I cannot believe how the year is rushing to an end. I feel completely unprepared for the coming festivities. In fact, I am. I haven’t made my Christmas cake yet and now it may be too late – I like giving it at least a month of brandy love in the dark before I eat it. But I’m not bothered. Maybe this year I’ll simply buy it because the one thing I have promised myself, is zero Christmas entertaining stress.
If it cannot be made beforehand and keep well, it’s not going to be on my table. And preferably it should not just keep well, but improve with standing. This terrine falls into that category. I adore any pâté, but for me a terrine is pretty much the ultimate. What’s the difference between a pâté and a terrine? Well a terrine is a pâté, but there are things that set it apart from other pâtés. For starters, a terrine has a moulded rectangular shape. It mostly has a yummy outer layer, like a blankie of bacon, and the texture is different – terrines are often a bit coarser.
This terrine is every meat lover’s dream. How could it not be, what with pork banger meat, pork mince and chicken liver? I’m not shy with the flavourings either. We’re talking sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic and brandy! All terribly French. But then I give it a deliciously South African twist, by lining the terrine with thin slices of preserved green fig.
I waste nothing, and turn the green fig syrup into fig jelly. And because I think a sour note would also not be amiss, I make a fast apricot and basil puree. It’s not strictly necessary, well OK not at all, but it’s Christmas, so a bit of OTT is OK.
All you need is…
250g pork banger meat, simply squeeze it out of the casings
250g pork mince
250g chicken livers, chopped in relatively small blocks
1 tbs finely chopped sage
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tbs finely chopped flatleaf parsley
third of a tsp salt
1.5 tsp green peppercorns, chopped
3 tbs brandy
1 bottle preserved green figs (the one from Koo is perfect for this)
2 packs streaky bacon
Mix together all the terrine ingredients except the green figs and bacon. Draw the back of a knife over the bacon strips to stretch them. Line a rectangular bread pan or Pyrex dish (of about 22cm x 12cm) with the bacon. Slice the green figs and cover the bottom of the bacon layer with the figs. Spoon in the meat mixture and fold the bacon strips over to seal it. Cover with tinfoil and place in a bain marie with 5cm water. Bake in a 160 degree Celsius oven for about 2 hours until cooked through. This terrine gets better as it stands. Make it at least 24 hours before serving, better yet 48.
If you want to make a jelly from the fig syrup, simply buy some of those glassy-looking gelatine sheets (Woolworths stocks it). Follow the package instructions for a firm set and use the correct amount of gelatine for your syrup. Do not be tempted to stretch the syrup by adding water as it dilutes the gorgeous figgy taste too much. Line a shallow rectangular dish with cling film and pour in the jelly. Place in fridge to set. To serve, simply turn it over, remove the cling film and cut into small blocks. If you want to make a slightly sour puree to serve with it as well, simply blitz together a tin of apricots and its juices with a handful of basil leaves to form a puree.
Plate up a slice of terrine, a dot or two of apricot puree and a few blocks of fig jelly and you’ve got yourself a pretty elegant little starter. And why not add some micro leaves and edible flowers too. A crusty baguette and a glass of good wine is all this asks for.