Twice-baked 2 cheese souffles, served with a seasonal salad & semi-dehydrated Rosada tomatoes
From the spring tunnel: I've used seasonal salads Ruby Chard, Oriental salads, lettuce, watercress, beet leaves, sorrel, Mizuna and thyme.
From the pantry: I've used some of last summer's frozen, semi-dehydrated Rosada tomatoes and home-made Kefir cheese.
I'm also using my hen's lovely organic eggs - who also eat plenty of healthy green food from the tunnel. Especially in winter, as it keeps the eggs high in nutrients and gives them a great colour!
These are also good made with a strong blue cheese or any other combination of strong tasting cheeses - so it can be a useful recipe for clearing up the remains of any cheeses you might have lurking in the fridge!
The souffles are really versatile. They make a brilliant light lunch, supper or starter dish served with fresh crunchy salad leaves and a fruity dressing.
They are high in good quality protein.
The ingredients in this recipe are easily available everywhere. All shops now stock goat's cheese. I make my own cheese from my home-fermented milk kefir which is a yoghurt-like drink but far higher in probiotics and important vitamins than yoghurt. The cheese I make from it has a similar texture to a soft mild goats' cheese but we prefer it, as it has a slightly sharper, stronger but less 'goaty' taste. Today I've used a mixture of both - but you can use just goat's cheese on it's own, or any other is equally nice. (If you want to use kefir cheese, you can't make it from shop bought kefir - it must be home made or it won't be a thick enough culture to make cheese. My article on how to make milk kefir is elsewhere on the blog.)
They are a terrific 'make-ahead', stress-free dish for a dinner party, lunch or just a busy week, as they can be made the day before, chilled overnight in the fridge & baked in the next day or two and can also be frozen, then thawed and baked again to finish. It's also a great recipe for cooking in batches when you have the time, so that you can take them out of the freezer in the morning and put them in the fridge for a quick supper in the evening. It's also very easy to cater for large amounts for a dinner party - so that you can look like cool 'Mrs. Fabulous' and not be red-faced and hot with all the last-minute effort!
If (and it's a very big 'if') you happen to have the odd one left over, you can actually even put them back into the oven again the next day, at the same temperature for 10 minutes and they are absolutely perfect. Unlikely because they're usually pounced on here as soon as they leave the oven! (I have been known to eat one for breakfast - but then I'm famously greedy!)
6 or 7 small souffle or ramekin dishes (the amount of mixture this makes depends on the size of your eggs - so it's flexible. The eggs are huge from my 2 year old hens so this recipe makes seven and a half portions!)
A good quality ceramic non-stick pan for making the sauce - don't use 'Teflon' or other non-stick type pans as these can produce toxic carcinogenic compounds during cooking. Ceramic pans can be quite expensive but T.K.Max is a brilliant source of them at about a third of the price!
A flexible silicone spatula
A good silicone whisk. These are invaluable for making sauces, as you can whisk constantly to avoid any lumps without danger of scratching the saucepan!
An electric whisk for whipping egg whites.
A large metal spoon. Large & medium mixing bowls. An accurate tablespoon measure.
An oven-proof dish large enough to accommodate the ramekin dishes to bake the souffles in.
*(Serves 6-7 as a starter, light lunch or supper.)
For the souffles:
100 g Butter
100g Plain white flour
600ml Full-fat milk
3 rounded tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 level tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of chopped thyme leaves - stripped off the woody stalks.
4 large eggs plus 1 more large egg white (save the remaining spare yolk to use in the parmesan glaze)
175g Rindless soft goat's cheese or kefir cheese, or a mixture of the two, or any other strong cheeses.
Salt & freshly ground black pepper.
