Facing my kitchen fears

This Girl knows my way around a kitchen and I’m not frightened of much. The idea of making a soufflé has always freaked me out though.
I’m actually afraid of cooking with egg whites. I was well into my 30s before I attempted my first Pavlova. The Other Girl is a meringue queen but I on the other hand, go out of my way to avoid making it.
‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’, It was time to try my hand at a soufflé. I went for the more forgiving double baked cheese soufflé, choosing a recipe from an episode of Boys Weekend I saw a few years ago.
The most important cooking tip is preparation. This is especially true for first time recipes.

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I love this bit, the chopping, measuring and the cracking of eggs: placing each ingredient into individual prep containers.

The best laid plans. My four little ramekins were soon overflowing but I was committed! Then there was the small issue of adjusting a recipe I’ve never tried before and one which scared me. Never a wise move.

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I’m pleased to say that the first few steps were easy, make a roux, add the milk to make a béchamel, add the flavours, onion, chives, egg yolks, seasoning, and of course the ever important cheese.

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Then I came face to face with the egg white step. How hard can this be? ‘Whisk to soft peaks’!

Tip 1: Don’t turn your back on egg whites, they go from liquid to fluff before you know it.

I was too busy showing off on Instagram to pay attention to the egg whites – soft peaks had become firm peaks! Had I totally blown this soufflé attempt before I even got them in the ramekins?

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Like I said, I was committed and thought I’d take my chances. I folded the less than perfect egg whites into the base and then spooned the mix into the ramekins.

Tip 2: Read the recipe in full beforehand to make sure there are no ingredients that are not mentioned in the ingredient list.

Suddenly I was faced with the need for greased ramekins coated in crushed walnuts.

I’m a rebel without a cause so I just pushed on without the walnuts!

I put my little ramekins into a water bath and into the oven and the wait began.

Tip 3: If the recipe doesn’t tell you what size ramekins, avoid it.

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To add to my stress, my soufflés were no near ready by the end of the designated cooking time. In fact, they ended up taking 30 mins longer than the recipe’s instructions. I went with intuition but suspect my ramekins were too large.

It’s a miracle but the soufflés worked. They rose above the ramekins and didn’t deflate when I took them out of the oven.

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But it wasn’t over yet! The recipe said to cool in the fridge before topping with cream and cheese (more hidden ingredients) and then baking until the cheese browned.

We ate at 8pm that night!

Considering I over-whipped those pesky egg whites, faced hidden ingredients and didn’t know what size ramekins to use, I’d call this attempt a success!

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The soufflé had a beautiful cheese and onion flavour and a fluffy and light texture. The addition of the cream and extra cheese for the second bake made them extremely rich and This Girl could not get through a full one, although Devotee managed this just fine!

Next step in conquering my fear is to attempt a one bake only dessert soufflé.

 

Here’s a couple of times Devotee has featured in previous blogs; A Match Made In Heaven – Point Revolving Restaurant and A Simple Pub Meal

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