The first in our series on pates comes from Sheila Parkhill of Belfast, who, along with a second winner, will receive a bottle of Alain Brumont's Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Octobre 1991, a late-picked Jurancon-style wine from Reid Wines, near Bristol.
She writes: 'This is one of the simplest and most delicious pates, adapted from a recipe by Darina Allen of Ballymaloe House in Ireland.'
Ms Parkhill uses smoked mackerel, but other kippers would suit. Though it is not strictly necessary, very light poaching of the fish will take the aggressive edge off the smoking and soften the texture.
Smoked Mackerel and Fennel Pate
Serves 4 as starter
Ingredients: 4oz/120g undyed
smoked mackerel, skinned and boned
2-3oz/60-90g softened butter
1tsp finely chopped fennel feathers
1tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed to paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preparation: Flake fish and blend all ingredients. If using food processor, pulse gently until you have the texture you want. Adjust seasoning and press into ramekins. Chill slightly.
The second recipe is from Steve Charters of the City of London. He writes: 'Claudia Roden's The Food of Italy has a recipe for walnut sauce for pasta; with a little variation, it makes an excellent cheese and nut pate.'
Cheese and Walnut Pate
Serves 4 as snack
Ingredients: 10oz/300g shelled walnuts
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 slices good bread, crust removed
150ml/5fl oz milk
2oz/50g freshly grated parmesan
4tbs olive oil
black pepper to taste
Preparation: Soak the bread in 4tbs milk. Crush nuts, but not too finely, because you want some rough chunks. Working by hand, blend nuts, cheese, garlic, oil and bread, and season with pepper. As you do this, add sufficient milk to bind the mixture but not make it too liquid. Press into a mould or terrine and weight slightly. Chill.
Next week, more pates. Entries welcome, stating source; send to Emily Green, Recipe, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.