It was six years ago last Friday, when I began my employment at Pembroke College. In 2004, I spent my first working day frantically getting to grips with The Foundress Feast, so named in honour of our Foundress Mary de St Pol, one of the most important dinners in the College calendar.
On Christmas Eve 1347, Edward III granted Marie de St Pol, widow of the Earl of Pembroke, the licence for the foundation of a new educational establishment in the young university at Cambridge. The Hall of Valence Mary, as it was originally known, was thus founded to house a body of students and fellows.
The statutes were notable in that they both gave preference to students born in France who had already studied elsewhere in England, and that they required students to report fellow students if they indulged in excessive drinking or visited disreputable houses. The college was later renamed Pembroke Hall, and finally became Pembroke College in 1856.
Our Foundress Feast on Friday was attended by alumni whom matriculated before 1953, and marked the return of game to the College menus. We began Friday's Feast with a ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon, finished with a lemongrass and chervil velouté.
Following the starter, we served loin of venison cooked sous vide, and accompanied by caramelised red cabbage, rosti potato, beetroot fondant and a red wine jus. This was a truely wonderful dish, full of autumnal colours and flavours!
For a sweet we served iced nougat parfait with Amaretto ice cream and Frangelico jelly. The sweet was garnished with hazelnuts dipped in caramel sauce.
Following the sweet, we served a savoury dish of goat’s curd on brioche with grilled honey pear and truffle honey. Again, this was a great dish that looked and tasted fantastic!
We finished the meal with homemade petit fours and macaroons, dessert fruit and coffee.
A quick note to all the catering staff:
You've done a wonderful job this year, and the food and service you provided for Friday night's Feast was some of the best I've ever seen; thank you and well done!