I don’t know why, but I have a deep-set conviction that the all tasks that need to be performed should be able to fit in to the time one has available.  Of course reason tells me otherwise, but the expectation tends to cause feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration when I’m unable to get everything done.  If I worked on what “should” be done every waking moment, there would be no time for what are really the important things, like spending time with the children and general enjoyment of life.  Like the medieval Persian poem*, I crave to meet the needs of the soul as well as more prosaic ones.

So with the narking presence of a sink full of dirty dishes, a full dishwasher, baskets full of clean and dirty washing, general domestic mayhem and nothing planned for dinner, other things tend to get done.  Like playing snakes and ladders, gazing at and chatting with chirpy little girls who love pointing at birds, and making souffles on a whim.

The recipe reproduced below is from Food in Vogue: From Boulestin to Boxer, Pyramid Books, 1988.  I made half quantity in three individual ramekins, as with souffle leftovers just aren’t the same.  These are so quick to make and not difficult, and it helps to think of them as a quick treat for instant scoffing rather than a fancy classic french dessert for a dinner party.  Here is my method, updated from the 1934 version for a lazy person of 2010.

Lady Colefax’s Chocolate Souffle (for 3)

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk (or cream would be good)
  • 70g dark chocolate (ok, I used 80g and divided the rest of the 100g block between the bases of the ramekins – this may have affected the rising a bit)
  • butter for greasing ramekins
  • cream for serving

Preheat oven to 180 degs. C

Beat egg yolks with sugar until combined and thick.  Melt chocolate with milk (I used the microwave – it took a couple of 10 second goes, but go carefully) and add to egg yolks and sugar mixture.  Beat egg whites until peaks form.  With a metal spoon mix a spoonful into chocolate mixture to soften, then combine rest. (Do not over mix.)

Spoon into well buttered ramekins and bake until risen (about 5-10 minutes, but watch carefully).  Eat at once with cream.

*If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And of thy simple store two loaves of bread alone are left
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.

Muslih-uddin Sa’di

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