This creamy pea-green pate make a gorgeous starter or supper. The flavours are surpisingly robust, making it good picnic food as well. For a posher do, you could line your moulds with more cooked spinach leaves, carefully stretching them out to single thickness. Fiddly, but worth it: when you turn out the parfait an elegant shiny dark green mound will emerge.
Mrs Phillips had the recipe from the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, a fantastic cook and co-author of Howard and Maschler on Food (sadly now out of print).
225 ml (8 oz) spinach
1 small onion
110 g (4 oz) butter
1 tin anchovies
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 tbsp double cream, Greek yoghurt, or mayonnaise
pinch of dried tarragon, or 1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1. Wash the spinach, and drain it well. Cook it in a covered pan until wilted, then tip it into a sieve placed over a bowl.
2. Press the spinach hard with the back of a ladle, to extract as much liquid as possible.
3. Chop the onion and cook it gently in the butter, so that it is softened and translucent but not brown.
4. Chop the eggs and anchovies and liquidize or process them with the onions, spinach and cream (or yoghurt or mayonnaise) until smooth.
5. Put into a mould or bowl or four small ramekins, lined with clingfilm if you want to turn them out.
6. Chill for two or three hours. Serve from the bowl, or turned out, with hot rolls or toast.