Simplicity is the key to good entertaining, says Sir Clement. He suggests a classic roast chicken, preceded by a first course of no-fuss chilled soup.

"Most people can cook, practically everybody can eat; what is rare is a cook/host who can prepare a meal, then sit down quietly, coolly and play the part of guest. For this reason poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, cheese soufflés and baked Alaska should not feature on informal supper menus.

"Start with an iced vichyssoise. Buy a carton or tin of vichyssoise, or some similar soup, in a supermarket, pour it into a liquidiser, add some Maldon sea salt, a fifth of the soup's quantity in single cream and six ice cubes. Blend, strain into bowls that have been in the freezer, add freshly chopped chives and serve.

"The best roast chicken need not be home-reared and hand-fed. Buy one in the supermarket. You should pay around £2.50."

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 large fresh chicken

1 level tspn Maldon sea salt

3 tbspns sherry vinegar

75g butter

"In a wok or frying pan, dissolve the salt in the sherry vinegar and when this bubbles over a low heat, simmer the chicken therein, turning it so that all outside parts are slightly coloured.

"When the liquid hascooked away, place the chicken breast down on a roasting dish. Dissolve the butter in the wok and stir.

"Pour the seasoned butter over the chicken. Bake it in a medium-hot (gas mark 6/200C) oven for an hour, turning it over halfway through and basting it occasionally. When ready, let the chicken rest for a few minutes, serve and bask in the praise of your guests."

Sir Clement Freud is the rector of St Andrews University and appears in 'Clement Freud Entertains' at the King's Head Theatre, London N1, on 7 and 8 September