Liver. Whipped.

IMG_2127The gearhead and I have spawned a “goes to eleven” child.  [gearhead edits: 25 years ago I got that as a custom plate for the jaguar to go with the big boomer stereo. In another life. Sigh.] [wife edits: how remarkably prescient of you].  I had thought we had lived through the worst of the roller coaster when she was three, but now at twelve, we have entered (as so cheerfully predicted by sadistic parents of older children) into a new emotional frontier.  And I fear we’re looking down the barrel of several years that spin out moments such as these:

IMG_2124First thing in the morning, there she was at the top of the five steps that lead down into our kitchen [wife edits: we inadvertently built a stage there…what were we thinking?!]{gearhead edits: it worked in the drawings…] brandishing a pink shirt (the “wrong” pink shirt, evidently, as the “right” one was being worn by her younger sister).   There the child stood like a crazed monkey, screaming her obscenities.  I sipped my tea and gazed at her with a heavily controlled expression of ennui.

Ennui internal monologue: here’s your warning child.  Bad behaviour – if I can IMG_2125twist it’s dark origins into light laughter  –  will be broadcast far and wide.  Humour has long been my greatest ally.   Your inspiration sharpens my steely resolve to raise a child into an adult who understands their actions effect (and affect) all those around them.  I will exercise my right to write what creative spirit moves me to.   If that is fueled by your negative energy my dear, emanating from your tweeny self, then so be it.

After she left the house to get on the school bus [wife edits: thank gawd that’s over], I turned from the just-closed-front-door to find the gearhead appraising my choice of wardrobe, “ you look like a bag pudding” [gearhead edits: I didn’t say that, I said you look like you’re wearing a paper bag][wife edits: whatever, I know what you said, something about voluntary celibacy, I got it].

Oh and that pink shirt thing from Goes-to-Eleven? [wife edits: I like the nickname, I think it’ll stick].  That was to mark participation and support for anti-bullying day at school. I love irony, especially when it arrives colour coded to aid interpretation.   I think I’ll just walk over into the corner and have my own pink fit …is it really only 8 am?

So how do you take something offal and turn it into something delicious with a cloud like texture?  I have a few recipes for chicken liver pate – but this one is so simple and satisfying and the proportions produce a beautifully textured result.  I like too that the flavours are minimized: no onion, no allspice, no nutmeg, no parsley; just liver and cream (and butter, cream in solid form).  The only thing you have to watch is eating too much of the stuff at one sitting.   And the step of sieving the pate?  Don’t skip it.  Really.  It’s essential and doesn’t actually take much extra effort – just be sure to blast the sieve with soapy water soon after use; dried liver bits are a pain to clean.  If you have a chinois, it’s the perfect tool for smoothing this pate.

This recipe is adapted from Nigel Slater’s version in AppetiteJulia Child’s chicken liver mousse is very similar but folds in whipped heavy cream to the base to make it even more blissful.

Paper bag my arse.  You should see the super hero cape I keep tucked up between my shoulder blades.  It unfurls into a fantastic French tablecloth, a baguette and a single glass of Burgundy.  I don’t think I’ll be sharing this offal with anyone.

Chicken Liver Pate 


about  400g or just under a pound chicken livers – I try to source organic livers

160g or 2/3 cup unsalted butter, divided

90ml  or 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream

brandy (splash or two)


Remove any greenish or blackish spots from the livers, as well as any sinew – this is important – getting sinew stuck in your teeth will turn you off this pate in an instant and that would be such a shame.  Texture makes all the difference here.

Melt 110 g  (1/2 cup) butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed sauté pan until foam has subsided. The butter should be quite hot but not so hot it browns.  Sauté the livers in the butter for 2 to 3 minutes, and cook until the livers are just starting to stiffen.  They should remain rosy inside.  Be careful not to overcook them here as they become rubbery – think medium rare if you were cooking a steak.

Scrape the cooked liver into the bowl of a food processor.  Blitz the livers in the food processor and keeping the machine running, slowly add the rest of the butter and the whipping cream.  Turn off the machine while you finish off with the next step.

Pour a few splashes of brandy into the pan and boil it down rapidly over medium high heat, scraping up the meat bits with a wooden spoon.  Boil until it has reduced to a tablespoon or so. Pour the brandy from the pan into the liver mixture in the food processor.  Blitz it again until the liver mixture is a smooth paste.

Taste and adjust seasoning – add salt and/or pepper to taste.

Set a stainless steel sieve or chinois over a bowl.  Pour the liver pate into the sieve and, using a rubber spatula, gently push the mixture through the sieve.  This is a crucial step so don’t skip it if you want that cloud like texture!!!  Discard the grainy bits or save for spaghetti sauce (a great secret addition to Bolognese) or let the dog have a hey day.

Pack the pate into a bowl or smaller ramekins or a jar, cover with cling wrap and chill for 2 to 3 hours.  Serve chilled with crostini, baguette or, failing that, crackers.


This entry was published on November 29, 2013 at 7:37 am. It’s filed under Little things to eat and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

14 thoughts on “Liver. Whipped.

  1. Do you think it would go good on Pumpkin Pie? Don’t give Ruber any ideas….


  2. pcfleming on said:

    Good one suzanne. Is this the one you told us about on Sat? I don ‘t think you hit him that hard.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. birocrats on said:

    that is amazing. unforntunatley i would need to be eating this on the toilet too rich for this kid. Special thanks to the gearhead and his bolt cutters, the MTO’s camden east snowmobile trails were opened yesterday by the flick of these wonderful tools.


  4. Suzanne, fabulous!!! You are a great writer.

    Julie On Nov 29, 2013 7:38 AM, “Food by the Gearhead’s Wife” wrote:

    > Food by the Gearhead’s Wife posted: “The gearhead and I have spawned a > goes to eleven child. [gearhead edits: 25 years ago I got that as a > custom plate for the jaguar to go with the big boomer stereo. In another > life. Sigh.] [wife edits: how remarkably prescient of you]. I had thought > we”


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