Sunday, 22 January 2012

Simple Sunday Supper

I very much enjoy Sundays; there is something rather luxurious about pottering around in a pair of ex boyfriends pj bottoms (well they say you should take something from every relationship you have and I've found this to be far the most effective thing) after a long weekend at work and a busy Saturday. Sometimes I'll mix it up and go for a swim or a walk, often I'll do some form of cleaning and of course when your in a relationship you tend to do couply things but I like my Sundays to be peaceful and quiet and preferably spent on my own.
Foodwise sometimes I'll be sociable have everyone over and cook one of my rather awesome roasts. As much as I'm at my happiest feeding my nearest and dearest, roasts create so much washing up and leave my cheeks so very flushed. Sometimes I'll go out for a meal with my beloved friends and sometimes when I have no work on the Monday I'll drag my friend Timmy to the pub to get drunk! Today after a bit of a mad girly night out I just decided that a nice simple supper on my own was all I needed.....
I made the pate the day before and this recipe is very much influenced by Mr Slater the God of all cooks but I've tweaked it around a bit and I absolutely insist on the peppercorns - the fireiness sets of the smooth texture of the pate perfectly! Once you've realised how easy and tasty this is you will find it hard to justify picking up a pack of the shop bought stuff!

Chicken liver pate with Peppercorns

400g chicken livers (average pack size me thinks)
150g butter (nice and soft)
100ml double cream
glug of white wine / brandy - most recipes call for brandy but i must confess i had none in my house so white wine was substituted, but it tasted delicious so we'll go with it!
1tbsp green peppercorns (as I've instructed before drain them first on kitchen paper

You start by de-viening the livers, this isn't the nicest job in the world and I do tend to hack away a bit but practise makes perfect. Place the livers into a bowl, cover with milk and leave them for about an hour - plenty of time to have a soak in the bath or do your nails!! Melt a third of the butter in the pan and let it froth and then add the livers one by one - stand well away these babies spit like nothing else! they need about 5-6 minutes and a couple of turns so they are lightly golden but not overcooked after all you want a pink pate! put all contents of pan (juices and everything) into a blender with the cream and the rest of the butter, start to blend. Put the pan back on the heat and add a couple of glugs of brandy, let is reduce a bit and then add it into the blender. Blend it until nice and smooth and there you have it! Most recipes say to sieve this mixture but I find you don't really need to, just mix in the peppercorns and pour into ramekins!

Now leave them to set in the fridge for about an hour. Melt some butter and then pour over each ramekin this helps the pate keep a bit better and makes it look a little bit more professional!

And so my pate's sat looking rather scrummy in the fridge and my lazy Sunday supper involved the great task of making some toast, spreading on some pate and onion marmalade and demolishing in front of BBC 4's "The story of Musicals". Rock n Roll is my middle name honest.

Perfect cure the evening after the night before

It was a rather long day in the office, which let's be honest may not have been helped by me suffering from a slight hangover after a rather boozy but rather brilliant night round my best friend's house (shots of Ameretto and Malibu on a Wednesday night is I admit rather excessive).  So whenever I'm feeling a bit like this my body either craves something really spicy and cleansing or stodge and on this occasion it was most definitely stodge.....
Perfect stodge and all round comfort food is mashed potato, and I'm a complete traditionalist here- quite simply I boil up the potatoes, drain, whilst they are in the colander i bang the pan back on the hob, warm some butter and either cream or milk, add the potatoes back in and get to work rather aggressively with the masher (as the potato ricer is being held hostage at my friend Amy Lou Lou's - she loves bragging about her perfectly smooth mash), season with sea salt and rather a lot of pepper and bish bash bosh after rather a lot of crashing around i have my perfect mash.
But as much as i love my mash the steak and peppercorn source were the stars of this dish so i share my perfect steak dinner recipe with you, although i say its perfect but I'm still thinking of tweaks now, I'm nothing if not open to suggestions!

Steak Supper (Steak and Peppercorn Sauce)

a good piece of steak (I went for rump- lush)
couple of shallots, finely chopped
fat clove of garlic finely chopped
100ml chicken stock (cube is fine for this)
100ml of wine or I think 50ml of brandy will work just as well, when i try it i will let you know!
Green Peppercorns in brine - now I'm not going to tell you how many you should use as its all to taste I'm a complete pepper addict so i use about a tablespoon but looking at other recipes it tends to be a couple of teaspoons. what i would suggest is that you drain them and pat them on a bit of kitchen paper so you don't get the taste of brine in the sauce.
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp double cream (extra thick stuff even better here)
Get your pan nice and hot add a knob of butter and a glug of olive oil, throw in your steak and cook to your requirement I wanted medium rare so went for 3 minutes each side but to be honest given that you leave the meat to rest a while I'd next time just go 2 1/2 on each side. So cook your steak and then leave it to rest on a board. In the pan throw the shallots and garlic in with the juices and a little extra butter cook on high heat, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes then add your wine / brandy and stock. let it bubble away manicly until liquid has reduced by at least half then stir in your peppercorns, mustard and cream. Let it all warm through and you're all ready to go!

My very first shiny new blog

So, what do you do when you decide that you want to do more of what your passionate about?? You start a blog that's what.....
I absolutely love food..... I love talking about it, I love shopping for it, I love cooking it, eating it, sharing it, smelling it..... hell i just love it, its what I'm passionate about and it makes me tick. There is nothing that beats your friends piled around a table, you creating a simple (or fussy) masterpiece to plonk in front of them and sitting back and letting the conversation ebb and flow helped along with copious amounts of vino (another passion of mine that)! Its corny but food brings people together and I cook with a lot of soul and a lot of love.... i also think i over use the word "love" if this post is anything to go for.... 
I get inspiration from everywhere and all manner if cooks and chefs (my bookshelf is straining under the weight of over 50 cookbooks) but at the same time I'm pretty instinctive as i think anyone who works a lot with food is... so this blog is to share some of my recipes with you and open up my kitchen doors and share a bit of my life and food..... I'm hoping to learn a lot from everyone else on the way!
Ive never blogged before so forgive me for any errors, bare with me a bit. And please forgive me for my horrendous spelling and my over use of exclamation marks!
So I'll be found in the kitchen, in the red shoes
Bon Appetit!