Monday, 27 March 2017

Green tomato and orange jam - never mind red,go green

Preserving summer flavours all year long seems to be the rule of thumb when it comes to jam making and preserves.Some think of jam-making as a cold-weather activity, one for the autumn and winter. Believe it or not spring in Portugal and Spain is a prime time for jam making.Trees are laden with bitter Seville oranges, ripe for the marmalade making brigade.New season oranges and lemons are prevalent too.But who knew that the first salad tomatoes while still unripe and green when combined with oranges and lemons make a delicious and unusual addition to the breakfast tray.And yes, OK, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit too. We normally use them as a savoury ingredient, but their aroma and texture lends itself to sweet preparations too.Doces de tomates or tomato jams are very traditional in Portugal and delicious they are too.Normally one struggles to ripen the late bounty of tomatoes that stubbornly refuse to turn from green to red in autumn.Dont get me wrong, this recipe is a great way to use up unripe tomatoes at that time of year,but turn the seasons upside down and grab the tomatoes in early spring before they speedily change colour, and it’s green tomato season.These are not the green-when-ripe tomatoes, that have sweet and tart flavour tones, and are soft when ripe. These are simply unripe tomatoes, which if left on the vine or on a kitchen counter for a very short time will very quickly turn red. Some are rock-hard; some are softer. The softer ones are pink inside, maybe with  a slight blush here and there on the skin.What I like most about this is that it is great to have some jams at hand until the real soft fruits of summer arrive.And by the time summer arrives and Northern Europe is feasting on strawberries scones and clotted cream teas, the strawberry season here will be well gone so I also need to get my act together this weekend and make strawberry jam pronto while they are at their peak and.... before hanging my preserving pan up for the summer the apricot season is just around the corner.
Green Tomato and Orange Jam
makes about 2kg ( 4lb )
Despite the amber hue of the resulting preserve, this is a soft set green tomato jam.
4 large sweet oranges
2 lemons
1kg ( 2lb )green tomatoes
750ml ( 11/4 pints ) water
1kg (2 lb ) preserving or granulated sugar
11/2 tbsp coriander seeds roughly crushed (optional)
Cut the oranges into slices and remove the pips.Squeeze the juice from the lemons and reserve the pips.Tie all the pips into apiece of muslin.
Put the tomatoes and oranges into a food processor until they are finely chopped.
Place the chopped tomato and orange into the preserving pan with the water and muslin bag.Bring to the boil,then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes,or until the orange peel is soft.
Add the sugar and the lemon juice to the pan,stirring until the sugar has dissolved
Bring to the boil and boil over a medium heat,stirring occasionally for 30-35 minutes,or until the mixture is thick enough for a wooden spoon drawn through the centre to leave a clear channel. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the jam to settle for afew minutes.Skim if necessary,then remove the muslin bag and stir in the crushed coriander seeds if using.Ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars,then seal.
Shelf life - 1 year



Thursday, 23 March 2017

Chickpea chips:Better, easier, and healthier than French fries?

