It’s no trouble, slapping food into the oven and on plates – actually (is this a guilty secret or does everyone know it?) the more people who are coming, the less bother it is. You might take hours on intricate recipes for 4 or 6, but if there are a dozen or more guests, you’ll just make sure that the food is fairly simple, very tasty and not fiddly to make or serve, and do lots of it.
The only difficulty is deciding what to make. Specifically, what pudding. I’ve hardly made a pudding for ages, you see. I used to – in the days when we spent a month having weekly parties and then happily dined out on the return invitations for the next three, I’d probably make two or three different puds each time. And I used to make cakes and things for the family regularly, so it didn’t seem hard. But now, I’m so out of the habit that it doesn’t come easy any more. It’s not that people don’t come round, but the pudding is certainly not a major event any more. Indeed, if it’s family or last-minute, I buy one with no guilt at all.
I’ve got an array of books in front of me and I’ve spent the last hour wondering what to cook. Several other people are doing puds as well, though I’ve no idea what they’re doing. I bet there will be at least one apple pie or crumble, so I won’t do that. It has to be pre-cooked, so has to be suitable to be served warm or cold, or be patient about being kept warm for an hour or two. I don’t do shortcrust pastry, far too messy.
I’m toying with the notion of sticky toffee pudding, which is appallingly fattening but which people adore. Last-minute heating up of sauce isn’t much bother. I could make a chocolate cake with a chocolate sauce. Bread and butter pudding is always popular and nice served warm. Or something fruity, perhaps. But not apple. Hm.
I’ll go and peer in the larder and see if anything gives me inspiration.