30 August 2010

simple, verging on the primitive

Still smarting from my first experiences with a proper pâté de campagne, I was happily surprised when a few weeks ago I stumbled across a recipe for a simple chicken liver pâté.

And when I say simple, I really mean simple, verging on the primitive. I loved it instantly.

And of course, I had to try it first chance I had. It has bacon and butter in equal proportions, what could I possibly do wrong?

Not much, as it turned out.

Admittedly, this is not a refined something I could put next to a salad and call it a meal. But it is damn yummy for little to no work at all, and that's all the reason I need to put it up here and jot it down into my little brown book.

On fresh bread or on crackers, this would be an indulgent snack or lovely company to a salad. Or as a spread on an open sandwich. Or as a filling in a filet millefeuille. Just try it, I am sure you'll come up with several more ideas.

simple liver paté
(makes 500g)

125g fresh liver (The original calls for chicken, I used porc and was perfectly happy)
125g bacon
125g onions
125g butter
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon dry Sherry
salt & pepper

Roughly chop the liver and the bacon, peel and chop the onion.

In a small cast-iron pot, sear the liver in a little bit of the butter until it takes colour.
This is just for the taste, no need to actually get the liver done.

Add all the remaining ingredients and leave to simmer on low heat for two hours, or until the bacon bits fall apart easily.
As the bacon is already salty, be careful with the salt, but generous with the pepper.

Leave the mix to cool for a moment, then run through a food-processor or blender until smooth.
Depending on the occasion, you might want the paté very smooth or still a little chunky. Trust your own judgement.

Fill into jars and cool.

Kept in the fridge, the paté keeps about a week.
It keeps longer if you top it with a seal of clarified butter, but as easily made and swiftly gone as this is, I never really saw the necessity.

Take out of the fridge half an hour before serving. Goes well with any kind of bread and on crackers, pefect with beer or strong white and light red wines.

21 August 2010


Found a bunnymato on the vine in my garden this morning.
'nuff said.

16 August 2010

of peaches and grapes

For the second year now, the little peach tree next to out kitchen is bearing fruit. And even despite having had a bad case of leaf curl this spring, causing it to shed all leaves and fruit on the yearling branches, yesterday we harvested a whole bowl of incredibly tasty, fragrant white peaches.

Also, our grapevine is trying to outdo itself this year. The grapes themselves are still a little on the smallish side, but that is to be expected with a plant this young. But they are deeply aromatic, and even though not quite ripe yet, they fill the whole driveway with their scent.

Coming February, we will have to properly prune the vine for the first time, as it now is as large as we will allow it to grow. So excited to see how the plant will react to this.

12 August 2010

my new best friend

And another summer party over.

We had entirely improbable luck concerning the weather, sitting outside with friends and family until half past three in the morning.

(bigger version here)

It was a small party compared to other years, but this only made all the preparations much more relaxed. With the relentless help of my lovely wife, all food turned out lovely, the roast crisp and juicy, the salmon spicy but not salty, the hot potato wedges hot enough and best of all, by sunday noon, the house was clean again. We're a bit footsore but feeling very accomplished now.

I'll post a few of the recipes later, but first one tiny thing that really made my day.

Remember last year's gravlax? The one I didn't manage to get a single decent picture of?

Well, this year's salmon was much more cooperative - and here's the proof:

First the spices, then the prepared salmon inside it's tight glass coffin of clingwrap.

And finally, my new best friend, sliced and decorated just moments before we called in the guests -

And as you can guess, it was gone minutes later.