by Cafe St Honoré in

“This is a great way to use up old berries; almost a compote but not quite. Take the chill off the fruit, add a shaving of orange peel, vanilla seeds, a kick of sugar and a splash of Grand Mariner. The dollop of crème fraîche melts into the warm fruit and creates a delicious, rich and sweet berry sauce. Simple and elegant.”

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honoré warm strawberries in vanilla and orange, creme fraiche WEB 1.jpg

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 3 minutes


12 strawberries

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 tablespoon Grand Mariner

2 thumb-sized pieces of orange peel

1/3 vanilla pod, seeds scraped and pod retained

2 big dollops of crème fraîche

2 sprigs of mint, optional


Give the strawberries a gentle wash under a tap, then remove their husks. Cut the bigger ones in half and leave any smaller ones whole.

Place them in a pot with the Grand Marnier and put on a moderate heat. Add the sugar as the liquid comes to the boil, then add the vanilla seeds, vanilla pod and the orange peel.

Stir gently in the pot, and be careful it doesn’t get too hot. Make sure the vanilla seeds are distributed by pressing them with the back of a spoon. After a minute or two, once everything is warm, spoon the berries and juice into a bowl.

Serve with the orange peel, vanilla pod and garnish with a sprig of mint, and a big dollop of crème fraîche.


by Cafe St Honoré in

This really simple method for preserving veg is a must at this time of year when there’s often just too much good stuff to eat. It’s the perfect way to store beetroots (cook, peel and quarter them first), shavings of carrots and courgettes, blanched onion slices, cauliflower florets, sliced radishes, green beans - the list goes on! You’ll also have a lovely display of colourful veg in your kitchen to admire, and of course - to eat!

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Gather your ingredients: 150ml water, 150ml vinegar, 150g sugar, a teaspoon of salt plus herbs and spices like peppercorns, star anise, thyme, bay leaves, mustard seeds. Experiment!

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Add all the ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil.

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Boil until all the sugar has dissolved.

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Pour into a clean jar. No need to wait until it’s cooled down to add the veg. If storing out of the fridge, sterilise the jar first.

lemon posset in six easy steps

by Cafe St Honoré in

It’s a classic, and one we serve a lot at Cafe. It’s creamy texture works brilliantly well with a zing of citrus. And what’s even better, you can make it very easily at home and keep in the fridge until required. Batch cooking fans take note! Keep scrolling for Neil’s six easy steps…



Gather everything you need. 900ml double cream, 225g unrefined caster sugar, 2 organic lemons and 10 small glasses.



Bring the cream and sugar to the boil slowly in a thick-bottomed pan. Boil for 3 minutes.



Add the juice and zest of the lemons. Infuse for 5 minutes.



Pass through a fine sieve into a jug, then divide between the glasses.



Refrigerate until set.



Garnish with a new season strawberry and a dusting of icing sugar. Perfect served with a nice piece of shortbread.


by Cafe St Honoré in

We bake and serve fresh sourdough every day at Cafe. Mornings always begin with bread-making – as we believe no good meal is complete without a proper sourdough!

It’s easy to start making sourdough at home with these 6 easy steps from Neil.

“Whenever you make a sourdough loaf, try to use your sense of touch. It is a science, but it’s always a good idea to employ your senses and intuition. It may take a while to get the dough started, but your starter will never die, it will just lie dormant in the fridge if you’re not using it. Otherwise, feed it every day with equal quantities of water and flour. Great if you have the time, but as sourdough lasts so well, you may only need to bake a loaf once or twice a week.”

Keep scrolling for our sourdough recipe.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 1 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0660.jpg


Add 200g strong, white organic flour and 200ml warm tap water to a bowl.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 2 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0673.jpg


Combine into a thick paste using a wooden spoon. Don’t use any antibacterial chemicals to clean any of your utensils as this kills the good bacteria you need to make a natural yeast.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 3 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0677.jpg


Pour the mix into a plastic, ceramic or glass container and leave to ferment for 2 days in a warm, or room-temperature, place. Cover with a lid or cling film, and give it a stir every day. It’s important that the starter isn’t in contact with anything metal.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 4 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0682.jpg


After 2 days fermenting, feed the starter by adding 100g strong, white organic flour and 100ml of warm tap water. Mix and replace the lid and leave again for a further 2 days. Repeat this method after another 2 days.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 5 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0689.jpg


The starter is ready to use (see recipe below). If using again the next day, leave it on the countertop. If not, place in the fridge where it will lay dormant until you start to feed it again.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 6 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0694.jpg


The finished loaf, made with nothing but flour, water and salt. I use Mungoswells flour, Isle of Skye sea salt and good old tap water. Invest in a proving basket to achieve a lovely shape.