How many things are there that you should do before you die? Seriously? I may just have to try one of them then. Let me preface this by saying that I've never eaten a chip butty and, unless completely trolleyed and desperate for carbs, I probably never will.And if I do I will probably induce a coronary condition anyway so it would be a blessing if I did it now before I die.
In England a butty is another word for sandwich, usually reserved for combinations involving  bread and butter and breakfast meat. Sarnie also means sandwich, though I'm not sure of the difference between a sarnie and a butty. It's like how Eskimo´s supposedly have hundreds of words for snow - the British have a lot of different ways to say 'stuff between bread.
To cut along story short I have found a solution to curb the international high cholesterol sandwich...and here´s one for you political ideologist fish and chipocrites.Its a chickpea chip butty or as the Italians call it Panelle in a bread roll.The french call it panisse and lose the bread,while the Indians call it Gathya. Panisses are perfect snack food, excellent served with rosé or alongside meat dishes, like they do in Provence. Fried to a crisp, they’re so good.
Panisse,or could they be chips?
Indian savoury chickpea chips- Gathya
French fries are indisputably a wonderful food. But their reputation as the zenith of deep-fried foods seems to go unquestioned.They no longer for me hold the title of the most interesting deep-fried potato dish.That title belongs to chickpea fries: crispy-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside little batons made from chickpea flour and whatever other flavourings you care to add to them, Rosemary, parmesan, cumin?  With a smooth, dense, and custard-like interior, I think chickpea fries are far more satisfying than the starchy potato version. (They’re also higher in protein and fibre, if you’re concerned about such things when you eat fried foods.)
Chickpea fries are arguably easier to make than French fries, as well. They take a little extra time, but the technique itself is child’s play compared to the endless, fiddly peeling and julienning required for French fries. You make a quick stiff batter on the stovetop, let it cool and set in a pan, cut it into sticks (which takes about a minute), and fry away. If you’re planning on serving them at a cocktail or dinner party (obviously, they have a canape connotation too), you can do everything except for the frying a day or two in advance.
There are various kinds of chickpea flour available, depending on where in the world you live. I used a brand from from my local health food store, but the Italian varieties seem to be much finer, which I think is what they must use in the south of France so they have an even, crispy shell that gives way to a creamy, soft centre. Much like a twice fried potato chip.
The resultant chips evenly turn a light golden colour in the oil. They look like they could have been purchased from the golden arches themselves. It’s uncanny. Dare I say it: this is better than a chip. And I didn’t have to peel a thing. Much like its brother,the potato, the chickpea chip plays a great supporting role. It’s the sort of chip that could stand alone, but it still lets the burger be the main event. If you’re not already in possession of a chickpea flour, I say go forth now and purchase one.
What do you like to dip your chips into? Any recommendations about sauce? Just ketchup? mayo? or perhaps aioli? Yoghurt mint dipping sauce perhaps? Chip omelette anyone?
Chickpea Fries  
Serves 10 to 12

You can flavour the chips with cumin, rosemary, chopped black olives or parmesan, and if you want a more intense flavour cook the mixture in chicken stock instead of water

4 cups water
2 cups chickpea flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups vegetable oil
Place the water in a large saucepan with the salt and bring to a boil.  Pour the chickpea flour in a steady stream into the water and whisk vigorously until all of the water is absorbed and there are no lumps, about 2-3 minutes. Continue cooking until you have a thick porridge like consistency and the mass is pulling away from the sides of the pan. You are looking for the consistency of polenta. Take the pot off the heat. There should be plenty of salt but now is the time to taste and make sure. These fries are all about the salt.
Oil a ceramic dish or roasting pan or alternatively line a baking sheet with a silpat or wax paper. Pour the chickpea mixture onto the baking sheet and spread evenly. Set aside to firm for about 30 minutes or overnight.
When the mixture is set take a knife and gently cut the mixture into rectangular pieces. Use your judgement as to the size. You can make fat chips or thin fries.
In a deep fat fryer turn the heat to medium high. Once the oil is hot enough (you will get a nice sizzle) add some fries (about 8 at a time) and cook until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Take them out and place on a paper towel lined plate. Transfer to dish and serve immediately.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Ravioli -If at first you don´t succeed try and try again

I think that nearly everyone who loves to cook—even those of us who enjoy complicated projects when the mood strikes—have a culinary kryptonite or a baking bête noir. You know, that one thing that you’ve never made because it’s intimidating or it seems overly complicated. Mine has always been ravioli. I love to eat it, but it has always seemed like . . . shall I say it, a lot of fannying about
Pasta machines give a smooth finish, which is fine, but if you’re going as far as to make your own pasta, why not go all the way? Although Italian nonnas use a long narrow pin called a mattarello,you can use any heavy rolling pin that feels right to you.Below is a recipe for a basic pasta dough but everybody has a recipe for pasta dough that works for them, so I would suggest using the recipe that you are accustomed to. Practice makes perfect.Good luck!

Makes 48 ravioli
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 


To make the dough by hand: Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface, shape into a mound, and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall and mix it with the beaten eggs. Use 1 hand for mixing and the other to protect the outer wall. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a smooth dough. Dust some flour on the work surface; knead and fold the dough until it is elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. 
To roll out the dough: Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the piece you are not using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it turning it over and rolling it again until your dough is paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick. Roll out the other half.
There are many methods for forming and cutting ravioli. You can use a ravioli cutter or a cookie cutter to form round or square ravioli. Or you can roll out strips of dough, add the filling, fold the dough over and use a pastry cutter to form the ravioli.I was recently given a ravioli press or mould.The result was an improvement on my first attempt but the thickness of my pasta dough still left a lot to be desired and I am now feeling I should give up following in nonna´s footsteps and invest in a pasta rolling machine.Nonnas have time and patience on their side - I don´t.

