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Smoked Mackerel Pâté

with home made date & walnut bread

For the bread, weigh out the flour in a large bowl, add the salt and mix. Add the yeast and sugar followed by the water and combine to form a ball. Now either knead on a floury surface for 10-15 minutes until the dough is elastic, or if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, this will also work fine.

For the first prove, return the dough to a bowl covering with a small drizzle of oil. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove in a slightly warm setting until doubled in size, roughly 1 hour. Make sure the setting is not too warm or hot as the yeast will activate too much.

For the second prove, remove the proved dough and knock the air out on a floury surface. Chop the walnuts and dates into small pieces, discarding the stone from the dates. Stretch out the dough and scatter the chopped walnuts and dates over and push them in, roll the dough up and knead a few times so the walnuts and dates are evenly spread throughout. Form into a short fat sausage, tucking the edges underneath to stretch the outside surface and place on a tray dusted with flour that you will bake on, also dust the top of the shaped dough with flour. Loosely cover with lightly oiled clingfilm, I actually use a small plastic tub to cover if you have one that has enough space for the dough to expand in, leave in a warm setting once more for roughly 30-45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

While the dough is proving for the second time, preheat the oven to 220°C with an empty tray at the bottom. This is for cold water to be thrown on to create steam while the loaf is baking.

Remove the clingfilm or tub carefully so as not to knock any air out. Delicately score slashes across the loaf top with a sharp knife or razor.

Place in the oven to a middle shelf and quickly throw a small jug of water into the tray at the bottom and shut the door immediately. Continue to bake for 20 minutes, without opening the door, then remove the tray that the bread was sitting on and place the bread directly onto the shelf the opposite way around, to ensure an even colour. Continue to bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the bread from the oven, transfer to a cooling wire and leave to sit for at least 10-15 minutes.

For the pâté, take a small bowl and add the smoked mackerel kippers, 2 tbsps crème fraîche, creamed horseradish and a pinch of chopped parsley. Finely chop the cornichons and add to the bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon also adding followed by a good crack of black pepper to taste.

Break apart the kippers and mix well.

Serve with the bread while still warm, a little butter, a generous helpings of pâté and a squeeze of lemon.

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This is a great one for a starter if you are having a little home dinner party, it is actually one of my default recipes for this very purpose with it being so easy to make. A pâté is always quite good for a starter to a dinner party, especially with guests who may not know each other, as served in a dish for everyone to dive into requires a certain amount of icebreaking required and gets you involved in the meal right from the start.

Everyone dive in!

If a dinner party is not the occasion to put this recipe to use; try making is to go with a baked potato on a weeknight evening meal to get your omega-3 dose topped up!

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Saunton Sands, Devon
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