A DEAR friend is about to take up a new ministry post in the diocese in Europe. Before he left, he suggested that I might help him with a few recipes for “mass catering”. Simplicity is often key, along with a large baking tin or casserole pot. This Lincolnshire bake should feed a good 15 people. Those sagey sausages are great here, but anything flavourful works. Instead of chicken quarters, thighs and wings are just as good.
6 onions, peeled
1.5 kg (3 lb) new potatoes
15 Lincolnshire sausages
8 chicken quarters (or thighs/wings)
1 bunch sage leaves
2 tablespoons dried thyme
Salt flakes and milled pepper
1 glass (300ml or ½ pt) white wine
Quarter the onions and lemons and place in the largest roasting tin you have. Mix in the potatoes, then nestle the sausages and chicken pieces among everything. Scatter over the sage and thyme, season with the salt and pepper, then anoint with olive oil — a good 100ml or third of a pint — and mix with your hands. Finally, pour the wine over the top.
Place this into the oven at 200°F/220°C/Gas 7, and cook for about an hour until browned. If necessary, cover with foil and keep the heat low beyond that.
Do experiment. As apples are coming into season, add six cored and chopped with cider instead of wine (omit the lemons).
Summer fruits are delicious in a Fruit brûlée. I use soft fruits here, but more autumnal flavours are good (apples, plums, etc.). Stew any hard fruits gently in advance.
2 punnets of strawberries
1 punnet of raspberries
8 kiwi fruits
1 bunch green grapes (seedless)
200g (7 oz) ground almonds
900ml (3 pt) crème fraîche
250g (10 oz) amaretti biscuits
Do the first part a few hours before you need to serve. Prepare all the fruit as though for a fruit salad; so peel, pluck, or hull, then chop into thumb-size pieces. Mix together in a large mixing bowl, stir in the ground almonds and then the crème fraîche. Gently break the amaretti biscuits over the top, and stir through lightly. Pour into a trifle or salad bowl, cover with clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least four hours (overnight will not hurt).
When ready, preheat the grill to its maximum temperature. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the pudding and whack it under the heat until it goes a dark and bubbly caramel with a little blistering. (Or use a kitchen blowtorch.) Cool momentarily, then serve.