Sorry for the silence recently. For the past week I have been baking in sunny Granada, south of Spain, and have had limited access to internet with no laptop. Sometimes you just need to have a break from all online communication and social media. It's good for the soul, not to mention your stress levels and your overall health.
Through a series of personal revelations during my pregnancy and reflecting on my own childhood food memories, I have decided to explore a range of foods from a cuisine that my mother cooked from often, or at least talked about frequently: French food. She was very fond of France, and I subsequently inherited this affection, plus some.
French food is often rich, involves quite a bit of dairy, and melts in your mouth with complete palatable satisfaction. I understand that many of you avoid dairy for various reasons, I too generally don't consume a lot of dairy, however these recipes will incorporate dairy and I suggest you purchase the best quality dairy available to you. This may mean you choose raw milk, unpasteurized cheese, or organic grass-fed dairy. Alternatively you could use coconut milk in place of cows milk. Sometimes you need to work with the food industry, not against it, to enjoy the delectable dishes of your past. So here goes recipe one...
Gruyere Double Baked Soufflé
I served these during a three course meal, however, you could easily make these little morsels of joy the main attraction. To start, I plated my husband and I each a fresh salad drizzled with lemon vinaigrette. The soufflés were served as the second course, followed by a few pork and fennel sausages each.
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
175ml whole fat organic milk
20g grass-fed butter
20g whole organic spelt flour
50g grated gruyere
30g grated organic cheddar
2 free-range organic eggs, separated
- Preheat a fan-forced oven to 200 degrees.
- In a small saucepan, bring the milk, onion, and bay leaf to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes. Be careful not to boil the milk or allow it to bubble too high. Strain, discard the onion and bay leave, and set aside. You need 175ml of milk in total, so if some evaporated during simmering, top up with fresh milk.
- In another medium sized saucepan, melt the butter until it bubbles ever-so-slightly. Sprinkle over the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Make sure to coat all the flour with the butter. Allow to bubble for 1 - 2 minutes, which will cook the flour. Remove from heat.
- Slowly add the milk into the saucepan over flour mixture. Whisk continually while pouring.
- Return to a low heat and continue to whisk for 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Add 20g of gruyere and the full amount of cheddar cheese and mix well until the cheese is fully melted. This is your chance to season with salt and pepper - don't be afraid to over season. Season to your taste.
- Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, prepare your oven-proof bowls or large ramekins. Grease the inside of both dishes with butter, dust with flour, then line the bottom of each dish with baking paper.
- Once the cheese mixture has cooled slightly. Add an egg yolk, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated.
- Place the egg whites into a small-medium sized bowl and whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted from the mixture.
- Fold a quarter of the egg whites into the cheese mixture, being careful not to beat the air out of the egg whites. Repeat until all the egg whites are incorporated. You don't want to over do this step, if anything, under-do the folding of the egg whites.
- Divide the mixture between the two dishes and place in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. At this point you can place the dishes in the fridge if you don't plan on serving until a long while later.
- Alternatively, using your hands, up-turn the soufflés out of their dishes and place them up-side-down on small oven-proof plates. Remove the baking paper.
- Pour the cream evenly over each soufflé, top with the remaining grated gruyere, and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Feed, nourish, value yourself.