For Butternut Squash Filling
500g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2-3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 pinches dried thyme
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste

Place cubed squash into a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven ( 220C ) until squash is soft.While squash is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until tender, 7 minutes. Reduce heat and add in garlic. Cook 1 minute and remove from heat.
Place cooked squash, onions, garlic, and remaining ingredients into a food processor. Puree. Store in refrigerator until ready to fill raviolis.

To cook. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Drop in your raviolis and stir gently. Raviolis will be finished cooking once they float to the top. Drain and pour back into the hot pot. Place on the warm burner. (You don’t need the burner on)
To make a simple garlic cream sauce, melt some butter in with the hot raviolis {still in the same pot you used to cook them in}. Grate in a little garlic, a splash of cream, some grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two or until sauce thickens slightly. Serve immediately. (For about 12 raviolis, I used 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 large clove of garlic, 1/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper.)
My first attempt in 2013, I´ve come along way since then

Friday, 17 March 2017

Dia de São Patrício - um dia de panificação,"Ah sure, it will be a great craic !"

Guinness and spirits are not the only great consumable goods to come out of Ireland. Corned beef, cabbage and lamb stew accompanied by traditional Irish soda bread are tasty ways to "keep it real."
Last year I was given  a recipe for Irish soda bread by a guest who had been staying in the house.With Saint Patrick´s day once more upon us I thought I would make this again and also try a variation on the theme with a batch of white soda scones.I thought I would have a bit of a "Norn' Iron" fry up too with some Irish potato bread.(farls)
So come on release the leprechaun within you and If you're cooking on March 17th, you can get into the festive spirit by incorporating a little green into your work attire. Try a green apron?
White soda Scones 
The key to tender scones and most Irish baking recipes  for that matter is handling the mixture as little as possible.
3 2/3 cups (1 pound) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

( If butter milk is not available use a 50/50 blend of plain yogurt and water)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 450F. Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl, and rub the mixture with your fingertips to incorporate some air. Make a well in the centre and pour in most of the buttermilk. Using one hand, with your fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle, bringing the flour and liquid together, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and do not knead it but gently bring it into a ball. Flatten slightly to a height of about 1 1/2 inches. Cut dough into squares or whatever shape you like. Place scones onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes (depending on size). When cooked they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.
This scone recipe is from Rachel Allen, the Martha Stewart of Ireland.  It is from her book, Favorite Food at Home with Rachel Allen (Morrow, 2006). 
Potato Farls
The word farl literally means "fourths": they are shaped from a circle of dough cut into quarters. They are part of a family of Irish potato breads and pancakes which include boxty, potato fadge and stampy. Traditionally they were made with oatmeal, butter and potatoes – no flour, no bicarbonate of soda. But it's worth experimenting to get the texture you want. The less flour and bicarb you use, the denser and moister the farl. Using more flour and bicarb and moistening the mixture with milk creates an increasingly light and fluffy bread‑like substance.
Don't hesitate to leave a few tiny potato lumps, it makes the farls a bit more luscious. Try not to use excess flour when shaping the rounds; As I said above I have found the best way to shape the bread is to use your hands instead of a rolling pin and a pizza cutter to slice before cooking.
4 medium potatoes
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
Please note the above ingredients are approximate. Potato Bread is best made while potatoes are still hot.
Peel and boil potatoes until tender.
While hot, mash potatoes well with salt and butter.
Gradually work in flour in smaller increments until a soft dough forms. Dough should be a little tacky but workable.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 1 minute.
Divide and roll into a circular shape about 9" and 1/4" thick.
Cut into 6 or 8 'farls' (wedges).
Grill in a hot, greased griddle or pan until well browned on both sides.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Lombinho de porco teryaki salmourado em Sagres e Xerez com espinafres e pimentão


