Food & drink

James St Recipes: Niall McKenna's smoked mackerel pate and quick carbonara

Niall McKenna's mackerel pate
Niall McKenna

ON those rare days of the year when we are blessed with blue skies and temperatures rising over 20C, we tend to prefer quick and easy dishes that require minimal effort and preparation time.

The first of this week's recipes is a smoked mackerel pate. With no cooking required, you simply add the ingredients to a blender and blitz.

When served with fresh bread, salad and a wedge of lemon, this dish is great for summer picnics, on-the-go lunches or as a dinner party starter.

The second recipe, a quick carbonara is made using simple ingredients to create a rich, creamy sauce and topped with crispy bacon for added texture.

This crowd-pleasing pasta recipe is a perfect for a quick mid-week dinner to feed the whole family.

For more information, or to book an experience at Waterman Cookery School, visit


(Serves 6)

500g smoked mackerel, skinned and de-boned

25g anchovies in brine, chopped

100g crème fraiche

35g creamed horseradish

Freshly ground black pepper



Place the mackerel, anchovies and horseradish in a jug blender and blend. The mixture should still have a bit of texture.

Open lid and add crème fraiche, freshly ground pepper and pulse until combined.

Remove from the blender, place in ramekins and put the pate in fridge to chill.

Serve with pickled vegetables or a small green salad. I prefer to serve mine with baby gem lettuce, sliced radishes and capers, dressed in olive oil.

Always serve on toasted sourdough or a French baguette with a wedge of lemon.


1tsp olive oil

200g smoked bacon, diced

150g soft cream cheese

150ml single cream

50g Parmesan, grated

500g spaghetti


Fry the bacon in a dry pan until crispy, draining the fat away.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, cream and Parmesan until thoroughly mixed.

Cook the pasta in hot water with salt until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss in the cream liquid mixture until the pasta is thoroughly covered.

Add the bacon and if needed a spoonful of the pasta water to thicken.

When serving, add more Parmesan to taste.

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Food & drink