Matt Woodley of The Plowden Arms in Shiplake Cross presents this week's recipe

Matt started out as a pot washer, aged 14, and says becoming a chef was a natural progression.

Now 32, he is owner and head chef at The Plowden Arms, in Shiplake, near Henley. 

He has been there since taking on the pub in October 2012.

Matthew prefers to cook by eye, taste and touch rather than timers, water baths and thermometers.

The dish that everyone asks for is John Bull’s Pudding, a dish that the pub generally has on its menu throughout the winter. 

It’s a steak and suet pudding so named by Eliza Acton in her book Modern Cookery For Private Families from 1845. 

When he is too tired to cook, Matthew is a sucker for cheese and biscuits. 

He is a great cheese lover – “especially gooey, smelly ones” and his favourites at the moment are Oxford Isis and a really ripe Tunworth.

The strangest food he has ever eaten, are Lime ants in Australia. 

“My wife and I were on an adventure type day trip with a chap called Capricorn Dave and we had to go hunting for these big ants with green backsides that taste like limes.”

Mackerel and gooseberries are a combination, says Matt, that have been paired together in Britain (as they both come into season together) since the 17th century but now somewhat forgotten

* 4 fresh mackerel, filleted 
* 25g butter
* 350g gooseberries, topped and tailed 
* 100ml cider
* 50ml cream
* 1/4tsp grated nutmeg
* Sugar to taste

To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy base pan, add the gooseberries and cider, cook until gooseberries are tender (15 minutes) then blitz in a blender and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Now add the cream, nutmeg and sugar to taste.

For the mackerel, season the fillets with salt and pepper, dust the skin with flour and place in a hot pan with oil skin side down, cook on the skin for 3 minutes then turn over and take the pan off the heat, leave for 30 seconds then serve with the sauce.