Sunday mornings in McG are DIY mornings. As in, the Nans have to get their own breakfast. The older two rise to the challenge and generally come up with something interesting. The little one tries to pitch in – but gets shouted at by both her siblings, so she tends to sit on the sidelines and offer helpful tips, which only incenses them more. Think Gordon Ramsey on a bad day. It’s a bit of a shame because she is genuinely supportive, has good ideas and eats the results (however varied in quality) enthusiastically. When the heat gets too much and she gets tossed from the kitchen, I take her aside and remind her that the day is not too far away when she will be ready to create her own masterpiece. How the rest of us are going to deal with chocolate cake for breakfast when that day comes, is another matter.
Hannah is a fan of the omelette – usually filled with leftovers that she diligently fries off, combining them at the last-minute to create a supersized version of what you see in the pictures. But dinner had yielded no leftovers – so she had to make do with the two eggs she was dealt, and a heel of parmesan. She made a slim omelette, then whipped up some pancakes following our usual Jamie Oliver “one cup make sure you use the same cup” recipe (1 cup self-raising flour, 1 cup milk, sea salt, 1 large free-range egg ) which didn’t get the rise she wanted. Not her fault, I suspect the self-raising flour was past its prime, but they tasted good.
The king of all things pork (aka Jasper) was left wondering how to replace his usual eggs-bacon-chorizo-spare-ribs fix and I found him pouring over a Jamie Oliver Magazine (September 2011). “I think I will make a cheese souffle”, he said: “like the one we had at Karoux that time it was just you and me here, Suzie. Do you have any grappa for the sauce?” I didn’t, sadly – but there was a sharp cheddar which he loves and a bit of the parmesan that Hannah hadn’t flattened. So he made do with that.
sofabrother fashioned some souffle dishes from an old coke can – and supervised “No, fold it in gently … follld. Watch the béchamel, watch the béchamel”. Then fiddled around with the camera and made the model blow his nose. Somewhere in-between the souffle lost its head a bit – but that didn’t impact the taste. Super cheesy and delicious.
Don’t be put off by the idea of a souffle and all that can go wrong – the boy managed beautifully and it was his inaugural attempt. For my part, I referee and manage the mess, no mean feat in itself. This qualifies me to snag tastes of the feast.
The kids were thrilled with the results and I think we’ve started a new tradition. Can’t wait to see what they come up with on our next visit. Now, if I could only persuade Riley to do the clean up.
Jamie Oliver’s Souffle au Fromage
(Makes one. Or two if you are using a halved coke can. For more double/quadruple the measurements)
4 grams or 1 heaped teaspoon flour plus extra for dusting
75 ml (1/3 cup) whole milk
35g (2oz) Emmental or Gruyère, finely grated
Pinch of salt
1 egg, separated
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / fan oven 180°C / Gas Mark 6.
- Grease a small 200 ml ramekin with butter, dust with a little flour then shake off the excess
- Make a bechamel sauce by melting the butter in a small pan, add the flour and stir until you have a smooth paste
- Gradually stir in the milk, bring to a simmer and cook over a medium heat stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Stir in the cheese, season, then leave to cool for a few minutes
- Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the egg yolk to the bechamel and mix to combine.
- Stir a spoonful of the white into the mixture – then gently fold in the remaining white
- Pour the mixture into the ramekin and run your finger around the rum to help the souffle rise straight
- place on a baking tray and bake for 15 – 20 mins until risen and golden
Pair with roasted tomatoes, or decorate just like a professional chef with a simply cut cherry tomato and crisp baby gem lettuce. Eat immediately allowing your aunt a few ‘spoonfuls to taste’.