Airily light yet packed with flavour, this pate encompasses the essence of autumn. Serve with a crisp green salad for a tasty lunch or with fine slices of toasted baguette as an accompaniment to aperitifs.
Put the dried mushrooms into a measuring jug and top up to 150ml with boiling water; set aside to cool.
Over a medium heat, toast the walnuts in a heavy based frying pan. Remove and keep to one side. Add the oil to the pan, turn down the heat a little then adding the shallot and garlic, gently and sweat until they are soft but not coloured. Stir in the mushrooms.
Roughly chop the now reconstituted mushrooms, adding to the pan along with their soaking liquid and continue to cook until everything is tender. Stir from time to time as the liquid evaporates, adding the thyme, sherry and seasoning, until no liquid remains. Allow to cool. Add half of the walnuts to the mushroom mixture and finely chop the remainder.
Blitz the mushroom mixture with a hand blender or liquidizer until smooth. Beat the cream cheese to loosen then add the mushrooms and remaining walnuts. Mix together, check seasoning and chill.