A New Year and a new beginning. It's also time for me to reflect back on the things I've done and the things I want to do.
Loads of new things to cook and bake, new experiences. The last few months have been very difficult as workload had had a massive impact on my life and limited the one on one time I've been able to give Oliver. Don't get me wrong - I'm a workaholic and will always be a workaholic, but there if more to life than work and I'm glad that the madness of Christmas rush has eased off !
Nearly 4am and I'm still not in bed. Actually - I WAS in bed, but found I was too excited to sleep. That got me up and baking macarons. Yeah - you know you are a foodie when you put macarons in the oven at 2.30am !
I'll tell you what the excitement is about another day - it's still a secret I'm afraid, but is all about macarons.
The recipe I'd like to share with you now is for CHICKEN LIVER AND BRANDY PATE. I served it for New Years Day lunch along with rye sourdough crackers, sausage rolls and homemade bread (amongst other things)
For this recipe, I used a 1lb silicone loaf mould.
300g chicken livers
150g salted butter
2 > 3 tsp brandy
clove of garlic (finely chopped)
salt and pepper to season
a sprig of fresh thyme
First of all, prepare the chicken livers by removing any sinewy or discoloured parts.
Fry in approx 50g of the butter for around 5 mins until starting to colour nicely.
Remove the livers from the pan and set aside.
Add the remaining butter and chopped onion with the garlic to the pan and the thyme leaves (removed from stalks). Sweat off the onions until transparent and then add the brandy. Cook for a minute or two more and then add all the contents to a food processor and blend until smooth.
Put this warm paste into your 1lb silicone loaf mould and level the top.
Use some clarified butter to seal the top and refrigerate overnight.
Alternatively, make a savoury jelly to pour over the top. I used 120ml of chicken stock, to which I added a couple of bay leaves and 2 tbsp of orange juice. Sit this in a bowl with a leaf of gelatine for 5 mins. Add to a pan and bring to just below simmering point to dissolve the gelatine. Allow to cool to room temperature and then pour over the pate. I decorated the top of my pate first with a couple of orange slices and the bay leaves.
Unfortunately, due to lack of time, my pate only got about 2 hours to chill ! It really wasn't enough and tasted far better the next day.
Oh - we had these too.... apple crumble slices - same recipe as the mincemeat crumble slices (but mincemeat replaced with same weight of apples, sugar and cinnamon mix)
These photos of Oliver were taken Monday 2nd January. Had to believe it was just earlier this week. I've done so much since then !
I took him out for an afternoon at Eaton Park to run off some steam. It was glorious sunshine, but windy and bitterly cold. There was one puddle in the whole park and typically Oliver found it.
It was more like a pond than a puddle. This was one MASSIVE puddle. Thankfully, he was prepared with several layers of clothes and some new wellies. I had TRIED to put waterproof overalls on him underneath earlier, but that had resulted in a screaming match and I ended up giving up.
To start with, it was a paddle near the edge. No big deal, and loads of smiles. I got the camera out my handbag and snapped a few shots. An evil grin started spreading across his face I KNEW what was going to happen next, and no matter how much I tried to get his eye contact or yell at him - Mummy was totally ignored.
Yep - puddle jumping and lots of it. THIS was just the start. Note the thick winter jacket, the fleece underneath and the gloves. It was FREEZING cold. Passers by watched and laughed in amazement as my little monster tore around in that puddle like a total lunatic. Honestly - you would have thought it was the middle of summer !
Oliver was in that puddle for a good 30mins at least. I tried threats, I tried bribery. He wasn't coming out and belted off through the ware as fast as he could if I got remotely near. Eventually, I managed to grab him by the back of the jacket and chaos followed. He was not happy about being dragged out that puddle and it was a struggle to get him back to the car until I persuaded him that McDonalds would be shut if he wanted french fries and didn't hurry up. Total lie of course. I don't think Mc Donalds ever shuts !
His wellies were near impossible to get off as they were full to the brim with water. He was absolutely soaked to the skin. I had to strip him off. By then, Daddy had arrived and kept an eye on him wrapped up in a jacket whilst I made an emergency trip to the big superstore about 5 miles up the road to purchase a dry set of clothes as we were too far from home. Lunch at the pub (with french fries for Oliver did follow) and strangely enough there were no comments on how it wasn't Mc Donalds .
Hopefully next time Oliver does puddle jumping I'll have spare clothes in the car.
Sarah-Jane Nash - www.siliconemoulds.com - silicone bakeware specialists