Bites for the boys

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By Robert Harland

What's cooking?

Monday, July 7, 2014


HAVING guests over for a spot of pica-pica and a few drinks?

When my golfing buddies come over to the house for a beer or two, I make two snacks that always go down well with the boys - chicken liver pâté and Gentleman's Relish.

Chicken Liver Pâté

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Chicken liver pâté - or if you want to be posh, Terrine de Foies de Volaille in French - doesn't look that appetizing, but it's really tasty. I often bring a small dish of it when visiting friends for dinner. And unlike many pâtés, this one is relatively easy to make and it'll not cost you an arm and a leg.

It can be made days in advance and it freezes well.

Some chefs soak the chicken livers in a mixture of milk and salted water for several hours before cooking to take away any bitterness. Personally, I don't believe this is necessary. Unlike pig or ox liver, chicken liver is already quite mild.

Try this tried and true recipe.

Ingredients
(serves 8 or more)

500 g chicken livers
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 rashers of bacon
50 g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp sherry or brandy
150 gr butter for topping
salt and pepper
bay leaves or spring onion for garnish

Method

1. Trim fat and any connective tissue from the livers and discard.
2. Take a frying pan and fry the bacon and onion for about a minute.
3. Add the butter and garlic.
4. Fry the livers for about 10 minutes making sure top and bottom are cooked.
5. Add the parsley and sherry/brandy plus salt and pepper.
6. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender and blend until quite smooth and transfer to small individual ramekins.
7. Melt the 150 gr butter (or more if needed) and pour over the pâté.
8. Add a small bay leaf on top of each or sprinkle sliced spring onions as garnish.
9. Chill at least two hours before serving.
10. Serve with crusty French bread or crackers.

Gentleman’s Relish

Gentleman's Relish is a type of anchovy paste. Created in 1828 by an Englishman named John Osborn, its strong salty and fishy taste is not to everyone’s liking. It contains a minimum of 60 percent anchovies, butter, herbs and spices plus a secret ingredient. It's also known as Patum Peperium - Latin for ‘pepper paste.'

Today, the secret ingredient is withheld from all, but one employee at Elsenham Quality Foods in England, the licensed manufacturer.

Gentleman's Relish is not available in the Philippines, but a few years ago I uncovered a recipe. With or without the secret ingredient, I found the taste to be pretty close to the original.

Gentleman's Relish is traditionally eaten very thinly spread on slices of buttered, toasted bread.

It can also be used as a great seasoning to stews and is terrific when stirred into scrambled eggs. It can be melted on steaks or used as a simple sauce with pasta.

Ingredients
(serves 6)

200 g anchovies, drained & coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
150 g butter
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 dash fresh ground black pepper (good twist)

Method

1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the anchovies and butter until they resemble a smooth paste. You could also use a food processor.
2. Stir in the breadcrumbs, spices and pepper and spoon the paste into a large ramekin.
3. Cover and chill before serving.

As simple as that! Enjoy your pica-pica!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 07, 2014.

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