Friday, January 10, 2014

Walnut Flat Bread

Well as I mentioned in my last post about chicken liver pâté I had also whipped up a batch of walnut bread and pâté de campagne, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer for the pâté de campagne recipe as this is all about walnut flat bread today. Also slightly off topic, I have finally got myself a proper URL, exciting huh, it was hard choosing exactly how to get “good food in a crap kitchen” into an address that was manageable but as I notice most people shorten me to “crapkitchen” I settled on terribly original i know!

Walnut Flat Bread (Makes 8)
700 g White flour
300 g Whole wheat flour
150 g Walnuts, finely chopped
600 ml Lukewarm water
20 g Yeast
20 g Salt

Stir the yeast into the water and let it sit for about 10 minutes for the yeast to activate, a good foam should form.

In a large bowl mix together all the other ingredients, make a well and pour the liquid into it. Form into a rough ball and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Tip out of the bowl and work the dough into a log about 60 cm in length, fold in half and repeat. Do this for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, much like the method I use in my hand pulled noodles, you can knead traditionally if you prefer but I find this method is faster and creates a more elastic dough. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, on fan forced. Divide the dough into eight. Take a portion of dough and roll into a round, 2mm thick, repeat with the remaining dough, lay each round between cling film to prevent sticking. Bake each round in the oven for 15 minutes, you should be able to do two at a time if you have a fan oven. When cooked transfer to a rack and cover with a tea towel. The bread will crisp further as it cools.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chicken liver pâté

Well it’s the season again, drink, eat and be merry, fortunately I had a little self control this year and managed to not overindulge, well in the food department anyway. It was hard though, christmas day greeted us with two hams, a turkey, a side of beef, mutton and a glut of tasty sides. I'm usually not one to shy away from a tasty piece of ham and had to restrain myself not to eat the lot. I suppose the only good fortune is that I don’t have a sweet tooth as we were bombarded with a barrage of desserts, but I only had eyes for the ham.

I did contribute a little fare to the table, pâté de campagne, chicken liver pâté and a walnut flat bread. The former really an excuse, a good one, to use my christmas present to myself a new terrine, however I’ll get to that later, today is all about pâté.

Chicken liver pâté
500 g butter
1 kg chicken livers (trimmed and cut in half)
250 ml cream
125 ml brandy
5 shallots, diced
A bunch of thyme
Salt and pepper

Take two thirds of the butter (by eye is fine) slice into cubes and place in the fridge. Divide the remaining butter into four, this will be used to cook the livers in three batches and the final lot to soften the shallots.

Melt a portion of butter in a medium-hot frying pan and when the foam subsides add in a third of the livers, cook about two minutes per side, they should be pink in the middle with no signs of blood. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining the remaining two thirds of butter and liver.

When the livers are cooked and resting in a bowl add the last lot of butter to the pan and add the shallots, cook until translucent, add the thyme and cook until fragrant. I usually don’t bother stripping the leaves off the branch, rather I just tie them together so I can easily remove once they have given up their flavour. Pull out the thyme bundle, if using, and add the brandy and flambé, when the flames subside add the cream and reduce by about half. Pour on top of the cooked livers.

Transfer the lot to a food processor and blitz, while the machine is running add the cubed butter piece by piece until it is all incorporated. Transfer the purée to a sieve set over a bowl and work it through using the back of a spoon, and to torture your hands further, take the sieved mixture and place in a very fine mouli and work through. It may seem like a little overkill passing it through a sieve and mouli but it’s worth it for the texture.

Taste and season the pâté, take into account that when the pâté cools the seasoning will dull, so it’s best to over season slightly. Transfer to a dish and crack over a little black pepper and cover with some clarified butter. Cover and chill in the fridge.