January is the month for cutting back on the excesses of Christmas and  starting out as we all mean to go on.  Resolutions are made to keep fit, eat  less and keep off the booze. We asked five top Chester chefs to share their top tips on eating healthily and create a  favourite dish to help us on our way.

Joe Wright, head chef at Joseph Benjamin  Restaurant and PORTA Tapas Bar

Top Tip

Contrast December’s meat and carbohydrate with  bold Mediterranean or Oriental flavours and lots of fish. Not only does this refresh  the palate, but you’ll find that  the stronger flavours leave you  more satisfied without eating  the same volumes. This naturally tends toward dishes  lower in fat and carbohydrate  and richer in essential oils,  vitamins and minerals.

Joe Wright's dish - Mackerel Escabeche
Joe Wright's dish - Mackerel Escabeche
 

Recipe

Mackerel Escabeche

(serves 4 as a starter or light  lunch)

Ingredients:

4 Mackerel fillets (pin-boned)

2 tbsp Vegetable oil

60 mls Extra virgin olive oil

1 Onion (sliced)

2 Carrots (cut into Julienne)

1 Clove garlic (thinly sliced)

1 tsp Coriander seeds  (crushed)

½ tsp Fennel seeds

(crushed)

3 Star anise

1 Orange

3 Bay leaves

1 Sprig of thyme

100 mls White wine

85 mls White wine vinegar

1½ tbsp. Demerara sugar

Method

Score the mackerel skin with a sharp knife and season with salt and  pepper. Heat a large non-stick frying pan and add the vegetable oil.   Fry the mackerel fillets, skin side down for 2-3 minutes until golden,  turn over and cook for a further 30 seconds – 1 minute until just  cooked. Lay the fillets out into a non-metallic dish.

Using the same frying pan add the olive oil, sliced onion and garlic,  sweat gently for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, bay  leaves and thyme.

Peel the skin off the orange using a vegetable peeler and add the  peel to the pan. Continue to cook gently for another 3 minutes.

Add the white wine, white wine vinegar and sugar and cook for a  further 5 minutes.

When the carrot has softened but still has a slight crunch squeeze  the juice of the orange into the pan.

When it comes back to the boil pour the mixture over the mackerel  fillets.

Cover the dish with cling film and leave to marinade (Ideally  overnight but for a minimum of two hours).

Serve at room temperature with some crusty bread or as we have  done at Joseph Benjamin, on toasted sourdough bread with  beetroot puree.

To see the recipes from the other four chefs clink on the links below:

Daniel Beech, sous chef at The Chester Grosvenor Hotel

Dave Ashton, head chef at  Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel

Ben Finchett, head chef  at the Marco Pierre White  Steakhouse Bar & Grill at  the Doubletree by Hilton  hotel and spa

Paul Wright, head chef at Chester Racecourse