This smoked mackerel pate is a recipe that you could use with almost any smoked fish, but I particularly like the mackerel. There are a lot of very good producers throughout the country. It is a lovely snack served on hot toast and the horseradish gives it a nice kick.

The leek and potato soup is a simple, light, humble soup that I love. It is a small twist on a classic soup and, with the smoked trout, it is delicious. As I have said often, you will not find better than Goatsbridge near Thomastown in Co Kilkenny. You could also use smoked salmon or for a vegetarian soup just leave out the fish.

I made this chicken liver parfait in Killarney for my Christmas show. I hope you enjoyed the first programme and there is another next week on Thursday 15 December at 8pm on RTÉ One. I love it with the grape chutney and I like to serve it with toasted brioche and a salad. There are some superb Wexford Home Preserves in the Simply Better range that you might try. Or you could make your own homemade chutney, which also makes a wonderful gift.

Happy cooking,


Smoked mackerel pate

Serves four to six

Neven's smoked mackerel pate. \ Philip Doyle

3 cold smoked mackerel fillets (about 450g or 1lb)

150g (5oz) soft cream cheese

100g (4oz) crème fraîche

1–2 tbsp creamed horseradish

Juice of ½ lemon

Dash of Tabasco sauce

Small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sourdough or rye bread, to serve

Lemon wedges, to serve

Watercress salad, to serve

1 Remove the skin from the mackerel fillets and discard any bones, then break up the flesh into a bowl.

2 Add the cream cheese, crème fraiche, one tablespoon of the horseradish, lemon juice, Tabasco and dill. Mix thoroughly, until well combined, then taste and add the remaining tablespoon of horseradish, if liked.

3 Season to taste and transfer to a serving bowl, then cover with cling film (or use a suitable container with a tight-fitting lid).

4 Chill until needed – up to two days is fine.

5 When ready to serve, set the bowl of smoked mackerel pate, with a spoon, on a wooden board with the sourdough or rye bread, lemon wedges and watercress salad.

6 Hand around plates and cutlery and allow everyone to help themselves.

Leek & potato soup with smoked trout

Serves four to six

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

1 onion, finely chopped

3 small leeks, finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

900ml (1½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock

150ml (¼ pint) cream

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Creme fraiche, to garnish

Thin strips of smoked trout, to garnish

Snipped fresh chives, to garnish

1 Heat the oil in a large pan set over a medium heat, then tip in the potatoes and onion. Cook for five minutes, stirring constantly. Add the leeks and thyme and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables have softened but not coloured.

2 Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, then cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, until slightly reduced and all the vegetables are completely tender.

3 Blitz the soup with a hand-held blender, then pour in the cream. Season to taste and add the nutmeg, then reheat gently.

4 Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with dollops of creme fraîche, a few strips of smoked trout and a sprinkling of snipped fresh chives or serve chilled.

Chicken liver parfait

Serves eight

400g (14oz) fresh chicken livers, well trimmed

300ml (½ pint) milk

100g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened

3 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tbsp ruby red port

5 eggs

1 tbsp cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the grape chutney (makes approximately 1.8L, or four jars):

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced

150ml (¼ pint) balsamic vinegar

150ml (¼ pint) brandy (preferably Cognac)

1 onion, finely chopped

1kg (2¼lb) white seedless grapes

175g (6oz) demerara sugar

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

Good pinch of sea salt

1 Soak the chicken livers in the milk overnight. The next day, drain and dry with kitchen paper. Blend in a food processor for two to three minutes, until very smooth.

2 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

3 Melt a knob of the butter in a saute pan set over a low heat and sweat the shallots, garlic and thyme for around five minutes to soften, but not colour. Add the port and cook for one minute.

4 Remove from the heat to cool a little, then add to the chicken liver puree with the eggs, cream, the rest of the butter and plenty of seasoning. Blend again for 30 seconds.

5 Pass through a fine sieve into a jug, then pour into eight 120ml (4fl oz) Kilner jars. Cover each one with tin foil and place in a bain-marie (a roasting tin half-filled with boiling water) and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, until they still have a slight wobble in the centre.

6 Remove from the bain-marie and take off the foil, then leave to cool. Seal and chill until needed.

7 Make the chutney: put the apples in a large heavy-based pan with the vinegar and brandy and cook for 30 minutes over a low heat.

8 Stir in the onion, grapes, sugar, spices and salt and continue to simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and pulpy.

9 Leave to cool slightly, then spoon into four 450ml (¾ pint) warm, sterilised Kilner jars and seal.

10 Store in a cool, dark place for up to three months or until needed. Once open, keep in the fridge and use as required.

11 When ready to serve the chicken liver parfaits, arrange the Kilner jars on plates with the grape chutney and toasted bread. CL

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