Stratta blog

Poached Mackerel Fillets

We get our mackerel on Wednesdays mornings from Paul Day of Sussex Fish at East Dean Market. He is based in Seaford but is also to be found at Borough Market in London on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The finest fish from the finest monger!

  • 4 Mackerel fillets
  • Glass of white wine
  • Dessert spoon Gooseberry or Elderflower vinegar
  • Finely sliced onion (red or white)
  • Fresh Thyme and Winter Savory
  • Cracked black pepper corns and a little sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves


Bring all ingredients, except the mackerel, up to a simmer in a wide based pan.

Lay the mackerel fillets in the liquor, pop on a lid and allow them to poach for about 4 minutes.

Lift the fillets out and reduce the sauce by half over a fierce heat.  Finish with a knob of butter.

Serve with couscous and a generous helping of steamed chard.

Stratta blog

Oven Roasted Winter Vegetables

Now is the season of mists and mellow vegfullness!  For a full bodied meat-free Monday dish you need look no further than your autumn veg rack.  The following may appear a somewhat loosely formed list of ingredients but it depends firstly on what you happen to have gathered from your garden, allotment or local farmers’ market, and secondly which your favorites are!

  • 1 kilo mixed winter vegetables comprising any of the following – but definitely including the onions and garlic!
  • Sweet Potato
  • Beetroot
  • Parsnip
  • Butternut Squash
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ segment of stratta salt preserved lemons
  • crushed black pepper

Salt preserved lemons

Peel and crush some garlic cloves into a goodly dollop of extra virgin olive oil along with black pepper to taste.

Take a segment of the lemon, scoop the pulp back into the jar, rinse the rind and slice finely.

Chop your mixture of winter vegetables into chunks and toss them well in the olive oil with the lemon.

Roast in a hot oven for around 45 minutes until cooked, turning twice along the way.

Serve with couscous or chunks of warm crusty bread.

Stratta blog

Spiced Pear Glazed gammon

Continuing our autumnal fruit theme, Mary has developed this fabulous way of finishing a gammon in the oven.  Graham Love grows wonderful fruits up at Greenways Farm near Cowbeech and he cropped some perfectly firm pears that Mary prepared, poached and spiced into the vacuum jars.

The spiced pears are great partners for cheese, scrummy additions to winter fruit salads and we have a great friend who simply reaches for the clotted cream!!

Meanwhile, back to the baked ham –

spiced pears

  • 1 ¾ / 2kg gammon piece
  • 600ml perry or cider
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • Spiced Sussex pears from stratta!

Cover the gammon with cold water, bring to the boil and skim.  Pour in 450ml of perry, add the bayleaf, black peppercorns and the juniper berries and gently simmer for an hour and a half.  Lift out of the pan, cut off any string and remove the skin.

Place the joint in a roasting tin, score the fat and press in 3 or 4 quarters of the spiced pears which have been well drained and mashed.  Add the remaining perry and a little of the spiced pear juices for basting during the glazing. (oven gas mark 6, 200C for about 20 minutes)

Serve, hot or cold, with a few thin slices of spiced pear.

Stratta blog

Squash and Rocket Salad with Pears

This time of year, as the days shorten and the air chills down, it is time almost to be thinking of hearty stews but with conference pears at their very best and the occasional warmer spells here is one for such days.

If you have a butternut squash to hand – this is a delicious and easy recipe to try.


Sarah Raven suggests that this dish can be used as a side dish without the rocket (perhaps with pan-fried lamb or pork fillet), on its own as a first course warm salad with the rocket added at the last minute, or simply as a salad, served cold.

Serves 6

  • About 1kg prepared butternut squash cut into large chunks
  • Herbes de Provence infused olive oil (stratta)
  • Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 3 firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced in to 4 pieces (Tom Maynard (In the picture above we were prepping for quite a crowd!!)
  • Butter
  • 4 handfuls of rocket or mixed salad leaves
  • Finely chopped winter savory or rosemary
  • Slivers of Lord of the Hundred cheese (


Toss the squash in the olive oil and seasoning and roast in the oven (170C/gas mark 3) for about 45 minutes until softening and beginning to char.

Sauté the pears in the butter with the herbs until the pears are slightly brown but still crunchy.

Scatter over the salad leaves when cool and top with slivers of cheese.

Stratta blog

Soused Herring Fillet with Apple & Celery Coleslaw

russet apple

We are speechless with admiration at the fantastic support the good people of Hastings show toward their fishing fleet.  The council team that create the three fish festivals are inspired, and the restaurants and producers that show their wares involve themselves wholeheartedly.  Having spent an amazing weekend at the beautiful and blustery Herring Festival we came back quite inspired.  Here is a fabulous recipe with a stratta twist for you to try.



  • 2 herring, filleted
  • Thin apple slices and watercress to decorate

For the Pickling Liquor:

  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 25ml Stratta Russet apple vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • Half a small bunch of dill, chopped
  • Sea salt, generous pinch
  • 6 cracked white peppercorns

For the Apple and Celery Coleslaw:

  • 2 Cox or russet apples,
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 170ml plain Greek style yoghurt or crème fraiche



Use tweezers to remove any remaining visible bones from the fish.  Small pin bones will dissolve in the marinating liquor.  Mix the pickling liquor ingredients.  Cover the fish completely in the liquor and put in the fridge for 24 hours.

Apple Salad:

Cut the apple into thin strips (peel if desired) and place straight into the yoghurt or crème fraiche to stop them going brown.  Add the celery and season to taste.


Two marinated fillets of herring per person drizzled with a little pickling liquor on a bed of coleslaw.  Decorate with thin apple slices and watercress.


The gulls were enjoying the festival too;