Summer has arrived at last! I love summer it’s one of my favourite seasons. Not only because of the splendid weather it brings – BUT rather the opportunity it carries for summer cooking. During the summer season, I’m a believer in pre-cooking. If it means we can spend more time outdoors with our family and friends, then why not?
My Chicken, Pork and Pistachio Terrine is a great example that can be made in advance and will keep up to five days. It’s a great alternative to take with you on a picnic, and one that always goes done a treat for my guests. I love to serve this with some lightly dressed salad leaves and a dollop of chutney. It’s a recipe that can be simply adapted. You can change the pistachios for walnuts, add some seeds, substitute the chicken for game, or my favourite, add in a few apricots. They complement the meats giving a rounded sweetness to the terrine.
My trick is to plan ahead. A little planning does wonders for saving time and undoubtedly money. As I’m always cooking and traveling for work commitments, it’s important for me to stick to a meal plan. Cooking larger quantities is an effective way of saving money, especially when it comes to using fresh food. If a recipe calls for half a bag of spinach but you know you won’t use the rest in another recipe, then make double the recipe and freeze the other half. I follow this key principal and it really does work wonders. You save time, food and money, plus you have a freezer full of goodness to enjoy when you don’t feel like cooking.
This summer I’m looking forward to spending time with my grandchildren over the holidays. No doubt we’ll be spending time in the garden and having some lovely picnics together.
Chicken, pork and pistachio terrine
This terrine is very good with a few lightly dressed salad leaves (see pages 12 – 13) and some chutney. Use a 26 × 10 × 7cm terrine dish or loaf tin
Serves about 12
• 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into long strips
about 5mm thick
• 15 very thin slices of Parma ham
• 800g belly pork, finely minced
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
• 2 tablespoons brandy
• 2 handfuls of pistachio nuts
• Sea salt and black pepper
1 Put the chicken strips into a dish.
2 Season with salt and pepper and set aside while you prepare the rest of the filling.
3 Line the terrine dish with Parma ham. Make sure there are no gaps and let the ends overhang the dish – save two pieces for the top.
4 Put the minced pork and all the remaining ingredients into a bowl, mix and season well – this mixture will help your terrine hold together.
5 Spread one third of the pork mixture evenly over the bottom of the lined terrine dish.
6 Arrange half of the chicken on top.
7 Repeat these layers, then finish with a final layer of the pork mixture.
8 Fold the Parma ham over the top and add the 2 reserved slices, if necessary, to cover the filling completely.
9 Cover the terrine with foil.
10 Put a wad of greaseproof paper or a folded newspaper into the roasting tin; sit the terrine dish on top.
11 Pour in cold water to come three quarters of the way up the dish. Place in an oven preheated to 190°C/Gas Mark 5 and cook for 20 minutes.
12 Turn the oven down to 140°C/Gas Mark 1 and cook for 1½ hours. Use a meat thermometer to check if it is done – it should register 65 – 70°C.
13 Another way to check is to press gently with your finger: the juices should run clear and the terrine should be fairly firm but still with a little give.
14 Remove from the oven; make little holes in the top with a skewer.
15 Then put a weight on top such as several tins or another terrine dish and leave to cool. Leave overnight in the fridge, still weighted down.
16 To remove the terrine from the dish, put a roll of cling film behind a board and pull the cling film over the board. Do not cut it at this point.
17 Turn out the terrine on to the cling film; remove any excess jelly.
18 Start wrapping the terrine using the roll behind the board as leverage. When it is wrapped in 7 or 8 layers, cut the cling film and chill the terrine again. To serve, slice the terrine through the cling film with a very sharp, thin knife, using a sawing motion. This helps each slice hold together. Peel off the cling film and serve.
• The basic question to consider when making a terrine is how it is going to hold together when it is turned out. You need to choose your ‘glue’: a meat farce, such as the minced pork in the recipe above, a jelly, a fish mousse, or just by pressing it. Once you have your chosen glue, anything goes in terms of themain ingredients.
• If you don’t want anything surrounding your terrine, line the dish with three layers of cling film instead, letting the sides hang over the edges of the dish.
• To check the seasoning, make a patty with a tiny amount of the meat farce and fry it. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the rest of your mixture if necessary.
• When assembling a terrine, you get a more even effect if you shred the ingredients rather than cutting them into chunks.
• The terrine will keep for five days, tightly wrapped in the fridge. It also freezes well. If you don’t want to use all the terrine, you can cut it in half, wrap in cling film as aboveand store one half in the freezer.