souffle

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First in a series of recipe cards from around the world - the souffle


Keith Floyd – he’s alive! ALIVE!! Sure we were curious as to what happened to that large boulder and were dead impressed when he offered us to pop our fingers in the wounds all the while casually emptying a couple of bottles of Pouilly Fume but really we were just happy to have him back. What we really liked about him (apart from being the only person apart from Mark Oliver Everett that can wear a bowtie and not look like a berk) was his humanity. A weakness for booze, rubbish at finances, and a deep and sincere need to be loved. He also had the improbably rock star name shared with greats such as Keith Richards, Keith Moon and Keith Urban.

So the Keith Floyd tribute dinner of Smoked Trout and Cucumber Souffle with Rice Pudding based on second-hand Cornish scuttlebutt was not so much a time for mourning but celebrating. He had, much more so than my souffle, risen. While the miracle of birth is one thing; forgetting what it was like being a kid and being genuinely surprised when you actually woke up is another; it’s to have, to lose and to get back that’s the real trick.

Here’s his Real Rice Pudding recipe – it’s simple so don’t skimp on the vanilla pod, the milk or the cream. It’s an unseemly luxury for its simplicity.

3tbs short-grain rice; 600ml full cream milk; 1 vanilla pod; 25gm caster sugar; 150ml of double cream – whipped until softly peaky

Bring all the ingredients, except for the cream, to the boil and then put in an ovenproof dish with a lid and cook at 150˚C for 2 hours. Remove the pod, allow to cool slightly and then fold in the cream.

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pork crackle and asparagus souffle


Soufflé
, for those who don’t know, is the French word for breast. A fact I constantly marvel at. Who can look at these delicate treats without recalling Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People with Lady Liberty’s soft orbs swelling out of their restrictions? Who indeed? And who also would have thought that me, a man of 36, had not yet mastered such delights. It is true.

Now I’m not going to tell you how to make one. You should have a cook book that explains how to make a savoury one and if you don’t, then I can’t, in good faith, be an enabler.

The idea was to go to the grower’s market and see what was fresh looking and use that as a base. In the mean time I’d bought some pork belly for the mains, and left with the skin, thought I could do something with it. What goes nicely with pork? Asparagus. Think of asparagus wrapped in bacon. Yes.

The skin gets scored and then covered with oil and salt and crisped to a crackle. Then it’s chopped up into small pieces. I was thinking here of the nice Turkish Delight souffle they do at Jackson’s but instead have little bits of crunchy porky interest. Marking, in a way, the transition of pub snacks, as a marker on the road of life.

souffle ingredients

Things to know about this base. Seven thick asparagus are trimmed at the tough end and peeled. I removed and set aside the top parts as a garnish . Boil the asparagus in salted water until soft without being soggy. Chop into small pieces. Cook further in butter and a splash of walnut oil. Add this to your base, which should be a well combined white sauce of butter, flour, milk and the eggs yolks. In the interests of time, this can be made earlier and reheated when needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk the 5 egg whites. Lots of things can go wrong here. Make sure there’s no yolk in there. Cracking the eggs into one container and then transferring to another will save you having to chuck out five eggs and starting again. Use a bowl that is immaculately clean. Ive heard talk of copper bowls preventing over-whisking but you have to ask yourself, treat the cause or treat the symptom? It should go nice and glossy and if there’e the slightest trace of graininess. Stop. Working quickly, mix a third in with the base to loosen it and then carefully fold in the rest of the whites to get a good mix without losing volume.

The ramekins need to be rubbed thoroughly with butter, refrigerated until hard, and then rub with more butter. Fill to within a finger’s breadth of the top, drop some pieces of pork craackle in, and place in a 210C oven.

The recipe I had was for one large souffle and the total time for this would have been 30 minutes. I stopped at 20 but it was a little overdone. The bind is that if you open the oven too early to check, the souffle can collapse. I’d estimate around 15 minutes for single ramekins.

Rush to the table, save one for a super quick pic, and serve with the ends cooked in butter.

It was nice. Taste a little on the subtle side and maybe it needed a little something else. The porkiness of the crackle, provided localised interest, but didn’t travel far. It was nice and airy but really, I’d enjoy well made scrambled eggs better.

braised pork

The rest of the meal, for the visitation of his purpleness of Brisvegas, was a pork belly/pork-chop and cabbage braise served with celeriac-potato-sweet potato-jerusalem artichoke mash. Maybe I’ll explain it all later. It was topped with deep fried strips of parsnip. A trick I nicked from work. To finish, Kate took time out to redeem herself of her murdacious evilness to make a deeelicious rhubarb and apple crumble.

Thank you hosty: Kitchen Chick: IMBB 20: Has my blog fallen?

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