My work tends to entail a lot of meetings or phone calls, both of which are a normal part of the day. I try to make these phone calls rather than face to face meetings as travelling to a location and having a meeting can take up the better part of the day while I would rather be in front of the computer writing or in the kitchen creating recipes. However, there is one person I speak to on a semi regular basis that I prefer to have face to face meetings with.
It's not because I like to stare into his eyes or anything, really it's because he speaks so quickly that I find myself not understanding most of what he says. I'll catch the occasional word in a sentence and if I'm lucky, I'll get the meaning of what he's trying to say but as he speaks a mile a minute, I find myself saying "sure" to basically everything and then asking him to put it in an email to me so that I can ascertain what I've said yes to. Sometimes, I really have no idea what he is saying and I could have sworn that he said "mushroom pate" whereas we weren't talking about food at all. I had to wait until he emailed me to find out that mushroom pate actually meant "Martin's party."
But it did get me to thinking and to make matters worse, my mind wandered off while he was talking and I started thinking of mushroom pate. You see I had just bought a huge paper bag of mushrooms. I was going to make another mushroom lasagne but then decided to make something for guests that were coming over for some drinks. I decided to forego the aspic as I don't particularly like it but I wanted to make use of the friand tin that I had that I only really bought to make friands in. I wondered if I could make a sweet grape jelly to sit on top of a mushroom pate and unmold it.
It turns out to be very easy indeed! The mushroom pate is a full flavoured pate, not missing anything even though there is no liver or meat involved. It has a creamy pate texture from the cream cheese and flavour from the garlic buttered cooked mushrooms. You can make these individual ones for everyone using a friand mold or you can make one large one.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you prefer to communicate by phone, email or in person?
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Makes six small individual pates
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 onion, peeled
- 500g/1 pound mushrooms (a variety or just regular brown) brushed clean
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup brandy or white wine
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock (if needed)
- 250g cream cheese
- Non stick oil spray
- 1/4 sheet titanium strength gelatine
- 60ml spiced grape juice or grape juice
- salt and pepper to season
You will also need a friand tray
Step 1 - In a food processor or chopper, place the garlic and onion and process. Set aside. Then add the mushrooms and process until they are finely chopped.
Step 2 - Heat a large pot onto medium heat. Add the butter and oil and saute the garlic and onion until soft and fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium/high and add the mushrooms and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until soft. Halfway through, add the brandy and allow to cook off. If you need it and the mushrooms stick, add the stock but I find that the mushrooms release a lot of liquid. You want the liquid to cook off so if there is too much, cook it off using the heat and it will evaporate. Cool the mushrooms.
Step 3 - Spray six of the friand tin holes with non stick spray. Soak the gelatin leaf in cold water for a few minutes until soft, squeeze gently and place in a small saucepan with the grape juice. Heat gently and mix the gelatine leaf so that it is completely combined. Pour into the greased friand holes and place in the fridge and allow to set firm.
Step 4 - Once the mushrooms are cooled, place them and the cream cheese in the food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a spatula, place into the friand holes on top of the jelly and smooth down the top. Refrigerate until firm, overnight if possible.
Step 5 - When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge-the jelly allows the base of the pate to come out easily. Serve with crackers or bread.