POTTED CHEESE, like in the olden days

Just recently I made a chicken liver pâté and it tasted great. I made it with the leftover chicken livers that I cooked on the previous night for our dinner (saute’ livers in extra virgin olive oil and some butter, add herbs such as sage, thyme or rosemary, salt and pepper. Remove the livers, add white wine or dry Marsala or brandy to deglaze the pan and evaporate. Blend everything till a fine paste. Place it in a ramekin. Cover with melted butter).
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I had not made pâté  for many years and it reminded me of other nibbly things I used to make years ago, like potted cheese – a cheese pâté.
This is definitely not Sicilian or Italian – left over cheese is used in cooking, but not converted into a spread.
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Potted cheese was traditionally made with left over bits of cheese (coarsely grated); Cheshire or strong cheddar are usually given as examples in recipes and it usually made with two or more cheeses. Softened butter makes it spreadable, and for extra flavouring recipes suggest a dash of Port, maybe some paprika, Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce or mustard. All this is mixed together and covered with clarified butter, like potted meat or potted fish.
In my potted cheese I used semi firm cheeses: Gruyère, Montagio and Asiago; Raclette or Fontina or Gouda are other semi firm, medium-tasting cheeses). I added dry Marsala rather than port which is too strongly flavoured for these cheeses. I have some new season’s walnuts so I thought that these would be a good addition, a little nutmeg goes well with nuts and black pepper.
Chop up the cheeses in a food processor until it looks as if it has been coarsely grated. Combine with marsala and the softened butter. Add some chopped walnuts,  grated nutmeg and some coarsely ground, black pepper corns and mix thoroughly. Add more butter if necessary – it is a spread. Transfer spread into small bowls, press down to eliminate air bubbles and smooth out the top. Melt a little butter to pour on top to seal the potted cheese. Cover and refrigerate.
 
Potted cheese can be prepared days ahead and left in the fridge. Bring spread to room temperature before serving.
I topped mine with more walnuts before serving (I made individual ones for my guests).
Spread on bread, toast or crackers.
I particularly like my green walnut cracker (see photo above) – a special gift from a friend.

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