I love pork tenderloin.Tenderloin is easy to cook, juicy, flavourful, and healthfully lean. One tenderloin typically weighs somewhere around a pound, making it a perfect dinner for two (plus a little leftover for sandwiches the next day).One of the best reasons to cook more pork tenderloin is how easily it lends itself to a variety of flavours.My favourite tenderloin recipe has always been a recipe  from the Ribatejo that came to me by way of an Açorean Blogger Elvira,who sadly has not posted for a couple of years now.The recipe in particular uses  a Portuguese store cupboard staple Massa de pimentao.For this new recipe I beer brined the tenderloin in the Portuguese beer, Sagres. I used the teryaki principle but in an unorthodox way.Using the sweet sauce as a marinade and then grilling the meat first and pouring the reduced sauce on afterwards is a non-traditional method of cooking teriyaki
Leaner cuts of pork, like tenderloin, are perfect candidates for this. These cuts are difficult to cook because there’s not enough fat to keep them tender. A beer brine not only ups the moisture but alters the natural qualities of the protein causing some of the muscle to unwind and swell. The brine then gets trapped in these proteins and when cooked, the liquid binds to the muscle creating flavour pockets and a juicier result. This basic brine with beer is an instance where the power of beer can be highlighted during the cooking process.I served the pork on some wilted spinach with a nod to Elvira´s recipe, pan roasted peppers with anchovy.Anchovies add depth to the peppers, but you can omit them if you do not like the taste of anchovy.

Sagres beer brined 
teryaki tenderloin with spinach and pan roasted peppers

1 pork tenderloin approx 500g
2/3 cup soya sauce
1/4 cup mirin or sweet sherry
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1x 25cl bottle sagres mini (left)

In a saucepan combine the soya sauce,mirin or sherry, vinegar,sugar,,ginger and the beer.Simmer the mixture until it is reduced to about 11/3 cups.
Let the mixture cool completely.In a container large enough to hold the pork in one layer,combine the pork and marinade,turning the meat to coat it thoroughly.Let the chops marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight turning it several times.Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry on paper towel.Pour the marinade into a saucepan and boil it down until you have a sticky sauce.be careful not to burn the sauce,it will reduce down quite quickly. Grill the tenderloin on an oiled rack set about 10cm/ 4ins over glowing coals for about 8 minute on each side,basting it with the marinade for the last 5 minutes of the cooking time.Alternatively the meat can be grilled on a rack under a pre-heated grill in the same manner.
Slice in medallions and serve with the vegetables. 

For the Peppers
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a shallow pan.Add 4 garlic cloves crushed, a teaspoon of thyme and anchovies (if using ).Sautée an assortment of different coloured peppers,red,yellow and orange cut into strips.Cook until the peppers start to soften about 12 minutes.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Salad Rossini, eating on the wild side

 "Drama, drama, drama! An Italian meal is like an opera," 
once wrote the well-known gastronome, Waverley Root, referring to the clashing plates and clinking glasses ringing out notes rather like a composer might have placed them.

If you started the new year craving something healthy, eat your weeds. A handful of bitter leaves added to your salad bowl could just be the thing to introduce you to a new year joy of bitterness.. Dandelions grow everywhere close to home, and are packed full of vitamins and minerals, while the bitter compounds found in their leaves are reputed to stimulate the liver, kidneys and gall bladder, and aid digestion.Well good news,the rains have abated,the sun is shining and greens are a-springin´ - the wild foraging season has begun! The must-chew colour of the season is dandelion. Get ready to start picking and eating.Field mushrooms have been popping while dandelion´s are sprouting. Though detested on lawns, the dandelion is free, grows without care and then we pull it up and poison it, what an interesting paradox. What we need is right in front of us, yet we go to a lot of trouble to eradicate it. This gives us a glimpse into our sometimes upside down relationship with nature.Dandelions are now cultivated commercially and are widely available at farmers markets and supermarkets. Even better, go out and forage them for yourself, just be sure to avoid areas where dogs have been or weed killer might have been sprayed, Its gods way of telling us to stop buying bagged salads. For my neighbours who watched the spectacle, it must have been a curiosity the likes of which most old traditional Portuguese folk don’t see anymore: a grown Englishman crawling around Portuguese soil on his hands and knees with a pair of gardening scissors in one hand and a colander in the other.The word dandelion comes from the French, dent de lion, or dente di leone in Italian, dente de leao in Portuguese and refers to the green teeth on the leaves. In France, they're also called pissenlit,, for the leaves have diuretic properties.The whole dandelion plant is edible and nutritious – root, leaves, and flowers. It grows in most climates and terrains, although the growing season is dependent on seasonal rains. This is a valuable survival plant as it will keep you alive even if you have nothing else to eat. It contains all the nutritive salts the body needs to purify the blood and is a liver tonic as well as a safe diuretic.The taste is a bit of a cross between rocket and kale — slightly bitter and robustly peppery. They are about a foot long with a saw-tooth edge. Stumped for how to use them? Consider them for any recipe where you’d normally use rocket, or even baby spinach.To counteract the bitterness I would suggest combining them with other leaves or something sweet like pears and cheese.
The flowers can also be used used to make an exotic jewelled risotto.
I love to eat them just as you would any salad green, or briefly sautéed in garlic, lemon and olive oil. They make an amazing salad tossed in the hot fat from crispy fried lardons, along with a handful of croutons and a tablespoon of chopped chives, finely chopped red onion, fresh basil, shaved parmesan, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, lardons or bacon bits, pears, walnuts, apples, hardboiled eggs and basically anything else anything else that sounds delicious!

