Chicken liver pate with port wine jelly

Pâté has to be one of life’s best little luxuries, particularly in winter when paired with a good glass of wine, some crusty bread and cornichons to cut the richness. Add to that the fact that it’s cheap as chips to make and just as simple – it’s a surprise we’re not making food like this more often as it’s the perfect little indulgence on a shoe string budget for these trying economic times.

Ingredients:

•    A packet of port wine jelly
•    1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
•    1 tablespoon warm water
•    1 clove of garlic, crushed
•    3 eschallots, chopped
•    The leaves from 6-7 stalks of thyme
•    6 bay leaves, make a small slit in each one to help release

The Flavour:
•    700g chicken livers, trimmed
•    1 cup Madeira (you could also use port)
•    A knob of butter for sautéing
•    100g cold butter, cubed
•    75ml double cream
•    A generous pinch of ground allspice
•    Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to season

To serve: a warm, crusty baguette and cornichons
You will also need: 1 food processor and 6 standard sized ramekins to
set the pâté in.

Method:

1. In a saucepan on medium heat, sauté the garlic, eschallots, thyme and bay leaves until the eschallots have softened (takes about 2 minutes).
2. Add the livers and stir-fry for one minute and no more.
3. Pour in the Madeira and cook for a further minute.
4. Remove bay leaves and pour the remaining mixture into a food processor.
5. Add the butter, cream, allspice, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
6. Pass the mixture through a sieve to give you a smooth finishing result (or don’t sieve if you prefer it more rustic).
7. Pour the mixture into ramekins, stopping around half a centimeter from the top. Lightly tap to create a smooth surface and allow the mixture to set in the fridge while you make the jelly.
8. Follow the initial instructions on the jelly packet, adding boiling water to the jelly crystals.
9. In a separate cup, sprinkle the tablespoon of powdered gelatine over a tablespoon of just boiled water, mix and set aside.
10. Once the saucepan jelly has boiled for around 30 seconds, remove from heat, add the powdered gelatine mixture and stir to dissolve.
11.  Allow the mixture to cool for about 20 minutes, remove the pate from the fridge and carefully top each ramekin up with the jelly mixture.
12.  Return to the fridge and allow to set.
13.  Serve with warm, crusty bread and cornichons, and a light red wine, like a Beaujolais.

Unused ramekins store well in the freezer for a few weeks.