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Food and Drink, Recipes

Elderflower Brined Mackerel with Pickled Cucumber, Mackerel Tartare, and Apple & Elderflower Jelly


As summer arrives, the Cornish shores around St Ives come alive with swarms of mackerel.

This sustainable catch, sourced from Celtic Fish & Game who use traditional bait and lines, makes for a delightful summer BBQ dish when paired with a floral elderflower brine and a sweet apple & elderflower jelly. If you can't find fresh elderflowers, a high-quality cordial works just as well.

Elderflower Brine


  • 1 litre of water
  • 5 heads elderflower (or cordial to taste)
  • 75g sugar
  • 75g salt


  • In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and salt, and bring to a boil.
  • Add the elderflower, let it infuse and then cool. This is your brining liquid.
  • Place the mackerel in the brining liquid for 6 minutes.
  • Remove the mackerel and colour the skin with a blow torch or hot grill.
  • Season with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

Elderflower Jelly


  • 1 litre of apple juice
  • 4 heads elderflower (or cordial to taste)
  • 3 gelatine leaves


  • Heat the apple juice and elderflowers in a saucepan, reducing the mixture by half.
  • Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft.
  • Add the softened gelatine leaves to the apple juice mixture and whisk until dissolved.
  • Pour the mixture into a container and refrigerate until set.
  • Once set, slice into cubes or spoon onto a plate.

Pickled Cucumber


  • ½ cucumber
  • 50g white wine vinegar
  • 50g sugar
  • 50ml/g white wine


  • In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, and white wine to a boil. Let cool to create your pickling liquid.
  • Peel the cucumber into ribbons and blend any remaining cucumber with the pickling liquid until smooth.
  • Lay the cucumber ribbons in the pickling liquid to lightly pickle.

Mackerel Tartare


  • 20g mackerel trimmings
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt


  • Mix the mackerel trimmings with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  • Place the mixture at the top of a cucumber ribbon and roll.


  • Arrange the torched mackerel on a plate.
  • Spoon the apple jelly around the mackerel.
  • Add the mackerel tartare rolls.
  • Garnish with apple matchsticks, fennel or dill tops, and elderflowers.

This dish is perfect for a summer BBQ, combining the rich, oily flavour of mackerel with the delicate notes of elderflower and apple. Not only is it visually stunning, but it’s also a celebration of the season’s bountiful ingredients. Enjoy the freshness and the burst of flavours that make this dish truly special.

Recipe by Executive Chef Daniel Kerr, new chef at The Old Bell Hotel


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