For the Parmesan glaze:
50ml of double cream
35g grated Parmesan
1 large egg yolk (the one left over from 5 whites & 4 yolks used for souffles)
Souffles always sound really scary if you've never made them before but these twice-baked ones are very good-natured. Basically - all you have to do is just making a thick white sauce, grate cheese and then whip egg whites - easy peasy! They're great fun to watch cooking as they rise dramatically in the oven. But don't worry - they won't spill over and will gently sink back down again a little as they cool.
|1. Souffles rising dramatically in the oven - with dishes sitting in pan half-filled with hot water||2. Souffles removed from oven & immediately starting to shrink - lift them out of tin onto cake cooling rack|
|3. Shows how much they rise but they sink back down after 10 minutes cooling before turning out||4. Souffles turned out upside-down onto tin lined with silicone baking paper after 10 mins cooling.|
|5. Souffles drizzled with Parmesan, cream & egg glaze prior to second bake||6. Souffles just out of oven after second bake & browning under grill - they smell divine!|
1. Butter the souffle dishes well and fit them into any oven-proof dish or baking tin.
2. Melt the 100g butter in a saucepan, add in the 100g of flour and stir round on heat for 3-5 mins until it starts to cook slightly and slide around pan easily. Take care it doesn't burn.
3. Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the milk gradually using the silicone whisk, then put back on the heat. Stir constantly using the whisk until it makes a nice smooth thick sauce. (I'm not insulting your intelligence by showing pics of making a white sauce!)
4. Take pan off heat, stir in the 3 tablespoons of Parmesan, the mustard and chopped thyme, and set aside to cool slightly.
5. Separate the eggs, reserving 1 egg yolk for the glaze. Beat 4 of the egg yolks into the sauce. Add in all the cheese crumbled into pieces and gently stir in. The cheese doesn’t need to completely blend in. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Transfer this mixture into the large bowl, as you will be adding the whipped egg whites to this mixture.
6. Heat the oven to 200degC or 180degC fan
7. Put the 5 egg whites into the medium-sized clean bowl. Beat with electric whisk until they start to stiffen and hold soft peaks.
8. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold a third of the beaten egg whites at a time into the cheese mixture, turning the spoon over as you fold, to keep as much air as possible in the mixture. You don't want to over mix this as you will lose volume - but you don't want any large lumps of un-mixed in egg whites.
9. Spoon into the greased souffle dishes, filling them just to the top. If you have too much mixture at this point, just grease and fill another dish or so in the same way.
10. Pour boiling water into the baking tin, to come half way up the sides of the souffle/ramekin dishes.
11. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and just lightly coloured. They rise dramatically in the oven! (pic 1.)
12. Remove the dishes from the water bath in the tin (2a.) and set them aside on a cooling rack for 10 minutes (2b).
13. Run a flat knife carefully around the edge of each souffle and turn each one out, upside down, onto an oven proof tray or tin lined with baking parchment. (turning them onto your hand and giving them a shake before emptying the dishes can help to loosen them) A little occasionally sticks to the inside of the souffle dishes but you can just scrape this out and smooth it onto the tops. This doesn't matter as they'll be covered with the Parmesan glaze for the second bake anyway, so it won't show! (3)
14. After they have cooled completely, they can be cooked later on that day if wanted, or kept covered in the fridge overnight, or for one more day, before baking again. Alternatively, they can be frozen just as they are at this stage, then thawed completely before being drizzled with the glaze and being baked for the second time.
The Second bake - before serving:
1. About 15 mins before you want to eat, turn on oven to 200degC/180degC fan
2. Whisk the cream, Parmesan and remaining egg yolk together until smooth. Drizzle the tops of the souffles with this mixture (4.)
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then finish browning the tops lightly under the grill a little more until they're a nice golden brown. Be careful now as it’s very easy to burn them at this stage and the bitter taste of burnt cheese will ruin them! (5.)
4. Serve surrounded by any fresh, crunchy and colourful seasonal salad, with the dressing of your choice. (6.)
As usual - you can take it as read that all the ingredients I use are always organic wherever possible - so I don't keep repeating the word! Organic ingredients are scientifically proven to be more nutritious, higher in healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, phytonutrients and of course contain fewer chemicals like pesticides, heavy metals or additives (this is how we have eaten for 40 years - but it's up to you, non-organic alternatives are easily available)