Himself, AKA the Domestic God has been quiet productive of late. Along, with what has now become his “go to when in doubt fall back option” Oysters Rockefeller, he has expanded his repertoire to included, Cheese Tart, Savoie style, Cheese Soufflé, grilled Giant Shrimp with chilli enhanced salad, Sole Meunière and the latest Baked Cod with herb crust on a base of snow peas and baby corn!! I can see I will soon be able to put my aprons away and put my feet up and watch the rugby ? whilst he potters in the kitchen, or maybe not!
There is just one downside to his now kitchen independence, going shopping to buy his ingredients, where for the most part it will already be in the house. My pantry is full of basics, from flours of several kinds, to spices to ingredients for Mexican, Chinese, Japanese cuisines and more besides. I like to go to the Meat wholesale market in central London, to stock up, or I go to the largest Whole foods in London, also for their meat. I go to The central fish market, for my fish, or failing that to my local street market, I bring back Abondance cheese from France ( it freezes well) for my soufflés and tarts, he has to learn now to look first ( his cleaning up skills are now quite remarkable!)
Onto Cheese Soufflé, most cook books in the English Language call for cheddar cheese, I guess it is fine, and although has a reasonably strong flavour, does not melt that well and I find it a bit boring. If you are in the US on the other hand, dare I say it, cheese which is to be found in the average supermarket is more like soap, than cheese. I have made in the past, a wonderful hot cheese dip, made with orange processed cheese, melted along with cans of chopped tomatoes with chillies in, Umm, yummy with fresh fried tortilla chips! My friend’s daughter said, Oh, you mean it is plastic cheese and in my family the name has very much stuck!
But back to cheese soufflé, yes use cheddar if you wish but try other cheese out to see which you like the best. As I said, I bring Abondance back from the Savoie, here in central London, the price per kilo can be as much as £39, whereas, I can buy from a local farmer for about €14 a kilo and of course is far superior in flavour.
- 50 grms unsalted butter plus a little extra melted for greasing the dish
- 40 grms plain flour
- 1/2tsp english mustard powder, this is quiet strong but it enhances the cheese
- good pinch cayenne pepper, pinch salt and a grind of black pepper
- 300 mls milk
- 200 grms strong cheese, Gruyère or cheddar
- 6 large free range eggs, separated
- Preheat the oven to 180C fan, 200 C gas #6.
- Grease a 20cm Soufflé dish lightly.
- melt the butter in a saucepan add the flour, mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook for a couple of minutes and the gradually stir in the milk making sure after each addition that it is well incorporated. Stir and bring to the boil. It should be thick without lumps BUT if you should have lumps do not despair. Either beat vigorously, attack it with a hand-held electric whisk or even throw it into a food process, DO NOT start over..
- remove from heat and add the cheese and the egg yolks.
- In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until very stiff, then carefully FOLD them into the egg /cheese mixture
- Spoon into the soufflé dish and bake for 25 – 30 mins.
- SERVE immediately with a green salad.
A trick with individual soufflés is that they can be twice baked. So simply put the mixture into individual ramekins, bake as above but for about 10-12 mins. Remove from the oven, and leave until ready to serv. remove from the ramekins, and place on a baking tray right side up, sprinkle the tops with some grated parmesan and and bake again as above unto re-risen ! Cheating? Yes! But who cares!!