A slow day today - Hubby worked a night shift last night, so the boys and I had to tiptoe around a bit so that he could get some sleep. Not that James can actually tiptoe, or walk at all for that matter. After lunch James had a nap too, so while Christopher played in the garden I did a bit of cooking, when I wasn't being summoned to play 'Yorkshire Bounce', a game Christopher seems to have invented all by himself, the rules of which are a complex mystery to everyone but Chris. I made some lamb stock with the foot and a bit of middle neck from the half lamb we bought yesterday. Lamb stock isn't incredibly useful like chicken stock is, but it's worth having around for things like shepherd's pie and for boosting the gravy when we have roast lamb.
I had planned to make a pilaf with sausage, bacon and black pudding for supper tonight, having all three in the fridge from our jaunt to the butcher's yesterday. These plans were scuppered by Karl coming home and having a BSE (Bacon, Sausage and Egg) sandwich for lunch, then announcing that he'd had a cooked breakfast in the canteen at work before leaving. I don't know how he stays so rail thin, I really don't. Inside he must be half-man, half pork product by now, I'm sure.
So dinner plans needed rejigging. With no time to defrost anything, a cheese soufflé it was. Soufflés have an odd reputation, but they're not hard to make. A soufflé is basically a thick 'flavoured' white sauce with eggs added to it. Cheese is easiest (and my favourite), but cooked flaked fish works well too, as do vegetable purées stirred into the sauce. They are extremely popular with the children, too, which is always good. I mainly do this with mature cheddar, but you can use whatever strong-flavoured cheese you like. It just needs some salad to go with - we had a bowl of Cos lettuce leaves, plus a dish of carrots and radishes and some sliced tomatoes with chopped mint (our current favourite and - to my mind - easily as good as basil with toms).
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp mustard powder
100g strong cheese, grated
3 large eggs, separated
Preheat the oven to 200°c and thoroughly grease of a soufflé dish. Put the butter, flour, mustard, pepper and milk into a large saucepan and heat, whisking continuously, until thick, glossy and smooth. Reserve a tablespoonful of the cheese, then beat the rest into the sauce. Set aside while you whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir the egg yolks into the cheese sauce and then carefully fold in the whisked whites, one spoonful at a time. Gently pour the mixture into the prepared dish, sprinkle over the reserved cheese and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden brown on top. Serve immediately - the success of a soufflé lies in having everyone waiting for it at the table before it is ready.