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In this foodie special we’re celebrating some of the country’s best local dishes and ingredients. From Cornish mackerel to Lancashire hotpot, here are some easy hostel kitchen recipes that will serve four hungry hikers. Wonderful aromas and envious glances guaranteed… 

Mackerel ceviche

This isn’t a traditional Cornish recipe (it comes by way of Peru), but it really brings out the freshness and flavour of Cornish mackerel. Ceviche is a South American dish combining raw fish with citrus juices, fresh herbs, chilli and vegetables. The acid in the lime ‘cooks’ the mackerel. Needless to say, the fish needs to be extremely fresh and from a reputable source. It’s a beautiful dish. 


3 super-fresh mackerel, filleted and skinned

half a cucumber

4 limes

1 fresh chilli

a handful of fresh mint 

a handful of fresh coriander


Cut the mackerel into dice size pieces. Do the same with the cucumber, discarding the seeds. 

Juice the limes and combine in a bowl with the mackerel and cucumber. Be sure to stir it up. After about five minutes the colour of the mackerel will change as it ‘cooks’. 


Thinly slice the hot chilli until you have the amount desired then add to the bowl with the finely chopped herbs. Make sure the fish is now opaque and serve immediately. 

Middlesbrough parmo

So, not every meal has to be super-healthy! This fast food dish is little known outside Teesside, but blimey it’s good (and easy). It’s essentially deep-fried, breaded chicken with béchamel sauce (packet sauce is easy to get – we’re not in a Michelin-starred kitchen here) and melted cheese. Perfect after a long day on the hills. It’s pretty straightforward to make and can be served with mash or oven chips. In this recipe we’re going to pan-fry the chicken.  


4 chicken fillets

1 egg

150g of breadcrumbs


100 g of cheddar cheese

5tbs of butter

4 tbs of flour

1 litre of milk


If you’re making the béchamel sauce the proper way, first melt the butter then add the flour slowly but continuously until it’s a smooth texture. Heat the milk in another pan until just off the boil. Slowly add the milk to the pan, whisking all the time. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly and melt in the cheese then remove. (Or buy a packet and mix it after the chicken is cooked). 

Cover your chicken breasts in greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin until flattened. In a bowl, break and mix the egg. In turn, dip each breast in the egg, and then into the breadcrumbs to cover. Season. 

Heat 4 tbs of oil or butter in a pan and fry until golden – around 4 minutes each side. 

Plate up the chicken, pour the béchamel sauce over the top. It is good served with mash, but just about anything goes.  

Welsh rarebit:

The world’s greatest lunch? Quite possibly. But it’s just plain old cheese on toast right? Well, no – with a bit of TLC it can be elevated to a thing of beauty. Some add Dijon mustard and tomatoes, but the best we’ve tried is the beery version at St John Restaurant in Smithfield, where it’s served with a green salad. Here’s our take on that recipe (but frankly, as long as you have a decent loaf, decent cheddar and Worcestershire sauce you can’t go far wrong). Incidentally, the dish was first recorded in 1725, and is thought to be named for the Welsh love of cheese. 



400g of strong cheddar

1tbs of flour

1 tsp of English mustard powder

200 ml of stout or dark ale

Worcestershire sauce

4 pieces of thickly sliced toasted bread


Melt a tablespoon of butter, stir in the flour and wait ‘until it smells biscuity’. If you have it, add the mustard powder, the beer, a big dash of Worcestershire sauce and then gently melt in the cheese. 

When the sauce is smooth, take it out and allow it to cool a bit. Then spread on the toast and pop under the grill until it looks amazing. 

Lancashire hotpot:

The classic one-pot Lancashire hotpot is a warming stew of lamb or mutton, onion and potatoes. Beyond these key ingredients, this easy and forgiving recipe can take whatever else you have lying around, such as carrots or celery – kidney and even oysters were once added to bulk out the dish. In short, anything goes, but here’s a pure-ish recipe. The prep itself takes little time, but it does need to be popped in the oven for around two-and-a-half hours. 


900g of lamb or mutton cut into chunks (ideally a mix of best end and middle neck)

3 large potatoes cut into 2cm slices

2 carrots (optional)

2 sliced onions

500ml of lamb or chicken stock

1tb of flour 

A bay leaf and thyme if you have it

Worcester sauce



Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Dust the meat with flour, season, then brown it in the butter using a casserole dish, over the hob. Remove. 

Place some of the sliced potatoes at the bottom of the dish and season. Add all the meat. Add the bay leaf and thyme, then layer the onions on the top and season again. Pour over the stock until it nearly reaches the onions. 

Layer the potatoes over the top like fish scales, brush with some butter, season, cover and put into the oven for two hours (2.5 hours for mutton). Take the lid off and cook for another half hour.   

Written by Ruby Higton

Here is Ruby and she is a digital marketer at YHA. She looks after all things social media, as well as content writing for and SEO. Her favourite YHA is YHA Perranporth.

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