These lovely little starters have three very desirable things going for them; they’re easy, they’re inexpensive and they’re really gorgeous. What’s more you can make them the day before and pop them in the fridge. You can either make a simple fresh chutney to go with them or
buy a pot of something fancy if you’re pushed for time or can’t be bothered (or put your shop-bought version a plain jar with a home written label…. voila! Home made chutney!). Throw in some nice bread and a few dressed leaves perhaps, and you’ve got a quite substantial starter or a light lunch.
6 small mackerel fillets
1 pack cream cheese – low fat or full fat, it’s up to you
1/2 pack of butter
Zest of a lemon or a lime
1 fat clove garlic, very finely chopped
Large handful of flat leaf parsley
Pinch of chilli
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground (optional)
Peel the skins off the mackerel fillets and chop them on a large board until most of it is mushy but you still have a some slightly chunkier pieces. Put it all in a bowl and add the grated zest, chill, ground fennel if using, parsley (reserve 6 leaves for decoration) and the clove of garlic very gently sauteed in a tablespoon of the butter. Next, spoon in your cream cheese and mix until it’s all thoroughly combined. Pack it into your little serving pots then melt the remaining butter and pour onto the pate portions to seal.
Chill for at least 3 hours and serve with chutney, good toasted bread or rolls and leaves if you fancy some.