In an effort to make an almost-traditional Christmas dinner for an episode of The One Show, here’s a seafood starter. Have more, if you want bigger portions – but save some room for dinner and dessert!

Ingredients: serves 8 as a starter

220g Mackerel
100g cream cheese
100g butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp black pepper

200g fresh spinach
1 small loaf fresh baked bread – I used the ‘giraffe’ bread for a change, and it was delicious!

First remove the skin from the mackerel, it should peel off easily with your fingers, and discard. Put the fish into a large mixing bowl, and break up into flakes with a fork or wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Pick out any bones you can see – but small pin-bones are usually fine.

Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds in a heatproof dish, and pour on top of the flaked mackerel. Add cream cheese, pepper and lemon juice and beat well to combine. I added a handful of chopped parsley from my window ledge for colour, it’s not essential.

Press into a lightly greased tin (I find an old butter tub a good size for making pâté!) and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

To serve, cut up the bread (some like it toasted but I like mine soft and fresh) and pop in a bowl in the centre for people to help themselves. Pop a handful of spinach on a plate, turn out the pate, slice, and place on top. Garnish with extra lemon and pepper if you want to make it look pretty!

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @msjackmonroe


  1. I’m more likely to make mushroom pate than mackerel pate these days, but so far as flavourful and frugal non-veg options are concerned mackerel really delivers.

    Can’t say as I’ve heard of giraffe bread before though, wots that!?

  2. I make a ‘skinny’ version using a tub of Quark cheese ( and no butter). A sprinkling of cayenne pepper in the mix gives it a little kick.

  3. I use plain yoghurt in my mackerel pate as I generally have that open in the fridge, save buying cream cheese specially and getting left with half a tub. Works well for a quick lunch though this is a thicker texture than mine, which wouldn’t slice.

  4. This was delicious and so quick to make! I left out the butter and added a dollop of Sainsburys Dill mustard instead. If serving as a starter don’t have too much as it’s so filling and moreish you might forget the other courses! It will make a lovely supper dish too with a baked spud. Yummy.

  5. I’ve just made this for lunch – and it was scrummy. Just thinking would it freeze though? Just in case it was just me… I’m not sure I could eat it 3 days running 😉

Leave a Reply to LannyLee (@LannyLee)Cancel reply