500g organic, strong white flour, grown and milled in Scotland ideally

285ml warm, tap water (you may need more water, a wetter dough is better than a dryer dough)

135g starter 

15g good sea salt, I like Isle of Skye

Semolina for dusting


Add all the ingredients to a mixer and beat on a slow, low speed. The longer the better. 

If the dough is looking a bit dry, add more warm water. The texture of the dough is dependent on the temperature and moisture in the air, and I would always suggest making a slightly wetter dough than normal. I have very rarely failed with a sloppy, wet dough!

Once all the ingredients are incorporated, place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl or tub with enough room for it to double in size. Cover with a lid. Leave for around 3 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The next morning, let it reach room temperature before shaping gently into a ball.

Once shaped, place the dough into a semolina-dusted banneton or proving basket. If it’s a wet dough be careful and not to over-prove at this stage. Keep it somewhere cosy but not too hot for an hour or two and it’ll prove beautifully. 

Heat the oven to 200°C and turn the loaves out onto a tray, tucking them in underneath just before they go in the oven. 

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150°C and continue to bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling wire.

Shortcrust Pastry in Nine Easy Steps

by Lee MacGregor in

Follow our simple nine-step guide to making shortcrust pasty and you’ll no longer reach for the pre-rolled variety!

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You will need: 250g of sifted plain flour, 125g diced unsalted butter, 5g salt, 2-3 tablespoons of cold water

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Add butter to the flour and rub together until the texture of breadcrumbs.

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Stir in the salt, then add water and mix to a firm dough.

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Form into a ball, cover with cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

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Prepare a tart tin with butter and flour. Rub a little room-temperature butter all over the inside of the tin, then dust with flour.

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Roll the rested dough on a floured surface.

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Line the prepared tart tin with the rolled dough.

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Line the pastry dough with 4 layers of cling film, then fill with baking beans.

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Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes or until just golden.


by Cafe St Honoré in

“I put this dish on at Cafe St Honoré when we receive a hoard of ceps. It always sells well and is delicious. Cook the ceps, black pudding and scallops in the same pan as all the flavours marry well, and the fat released from the black pudding adds extra flavour to the ceps and shellfish. Don’t be afraid of the butter sauce, or beurre blanc as we chefs call it. A little splash of cream stabilizes the reduction and prevents the sauce from splitting.”

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 1
Prep time: 15 minutes; cooking time 5 minutes


2 to 3 hand-dived scallops, coral left on

1 slice of Stornoway black pudding

A small handful of ceps, lightly washed

2 peppercorns

1 sprig thyme 

1 sprig tarragon

100ml white wine

100ml white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon double cream

75g unsalted butter, 1cm cubes

A few wood sorrel leaves, optional

Good salt and pepper

Juice from half a lemon

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

1 knob butter


Prepare the ceps by cutting in half and scoring a criss-cross pattern on the cut sides.

Make a butter sauce by adding the wine, vinegar, peppercorns and herbs to a small pan and reducing to a couple of tablespoons. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan and add the cream. Whisk together and bring to just below the boil. Then add the butter one cube at a time until emulsified. Season with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Keep at a steady temperature until needed.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in large non-stick frying pan on a high heat on the hob. Once hot, add the black pudding, scallops, ceps, Thyme and tarragon. Season the scallops and ceps. Cook everything for 2 minutes before turning. Once turned, season the scallops and ceps again with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Ensure the black pudding has a nice crust all over.

To serve, place the black pudding, scallops and ceps on a warmed plate. Spoon over the butter sauce and decorate with the zesty wood sorrel.


by Cafe St Honoré in

"This is a great way to use up these wonderful vegetables when you have a glut. The recipe is so easy and it keeps well - it’s great served chilled in small amounts on a very hot summer’s day. The extra-virgin olive oil really works here. And do use the courgette flowers as a garnish." 

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: tomatoes up to 2 hours, soup 20 minutes


2 large courgettes, diced into rough 1-inch cubes
1 banana shallot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small handful of basil and mint leaves, roughly chopped
100g grated Anster cheese, or any other hard, crumbly cheese
2 tomatoes
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
Good salt and pepper
A few edible flowers like cornflower blue or calendula to garnish


Heat the oven to 150°C / Gas Mark 2

Remove the eyes from the tomatoes and give them a good wash. Cut them in half and lay them on an ovenproof tray. Sprinkle with good salt and pepper and trickle over some extra-virgin olive oil. Place in the oven for between 1 and 2 hours. Remove and keep in a tub in the fridge if you wish.

