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Sunday 21 November 2010


Think of Herrings or Kippers and few places come to mind, for me the Manx kipper is a forerunner, but that is of no surprise given I spent most of my childhood in Lancashire. The next most famous place for these Silver Darlings as they are known locally is Clovelly in north Devon.
You may of heard of this small pretty village, for it also boasts of being a village with no vehicle access, no holiday homes are allowed only full time residents, the road surface is made up of beach pebbles, donkeys are used to move materials and personal shopping around the village.

Once a year and that happened to be today, the village celebrates the herring by holding a festival, with shanty bands, local producers of great food & drink and much more.

Once you have carfully negotiated the pebble streets, you eventually reach the small harbour along with all the small stallholders and one interesting stallholder was the "Kipperman" complete with his portable smokehouse (Kipper House).

The Kipperman being Mike Smylie. A man who proudly shares information on the history of the herring and the recipes that can be applied using this silver darling.

Here you can see that Mike has his smokehouse full of Bloaters, which are being hot smoked, these being whole herring complete with guts.

Mike is not a resident of Clovelly, for he travels extensively promoting this delicacy, so if you wish to book him for your fish festival then check him out at www.kipperman.co.uk

As you can see for yourself, Mike was having a brisk trade!

Mind you, it would please Mike more if you learnt how to smoke your own fish!

If you do visit Clovelly, then don't forget to checkout the cave behind the waterfall, which incidentally is only yards away from the lifeboat jetty, why? well it is reputed that the Wizard Merlin was born in this cave.

I'll remember this wonderful village each time I make the following;
Kipperman's Kipper Pate
4 Craster kippers (or simila quality)
3oz Butter
Juice of 2 lemons
1 Clove of garlic
Olive oil
Ground pepper
Shot of Metaxa or similar

Rough chop garlic and add to olive oil.
Blend using hand mixer.
Remove flesh from kippers and add to bowl with lemon juice, pepper, butter and Metaxa.
Blend well and chill in fridge before serving on oatcakes.

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