23 Dec2013


Pica-pica, nibbles, appetizers, antipasti, metze — whatever you call them, these pre-meal munchies are often one of my favorite parts of our festive holiday meals. We have to keep everyone busy while the finishing touches on dinner are frantically going on in the kitchen, and a snazzy spread is always appreciated. Here is what we did this year for one of our holiday dinners with friends…


Some sliced home-made Pate de Campagne or country style pate, this one with pistachios and green peppercorns. It turned out very nicely for my first attempt, but a tad on the dry side, and could have used a little more fat perhaps.


Some cornichons and pickled pearl onions and grainy mustard for the pate. Nibbles served on olive wood boards and bowls, an acacia board I had made earlier in the year, and the table decorated with pine cones, leaves and some candles in light green votive holders.


We also served some home-made chicken liver pate with brandy and green peppercorns as well. On the side, some caramelized onions with a touch of sugar and balsamic vinegar. The onion relish piled on top of the liver pate on a piece of bread was delicious. I could have eaten a few of those and a salad for a terrific light meal!


For those who preferred a non-meat nibble, we had a bowl of home-made patani or lima bean spread with fresh mint leaves. Blanche and peel some fresh patani or broad beans, then blitz in a food processor with a bit of plain yoghurt, olive oil, fresh mint, salt and pepper. This was light, tasty and practically guilt free. We served dried bagel chips on the side. We also had the most fantastic baby radishes from Gejo at Malipayon Farms which folks could eat straight or dipped into the dip/spread.


Some multi-colored carrots from Down2Earth (red, orange, yellow, purple and white) were washed, peeled and sliced and served in an olive wood bowl… to be enjoyed as is or dipped into the patani spread/dip.


Finally, the table had some peeled and salted roasted pistachios and unsalted peanuts as well. The idea behind the table was to have a variety of munchies on offer… rich, natural, light, salty, sweetish, herbal, texural and all served on different levels, in varying vessels and types of wood, with warm candlelight to illuminate it all.


This was one of my favorite pica-pica spreads of all time. I hope your holiday plans are in full swing… I know ours are, and it’s getting hectic in the MM household today…



  1. millet says:

    beautiful table, as usual, MM. i prefer doing tapas spreads to full dinners. it takes more time, but everything can be prepared well in advance, and one cna be more creative with the set-up. did you have desserts with these, or was this just the pre-dinner cocktail table?

    Dec 23, 2013 | 7:48 am


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  3. Dreaming says:

    Lovely and delicious as always!

    Dec 23, 2013 | 8:10 am

  4. marilen says:

    Could be a happy camper on the pate de campagne and chicken liver pate alone. Lovely and delicious as ever.

    Dec 23, 2013 | 9:15 am

  5. Marketman says:

    millet, this was pre-dinner set-up… full dinner menu from appetizers to main course, cheese course and dessert followed. :)

    Dec 23, 2013 | 9:31 am

  6. Natie says:

    One could load up on these and be full by dinner time! They look so good!
    Looking forward to the pictures of the whole meal!

    Dec 23, 2013 | 9:51 am

  7. bijin says:

    I love all your wood stuff. My son spent a semester in Jerusalem and brought me a good size nativity set with a huge carved tree trunk to house the characters. It’s a treasure!

    Dec 23, 2013 | 1:02 pm

  8. bijin says:

    Forgot to mention that the nativity set and the manger was made of olive wood.

    Dec 23, 2013 | 2:12 pm

  9. bambina says:

    feeling the blues lately and do not feel like cooking up a storm. you just inspired me to do a festive appetizer spread. thank you for the idea. happy holidays mm, mrs. mm and the teen.

    Dec 23, 2013 | 4:03 pm

  10. Khew says:

    Are those wild pepper leaves aka “betel leaves”?

    Dec 23, 2013 | 10:07 pm

  11. corrine says:

    How many hours from cocktails to dessert?

    Dec 23, 2013 | 10:08 pm

  12. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Hmmm…lima bean spread…interesting.

    Dec 24, 2013 | 11:06 am

  13. Marketman says:

    corrine, guests typically start arriving promptly at 7pm… and most leave the table just about midnight. So 5 hours is a good estimate. Khew, yes, they are betel leaves. :)

    Dec 24, 2013 | 1:10 pm

  14. greens_blossoms says:

    Love the table spread and envious about olive wood boards and bowls…Merry Christmas, MM to you and your family..and crew…

    Dec 24, 2013 | 3:08 pm

  15. jeston says:

    Hi MM! can you help me with this…where do you think can i find good pistachios for a good price around makati or BGC?

    Dec 26, 2013 | 7:50 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    jeston, good peeled and salted pistachios at S&R in the Fort. They also have them salted and still in their shells. For shelled and plain (not salted) you can try the nuts vendor at the Saturday Salcedo market — these are good for baking or cooking with.

    Dec 27, 2013 | 2:50 pm

  17. Lambchop says:

    Beautiful spread! This is such a great idea, will steal it for my next family party :)

    Dec 29, 2013 | 6:29 pm

  18. jeston says:

    Sorry MM i actually forgot to indicate that i wanted unsalted ones. I appreciate you telling me all the possible options though! haha Thank you soso much. Anyway do you think blanching salted pistachios and peeling the skin off would yield the same taste as an unsalted pistachio that goes through the same blanching and peeling process? because i reckon that putting them in boiling water alone would already wash way the saltiness at to that… i peel the outer skin after blanching.

    Jan 2, 2014 | 4:38 am

  19. Angelo says:

    Nice spread. ^_^

    I’d like it very much if you could do a post on your pate de campagne and chicken liver pate with step by step pics, pretty please?

    Jan 14, 2014 | 3:19 pm


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