They peer out from the back of my fridge, forgotten nubbins of cheese, skerricks drying out on their inevitable march to the bin. They are my guilty cheese secrets as I reach for a newer, more appealing piece.
This week though, rather than sweep them into the rubbish, I have given these refugees from long-forgotten cheeseboards a second life. Mashed with egg yolk and cream, folded into beaten whites and cooked into puddings, this is a decadent but ultimately frugal feast perfect for an early dinner, Sunday night. Thank heavens for Nigel Slater – the battle cry of the time-poor foodie.
He calls them Cheese Puddings dispensing with the performance anxiety of the souffle, with its mandatory worries about rising and collapsing. This is the every-man version, simple and cheesey.
I don’t have ramekins big enough so I make mine in pudding or noodle bowls. A golden puff rising to be eaten immediately. You could balance the cream, egg, cheese mix with a salad, but we gave in ate ours with bread and butter, and tomato chutney.
Nigel Slater’s Cheese and thyme puddings
I used an eclectic mix of cheeses, an old chunk of blue, a dried out slice of red Leicester, a mystery piece that may’ve once been Brie but had been infested by mould from a blue. I bulked it up with a bit of Mainland tasty cheddar. Anything goes really.
a little butter
135g freshly grated parmesan (a couple of inches nub)
4 large free-range eggs
300g leftover cheese, grated
100ml/3½fl oz double cream
a tablespoon of chopped herbs (thyme, chives or tarragon are good here)
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Lightly butter three shallow ovenproof bowls or ramekins and dust them with a little of the grated Parmesan.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a bowl big enough to whisk them in.
Mash the leftover cheese into the egg yolks, then stir in the cream, chopped herbs and a seasoning of black pepper and a very little salt.
Whisk the egg whites until they are almost stiff, then fold them firmly but gently into the cheese mixture, using a large metal spoon. Lastly, fold in all but a couple of spoonfuls of the remaining grated Parmesan.
Divide the mixture among the three buttered bowls. Scatter over the remaining Parmesan, put the dishes onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly risen and creamy inside.
Serve immediately whilst the puddings are still puffed and golden.
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|Have you tried Lewis Road Creamery butter?||Grandma Singleton’s Red Leicester||Like potato gratin on steroids – this is the best cheesey potato dish ever! Trust me.|