From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
2 gelatine leaves or 1 sachet powdered gelatine
150 ml cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
450 g soft irish goat's cheese
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tblsp snipped fresh chives
1 tblsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tblsp chopped fresh basil
for the apricot relish:
1 tblsp olive oil
2 onions (finely chopped)
175 g ready-to-eat dried apricots (finely chopped)
350 ml white wine
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
2 tblsp clear honey
1 tsp salt
pesto and warm crusty bread, to serve
This sweet and sour relish is the perfect accompaniment for the creamy saltiness of the peppered goat's cheese rolled in fresh herbs. Look out for the tubs of soft goat's cheese so that you have no wastage and consider using two firm ripe peaches when they are in season instead of the dried apricots.
If using gelatine leaves, place in a bowl of cold water to soak for 10 minutes to soften.
Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a simmer, then sprinkle in the gelatine and stir in the lemon juice. If using gelatine leaves, drain and gently squeeze dry, then whisk into the cream mixture for 1 minute until the gelatine has fully dissolved. If using powdered gelatine simply whisk in a thin steady stream and continue to whisk for 1 minute until dissolved.
Meanwhile, break up the goat's cheese into a bowl and add the pepper and herbs. Stir in the cream and gelatine mixture until well combined. Lay out a sheet of foil and cover with a layer of clingfilm, then spread the goat's cheese mixture into the middle and shape into a log, twisting and rolling up the foil and clingfilm to secure. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To make the apricot relish, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and gently sauté the onions for 10 minutes until well softened but not coloured. Add the apricots, wine, vinegar, honey and salt and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until all of the liquid has reduced and been almost completely absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool completely.
To serve, remove the foil and clingfilm wrapper from the paté and cut into slices. Arrange three slices in the centre of each plate and drizzle a little pesto around if using. Surround with spoonfuls of the apricot relish. Serve at once with a separate basket of crusty bread.