Easy Chicken Liver Parfait

This parfait* recipe is so simple, so tasty and ideal if you are time poor ( that’s a very fancy way of saying busy ) and that is probably most of us, even if you have stopped with a coffee to browse this posting. The best thing about this recipe is that it does not require the poaching in a water bath or bain-marie that you find in classic pâté and parfait recipes. Actually, make that the second best thing, the most important thing you need to know about this parfait is it is delicious, absolutely delicious. It is easily adapted, and you can fancy it up a little up by substituting duck livers for chicken and adding extra flavours like orange peel, tarragon, and Cointreau.

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You can serve this pate as a simple starter with crisp Melba toast and maybe some tangy, delicious homemade chutney or you can take it in a cold box, on a picnic, to generously spread on crusty French bread. I personally love the taste of chicken livers and have to be stopped picking them from the pan once cooked, but some people find any liver can be a little strong. You can soak your chicken livers in milk overnight in the refrigerator to achieve an even milder finish. Just strain and blot dry with kitchen paper before cooking.

*A parfait is a really, really silky smooth pâté that you can whip up like a mousse.

 

Easy Chicken Liver Parfait        for 6 to 8 medium ramekins

2 x 250g packs of Jersey Butter ( other butters are great too )

1kg Chicken Livers, preferably free-range or organic, trimmed

4 large Banana Shallots, peeled and very finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped

A small bunch of fresh Thyme leaves picked

50ml good quality Olive Oil

Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

A small wineglass of Brandy

to garnish

Thyme, Bay leaves, Pink Peppercorns

Clarified Butter – Place one whole pack of butter in a pan on a low heat or pilot light and let it tick away for 20 to 30 minutes until completely separated. The clear butterfat will separate from the white part in the bottom which is the whey. Skim the clear fat off the top and put in a separate container. This a similar technique to making Ghee the staple of Indian cookery and the base of many of the rich buttery curry sauces. Clarified butter can be used at a much higher temperature because there are no milk solids to burn.

In the oil sauté the shallot, garlic, and thyme for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and just starting to colour. Turn up the heat and add a splash more oil, the chicken livers and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about more than 4 minutes until the livers plump up and they are still very pink in the middle. Add brandy to the pan of livers, and let it flame off. Tip everything straight into a food processor with all the juices scraping out the pan. Blitz until smooth and check seasoning. Dice up your remaining pack of butter, and add it piece by piece, with the food processor still running. Wait for each piece to be combined before adding more. Keep whizzing when it’s all in, and you’ll see it start to shine. Taste again and season again if necessary. Pass through a fine sieve and pour into ramekins, then cool. Decorate with thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns and top with clarified butter. Return to refrigerator and serve once the butter is set.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Milk

Please see the Allergens Page

 

Cauliflower Veloute with Cauliflower Pakora and Curry Oil

This week I’ve been looking at some of the soup recipes I have put online and while I had several classics such as Gazpacho, French Onion and Chowder I wanted something a little more elegant so today’s recipe is a sophisticated soup ideal for a dinner party and perhaps as the starter for your Christmas Dinner. This rich, silky smooth cauliflower soup is an ideal partner to the spicy flavours of the pakora’s and curry oil. A veloute is a traditional soup made with a stock thickened with a roux, this recipe also contains potato for extra body.

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Cauliflower Veloute

Cauliflower Veloute

1 kg ( approximately ) 1 large Cauliflower, cut up

1 large Baking Potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks

1 large Onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 ltr  homemade Chicken or Vegetable stock

600ml full-fat Milk

142ml carton Double Cream

60gr Plain Flour

40gr Butter

4 tbsp Olive Oil

A small sprig of fresh Thyme

Small Bay Leaf

Sea Salt and White Pepper

A few drops of fresh Lemon Juice

A generous pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg

Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the cauliflower, potato, and onion. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for about ten minutes without colouring, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and cook out stirring continuously for two further minutes. Add the nutmeg, bay leaf, and thyme and pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then pour in the milk and return gently to a gentle simmer. This prevents scum forming from the milk solids. Simmer, uncovered, for fifteen minutes until the vegetables are soft then, add half the cream.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly then take out the thyme and bay leaf before blending in a food processor. For an extra smooth finish, push the purée through a sieve with the back of a ladle. Reheat gently do not boil, stir in the rest of the cream, the lemon juice, season to taste and serve.