Heat 50ml of the oil in a pot and sweat the shallot and the garlic until soft, then add the courgette and season with good salt and pepper. Stir and add enough boiling water to cover and a bit more.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until soft - don’t let it dry out – then add the herbs and blitz with a hand-blender.

Add 3/4 of the cheese and blitz again - it doesn’t need to be super-smooth. Check the seasoning. 

To serve, pour the soup into warmed bowls and add the tomatoes and the extra cheese. Garnish with some edible flowers and an extra trickle of olive oil. Serve with some good bread.


by Cafe St Honoré in

"There are two elements in this recipe. The salted hock, or knuckle, from the pig, and the pickled cucumber. Together they are astonishingly good. The sharp, sweet vegetable does its job so well to cut through the rich, salty meat. I like to add other seasonings to the flaked meat like Arran mustard and lots of curly parsley. This is where you can have fun and do your own thing. Try different herbs that you may be growing, or play with different veg to go with it. Remember to keep the stock from cooking the hocks as it makes the best soup in the world. Just add a handful of peasemeal or red lentils."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 6 to 8
Cooking time: 4 hours plus overnight; Prep time: 45 minutes



3 unsmoked ham hocks

1 stick celery

2 carrots, peeled 

1 onion, peeled and halved

6 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 sprig thyme

2 spring onions, finely chopped

125g unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Arran mustard, or any grain mustard will do


1 cucumber

500ml good cider vinegar

500g caster sugar

500ml cold water

2 star anise 

Good salt and pepper

A few mustard seeds

A few handfuls of salad leaves

A few radishes, sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Arran mustard 

A splash of vinegar


Place the hocks in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add the celery, carrots, onion, peppercorns, bay and thyme and bring to just below a rolling boil and simmer for 4 hours, skimming off any residue and adding more water if required. Don’t over boil. 

Once cooked and the meat is falling off the bone, remove the hocks from the pot and allow them to cool slightly, before flaking all the meat off the bone. Retain the celery, carrots and onion. Keep the fat for another dish and retain the stock for soup. 

Roughly chop the carrots, onion and celery from the stock pot and add them to a bowl with the flaked meat, melted butter, mustard, spring onions and parsley.  Mix thoroughly and check the seasoning. 

Line a terrine mould or plastic tub with oiled cling film - oiled side down. Pack the terrine mix into the mould and fold over the cling film so it covers the terrine entirely. Place something heavy on top to press it down and refrigerate overnight. 

To make the pickled cucumber, bring the water, sugar and vinegar to the boil then add the mustard seeds, star anise and a teaspoon of salt. Add the cucumber to the pot - you may have to halve the cucumber if it’s too long - that’s fine as it won’t affect the final taste. Cover with a lid and simmer for about an hour until the cucumber is just soft. Then turn off the heat and leave it to cool in the pickling liquid. Once cooled, cut into slices and set to one side.

Make a dressing by mixing 4 tablespoons of olive oil, one teaspoon of Arran mustard and a splash of vinegar.

To serve, place a slice of the terrine in the centre of a plate and arrange the pickled cucumber around or on top. Garnish with a few salad leaves and slices of radish trickled with the dressing. Serve at once.


by Cafe St Honoré in

"I’m choosing this forgotten cut of meat because it is truly delicious, and very sustainable. It’s an old-school part of an animal that’s often discarded – an ingredient from our parents’ and grandparents’ generations. I love it. In this recipe it’s simply brined overnight then gently simmered in a rich veg stock and served with the piquant gribiche. Order the tongue ahead of time from your butcher."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 6 to 8

Brining time: overnight; prep time: 40 minutes; cooking time: 4 to 6 hours


1 organic ox or field-raised ruby veal tongue, rinsed

400ml red wine

2 sprigs of thyme

3 cloves

200g brown sugar

1 clove of crushed garlic

200ml water

250g salt

1 large carrot, peeled

1 large onion, peeled

1 stick of celery

A few parsley stalks

6 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 hard boiled eggs, yolks and whites chopped separately

2 tablespoons cornichons, chopped

2 tablespoon capers, chopped

2 to 3 shallots, chopped

2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons tarragon, chopped

6 to 8 tablespoons mayonnaise

Good salt and pepper to season

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

A few handfuls of watercress and red chicory

A few radishes, sliced


Make a brine by adding the red wine, thyme, cloves, brown sugar, garlic, water and salt to a pot and bringing to a gentle simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, leave it to cool completely for a few hours. Once cold, submerge the ox tongue in the brine and leave in the fridge or in a cool place overnight. 

