Do you believe in serendipity? Lately I have had a weirdly large amount of serendipitous things happen in my life, in terms of coincidences and crazy timing that have pretty much blown me away…nothing overly dramatic or major, just lots of small good things happening in synch. Any waaaay this is a bloody good example of that. I serve Castello blue cheese with grainy crackers as part of the nibbles offering whenever I have friends around for casual drinks, and I mean every time, because the flavour is so lusciously delicate yet distinctive and the texture so creamy and perfect that everybody loves it. Well a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by the lovely people at Castello, unaware of my secret obsession, to ask whether I was keen to work with them on their new product Castello Marquis – well yesssss! So they sent me some product to play with and this is what I came up with – mega indulgent, surprisingly easy to make, double-baked souffles. The cheese itself has this luscious rich, buttery taste with a little oomph. The pretty orange rind contributes some of the earthy tropical flavour, as does the albino blue mould inside. The flavours are distinctive yet not over-powering so I wanted to pair with, rather than overwhelm them, so apart from the lovely cheese the souffles just have a few hints of happy partners – soft sweet onions and leeks. The recipe is super straight forward and so easy – and perfect for entertaining as you can make the souffles up to 3 days before, then do the double baking bit (where they puff back up in golden glory), just before serving. If you wanted to give them a little extra surprise, fruity magic I would also suggest popping 1/2 teaspoon of quince or other fruit paste on the souffle before topping with cheese and re-baking…phwaor!
Before I forget the good people at Castello have also supplied me with 2x $50 Castello premium range cheese vouchers to GIVE AWAY! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me which is your favourite recipe on the blog so far – you have many years worth of recipes to choose from, good luck! Winners will be chosen this Sunday and announced on the blog Monday morning, 27th August, vouchers are valid until 31st December 2018 and can be redeemed at all good supermarkets New Zealand-wide.
Right then, in other news, it is basically business as usual again. I had a great night on Saturday, watching the rugby (awesome ABs) and testing recipes on my willing friends, (it is always a bonus when work and my social life crossover) and have pretty much been flat out with work in general. This week I have been working on Cuisine, next week it is Dish and I have squeaked a few recipes for Fairfax in there too. Other than quiz night and walking first thing every morning I have been essentially house-bound. (You’re probably not interested, but I walk 8-10km every day with three (unintentional) styles/speeds depending on the music I’m listening too: late for a meeting, late for a plane and NY fashion week runway – bahahahaha). Meanwhile Hoob is still cranking for his final semester in Welly, with his 21st birthday just weeks away now. I can’t wait to head down in October and hang out with him, the gorgeous Raven, and a few of his mates! Pog is into the final stretch of his grand tour and arrives home from Greece at the end of next week. It’ll be wonderful to have him in my clutches for a few days before he too heads down to Welly…it does occur to me sometimes that maybe I’m living in the wrong city!? So, time to get up, the rain has stopped and my walk beckons. Have a great day – and do try the souffles, I promise they are way easier to make than you might think.
15 grams butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 small leek, trimmed and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
80ml white wine
120 ml cream
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp plain flour
75 grams Castello Marquis, chopped
4 eggs separated
6 x 1 cup capacity ramekins
baking oil spray
150grams Castello Marquis
Melt the first lot of butter in a medium frying pan, add the onion and leek, season well with salt and pepper and cook over a medium/gentle heat for 10 minutes. Add the wine, cook for 2 minutes then add the first lot of cream and cook a further 10-12 minutes until basically all of the liquid is absorbed. Leave to cool for 15 minutes then whiz in a food processor until smoothish.
For the bechamel, melt the next lot of butter in a medium pot and whisk in the flour. Whisking continuously pour in half of the milk. Once it thickens add the remainder of the milk, keep cooking and whisking whisking until thick and smooth. (This can also be made in the microwave by following the same steps). Stir in the chopped Castello Marquis, whisk well until it has melted in and remove from the heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then whisk in the egg yolks and onion and leek puree, then set aside again to cool while the oven heats to 180˚C.
Lightly spray and line the bases and sides of 6 x 1 cup capacity ramekins with baking paper and put the ramekins in a large roasting dish. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, to firm peaks. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the leek and egg mixture, folding in to loosen slightly, then add the rest of the egg whites, folding in gently until incorporated.
Divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins. Pour boiling hot water into the roasting dish, coming half way up the sides of the ramekins and bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and lightly golden. (They will probably be madly exploding, but don’t worry this is normal!). Remove the ramekins from the roasting dish and allow to cool for an hour, then run a small knife around the inside of the ramekins to release the soufflés slightly. Tip the soufflés out and place upside down in a shallow baking dish (or dishes), and leave to cool completely.
Half an hour before serving put the 150grams of Castello Marquis in the freezer. Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the Castello Marquis into 6 rounds, and place each one on the top of a soufflé. Pour over the remaining cream and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the soufflés are lightly puffed again, richly golden and delicious. Serve with a small bitter green salad.