Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
50 g butter (plus extra for greasing)
50 g plain flour
250 ml milk
4 eggs (separated)
100 g smoked mackerel (skin removed and flesh chopped)
100 g soft goat's cheese (broken into 1cm (½ in) pieces)
2 tblsp chopped chives
1 tsp chopped dill
2 tblsp lemon juice
salt and ground black pepper
25 g grated parmesan cheese
six 100ml or eight 75ml ramekins
Cheese soufflé is a classic and not nearly as scary a dinner party prospect as you might imagine. This version, with goat's cheese and smoked mackerel, is a fantastic variation on the theme.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Butter the ramekins and place a baking sheet in the centre of the oven to heat up.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat, then add the flour and stir for 1 minute, being careful not to let it burn. Turn the heat down and whisk in the milk gradually, stirring until you have a thick white sauce, then remove the pan from the heat.
Beat in the egg yolks, then fold in the smoked mackerel, goat's cheese and herbs. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt and pepper. It should taste highly seasoned as adding the egg white will dilute the flavour.
Whisk the egg whites in a spotlessly clean, dry bowl until they form stiff peaks, then take 2 tablespoons of the egg white and mix it into the sauce. Very carefully fold in the remaining egg white, making sure not to over-mix it.
Divide the mixture between the ramekins, filling each to the top, then scatter with the grated Parmesan. Place the cheese soufflés on the hot baking sheet in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes or until well risen and golden. Serve immediately.
If you have any cheese soufflés left over, tip each out of its ramekin and place in a buttered, shallow baking dish. Pour over 50ml (2fl oz) cream per soufflé and bake in the oven, preheated to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6), for 6-8 minutes.