A long table burgeoning with fruit, wine and a suckling pig with an apple in its mouth is the typical picture that springs to mind when you think about the Middle Ages. Nothing is grander or more old-fashioned that a roasted suckling pig.
This recipe makes use of large quantities of Madeira. For a cheaper alternative, you can use port wine gelée and just add a small dash of Madeira or port wine towards the end.
Pre-heat the oven to 250 Fahrenheit (120 Celsius).
Singe the hairs off the suckling pig using a ski burner, or simply use a good, old-fashioned razor. After removing the hairs, wash the pig both inside and outside and rub it well with salt. Boil the Madeira in a small saucepan with cloves, cinnamon, salt and pepper until the mixture acquires the texture of a light syrup. Brush the suckling pig with a layer of Madeira syrup before placing it in the oven for 5 hours. Use the hot air function. Brush the pig twice each hour. The skin should be crispy when the pig has finished roasting. If the skin is not crispy, turn up the temperature to 285 Fahrenheit (140 Celsius) and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
While the pig is roasting, large quantities of juice will run out, so cover the bottom of a fireproof dish with some of the fruit and place this under the pig in the oven in order to catch the juices.
Place the carrots and beets in a large, greased, fireproof dish with the rest of the plums, figs, dates and apricots. Sprinkle with a bit of oil, salt and pepper. Place the dish in the oven with the suckling pig for the final 20 minutes. Turn the temperature up to 400 Fahrenheit (200 Celsius) when you take out the pig, and allow the vegetables to continue cooking for a further 20 minutes. Turn the vegetables over with a spatula while they are cooking.