Monday, 11 October 2010

John West Review with a little help from James Martin

If you love fish and you know the health benefits of oily fish, you will probably bought many a tin of John West sardines, mackerel, tuna or salmon.
Its been in my diet since childhood, I do have to admit to pretty basic cooking with them, mackerel gets used with brown bread and a green salad. 
I eat lots of John West Tuna sarnies, I do make a tuna and spaghetti hoops quiche though.
When it comes to sardines I dry fry them until crispy and serve with rice and West Indian Hot pepper sauce, its very tasty and filling, though not overly healthy or inspired.

So I was pleased to receive the tasty new John West healthier range, but pretty excited to get some recipe help from the tasty James Martin.

The Peri Peri for me gets a special mention its delicious, a lovely spicy dish and perfect with noodles.

John West, the UK’s leading and best loved canned fish brand, has reinvented canned mackerel and sardines, thanks to the launch of an exciting collection of delicious, healthy and convenient new products, aimed at inspiring Brits to take a fresh look at these popular store-cupboard staples.

They’ve enlisted the help of celebrity chef, James Martin, to give the new range the star treatment, by creating a series of delectable recipe dishes that demonstrate just how easy, versatile and tasty John West’s new canned mackerel and sardine products really are.

James says, “I love canned sardines and mackerel. They’re delicious, versatile and are perfect for making easy but tasty family meals. With these great new products from John West, people now have even more choice to experiment with their cooking and do more with fish in general.”

The line up includes a world first with the introduction of Steam Cooked Mackerel Fillets (110g), which are top quality, gently steam cooked, whole fillets of fish. Unlike other canned mackerel, there is no brine added, which accounts for the deliciously fresh tasting flavour.

Available in natural oils or with a dash of olive oil, they provide a more natural alternative to the smoked or peppered mackerel fillets found in the chiller cabinet and can be used for a variety of different meal occasions, from salads to stir fries, fish cakes to bakes.

The new sardine products are just as tempting. Grilled for an authentic flavour, John West’s Grilled Portuguese Sardines Fillets (100g) are the first of their kind and come in natural oils, or with a slice of lemon. Both have no brine or oil added, making them the most authentic and fresh tasting canned sardines on the market. New Peri Peri Sardines (120g) are ready to serve in a deliciously spicy Peri Peri sauce, providing an exciting fusion of flavours. Traditionally served on toast, sardines can be used in so many more ways, and James Martin has turned his hand to creating a series of sumptuous and inspiring serving suggestions, with not a slice of bread in sight.

To try James’ canned mackerel and sardine recipes, go to the John West website at to view the whole collection.
Products will be available in all good retailers from October onwards.


• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion, peeled and diced
• 1 red chilli, finely diced
• 225g/8oz chopped pak choi
• 125g/5oz black bean sauce
• 2 x 110g cans steam cooked mackerel fillets (with no added brine)


1) Place a pan over a medium heat, drizzle a little oil in and add the onion along with the chilli.
2) Allow to cook for 2 mins, then add the pak choi and cook until it starts to wilt.
3) Add half the black bean sauce and cook for 1 min, remove from the heat. Set to one side.
4) Place a pan over a medium heat and add the mackerel, then pour on the remainder of the bean sauce and bring to the boil.
5) Cook for 2-3 mins. Remove from the heat.
6) Place a pile of the pak choi in the centre of a plate and then arrange the mackerel on top. Drizzle a little of the sauce over and serve with rice or noodles.

James' tip

‘Oily fish goes so well with sweet and sour flavours – this is perfect.’

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