Recipe: Spinach & cheddar soufflé – The Cookbook Challenge Week 31 ‘French’ theme

by April@MyFoodTrail on September 23, 2010

in Cookbook Challenge 2010, Cooking, Other, Recipes

Theme: French
Cookbook: Modern Classics Book 1 by Donna Hay

Exactly two years ago to the day, I was in Paris for the first time, on my honeymoon. I was in arguably the most romantic place on earth, with the man of my dreams, starting our new life as husband and wife and all I wanted to do was throttle someone! Our flight from Hong Kong to Paris via London was supposed to be a relatively seamless one, but everything went haywire when our flight out of Hong Kong was delayed.

It was an early morning flight out of Hong Kong and due to some air-conditioning mishap, we were stuck in the plane out on the tarmac in 35C weather for more than 3 hours without air-conditioning. This then caused us to miss our connecting flight from London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Ok, one missed flight was no big deal, until we found out the airline had no record of our booking from London to Paris and we were advised that all flights for the rest of the day were fully booked anyway!

After more than an hour of walking back and forth between terminals and between airlines at Heathrow to work out what the eff was going on, we finally found out we had been booked on another airline. We were so mad we weren’t told this by our original airline. To make matters worse, the flight we were booked on was another 4 hours away and the number of hours we had been awake was slowly creeping up past 30!

So you can understand that it came as no surprise then when our 8pm flight from London to Paris was delayed another two hours, meaning we were getting in to Paris after midnight. We should have originally arrived at 6pm if all things went as planned in the first place. Hubby actually made a comment while we were waiting on the second delayed plane that getting to Paris and finding our luggage missing would really be the cherry on top.

Charles De Galle Airport

The empty Charles de Gaulle airport after midnight

And what do you think happened next?! Yep, we got to Paris and hubby’s luggage was missing!! By the time we reported the suitcase missing and got to our hotel it was after 2am and we had been awake for something like 36 hours straight. We ended up crashing as soon as our heads hit the pillow but couldn’t sleep for too long because we had to meet our tour group in the afternoon to start our Europe tour.

We spent the next couple of days being worried for hubby’s suitcase and trying to run around Paris city finding decently priced clothing and toiletries. It eventually took 7 days for them to find hubby’s suitcase, with us thinking we were never going to get it back. A lot of time was wasted running around buying necessities, worrying about whether we were going to get the suitcase back and trying to find public phones to call the airline because the phone charger was in hubby’s suitcase. We should have been enjoying Paris instead!

I hope to return to Paris one day and enjoy the sites and food I missed out on from our short first trip. Crazily, there were other dramas on our honeymoon, such as bad food poisoning, a mosquito bite the size of half an apple and unidentified body rashes, and the trip ended with the airline losing my luggage on the return flight!! (This time they returned it within a few hours.) OMG, but at least it gives us a story to tell and overall we had a great time!

When I was deciding on a recipe for French theme week, I went with making a soufflé since I’ve probably only eaten it a handful of times and never made one myself before. I was scared my soufflés weren’t going to rise properly but they did. The trick is to getting fold the egg whites in as not to deflate your mixture.

The original recipe calls for a bunch of English spinach leaves, but I used frozen spinach from Aldi that comes in convenient cubes.

Spinach & cheddar soufflé
Makes 4

Cheese & spinach souffles - Finished

1 bunch (400g) English spinach leaves, trimmed
60g butter
4 tbsp plain flour
3 cups (750ml) milk
4 eggs, separated
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste
Extra butter for greasing
Dry breadcrumbs for coating

Place the spinach in boiling water for 1 minute and then drain. With your hands, squeeze out all excess liquid from the spinach and chop finely.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth.

Cheese & spinach souffles - Method 1

Left: Melted butter mixed with flour; Right: Milk whisked into mixture

3. Slowly whisk in the milk and stir until sauce thickens and boils.

4. Remove from heat and stir through spinach, egg yolks, cheese and salt and pepper. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Cheese & spinach souffles - Method 2

Left: Spinach, cheese & egg yolks added; Right: Whisking eggwhites to soft peaks

5. Preheat oven to 210C (190C fan forced). Grease 4 x 1 cup capacity ramekins with butter and sprinkle with dry breadcrumbs to coat. Shake out excess.

