Nibbling has to be one of my favourite pass-times. On juicy olives, cheese, cured meats, anything from that deli cabinet really … it’s the way I was brought up, I guess. When my parents had people over when I was very young, the most vivid memories are of a table covered with platters of various smallgoods and breads, cheeses and pickled chillies. Not to mention small European glasses filled with wine and shot glasses of fiery rakija; all to whet the appetite as the huge pig glistened in rotation on the spit over coals near Dad’s vege garden.
Even the motor from the spit has a story to tell. The same small motor was used to elevate the podiums in the construction of Sydney’s Opera House. Talk about recycling! Back to the nibbling.
I was craving a bit of liver so I knocked up one of the many versions of my chicken liver pâté. All this cold and wet weather we’ve been having makes me want to nibble and a good pâté satisfies my cravings perfectly. Here’s what I knocked up …
Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan. Sauté onion over medium heat until soft. Add bacon, garlic and peppercorns and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Scoop out and set aside.
Heat the same pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear both sides of the liver until golden. Add the reisling and marsala and cook for one minute. Add the cooked bacon and onion and then the sage leaves. Season to taste and cook for a further 2 minutes or so. Don’t boil off all the liquid and keep the liver pink on the inside.
Pour the liver mixture into a food processor and blend for 5-10 seconds. If your prefer a smooth pâté blend for longer. Spoon the mixture into ramekins and smooth out the surface. Pour over the clarified butter and scatter over a few peppercorns. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in the fridge overnight.
*Clarified butter is very easy to make. Just put regular butter into a saucepan over low heat. When the butter melts and begins to bubble set it aside before any colouring takes effect. Scoop off the milk solids and what you have left is clarified butter.