Recipe blog – Mixed cheese soufflé

Last week I arrived at work and realised I had only brushed my hair on one side of my head! I had got fed up with chasing the kids around with a hair brush, started mine and then caught them unawares but having ticked that box I moved on and before I knew it I am at work running my fingers threw the left side of my hair. I bet I am not the only one who has done that or worse! It is very hard to be a working mum and most of the time I am happy, more than happy to be a bit of a scrappy doo. I cannot produce lightly poached plums in a sticky orange scented syrup after a day on my feet cooking for 150 wedding guests. My fridge is nearly always a mess and I have that top shelf filled with old jars I don’t really ever touch. It needs sorting but after a day in the office writing menus, answering questions and making endless decisions, a sandwich and half a bottle of wine will have to do. My father was a surgeon – we never had a plaster or pill in the house. For this week’s recipe I have chosen a soufflé which may seem like an odd choice but it is important to ignore the fear factor; a soufflé is only a white sauce with a flavour – cheese, spinach, fresh herbs, smoked haddock, broccoli – all possible left over ingredients waiting to be used on that top shelf! Don’t tell anyone how easy a soufflé is – after all it does come with some goddess status.
Mixed cheese soufflé
(1 ½ pint soufflé dish, round dish with high sides)
3 oz left over Cheese – cheddar, blue, goats – all work nicely
1 oz freshly grated parmesan, for the sides
3 large, fresh free range eggs, separated
1 oz butter, plus a little to butter the dish
1 tbs Flour
5 oz milk
Nutmeg / cayenne / salt / pepper

Pre heat the oven to gas 4 / 160oc
Prepare the dish by buttering the sides, sprinkle the parmesan cheese in and roll around the sides to lightly cover. These unsmooth sides give the soufflé something to hold onto and climb up whilst cooking.
Melt the butter in a pan and whisk in the flour to form a roux. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Turn off the heat. Grate all the cheese and separate the eggs. Now add the cheese and the egg yolks to the slightly cooled white sauce, season with nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne, salt and black ground pepper.
Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak and with a metal spoon fold the whites into the cooled cheese sauce in 3 goes, this helps to keep as much air as possible in the whites. Pour into the soufflé dish and place into the centre of the oven. Now turn up the oven to gas 5 / 180oc. This rising heat helps lift the soufflé. Cook for 30 minutes and eat straight away with a salad – for example spinach, walnut and endive salad with a tart lemon dressing.
Note to self – remember to brush hair