or wherever than to buy produce locally or at least from UK farmers. I think we been convinced by the big supermarkets not to ask questions, to shop like automatons, not to focus on the profit they make for their shareholders and to just accept what they put on the shelves. Weve become lazy, thinking we are far too busy to go to small shops, producers and butchers etc. A few years ago I would probably have said the same thing, but then I saw the light!

These days I only buy basics in the supermarket and some things you really can’t get in this country (mostly bananas, lemons and oranges!). I also try to make some time to get to know my suppliers visiting them at their own place (and not just the produce market), to see what they are up to. Last week I took a trip to visit Dave, owner of Derimon, the only smokery on Anglesey and the one featured in ‘The Hairy Bikers Tour of Anglesey’, who was kind enough to show me around, explaining the process of smoking, before I stopped off at the shop to buy some stuff for supper club.

I arrived as he was returning from an eel fishing trip. We chatted and I watched as he unloaded his slippery cargo, tipping them into their storage tank, while another tank of large and rather angry-looking lobsters scuttled around at my side (he sells these too. I was very tempted but at £10 a pound I thought it was a bit OTT for a midweek supper).

angry lobsters

We headed into smoke house where Dave explained the process of brining, cold smoking (to preserve) and then hot smoking to cook. Without this laborious process the produce would just go off. When they began, the fires which create the smoke were all inside the main building but the heat generated made it impossible to work, so they had the inspired idea of building two outside fire boxes created which have proved very effective.

the first smoker at Derimon: the fires made the building so hot it was impossible to work


the outdoor fire-box with oak chippings. Smoke is fed through a pipe into the smokers inside


Smoking mussels

Dave smokes all kinds of stuff, from mussels and mackerel and the eels he catches to chicken, paprika, cheese and butter, in fact I’m sure he would have a go at smoking most things! Their smoked brie is a massive success at supper club, although I’ve never quite got my head round how you smoke butter!

smoked cheese



Once we finished our trip around the smoke room I headed into the shop to stock up on goodies for supper club. The building which houses the shop was the original smokery for the house, but once business expanded it was too small so they extended to the rear. These days Dave’s award-winning range of products can be found at a number of markets across the local area, in selected shops, restaurants, at Hootons farm shop and online here.

Dave in the Derimon shop. I bought smoked Welsh butter, smoked Brie, Smoked paprika and bacon.


the dairy has won many awards

Derimon can be found just outside City Dulas in Anglesey. It’s not easy to locate but there are signs! They are open 9.30 til 4.30 Monday to Friday and 9.30 til 5 on Saturday. For more information call 01248 410536 or email derimon_smokery@btconnect.com. The main house is also run as a bed and breakfast. The perfect place to stay when visiting Anglesey and set in stunning surroundings.

The entrance to the B&B and smokery, just beautiful!

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Filed under British food, local produce, Sources and suppliers, Uncategorized