Now Christmas is snapping at my heels and there is a vague feeling of panic about all the cooking, buying, wrapping, celebrating etc that has to be done in the next few weeks…my top tip for this week is make a PLAN. I love having visitors to stay over, and I have quite a few, but don’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen. I love the idea of floating around with glass in hand eating beautiful delicious nibbles and cocktails or sitting by the log fire and enjoying time my friends and family. I love beautiful decorations too that make everyone’s stay feel special. I do manage some of this even though I say it myself! How do you do this? Well it’s all about planning the food well in advance and now is the time to get a wriggle on and make some lovely festive dishes that will sit very happily in your freezer waiting to be whipped out at the last minute.
Christmas day isn’t really the problem it’s the days before and the days after that complicate things especially if you have friends and family, like mine, that need to stay over for a few days – I make a sketchy plan for all the meals and even sketchier shopping lists. Ok, it’s a bit anal but if I do this then I can, truly, enjoy the holiday with out burning out on Christmas Eve and having a major melt down.
Here is an old favourite of mine that is already sitting in my freezer and will make an appearance on Christmas Eve so there is no last minute cooking and I can enjoy that glass of champagne!
CREAMY CHICKEN LIVER PATE
CREAMY CHICKEN LIVER PATE
This is an easy starter that you can prepare well ahead of time and then not worry about it. The flavour develops with time so make the day before.
Serves 4 (Size 2 medium ramekins)
225g Chicken livers (available frozen from most supermarkets), de-frosted
175g butter, softened and a little oil, plus extra butter to seal the pots and for cooking
1 clove of garlic chopped fine
Up to 150ml double cream (You may not need to add all of this)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To garnish: small sprigs of thyme
1. First of all prepare the livers. Put them in a sieve and drain well. Scrape the liver gently, on a meat board, using a blunt knife. Discard any stringy bits.
2. Melt a little butter and some oil in a frying pan and gently cook the liver until no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes taking care not to burn the garlic. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
3. Put 175g of soft butter in a food processor. Add the cooked liver mixture and whiz until smooth. Pour into bowl.
4. Add half the cream and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If it is a too stiff add more cream. Pack into individual ramekins or a single dish and seal with melted butter. When it is set add a sprig of thyme to each ramekin. Cover each ramekin with a square of foil and leave in the fridge-the flavour will be better if you are able to leave overnight or at least a few hours. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with hot toast so that the butter will melt as you eat it.