Basic Cheese PastryMakes ± 70, 4 cm squares
2 cups (240 g) flour
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
½ t (2,5 ml) mustard powder
125 g butter
1 cup (250 ml) cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg yolk
± ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water, add a little more until a pliable dough is obtained
Sift the dry ingredients together twice. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, sharp knife or food processor. Add the cheese. Mix the egg yolk and cold water and use to mix the pastry to a firm but pliable dough. Knead dough lightly, flatten into a disk, cover with clingfilm and stand at room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, if very hot outside.
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry a little thicker than a R5 coin. Cut into 4 cm squares, using a ruler and pizza wheel or sharp knife. Lay pastry squares on a baking paper lined baking tray.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Re-use baking paper to layer cooled squares in an airtight container if making in advance. The Cheese Squares will freeze well.
Chicken Liver Paté with Green Fig PreserveServes 8 - 10
The silky smooth texture of this paté makes it a real treat. The quantity is probably more than you need but if the butter seal is not broken, it will keep in the fridge for a week. The paté will also freeze very successfully for ± 2 months.
3-4 oval paté pots (12 cm x 9 cm wide)
or 8 medium size ramekin dishes (9 cm across the top)
or 12 tiny ramekin dishes (6 cm across the top)
8 spring onions, finely sliced with green tops
3 T (45 ml) butter
250 g fresh chicken livers (here I would choose free range from a supermarket with a fast turnover)
1 cup (250 ml) fresh cream
3 extra-large eggs
1 T (15 ml) Ina Paarman's Seasoned Sea Salt
½ cup (125 ml) port, sherry or chicken stock
sprigs of thyme
½ cup (125 ml) melted butter
Cheese Pastry Squares
preserved green figs
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Butter ramekin dishes or oval paté pots. Sauté the spring onions in the butter. Leave to cool. Place chicken livers in a blender together with the cream and the eggs. Blend very well until smooth. Add the spring onions, Seasoned Sea Salt and port. Blend again until completely smooth. Strain through a sieve into a large measuring jug. Discard solids. Fill ramekins three quarters full. Place ramekins in a pan half-filled with boiling water. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the tops are just firm to the touch and the patés are slightly puffy. Leave in the pan of water, until cooled down. (The bigger paté pots must be baked for 30 minutes). Place a sprig of thyme on top of each paté and pour melted butter over to seal in the flavour and preserve the paté by cutting out all air.
Dollop paté generously on Cheese Pastry Squares. Top with dainty wedges of preserved green fig and a tiny sprig of thyme. Serve at room temperature.
Goats Cheese, Basil Pesto and Sundried TomatoesServes 8 - 10
100 g goats cheese
Ina Paarman's Sundried Tomato Quarters, cut into long slivers
fresh basil leaves
Spread Cheese Squares with a generous helping of goat's cheese.
Top with a sliver of Sundried Tomato. Garnish with fresh basil just before serving.
Cream Cheese, Salmon and AvoServes 8 - 10
1 x 250g smooth cream cheese
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Ina Paarman's Classic Greek Dressing
100 g salmon trout ribbons, cut into thinner strips
fennel or dill
Spread Cheese Squares with cream cheese.
Slice avo and coat with Greek Dressing to prevent discolouration.
Top Cheese Squares with avo and salmon ribbons.
Garnish with fresh fennel just before serving