Planning is very important to successful entertaining. These dishes can all be started hours before your guests are due. I have sometimes made a potato gratin the day before I intend to serve it.
Parsnip and curry soup
This comforting soup just needs a quick reheat and a crisping of the garnish of curry leaves.
Seven hour leg of lamb with anchovy and garlic
The seven-hour lamb recipe has been much admired. Depending on the size of the leg you may find as I did that the meat was falling off the bone after five hours. My cast-iron casserole has a very tight lid so the sealing paste was not necessary.
I find that this is a winner every time. In fact it doesn’t matter how large I make it – it is always finished off!
This is a good dish to serve whilst the oven is on for such a long time with the lamb. The recipe suggests 160degC for the pears and 120degC for the lamb. I think I would compromise on 140degC for both, and be prepared to raise the temperature for the final hour of the pears’ cooking time, after the lamb has been cooked.