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Cheese and chive souffle

To give the souffle a 'crown' effect. Draw a spatula or round-bladed palette knife through the top of the mixture in a circle, about 4 cm (1 1/2)0 inches in from the edge.

ingredients

serves 4
150 g (5 oz) Cheddar cheese, finely grated
50 g (2 oz) margarine or butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
40 g (1 1/2 oz) plain flour
pinch of mustard powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
4 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon snipped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
melted margarine, for greasing

method

1. Brush the inside of a 1 litre (2 pint) souffle dish with melted margarine. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

2. Melt the margarine in a saucepan, add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured but not browned.

3. Sprinkle the flour, mustard and cayenne into the pan and stir over low heat for 2 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and simmer, stirring, until thick and smooth.

5. Remove the pan from heat, stir in the cheese, then leave the sauce to cool slightly. Beat the egg yolks, then stir them into the cheese sauce with the chives. Season well with pepper, and salt if necessary.

6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold them into the cheese mixture with a large metal spoon, in a figure-of-eight motion, using the edges of the spoon to cut through the mixture.

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared souffle dish. Run a round-bladed knife through the mixture, to make an attractive 'crown' effect.

8. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the souffle is well-risen and golden. When lightly shaken, it should only wobble slightly. Serve at once straight from the dish.

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