Monday, May 14, 2007

Four! Four chocolate souffles! Ah ah ah

I love Delia Smith!

While I love cooking, and get a great amount of pleasure out of dicking around in the kitchen all day whipping up treats for those nearest and dearest, it is rare I actually make a great effort. During the week the Hubbo and I are kings of the easily-knocked-up dish such as meatballs and tomato sauce, or steak, or homemade Gourmet Burger Kitchen style burgers (and other dishes that do occasionally involve non-red meat, not that you'd believe it from that list). At weekends we generally have a takeaway on a Friday, eat out on the Saturday, and on the Sunday we'll whip up a roast - a meal that is very much the Hubbo's forte, while I end up going over the road to buy the Ben & Jerry's and Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puds after I've inevitably cocked up the attempted homemade ones.

However, occasionally I'll invite people over for dinner and become obsessed with turning out a meal of champions. The first instance of this was New Year 2005, when we decided we were all far too old to go gallivanting about London trying to get into a pub that wasn't full of vomiting teenagers and so invited a gang over for dinner and a few buckets of champagne instead. I cooked for twelve hours solid, and against all bets managed to turn out a slow roasted pork belly, as well as stuffed aubergines for the token vegetarian. Since then, when people come over I always try to do something new - something John and Greg off Masterchef would be horrified at I imagine. Still if it goes wrong there's always the pizza menu, and nobody looks like a tit apart from me.

We had the same gang over for Eurovision on Saturday night - because Eurovision isn't tolerable unless you have a house full of drunk people screaming with laughter at the Ukranian Su Pollard-esque act. Plus, we didn't want a repeat of last year, when the Hubbo and I watched it alone and sober and nearly split up because I wanted to vote for someone other than Lordi.

The main course was kept fairly simple - chicken and ham pie out of Nigella's Feast. Worked a treat - apart from the fact that the pastry I made according to her specifications was wrong, wrong, wrong. Luckily I had half a pack of puff pastry left over from K's vegetarian mushroom pie that I'd made her specially (veg cookery is not a talent of mine, and mushrooms are one of the only vegetables I can cook without fucking them up royally, so she got a pie to herself. I could have made a massive mushroom pie for all, but the Hubbo's allergic to fungus (ha! I love that word), and I love chicken pie anyway) so I used that. It looked a bit stretched, but the glory of puff pastry is that after five minutes in the oven it looks like nothing else on earth anyway, so it didn't really matter. Plus, I made individual pies for each person, and there's nothing quite as fun as One's Own Pie.

The pud was a slightly different matter. I always go a bit balls out on pudding, mainly because I don't really eat dairy produce and this is the only way I ever get to have fun with cream and eggs.

Because of the zero expertise I have in the pudding zone, a souffle may have been a bit above and beyond what I was capable of. However, I'd bought some ramekins that morning from the pound shop, and a souffle in a ramekin is one of the prettiest desserts ever, even if you can't eat it because the double cream will bloat you up for three days and give you hives. Also, in the clean up we'd had on Saturday morning I unearthed the Christmas Sainsburys magazine which included a Delia recipe for chocolate rum souffles which according to her, are "well behaved". After the Nigella pastry fiasco I was somewhat concerned that I'd end up just covered in whipped egg white and collapsed spongy stuff and sending someone off to Costcutter to buy a slab of Dairy Milk; but you never know unless you try, and I trust Delia a lot more than Nigella anyway (you'd never get Delia licking the fish slice, or whatever. Ew, that sounded more dirty than it should have done.)

They worked. All four (four! Chocolate souffles! Ah ah...okay, got to quit it with the Count japes) rose perfectly, didn't sink into themselves when I dusted them with icing sugar, and weren't just raw eggy chocolate underneath. Brilliant. There's nothing quite like the pleased feeling you get watching four people hoover up something you've put effort into, especially when you were convinced it was going to go horribly wrong. Especially when you can't have any of the pudding, and so get to finish off the bottle of rum by yourself instead.


Joe said...

I do so love recipes that ask for a little alcohol to be added. How can you open a bottle and not finish it off? Its bad housekeeping.

Interval Drinks said...

Indeed, booze and chocolate in the same recipe - my idea of heaven.

Rachel said...

Sounds great! How funny that you found that copy of the Sainsbury's magazine. That issue has my branch of the WI pole dancing in it complete with a picture of us all.

Miss Hacksaw said...

Oh my God Rachel! I read that article - are you the girl leaning against the pole sort of left centre of the picture? If so you take a fab snap and I am very jealous!

Rachel said...

Indeed, that is me. Of course, we spend all WI meetings hanging around poles half naked!! Quite why Sainsbury's commissioned it I don't know, but it was fun.

Glad your souffles turned out well. Very brave of you to try them. My favourite recipe from that issue were the cupcakes (which you don't have to make with a halloween theme if you prefer your cakes a little less scary).