Remove the tongue from the brine and give it a rinse under a cold tap. Place the tongue into a clean pan and cover with cold water. Add the carrot, onion, celery, parsley stalks, peppercorns and bay leaves and cook on a low simmer for 4 to 6 hours until tender when pierced with a skewer at the thickest point. Once cooked, allow to cool slightly then remove the skin. Either press into a terrine mould or wrap in cling film and leave to cool thoroughly.

To make the sauce gribiche, combine the eggs, cornichons, capers, shallots, parsley, tarragon and mayonnaise in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste and stir in a little rapeseed oil. 

To serve, carve a few slices of tongue per person and top with the sauce gribiche. Garnish with salad leaves and radishes, then trickle over the remaining oil or your favourite dressing and season with a little more salt and pepper.



by Cafe St Honoré in

"Mackerel is one of, if not my very favourite fish and there are a lot of them out there in our oceans. Absolutely delicious pan-fried with good oil, lemon and salt. A wonderful dish to eat with a simple salad of shaved fennel, and that sharp piquant hit from the capers in the sauce. Be careful not to burn the fish when cooking. Get the non-stick pan out for this dish!"

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 1
Prep time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 4 minutes


2 fillets of fresh mackerel, all bones removed

1/2 fennel bulb, peeled

A few salad leaves

Chopped mixed herbs, like chervil and dill

1 tablespoon mini capers

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon lemon vinegar, or any fruit vinegar will do

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Juice of half a lemon

Good salt and pepper


Make the salad by slicing the fennel on a mandolin or cutting very thinly with a knife. Add this to a bowl with the chopped parsley, vinegar, capers, 1 teaspoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Set to one side. 

Place a non-stick pan on a moderately hot hob and heat 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling it to coat the base of the pan. Ensure the fish is dry, then carefully place the fillets skin-side-down into the hot pan. Press down lightly with a fish slice, then season with salt and pepper. Ensure the skin is in contact with the oil and doesn’t warp in the heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, season again, then carefully turn over and cook for 45 seconds. I prefer it to be cooked slightly under, rather than over. 

Remove the mackerel from the pan and place straight onto a plate. Garnish with the fennel salad and a few mixed leaves and herbs. Drizzle with the remaining oil and a good squeeze of lemon.



by Cafe St Honoré in

"I remember one of my first jobs as a young commis chef was to pluck hundreds of game birds after a shoot on the estate I was working on. I looked like something out of Ghostbusters with a hoover on my back, goggles, and a bandana to cover my mouth from all the dusty feathers. Oh, the fun I had in the plucking shed! This dish is very simple to cook. Make sure you season the meat before, during and after cooking, and crisp the skin by cooking mainly skin-side down in a heavy pan alongside the potatoes with some thyme and garlic. Use whatever veg you like. Kale, spinach or cabbage are all excellent, but remember to use any fat rendered from the duck when you season the veg before serving."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 2
Prep time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 20 minutes


2 free-range duck breasts
1 tablespoon cold-pressed rapeseed oil
4 to 6 spears of British asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 to 6 radishes, quartered
4 to 6 new potatoes, little sweet ones are great, scrubbed, par-boiled and halved
2 tablespoons duck fat
1 sprig of thyme
1 clove of garlic, smashed
Good salt and pepper


Heat the oven to 180°C.

Season the breasts with good salt and pepper. Heat a pan on the hob then add the cold-pressed rapeseed oil and place the breasts skin-side-down in the pan, ensuring good contact is made between the skin and the pan. Turn over after cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn the breasts back to skin-side-down and add the thyme, garlic and potatoes to the pan and place in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the duck is cooked medium rare. The firmer the duck is to the touch, the more well-cooked it is. 

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and season with salt. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes on a rolling boil. 

Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the duck breasts to a warm plate to rest. Once rested, season.

Add the radishes and the cooked asparagus to the potatoes and stir in the duck fat. The pan should still be quite hot from the oven.

