The other evening we had an extraordinary dinner. A cousin of mine – almost my twin in age – came for supper with the Chief Taster and myself.

He’s a fascinating, enthusiastic historian, as well as a man curious about everything, and suddenly we found it was 3.00 am! How often does that happen? Time sped by, aided, of course, by good food and wine.

This duck liver pâté was the starter – a very reliable stalwart. Make pots (literally) of it and put it in the freezer, ready to produce, with a flourish, as and when you need it.

Serve with toast – sourdough or fresh granary…

It’s also good with a small salad garnished with blood orange slices, which makes it look less lonely on the plate.


Recipe for it’s-a-doddle duck liver pâté

Serves 6


  • 250g/9 oz duck livers
  • 200g/8 oz butter, plus another 50g/1 oz or so
  • 3 tbsps whisky (or brandy)
  • 2 tsps Dijon mustard
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme – about ten – six for garnish
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with ½ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes
  • 18 juniper berries
  • bread for toast to serve with it (no butter necessary, as there is enough in, and covering, the pâté


  1. Fry everything except the garnish – the six sprigs of thyme, the 50g of butter, and the juniper berries – and the bread, together in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Use a stick blender to mix to a purée. Divide this mixture between six ramekins, and leave to cool (in the fridge).
  3. Melt the remaining 50g/1 oz or so of butter (you may need a little bit more).
  4. Pour the melted butter over the pâté.
  5. Drop in the juniper berries and the sprigs of thyme.


This post is dedicated to Peter Cramer.


duck pate recipe