On the 20 February 1816, Rossini premiered the famous opera Il Barbiere de Siviglia.An account from the time tells us that the composer raced through his pre-performance dissertation to plunge into a detailed and lengthy description of a new recipe for a salad that was evidently known by the name of the famous composer.It is not clear what the recipe composed of but one source cites dandelions as the main ingredient.
Rossini was the greatest example of a man who could have become a celebrated gourmet if only his musical genius had not eclipsed his gastronomic talents. Biographies of Rossini, half fact and half legend, abound in gastronomical anecdotes.An early account recalls how he enjoyed the taste of the wine served at mass.
Salad Rossini With Mustard Dressing
I have found many variations on this much emulated salad but they all substitute rocket for the dandelion leaves

1 bunch curly endive or chicory leaves, washed and drained
1 bunch watercress, washed and drained
1 bunch dandelion greens, washed and drained
2 papayas
1 stalk celery, sliced


MUSTARD DRESSING
2 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks, well beaten
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice

Combine mustard and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Mix in olive oil and lemon juice, blending well. 

Spin or towel-dry greens and tear into bite-sized pieces. Reserve 1/3 greens; arrange remainder on 6 chilled salad plates. Slice papayas in half. Remove seeds and peel. Place 1 half on each salad plate. Arrange reserved greens over papayas. Sprinkle celery over. Drizzle each serving with Mustard Dressing.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Hobnobbin´- a very British thing

Since the launch of Mcvities Hobnob nibbles I´ve noticed the bloggin world is hobnobbin like there´s no cookies left in the universe.What is it with the English and biscuits? The British have a national obsession with biscuits.
If you want to know more about one of the nation's greatest obsessions, then you could do a lot worse than to spend some time dunking a biscuit in a cuppa while surfing the entirely fabulous Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down.When it comes to tea breaks, it goes without saying that nobody does it better than the British, and no tea break is complete without a biscuit.
While tea was the mortar with which the Empire was built, the country´s no less than magnificent range of biscuits were the bricks.But in recent years this proud heritage has been besmirched by cookies and cake pops from the other side of the pond.Chips ahoy! and Hi Ho Oreo, the American cookie has challenged the British biscuit.Stand and be counted I say, the Hobnob and its siblings are the Ambrosia of the biscuit world,and for many the true essence of British biscuit eating.
 photo hobnob_zpse85ef5d8.jpg
Chocolate bourbons . . . two buttery dark chocolate rectangles sandwiched together with a chocolate buttercream. Garibaldi's, affectionately known in Schoolboy jargon as Squashed Flies . . .  almost crackerlike and squashed full of sweet little currants . . .
Buttery Rich Tea, Shortbreads, Jammy Dodgers, Digestives, Custard Creams . . . the list goes ever on.  My favourite though has to be the plain old . . . unadulterated hobnob!  You just can't beat a good old fashioned crisp oatmeal cookie.Oaty, buttery, nobbly, crisp with just a subtle hint of golden syrup They come in a few varieties, including covered, chocolate chip, etc. Homemade hobnobs however are even better!  They were a little different to the packet version, a little chewier, and more likely to stick in your teeth but in a way I preferred them. I liked that I knew exactly what was inside them. These are the perfect fun Sunday afternoon baking project. Oaty and crumbly, buttery and chewy and  I was even tempted to smother some in chocolate. I’ll definitely be making these again.Watch out for the `Knaves of Hearts´ that may be lurking as you are making making them.Yes they are that good.I wonder if Catherine of Braganza ever set eyes on them when she was hobnobbin´over afternoon tea?