To serve, either slice the duck, or leave them whole as I prefer, and place on a plate with the asparagus, potatoes and radishes as a garnish on top.


by Cafe St Honoré in

"I adore this dish. It is simple, tasty and one I come back to again and again. The bitter salad leaves cut through the rich pear. And the sweet, candied walnuts are a joy with the rich, creamy Lanark Blue. Add a few watercress leaves for a peppery kick and serve in the middle of the table for everyone to share."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4 in one big bowl
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time : 1.5 hours including poaching pears


2 red and 2 white endives, chicory or witloof, leaves removed and washed
2 conference pears
200g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split
Good salt and pepper
1 star anise
1 lemon
100g of good blue cheese, I like Lanark Blue
A handful of Californian walnuts, shelled
A few watercress leaves
Sunflower oil for shallow frying
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil for dressing


Begin by poaching the pears. Remove the peel from each and rub with a halved lemon. Then bring a litre of water to the boil in a pan. Add half the sugar, the star anise, the split vanilla pod, the juice of half a lemon then plonk the pears into this stock syrup and poach for about an hour on a gentle boil covered with a greaseproof paper cartouche so the pears don’t oxidise during poaching. The harder the pear, the longer it will take to cook. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup. Remove the stalk and any seeds, and dice. Set to one side. 

To prepare the candied walnuts, make a stock syrup using the remaining sugar and 100ml of water and bring to the boil. Cook the walnuts in this solution for 5 to 7 minutes and allow them to cool in the syrup. Once cool, remove and drain on kitchen paper. Next, heat the sunflower in a deep frying pan and fry the walnuts until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. 

To assemble the salad, add the endive leaves to a large mixing bowl and crumble in the blue cheese. Then sprinkle over the walnuts and the diced pear. Season with good salt and pepper and a drizzle of cold-pressed rapeseed oil and a little of the syrup from the pears. Mix gently.

To serve, place the salad into a serving dish and decorate with watercress, a little more oil and syrup, a squeeze of lemon juice and a final sprinkling of salt.


by Cafe St Honoré in

"I really enjoy making these fluffy, light, little pillows of potato. The best way to make the mash is to bake the potatoes in their skins in the oven on a tray of salt. Cook until soft inside, half them, then run through a mouli or potato ricer. The mash must be dry. Don’t over work the dough or be tempted to add too much flour as they will become bullet hard after blanching. Keep them light and fluffy. I love them sautéed with butter to give a hint of texture on the outside."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4
Prep time 40 minutes, cooking time 1.5 hours


4 to 5 large, floury potatoes

250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling the dumplings

1 large egg

A handful of wild garlic, finely chopped

Good salt and pepper

2 tablespoons of hard cheese like a Mull or Barwheys, grated

A few knobs of butter

50ml extra virgin olive oil

1/2 bulb of fennel, shaved on a mandolin or thinly sliced with a knife

A few salad leaves

A few shavings of hard cheese like a good cheddar

A drizzle of garlic oil or pesto oil to garnish, optional

A few sliced radishes to garnish, optional


Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6

Begin by baking the potatoes in their skins in the oven on a bed of salt until soft inside. This will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then scoop out the flesh and mash.

Mix 500g of the mashed potato carefully with the plain flour, then add the egg and combine. Add the chopped wild garlic, season with salt and pepper and add the grated cheese. Mix well but be careful not to overdo it.

Roll the dough in a dusting of flour to make a long sausage shape about the width of £1 coin. Cut the gnocchi into 1-inch pieces, pinching each one as you cut.

To cook, place into a pan of salted, boiling water and cook until the gnocchi rises to the surface on a rolling boil. This should take about 2 to 4 minutes, then remove from the water and place onto a cloth.

Heat a non-stick pan and add half the olive oil and add the gnocchi. Then add the butter and colour the dumplings until they are golden and almost crispy.  Remove from the pan and season.

To serve, place several pieces of gnocchi on warmed plates with a handful of good salad, some fennel and a few shavings of hard cheese. To finish, I like to use a drizzle of wild garlic oil or the oil from any pesto. Also use some sliced radish if you like.



by Cafe St Honoré in

Neil takes us through a step-by-step guide of how to fillet mackerel. In just four easy steps, he makes it look so simple! 

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Remove the head and guts.

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Insert knife just above back bone and remove the fillet.

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Using a filleting knife, remove the belly bones.

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Using the same sharp knife, insert it either side of the central pin bone line and remove all bones in one.

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The final boneless, skin-on fillet is ready for pickling, frying or grilling.