How to cook perfect food

The Guardian food & drink pages are a weekly visit. So it was a big surprise to me when i found out i missed a part of the site all along, the How to cook the perfect... The past days i spend dreaming away with the basic and sometimes not so basic recipes which are part of this section.

The following recipes are simply the ones my eye fell on first. It’s nowhere near a complete list.

Felicity Cloake is the writer of these articles. She goes through all the ingredients for the recipe, talks about the different approaches other well known chefs have and takes sides. You get a feel for what is the main taste of the recipe and what would technique would work best to get the final result.

Today i set myself the task of making one of these recipes. The Mackerel pate!


The ingredients

  • 3 hot smoked mackerel fillets
  • 150g cream cheese
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • 3 tsp freshly grated horseradish
  • Lemon, to squeeze
  • Small handful of dill, finely chopped

From the start i knew the horseradish was going to be hard to get fresh. My hope was that the Marqt might have it. When i checked the vegetables in the Marqt, i didn’t see any. So i went on, got the crème fraîche and saw cream cheese with horseradish, so i got that in stead. At the counter though, the girl behind it did say they should have it, so i went back and asked. Turns out that they did have it up until two weeks ago. But not today.

The mackerel and the dill i got on the market, the lemons i still had at home. Ready to start!

Cleaning the mackerel
I actually saw this on tv like a week ago. Cut of the head, break the mackerel open, get out the backbone, check for more bones, cut of the edges. Then take out the meat. Easy!


In my tiny foodprocessor (one day i’ll get a proper one!) i put in the cream cheese and the crème fraîche and part of the mackerel. I whisked it until smooth. In the recipe there is talk of the amount of mackerel you need to smooth. I did less than was advised, about one third. I was thinking of doing another bit, but after i made the mackerel flakes tinier and going through it once more to see if there were any bones around, i thought i would simply add the cheese and mackerel mixture and make a bit more rougher pate. Which i do like lots! So that is what i did. After that i added some freshly ground black pepper and a bit of zest and the juice of a lemon. After that i chopped up some dill and mixed it through it. I did also add a bit of salt, but really, it didn’t need it, so i would leave it out.

So that was it! A very simple mackerel pate, which tastes lovely peppery, horseradishy and creamy. Enjoy!

Published on May 13, 2015 at 6:00 by

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