The problem (admittedly not a very serious problem) with buying lots of cheese in one go is that you suddenly have an awful lot of cheese to eat. ‘Stop it!’ wailed the Other Half last week. ‘Stop buying so much cheese, I have to stop eating so much cheese!’ Whilst the obvious retort would be ‘Well, stop eating so much cheese then’, I did have some sympathies and so, with a lunch visit from the in-laws on the horizon and a mammoth chunk of the bluest cheese in existence in the fridge, I decided to cook something up with it. Obviously by taking this approach we are still, in real terms, ‘eating so much cheese’, but it doesn’t feel like it. A bit like when you eat the whole box of chocolates at once and therefore consume less calories than if you ate three a day for the next fortnight. Honestly.
Blue cheese and watercress were made to go together and especially with these lovely fluffy soufflés. If you are ‘frit’ of soufflés, as dear old Norman Tebbit would no doubt say, fear not in this case. I first made twice-baked soufflés a year or so ago with some cheddar cheese and you really cannot go wrong with them. Plus you can make them the day before, bung them in the fridge and then the next day sit and drink gin rather than actually cook anything properly.
140g Hebridean Blue Cheese, crumbled or chopped into little bits
40g plain flour
4 large eggs, separated
150ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan-assisted/Gas Mark 4. Butter four ramekins.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes. Add nearly all of the cheese and stir until melted (don’t worry if chunky bits remain). Stir in the egg yolks and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg whites until holding soft peaks then fold gently into the cheese mixture.
Divide between the prepared ramekins. Stand the dishes in a roasting tin and pour in boiling water to come two thirds up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 15-20 minutes until well risen and firm. Leave to cool. They might sink a little at this point but don’t worry; they will rise again. At this point you can store them in the fridge until you are ready to re-cook them.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 200˚C/180˚C fan-assisted/Gas Mark 6. Run a knife round the sides of the ramekins and turn the soufflés out into an ovenproof dish. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this bit as I was too busy drinking the gin.) Pour over the cream, sprinkle with some more cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve with a watercress salad.