Monday, 19 April 2010

The Framlingham Feast Friday 16th April

Framlingham Castle was left in trust to Pembroke College by Robert Hitcham (Pembroke 1587) upon his death in 1636. Hitcham had aquired the castle in 1635 for £14,000, from Theophilus Howard, Earl of Suffolk.
In his will, dated 8th August 1636, Hitcham left to his college "...the Castle, Roialties, and Rents of Tenure, with the Mere, and all other Fish-ponds, the advowson of the Church, the Hundred of loes, and the Fairs and the Markets there"..."and this my Legacy, I will, shall be imployed for the good of the College, as my gift alone by itself, and not to be imployed to the increase of the Fellowships, or Buildings, or any other Thing, belonging to their House." The demesne-lands and other hereditaments were left in trust to the College for pious and useful purposes in Suffolk. The far-sighted wording of a will promoting endowment rather than aggrandisement caused disputes and litigation that lasted into the reign of Charles II. Although English Heritage is the guardian of the Castle, the College remains its official owner.

 On Friday we held a Feast in celebration of Framlingham Castle, and in memory of Robert Hitcham. The guest list included Knights, High Court Judges, Ambassadors, Doctors and many other notable persons.

The Master's Chair
The Hall prior to Dinner
Our Wonderful Catering Team
We began the dinner with a salad of honey roasted smoked duck with compressed pear, orange and pine nuts. The salad was finished with a balsamic and orange reduction.
Following the duck, we served grilled halibut with chestnut mushrooms, baby leeks, pureed turnip and jus gras.  The largest flatfish in the ocean, halibut is a delicious white-fleshed fish with a firm, meaty texture. Halibut live in the freezing cold waters off Scotland, Norway, Iceland and Newfoundland. We found this great recipe in a cookbook called Pier, by Greg Doyle. Pier is a well-known seafood restaurant in Rose Bay, Sydney Australia.
Up next, we served loin of venison wrapped in pancetta with violet potato, salsify, beetroot, blackberries, and port jus. This lovely dish marks the swan song for venison and root vegetables on our menus until at least September. This recipe comes from Food for Thought by Alan murchison, Alan is the Chef/Patron of two separate Michelin starred restaurants outside London, namely L'ortolan in Berkshire & La Bécasse in Ludlow. Most recently Alan won the Scottish heat of the BBC Great British Menu competition.
To finish the meal on a sweet note we looked to Gordon Ramsey for Inspiration. We chose Sable Breton with raspberries, vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate sauce and candied pistachios, from Gordon's 3-Star Chef cookbook. Sables, also known as a French Butter Cookie or Breton Biscuit, is a classic French cookie originating in Normandy France. The name 'Sables' is French for "sand", which refers to the sandy texture of this delicate and crumbly shortbread-like cookie.
After the sweet, the Hall was relayed for dessert which consisted of fresh fruit, petit fours, small boxes of homemade macaroons, Port, Claret and coffee.
Bon appétit!

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