The meal I cooked for friends was fairly straightforward except for one thing: every course required the oven, and it was quite a job fitting things in and around each other. However, it all worked out.
I began with savoury tarts, in effect mini-quiches. I made a shortcrust pastry with flour, bran, and goose fat, and into the small flan dishes I put chopped chorizo and blue cheese, with creamed spinach in the egg and milk mixture. They took about 25 minutes to cook.
The very traditional main course was roast chicken. I decided not to stuff it, but did score cuts in the skin, into which I rubbed dried thyme. Then I rubbed butter over it and put it into a 180 oven. It had one and a half hours with regular basting. Alongside it I cooked roast potatoes, parboiling for 8 minutes, shaking in the pan afterwards to roughen the surfaces, then roasting in goose fat. They took about an hour and 40 minutes. When everything was nearly ready I steamed some mixed cabbage and leek.
The pudding was a pear crumble. I used two sweet Williams and one harder one of a variety I’ve not met before (Rocha). I pre-cooked for a few minutes with a little water and caster sugar before putting in a deep dish. The crumble mixture had flour, bran, baking powder and margarine, worked to a light, crumbly texture before I added caster sugar to it and sprinkled over the pears. I gave it half an hour in the oven, then served it with vanilla soy ice-cream.
The verdict? My guests said three out of three. The tarts were crumbly and sharp, with just the right balance of chorizo and Damish blue. The chicken was moist, the cabbage and leek still with some bite, and the potatoes were beautifully firm on the outside and tender within. The pear crumble was delicious, sweet and crunchy on top. It was quite traditional, but quite nice. With it I served a Rioja rosÃ© at 14 percent, which was just right for it.