Everyone seems to be trying out veganism in January, yet there’s no need to sacrifice flavour for the sake of virtue

Mushroom paté
Silky, elegant and easy to make: truffled mushroom paté. Photograph: Kevin Bertolacci/Dorling Kindersley
This silky paté with the umami flavours of mushrooms and truffles is an easy-to-make, elegant appetiser. Toss leftovers (if you have any) with hot, cooked pasta for a super-easy, creamy pasta dish the day after.

Truffled mushroom paté
serves 12
140g raw cashews
25g dried porcini mushrooms
120ml boiling water
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
225g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
225g white button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, or 1⁄2 tsp dried
4 tbsp dry white wine
1⁄2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tbsp white (shiro) miso
1 tbsp salt-reduced tamari
juice of 1⁄2 medium lemon (1 tbsp)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 tsp truffle oil, or to taste

Soak the cashews in cold water for at least 4 hours. Discard the soaking water, rinse the nuts well and set aside.

Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over them and soak for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are softened. Lift them from the soaking water, agitating gently to release any soil. Reserve the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium–high heat. Add shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes.

Add the porcini mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms, button mushrooms and rosemary, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to brown, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the mushrooms at a brisk sizzle but not burning.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and cook for a further minute. Season with salt and black pepper, and remove from the heat.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the cashews, mushrooms, miso, tamari, lemon juice, chives and truffle oil.

Strain the reserved porcini liquid, leaving the last 1 or 2 teaspoons to eliminate any grit. Pour into the food processor and process until completely smooth. Taste the paté and season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired.

Pack the paté into a large ramekin or a terrine mould, and chill completely before serving with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Note: Truffle oil has a very strong flavour. If you haven’t had it before, you might want to begin with ½ tsp and add more to taste. For a milder truffle essence, omit the truffle oil and replace the sea salt with truffle salt.

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