6. Beat the eggwhites in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

7. Gently fold in one third of the eggwhites through the spinach mixture, then the remaining two thirds.

Cheese & spinach souffles - Method 3

Left: Gently folding eggwhites into spinach mixture; Right: Soufflés fresh out of the oven

8. Spoon the mixture into prepared ramekins and place on a baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Note: Do not open the oven door while cooking and serve immediately.

Results: I didn’t use the breadcrumbs to coat the insides of the ramekin, which apparently is needed for the soufflé to ‘climb’ up the sides and mine still ‘climbed’. The soufflés got a bit brown on the top but were still rather watery in the middle. I think I should have drained the frozen spinach before using it in the recipe so it wouldn’t be as watery. The soufflés didn’t have much of a cheese flavour even though I added a lot of cheese. The spinach seemed to overpower the cheese but I guess that is why ‘spinach’ comes before ‘cheese’ in the recipe title!

Would I make it again? I would make soufflés again but not this recipe.

Over & Out, April xx

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Iron Chef Shellie September 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm

oh darling!
my first trip to Paris wasn't a very enjoyable one either. NOTHING like that though. I hope to one day return and enjoy it too.

Lovely souffles though!


Hannah September 23, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Oh, you poor thing! Must be something about first trips to Paris… this year, it took me an entire day (about 15 hours) to get from Amsterdam to Paris by train, because there were delays and odd happenings, and then I ended up in hospital there 'cause of my toe. But I loved it anyway 🙂

The souffle looks gorgeous, too!


penny aka jeroxie September 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Oh yes.. a great story to tell and what an adventure together 🙂


Anh September 24, 2010 at 12:00 am

oh April, what an exeprience!! I hope your next trip there will be of more romantic kind. But hey, the last one sounds like a great adventure that only you two can tell 🙂


Vee - A Melbourne Munchkin. September 24, 2010 at 1:33 pm

That is an EXTREMELY unfortunate series of events! That being said, your souffles look really wonderful, I'd be proud of that!


imasugarjunkie September 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm

oh my gosh! Glad the trip there hasn't destroyed your love of all things French though!
These souffles look delicious


mademoiselle délicieuse September 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Oh my, what a story! My friends had a similar ordeal in Austria, if my memory serves me correctly, where they were on and off a plane which sat on the tarmac for 9 hours without going anywhere! Due to delays and overbooking, my friend and her fiance ended up taking separate flights onto their next destination. Haha, the funny things about modern air travel!


April @ My Food Trail September 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Hi Shellie: Here's to both of us having wonderful experiences in Paris the second time round when we get the chance! 🙂

Hi Hannah: Argh, that doesn't sound like fun! The great thing about Paris is that even with all the dramas, how can you not be happy in such a beautiful place?!

Hi Penny: Great start to the marriage hey?! 😛

Hi Anh: Yes, I hope so too! 🙂 While we were going through it, it wasn't a happy experience, but now it's a sweet memory!

Hi Vee: Thanks! 🙂

Hi imasugarjunkie: Yes, I do still love all things French and hope to go back and love all things French even more!!

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse: Haha, your comment "if my memory serves me correctly" is very Iron Cheffy!! I think most people have a flight delay story to tell!


My Restaurants melbourne September 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm

This souffle recipe was my first experience of souffles, and they never failed. But saying that, when I attempt dessert souffles, they don't always turn out the way i intended them to.


Dolly September 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm

looks lovely.

i really want to try, but im scared i'll fail.. after watching madeline..

souffles are hard to make ><>


Conor @ Hold the Beef September 26, 2010 at 9:09 pm

omg, I wouldn't be surprised if the unidentified body rashes were a result of stress!

These are begging for a fork to be shoved in them, and then into my mouth. Pity the recipe wasn't a total win but I have no doubt you'll find one that is.


April @ My Food Trail October 7, 2010 at 10:33 am

Hi My Restaurants: The filling was pretty wet but it still rose like a light and fluffy souffle so I guess the recipe has the method down pat. I'm yet to try a sweet souffle.

Hi Dolly: As My Restaurants said, she tried this recipe and it works for her too. It's not that hard, just so long as you are gentle with mixing the egg whites in.

Hi Conor: I never thought of that, but maybe! Yes, will be on the lookout for other recipes!


steph October 30, 2010 at 12:48 am

Very unfortunate! These delays are really annoying but almost always there. I hope you can visit Paris again with no problems and just plain enjoyment. On a lighter note, the souffle looks yummy! Gotta try that :


April @ My Food Trail November 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

Hi Steph: Thanks! 🙂 I hope to be able to visit Paris again one day!


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