a delicious pate with melba toasts

So yesterday I decided to make this delicious, very buttery and very easy chicken liver pate to take to the Jesse Clegg concert at Kirstenbosch. I am passionate about picnic’s and can’t get enough of them.  Probably the highlight of summer for me are all the beach and concert picnics.

I also found a loaf of focaccia bread in my freezer which I had made on my bread making course at ‘bread & wine’ and thought this would make nice melba toasts. You can use any bread, but I love making them out of Italian breads.

Take the loaf and slice up very finely – I use an electric carving knife for this.

Place the slices of bread onto baking sheets or on a cooling rack on a baking sheet and put in the oven at around 150 degrees for about 20 minutes.  I did this on convection and turned the slices around a few times, but you could have it on normal and then do 2 batches.

chicken liver pate – recipe

  • 250gm chicken livers
  • 125gm butter (and a bit extra to coat the top if desired)
  • 1 large onion (white), chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 20ml brandy
  • freshly ground black pepper

To make: (I doubled up on this and made 7 small ramekins which freeze very well for all the future picnics)

  • melt the butter in the pan and saute the onion for a couple of minutes
  • add the chicken livers, garlic and bay leaf and cook over a moderate heat , stirring until the chicken livers are just done – about 4 minutes
  • add the brandy

  • remove from the heat and allow to cool
  • remove bay leaf and blend in a food processor
  • season with a bit of salt and lots of black pepper (to taste)
  • spoon into ramekins or other serving dishes and cool
  • when cool melt some butter (microwave is great) and pour over the pate which looks pretty decorated with a bay leaf
  • cool in the fridge until serving 

So it all worked out perfectly well until I got to the concert and discovered I had left the pate behind. A friend was asked to pick up some replacements from woolies on the way ….at least all the melba toast was eaten, and washed down with quite a few bottles of Graham Beck Brut.

scoop, spread and eat

2009/10 summer concert schedule

a lovely little picnic at Kirstenbosch (David's pic)


  1. When next making your pate add a touch of dried mustard and some grated nutmeg. Gives it an extra zing. When blending, add some cream. This makes it slightly softer and o so lekker.

  2. After moving to the US from the UK I discovered a few things are hard to get your hands on, pate being one of them. I had never made pate before and undertook the dangerous task of making something new for Christmas Dinner appetizer. I followed your recipe other than having a little extra chicken liver, I think the tub I had was 500g and after trimming I had just over 350g. There was enough to make 4 ramekins that I topped with clarified butter after cooling. Both hubby and I loved it, who knew it would be so simple and so delicious. We oohed and aahed and can’t wait to make it again. Thank you for posting the recipe.

  3. Sam

    Hi Barbara, thanks for leaving such a a lovely comment about my pate. I do so love that recipe and yes its so easy. Its perfect for xmas and freezes very well if you cant get through all 4 pots. I love to make a double batch around now (summer here) and then freeze them in their ramekins and take out the freezer for picnics through summer.

  4. Hi Barbara, I really wanna try this but I don’t really drink brandy, and as such do not have any. Is this a must? Is there anything I can substitute it with?

  5. Sam

    Hi Brain, I would just leave the brandy out if you don’t drink. I find it a very important ingredient in this recipe, but It will still be nice without. There isn’t really anything else to substitute other than say whiskey 🙂

  6. joyce wang

    does this work with goose liver?

    and what’s the reason of pouring clear butter over it? because it gives it a really greasy look and i thought maybe i’d skip it?


  7. Sam

    Hi Joyce, yes any poultry liver will work, perhaps cut it into small pieces first. The butter acts as a preservative and adds flavour. If you eat it fairly quickly it is not necessary, as pate is very rich. Also lovely served with a citrus marmalade or jelly.

  8. Lily Foo

    Hi Sam, any good citrus jam to pair with the parts? I just made some, would be nice to know how you did it.

  9. Sam

    Hi Lily, I have a recipe for marmalade on my site but otherwise any really good quality marmalade such as Maman.

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