Well I may have gone quiet online but I have been a busy bee in the kitchen making tasty treats for the festive season.
I have made plenty of mince pies but as I made the mincemeat last year I couldn’t tell you what the recipe was. Let’s hope by next Christmas I have found the recipe because it’s a really good one full of lots of fruit, oh and a fair amount of brandy.
Another edible I have made a lot of this year, and luckily for you have the recipe to hand, is pate.
At first this recipe seemed like a lot of work and for some reason it seemed more work when there was 2 of us trying to mince the liver and our puppy trying to eat the liver… So this last time I made it it was just me and it went a lot smoother. The experience, not the pate that is, as this makes a really nice country, chunky, rustic, just how mama used to make it kind of pate.
The make the meat mix you will need:
8 oz liver, I use pigs, cut into chunks,
12 oz bacon cut into chunks,
1 onion chopped,
2 cloves garlic chopped,
2 table spoons of butter.
Melt the butter in a deep frying pan and add to it the chunks of liver, bacon, onion and garlic stirring on a medium heat until cooked (10 mins should do it).
Transfer the mix to a mincer (a blender would probably work ok too) and mince coarsely into another bowl. Try to keep the juice in the frying pan rather than transferring it to the mincer as you will end up with juice on your work surfaces otherwise.
Then leave and make the sauce.
To make the sauce you will need:
½ pint milk,
2 black peppercorns,
1 bay leaf,
1 level tea spoon of mace (or nutmeg),
1 oz butter,
1 oz flour.
Put the frying pan, with the juices left from the liver, back on the now low heat.
Put the milk, peppercorns, bay leaf and mace/nutmeg into the frying pan and stir gently so nothing burns.
Bring to the boil and then let it rest off the heat for 10 mins so the flavours are released into the milk.
After 10 mins scoop out the peppercorns and bay leaf and tip the milky mixture into another bowl/jug (not the one with the liver mix in!).
Then we need to thicken this sauce so put the butter into the frying pan and let it melt on a low heat. When melted add the flour and stir until mixed over the heat. It will form a sticky, doughy thing.
Then take of the heat and pour a small amount of the milky mixture into this dough, stirring so it mixes through. Keep doing this, small amounts at a time until all the milk is back in the pan.
Now tip the liver mix into the frying pan and mix it through with the milk.
I would like to say da daaa its done but its not, there is 1 more thing to do.
Spoon the fully combined, slightly sloppy mix into backing dishes. We went through a phase of buying camembert that came in shallow ceramic dishes and these have been great for pate, they make it look really professional too.
You could top them with bay leaves and then cover them with silver foil.
Now, oven onto 180c, or 160c fan; let heat up and put the small dishes covered in foil into a larger dish/deep baking tray and add water to the tray. 1cm water should do it, but this may need topping up whilst it cooks, though make sure you don’t go over the lip of the dishes with the pate in. It’s called a bain marie, but despite the fancy name it is just a bath in the oven used when cooking so food doesn’t dry out.
Then you are all set to bake for 1 hour.
After the hour, take them out and leave to cool. It’s ok warm but the flavours and texture is better cold. Serve with warm crunchy bread or crackers. It should keep for up to a week in the fridge but over Christmas it comes out every morning with toast so barely lasts 3 days!
You can freeze the pate with the foil still on, this way it can keep for months.
I found this pate recipe acts as a great base to add other ingredients too. Try mushrooms, nuts or a tipple of your favorite spirit. I added brandy and that worked very well. You’re getting the theme here, brandy works well in most things for Christmas.
I hope you give this one a go; it can work out way cheaper than buying pate for Christmas, can be added too and changed to suit your tastes/what’s in your cupboard and tastes really gorgeous.