I was at a big formal dinner in Peterhouse. The invitation stipulated “black or white tie,” so some of the boys turned up in dinner jackets, some in white tie and tails (I wore my white dinner jacket), and the girls came in long dresses, some off-the-shoulder. The food was first class, and obviously they’d spent the heating money on the food, because the hall was stone cold throughout. Several of the girls went out and came back with overcoats draped over their shoulders. The boys braved it out, though some of them stumbled as they rose, having lost all feeling in their numbed feet. It was a cold night, and even colder outside as we left.
After a champagne reception we went in and started with duck liver parfait, smooth and flavoured with Cointreau, and served with toast. Then came quail stuffed with haggis. I am used to quail as a tiny bird, but we had quite a quantity of meat, with chateau potatoes, vegetables and a whisky cream sauce (very good).
Finally came a poached pear with buttermilk pannacotta flavoured with vanilla and a butterscotch sauce. Then came Peterhouse devils on horseback (sometimes called angels rather than devils), with apricots instead of dates wrapped inside the bacon.
The wines were a Willi Haag Riesling (of which you already know my views – there are no good ones) and a Chateau Lieujean haut-medoc 2003 (which was very nice). Just as the cold room was about to induce rigor mortis, along came the Peterhouse port to give us all some central heating and thaw us out.