You can prepare the soup ahead of time, cool, cover and chill then reheat as required.

Curry Oil

100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil, warmed in a small pan

2 level teaspoons of Curry Powder

1 tsp crushed Coriander Seeds

1 tsp yellow Mustard Seeds

½ tsp Turmeric

2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed

1 stalk of Lemongrass, peeled and roughly chopped

Grated Zest of 1 fresh Lime

Generous pinch of Sea Salt

 In a small frying pan, toast the curry powder, turmeric, coriander and mustard seeds for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn the spices, add the garlic, lemongrass, lime zest, salt and warm olive oil. Set aside to cool and infuse in a warm place for at least an hour. Strain the oil through a fine sieve cover and set aside until needed.

Cauliflower Pakoras

 Half a second Cauliflower ( around 500gr trimmed  into 2cm florets )

For the Batter

100gr Gram / Chickpea Flour

175ml ice cold Water

1 tsp ground Coriander

1 tsp ground Turmeric

1 tsp ground Cumin

A couple of generous pinches of Cayenne Pepper

¼ tsp fine Salt

Neutral Vegetable Oil for frying

Sieve all of the dry batter ingredients into a bowl to remove any lumps. Slowly pour in the water whisking together to make a smooth batter. The finished batter should be the consistency of double cream. Add a little extra cold water if required. Add the cauliflower florets to the batter and mix thoroughly to ensure they are all coated in the batter.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, it needs to be around 3 centimeters deep. When you can gently fry a piece of stale bread to golden brown the oil is hot enough. Place three or four spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil and cook for two minutes until golden brown on one side then turn over and cook for another couple of minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep cooking in batches until all the mixture is used up.

To serve ladle piping hot soup into bowls and add two or three pakoras, drizzle over curry oil and garnish with a little freshly chopped coriander.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery  Flour   Milk   Mustard

Please see the Allergens Page

 

Super Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup – A Bonfire Night Staple

Autumn is one of my favourite culinary times of the year, root vegetables are becoming abundant, it is the season for game, hearty stews and fiery curries and it is when soups really come into their own. As it is Bonfire Night I thought I would pass one of our family favourite recipes. There is nothing as comforting after walking on the beach or kicking up some leaves up in the park with the children and coming home and eating a nice bowl of soup.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup 2

 

We love creamy chowder, carrot and coriander but in our house, the girls love roasted red pepper and tomato best. This is a really easy, comforting recipe that freezes exceeding well so could be made in advance, it is a fantastic thick, full of sweet, smoky flavours and great served in a mug as you stand to watch the fireworks. Passed through a sieve it can be dressed up as a lovely lunchtime treat or simple supper dish. So, for the perfect fifth of November feast make sure you have some crisp-skinned jacket potatoes freshly baked in the oven, a plate full of toffee apples for the children and a big, big pan of this delicious soup.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup            serves 4 to 6

2 large deep Red Peppers, halved & de-seeded.

1 large Onion, peeled and sliced

3 cloves of Garlic, peeled.

2 sticks of Celery, washed and thinly sliced

1 large Carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

2 x 400 gr tins of chopped Tomatoes

1/2 litre of Vegetable Stock

100 ml quality Olive Oil

50 gr Tomato Purée

1 heaped teaspoon dried Basil

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

Juice of one fresh Lemon

A generous pinch of dried Chilli flakes

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 200 C /  360 F / Gas Mark 4. Place the pepper halves and garlic cloves on to a baking tray and drizzle with a little of the olive oil. Bake at the top of your oven for thirty minutes until the vegetables are roasted and nicely caramelised. In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan, over a medium heat, and sauté the chopped onion, carrot and celery for about ten minutes until soft.

In a second pan heat up the vegetable stock and add the tomato purée and the chilli flakes. Whisk and then add to the onions, celery and carrots. Peel any very dark, burnt spots from the peppers and add them, the garlic and remaining ingredients to the stock and vegetables. Bring the soup to a low boil, turn down the heat and simmer for twenty to twenty-five minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to completely cool then using a hand blender or food processor blitz the until the soup is smooth. You can pass the soup through a sieve if you want a more refined dinner party finish. To serve, reheat and season with salt, pepper and lemon to taste.