Easy Chicken Liver Pate

Makes 3 ramekins         Soaking time: 1 hour          Prep & Cooking Time: 10 minutes

I have made a couple of changes to my old recipe.
The two major ones are: a) soak the liver in milk, salt and water for about 1 hour to draw out most of the blood, which could make the livers bitter and
b) cover the ramekin dishes with melted butter/lard or a mix of.
I used Sherry & Brandy, and because I evaporated too much of the liquid I added another gass of sherry, and it was very nice.

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  • 300ml milk plus 1 heaped tbsp salt
  • 50g Goose Fat (or butter)
  • 400-450g Chicken Livers (trimmed)
  • 1 large Spring Onion (approx. 2cm) finely chopped
  • 1 large clove Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 small tsp Salt and Black Pepper (to your taste)
  • 1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves only or
    a couple of 2-3cm lengths of sprays
  • 75-100ml Red Wine (or Sherry or Chicken Stock)
  • 1-2 tbsp Brandy
  • 50-100g butter, melted (for the finishing touches)
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves (for decoration)
  • Some fresh Cranberries (for decoration)
  1. Remove the sinew from the chicken livers and halve the larger pieces. Place in a bowl with the salted milk and a little water, enough liquid to cover the chicken liver totally to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Place the thyme leaves or stalk pieces into a mortar. Add the salt and grind – the salt will help removing the thyme leaves from the stalks. Don’t overdo it. Then remove all the stalks and add the pepper.
  3. After 1 hour drain the liver from the milk. Rinse and dry the liver.
  4. I prefer to use a wok as the heat surface is smaller but the cooking is easier to deal with. Melt the fat in the wok (or a frying pan) over a medium heat; add the onion and the garlic; fry until softened, but not coloured.
  5. Add the herbs and fry for ½ minute
  6. Add the chicken livers and fry for 1-2 minutes to seal, constantly turning the livers so that they do not get brown.
  7. Now stir in all the liquid and let the live cook vigorously for 3-4 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated/boiled away.
  8. Place everything in the food processor or use a stick-blender and blend until smooth.
  9. Transfer the pâté into 3-4 serving ramekin or small dish flatten the top surface with a teaspoon. Spread the melted butter between the ramekin dishes. (This is to prevent the pâté from oxidising and discolouring).
  10. Set aside until cooled to room temperature then cover with cling film and place in fridge.

Decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf when serving.

The pâté can be frozen and will keep for up to 3 months.

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Nearly Ratatouille

Serves: 4-6         Prep Time: 10-20 minutes         Oven Time: 45 minutes

I didn’t have all the ingrediencies required for a ratatouille but I think my take of this dish suites most home cooks. Its not difficult and it gets rid of the small need to be used vegetables in your fridge.

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  • 1 portion lardoons
  • 1 Red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Shallot onion, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ Celeriac, coarsely chopped
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 sweet red pepper, quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4-5 thin slices Ginger
  • 2 Courgettes quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4 Carrots, quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3-4 garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil, for blanching
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • Salt, Pepper and Mixed Herbs to taste.
  • Optional – a little Saffron and or Sweet Paprika.

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Chop/prep all ingrediencies and keep in separate bowls.
  3. Add the oil to the big oven dish, and blanch the lardons, before they crisp up add the onions, chopped garlic, red pepper and ginger.
  4. After 3-5 minutes stir in the carrots, celeriac and leeks. Fry, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  5. Then pour in the wine and chopped tomatoes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sprays of thyme and maybe add some mixed herbs.
  7. Top the lot with the courgettes, gently turn the courgettes under the contents of the oven dish. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven. Check the taste, and add extra if needed. This is also where you add the saffron and paprika. Gently turn everything in the dish making sure its all covered in liquid and return to oven without the lid, for another 15 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Jerusalem Artichokes

I didn’t know anything about Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) until
a friend of mine gave me a bag (roughly 1.5kg) of his harvest. I was a little comprehensive because they looked weird and they had no give-away smell at all.

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It took me two days to get courage enough to start experimenting.

My first try, was just to boil them in saltwater – similar to potatoes – without peeling them.

I placed 10 medium sized roots in a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Added 1 tsp salt, and left them cooking for 15 minutes. I then removed the skin, simply by cutting length-wise and squeezing the flesh out. I was surprised of the flavour, I know I’ve tasted it before, but no idea where. It wasn’t an unpleasant taste.

I used a teaspoon to make small cakes on a frying pan with butter, and sprinkled mixed herbs, garlic & onion salt over them. That was very nice.

I then used the rest to make a mash, by adding a little milk and butter, plus pepper, nutmeg, onion and garlic salt. Mixed it thoroughly and reheated the mash, and that was quite a pleasant taste too.

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Croutons vs. Chips

I had ½ a stale white bread and because of our current circumstances with Covid-19, I didn’t just want to throw it away or feed it to the birds.

As I quite like to have a nipple when I watch TV, I decided to make some flavoured croutons.

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  • Left over bread
  • Some oil (olive or sunflower)
  • Salt and flavouring (onion salt, Garlic salt, mixed herbs …)
  • Cut 4 slices, and cut the slices into 1cm cubes.
  • Placed ½ of the cubes in a pre-heated wok,
  • Drizzle some sunflower oil, salt and onion salt over the lot.
  • Turn heat down to half, and turn the cubes at regular intervals until the croutons are browned but not burned.
  • For the second half replace onion-salt with another flavour.

And there you have it, croutons instead of chips to nipple.

Cooking and Prep. time max 10 minutes.

 

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Easy Fried/Stir-Fried Potatoes

This is a quick way to make fried potatoes from scratch, if you are in a hurry and don’t want to wait for your potatoes to be cooked.
This is a two-in-one recipe for fried potatoes.
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2-5 potatoes
1tsp olive oil
25-50g butter (depending on how many potatoes are used)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pan-Fry: Slice the potatoes into thin slices using a mandolin

Stir-Fry: Cut the potatoes into cubes using a mandolin.

  • While slicing/cutting bring a saucepan of water and a little salt to boil.
  • Add the sliced/cut potatoes to the boiling water and cook for about 2-3 minutes, drain and dry with a kitchen towel.

Pan-Fry:

  1. Heat oil and butter in a frying pan
  2. Add the potatoes and fry. Turn occasionally until potatoes are browned and slightly crunchy.
  3. If wanted you can also add some sliced onions to the frying pan.
  4. Serve as a Side-dish to your dinner or lunch, sprinkled with parsley and/or chives.

Stir-Fry:

  1. Heat oil and butter in a wok.
  2. Add the potatoes to the wok. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add whatever else is needed for the stir-fry.
  4. And serve.

I love real wheat pasta

A week or so ago, I cooked some pasta, for 9-10 minutes as prescribed. It was taste-less and still half cooked, not very nice. I thought it was because I wasn’t feeling too well, and filed the thought at the back of my brain that I don’t like pasta anymore.

Today; I really fancied some pasta but felt reluctant: “do I want to cook for 10 minutes – only to throw the result away?” Hmmm … That was the thought that went through my mind. Anyway, I did cook some pasta but I also notice that the pasta I had cooked last time was gluten free “FreeFrom” pasta. And that has just joined my rubbish bin. So now I have re-discovered that I love real wheat pasta. To accompany the pasta I had stir-fried pak choi, Vichy carrots and a lovely tender dry-fried Angus beef steak. Followed by strawberries and cream.