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Entree:

Twice Baked Blue Cheese Souffle with Marinated Fig, Rocket and Pine Nut Salad

This is part 1 of a dinner party menu I did last weekend.  While it may look and sound complicated, I assure you, it isn’t!  There are a few select ingredients that may be difficult to find but I will give you alternatives and in most cities/towns these days there is usually a gourmet foodies paradise or two!

This souffle was actually my first and you seriously couldn’t stuff it up if you tried. There is a reason they bought in the “twice baked” rule you know….

The beauty of this recipe is you can make it ahead so that all you have to do is pop it on the oven for 10 minutes and voile`!! ……restaurant food at home!
This dish serves 6 but I only had 4  for dinner so we ate the leftovers for brekky the next day (the breakfast adaption comes later)
You will need:
55gm of butter
1/2 a cup of plain flour
450ml of full cream milk, warmed
4 free range egg yolks
160gm of blue cheese (I used stilton but any good blue will do)
 a pinch of salt
2 pinches of cayenne pepper
6 egg white
1/4 cup of cream
2 tbs grated parmesan
For the salad:
3 handfuls of baby rocket leaves
1 tbs pine nuts, toasted
16 marinated baby figs* (see note)
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
sea salt
Pre heat the oven to 210 degrees and lightly grease 6 ramekins (you could use a muffin pan if you like).  Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat, add the flour and whisk until smooth for approx 1-2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the warm milk until the mixture is thickened and smooth.  Add the egg yolks and return to a medium heat,  continue whisking until combined.  Bring to the boil and allow to cook for 1 minute before adding the cheese, salt and cayenne pepper and stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese has melted and the mixture is lovely and smooth, remove from the heat and set aside.
In a clean bowl whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold a third of the mixture through the cheese mixture until well combined (don’t stir to vigorously as you want your souffles to be nice ‘n’ puffy).  Gently fold through the remaining egg whites.
Spoon the mixture into the ramekins up to approx 3/4 full (or bigger if you want really puffy ones!)  Bake for 20 minutes until puffed and golden.  Remove the souffles from the oven and allow them to cool.
Remove the souffles from the ramekins and place in an oven proof dish.  Drizzle with the cream and top with the parmesan cheese.  Place back in a 210 degree oven for around 7 minutes or until warmed through.
For the salad, place the rocket in a mixing bowl and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Toss with the baby figs (torn in half), the fig juice and the pine nuts.  Arrange the salad on four plates and place the souffle next to it.  Drizzle the whole lot with a tiny bit more olive oil (great for presentation, makes everything beautiful and glossy and tastes great too) and serve.
*I bought marinated baby figs at The Essential Ingredient, however you could reconstitute semi- dried figs with a little sherry and honey by cutting them up into quarters and allowing them to soak for a while.   Semi-dried figs are available at most supermarkets.