Colin’s Roast Mackerel with Red Pesto

Recipe from Colin, Social Bite Assistant Chef
Submitted by Freight Books


2 mackerel fillets
2 tsp red pesto sauce
8 baby potatoes, cut in half
150 g frozen peas
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Lemon wedges


1 . Place your mackerel fillets on a chopping board, skin side up. Use a sharp knife to score the skin 3 times, but don’t cut too deeply or the fish will fall apart. Spread a teaspoon of red pesto sauce on each fillet and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
2 . When you’re ready to eat, preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
3 . Place the potatoes in a pan of cold water, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for around 10-12 minutes.
4 . Place fish on a tray and cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
5 . Boil the peas for about 3 minutes, then drain.
6 . Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the peas and cherry tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Then plate up and garnish with lemon.

I spent 16 years of my life living on a bus and travelling around Britain. It was a fun time for me, but when the hangover wore off and I realised I was 36 with no home or job to come back to real life with, I was in a bit of trouble. I moved in with a girlfriend and made ends meet however I could, but I became homeless when I fell out with my girlfriend 5 years ago. I lived on the streets with a pet dog and tried to crash on couches and in hostels when I could.

Eventually I started selling the Big Issue on street corners. However, 2 years ago, I heard about Social Bite and managed to get a job there being a kitchen porter, a few hours a day, with the promise of full time hours as soon as a position was available. True to their word, I’m now working full time in the central kitchen where I make all of the panini and focaccia breads, and live with my mate Joe who works there too. I’m also now in a great relationship with my girlfriend Sam who stays in Dundee, where I’m from, and once Social Bite opens a store in Dundee in the next year or two, I will get to move up there to be with her full time and work in the shop.

Colin is a contributor to The Social Bite Cookbook. Social Bite are a Social Enterprise who train and employ people from backgrounds of homelessness. In this book, head chef Michael Thomas and his five apprentices – Joe, John, Sonny, Iain and Colin – combine the principles that they learned whilst living on the streets with their newfound skills as trained chefs to create delicious recipes for under £5. This is a one-of-a-kind illustrated recipe book where you can read the inspirational stories of how the contributors have transformed their lives, alongside 36 delicious, easy-to-make new recipes.

The Social Bite Cookbook is published by Freight Books.