Smoked salmon patè with black pepper crackers.

 

 
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I absolutely love smoked salmon and especially at Christmas time. This recipe is perfect for parties, entertaining, new year or even on Christmas Day as finger food. After craving smoked salmon for a few days, this really hit the spot and it’s so easy to make.

Ingredients

For the patè:
100g Scottish smoked salmon
125g good quality soft cream cheese
Lemon, squeeze
Salt and pepper, to season

For the crackers:
200g plain flour
50g cold butter, cubed
5 tbsp water
Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degreesC. To make the patè, put the smoked salmon and cream cheese in a bowl and blend together with a hand blender until it is a nice, smooth consistency. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside. Now to make the crackers, place the flour,butter, pinch of salt and large grating of pepper in a bowl. Using your fingers mix the butter through the flour. Now add 3-4tbsp of water and bring the dough together. It’s important not to get it too wet. Once you’ve formed it in a ball add another tbsp of water so it all comes together nicely but not wet or sticky. Now roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle as thin as possible. Pick all over with a fork and lightly brush with water. Cut into squares and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve with patè.
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Artichoke dip

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This is absolutely delicious and full of flavour. If you love garlic dips then you’ll love this one. I love jarred artichokes they are perfect for antipasti as is this dip. Embarrassingly easy, quick and very impressive. I guarantee if you make it for guests as a little appetiser with drinks or before dinner they will love it. I also sometimes buy an extra jar of artichokes and cut them in half to put on the top of this dip. It’s also lovely and bulks the dip out a bit, giving it a different texture.

For the dip:
285g Jar artichoke hearts in sunflower oil
15g parmesan, finely grated
Squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 garlic clove

Put all of the ingredients in a bowl ( spoon the artichokes into a bowl do not add whole jar of oil ) and blitz together with a hand blender until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Yep that’s it! I told you..embarrassingly easy, right? Serve with some toasted crusty bread and cured meats.

Sun dried tomato pesto with ricotta.

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These little lovelies are brilliant for a quick snack, lunch or as an aperitivo when you have guests. So delicious as all pestos are and the ricotta adds a lovely creaminess although not heavy, just nice and light. The sun dried tomatoes I use have little capers and oregano in the jar too which gives the tomatoes a lovely taste so if you can find these ones, get them. The capers mean I do not need any salt so if there isn’t any capers in your tomatoes, taste the pesto to see if you need salt or not. Remember parmesan is salty too.

What you’ll need:
280g jar sun dried tomatoes in oil ( undrained weight )
2 large handfuls of grated parmesan
1/2 garlic clove
Squeeze of lemon
Pepper, to season
Crusty bread cut into slices, toasted
A couple basil leaves, to garnish
Ricotta, to dollop on top

How to make the pesto:
Ok so get a bowl and spoon in the sun dried tomatoes, do not add all the oil just as much as comes out when transferring them into a bowl. Then add the garlic, parmesan, squeeze of lemon and pepper. All you need to do now is blitz it all together. I use a little hand blender but use whatever you have. It shouldn’t be too thick and no way what so ever like a sauce so be careful not to add to much oil to begin with and if it’s too thick add a little more oil from the sun dried tomato jar. Spread this on to the toasted bread and add a dollop of ricotta. Top with a sprinkling of pepper a couple basil leaves and dash of olive oil. Enjoy.

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