Lord Windermere’s Fan …
Yes indeed I am a Lord Windermere fan after coming in at 20 to 1 at the Cheltenham Gold Cup and probably the ‘number one fan’ having placed my bet at 33 – 1.
I spent that week cooking for a group of people who had been attending the festival without fail for 26 years. Needless to say I was hoping for for some good tips…disappointingly I found out that even in this long run of being a festival goer my boss for the week had never once backed a winner for the big race.
Watching Lord Windermere win was as exciting and as nerve racking as my menu’s dessert for the evening.14 soufflés that had to be cooked in one unknown oven and in different sized ramekins. If that wasn’t enough fun they then had to be carried the 2 furlongs ( ok I exaggerate but it wasn’t close) from the kitchen to the dining room, hurdling over the dogs and navigating the beautiful but irregular old flagstone floors and various size doorways. Once they got to the dinning room they then had to be individually carried to the table by the butler. I am not sure who the patron saint of soufflés is but they heard my prayers as each stayed their course and a synchronised 14 text book soufflés got past the post and on to the table.
Here was the evenings menu.
Beignets (deep fried cheese choux pastry)
Hot chili lime prawns with iceberg lettuce
Pan seared pigeon breast with toasted almonds, Comté, radish and chicory
Belly of pork with crackling, savoy cabbage and bacon, smashed celeriac, baked cinnamon apple and watercress.
Passion fruit Soufflé with warm passion fruit cream
I feel I should say something about soufflés as I know that putting it on the menu can look like trouble when planning an evenings dining and entertainment. What a myth? Well no they do have their technical challenges, but obey the rules and have a few practice runs before cooking for the masses and they certainly should produce squeals of delight from your guests.
This Job in statistics
1.1 kilo of smoked salmon in sandwiches
6 magnums of champagne
12 pints whole milk
0 pints semi skimmed
6 names of gold cup winners inserted into blog
Next stop Paris…
Passion fruit Soufflé with cream
About 4 tbs caster sugar
4 large egg whites
4 passion fruits ( they are ripe and at their best when their skin looks shriveled)
150 ml cold custard
Passion fruit cream
150ml double cream
1 dessert spoon castor sugar
4 ripe passion fruits
Just in case you skip through the recipe I will get the vital advice down first.
– Pre heat the oven perfectly and arrange the shelves so they leave ample room to let the soufflés rise before you start.
– Brush the ramekins in upwards stokes with the butter, psychologically this helps the soufflés rise ( or it actually does I haven’t quite decided).
– Having filled the ramekins with soufflé mix, level off the mixture by scraping the flat side of a knife across the top.
– Once the mixture is leveled run your thumb around the inside of the rim – this helps with the lift.
– DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO OPEN THE OVEN until you at least 90 % through the cooking time.
1)Pre heat the oven to 180° C (165° C for a fan)
2)Grease the sides of 4 x 150ml ramekins with unsalted butter using upward strokes
3)Pour in the 2 tbs of castor sugar then tip it round the sides to create a covering of sugar then pour into the next buttered ramekin ( you can use any spare castor sugar for another project)
4)In a large bowl mix the juice/seeds of 1 of the passion fruits with the cold custard
5)In another large bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage then add 1 tbs castor sugar and whisk for another minute until glossy.
6)Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the custard then the rest in two stages ( the first third helps slacken the custard which should make folding in the rest easier). The egg whites are what gives the soufflé its lift so don’t be rough in the folding stages.
7)Gently but deftly fill the raemkins with the mix and level off with a knief.
8)Run your thumb round the inside top of each ramekin and place on a baking tray
9)Bake for 15 mins on the centre shelf
While the soufflés are cooking make the passion fruit cream…
1)Warm the double cream in a pan with 1 dessert spoon of caster sugar ( you don’t want it to boil it just has to be warm)
2)Add the sieved juice ( no seeds wanted) of 4 passion fruits
3)pour into a jug ready for serving at the table
When the souffles are ready serve immediately letting everyone poke their own hole to pour in the warm passion fruit cream