(Chocolate Coated) Hobnobs (Oat Cookies)
150g butter  
150g sugar (3/4 cup) 
1 TBS milk 
1 tsp golden syrup 
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g self raising flour (1 cup) 
120g of rolled oats (1 1/3 cup)
½ - 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
100g chocolate
10g butter


Preheat the oven to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 2.  Line a large baking tray with baking paper.  Set aside.Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the milk and golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda to mix well.   Stir in the flour and oats, mixing all together well.Divide and shape into 20 equal sized balls.  Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. 
Carefully lift off to cool on a wire rack.  
Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Coarse Country Pate

If like me you have been hankering after some of the rough country pâté available all over France, but in short supply here in the Algarve, why not make your own? We were out to dinner at a friend´s house last weekend and she  served a delicious home made chicken liver pate that was just the right degree of coarse texture.I have never made a coarse pate and this one whet my appetite.When I left home all those years ago my dear mother sent me off to college with a Delia Smith cookbook under my arm.I never looked back and across the years Delia has been well thumbed by me.You won't believe how blissfully easy this recipe is, and using a processor instead of buying the meat ready-minced makes it even coarser and chunkier. Serve it for lunch with some char-grilled or toasted country bread and some crisp radishes or cornichons, and, if you close your eyes, you're in France.

The inspiration -Catherine Calego Bistro O Porto Tavira
The recipe I adapted - Delia Smith


Coarse Country Pate
12 oz (350 g) pork loin
1 heaped teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 fl oz (120 ml) dry white wine
1 fl oz (25 ml) brandy
1 lb (450 g)  streaky pork rashers, with as much fat as possible
10 oz (275 g) dry-cured smoked streaky bacon
8 oz (225 g)  pigs' liver
20 juniper berries
20 whole black peppercorns
1 heaped teaspoon salt
¼ rounded teaspoon ground mace
2 large cloves garlic, crushed


To garnish:
fresh bay leaves

a few extra juniper berries
You'll find it's best to process the different meats one at a time (finishing with the pigs' liver, as this is the messiest). Begin by cutting the meat into rough pieces, then place them in the food processor bowl and process until quite finely chopped.
Next, tip each meat in turn into a large mixing bowl and mix them together very thoroughly. Now coarsely crush first the juniper berries and then the black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and add these to the meat, along with 1 heaped teaspoon of salt, the mace, garlic and thyme. Now you need to mix again even more thoroughly to distribute all the flavours evenly.
After this, add the wine and brandy and give it a final mix, then cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it in a cool place for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to be absorbed.
Before cooking the pâté, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).
Then pack the mixture into the terrine or loaf tin and decorate the top with the bay leaves and the extra juniper berries. Place the terrine or tin in a roasting tin half-filled with hot water on the centre shelf of the oven and leave it there for about 1¾ hours. By the time it has cooked, the pâté will have shrunk quite a bit.
Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool without draining off any of the surrounding juices; once the pâté has cooled, the surrounding fat and jelly will keep it beautifully moist.
When the pâté is cold, place a double strip of foil across the top and put a few weights on to press it down for at least a few hours – this pressing isn't essential but it helps to make the pâté less crumbly if you want to serve it in slices. If you don't have any scale weights, use any heavy object: bricks, tins of food or any innovation you can think of instead.
If you don't weight it you can serve it in chunks rather than slices. Then, place the pâté, weights and all, into the fridge overnight.
To serve the pâté you need to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes ahead, to return it to room temperature, then turn it out of the terrine or loaf tin and remove the surrounding jelly and any fat. Slice and serve with cornichons, watercress and hot toasted or chargrilled bread, or some very crusty, fresh bread.
For char-grilled bread: pre-heat a char-grill pan for about 10 minutes so that it is really hot. Cut your chosen bread into fairly thick slices, then lay them on the char-grill pan.
Turn over when they have got nice dark stripes (about 40 seconds if the pan is really hot) and repeat on the other side.