Ted Hughes went up to Pembroke College to read English in 1951, at the age of twenty-one. He won an Exhibition (a minor scholarship) which marked him as a specially promising student, and he was successful, gaining an Upper Second in Part One at the end of his second year. Cambridge is therefore an intriguing and resonant place at which to contemplate Hughes’s career, and to hold the latest in a series of international conferences, following Manchester (1980 and 1990), Lyon (2000), Atlanta (2005) and Edinburgh (2005).
Last night's dinner began with a soft-shell crab salad, warm tartare sauce, tomato confit, fried capers and rocket. This great dish is from Thomas Keller's French Laundry cookbook, and hopefully set the standard for the remaining courses!
We chose to serve another Thomas Keller dish for the main course, this time cooking a roulade of duck with creamed sweet corn, morel mushroom sauce and pommes Parisienne. This is a very complicated dish which consists of two duck breasts rolled together, wrapped in Swiss chard, and then cooked sous vide for 90 minutes.
We finished the meal with pears poached in red wine, and served with cherry clafoutis and yoghurt sorbet. This is a great sweet from the Food for Thought cookbook by Alan Murchison.