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Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.

Rest easy - I’m not on the election trail. This concerns things happening in and within a few metres of my kitchen.

A meal cooked for friends is something my wife and I enjoy planning together but I have become increasingly bossy in the production department, very often claiming all the kitchen duties. The fact that cooking gives me such great pleasure can leave me shame-faced when I realise that I’m sometimes giving in only to offers of help with the washing up! So, this also concerns my effort to relent and allow the proper expression of my wife’s wonderful cooking abilities.

We have enjoyed a spot of North American input for the last couple of years. One of our sons has brought his Canadian girlfriend into our family. We are all enriched by her and she loves cooking! After she had made us a second pumpkin pie and given us her favourite recipe we decided to include it as dessert for a visit of old friends. And I decided to give in gracefully and let my wife make it!

Here are the recipes which formed the menu we offered to our friends:

Eggs in Pots (Oeufs en Cocotte)

Braised Pork with Plums

Chef John's Pumpkin Pie

Please, do watch Chef John’s video - it clarifies things but, best of all, it lets you hear his lovely, lilting, reassuring voice.

I said that I would reference my recently made Chorizo Jam again soon. I discarded all but a simple salt and pepper seasoning for the eggs and served with sourdough toasts and butter… and a goodly helping of the savoury sensation. The combination was just as successful as its first appearance shortly after Christmas.

The main course contained my usual ‘deliberate’ mistake - I forgot to sprinkle on the other half of chopped spring onions before serving. All, including me, were ignorant of this while eating so we were only crest-fallen later! Mum cooked this for us on a recent visit and I’d been keen to try it out myself. Served with rice and green beans. Another must-make dish.

We knew that our friends had recently visited family in Canada and they had tales of China Town cuisine, sushi and meaty meals but no trans-Atlantic experience of the pumpkin pie which was about to appear. Of course, I’m not quite vulgar enough to enter into a discussion about the merits and success of each course but will concede that the pie was perfectly delicious. And, just to prove that my wife still has her touch, this was the one course where our guests asked for seconds!

The recipe is reasonably simple but very rewarding. The velvety texture of the filling is given just enough edge from the spices.

Here is the pie in all its glory. How smashing that we each had at least two more helpings to enjoy after our guests had left.

Over the years, my wife and I have done some amazing things together in the kitchen (and I do mean that in the best possible taste!) Planning, preparing and producing meals are collaborative processes which strengthen the bond between us. I think that getting in each other’s way is essentially more productive than avoiding each other. After her latest foray, I reckon it’s safe to say that my wife’s pie has broken down any last silly jealous thoughts of mine that the kitchen might be my domain.

Now what should I do with these floury hands of mine… ;)

* I don't own a snazzy camera. Some shots look half decent but I'm aware that taking them in the middle of 'service' doesn't always produce the best results - my apologies.

All images and content are the property of Geoff Griffiths. Copyright Geoff Griffiths 2014 ©