It’s time Soulsubsistence became a blog about food and Cumbria and Cumbrian food once again. We have recipes to share, food ideas for the fussiest, most intolerant eaters, and at least one shareable cooking disaster every couple of weeks.
Principles to live by
Trying to live life according to principles is hard! I shop almost exclusively at independent shops in the little towns around where I live, topping up at the supermarket about once every six weeks. That way I support small businesses, keep local money local, and vote with my feet against supermarkets.
However, choices can be tough. For example, do I support small businesses but go against my principles and buy undemocratic Spanish fruit because that’s what they have bought in?
Or do I give up trying to buy a balanced non-Spanish diet from small suppliers, and go against my other principles and use the big supermarkets? They provide more choice of source. A bit of rooting through tomatoes in Co-op revealed Italian ones amongst the Spanish.
Do I go without? Going without can impact on self-care, so it’s probably better to aim for a balance all round.
It’s all about achieving some kind of compromise. I get everything I can at the small shops, and top up at the local Co-op, to resolve the undemocratic fruit problem as far as I can. I try not to use the big supermarkets at all. Sometimes I fail. Maybe I’m not a very principled person.
At least I try.
Turns out most things in life are about compromise, which isn’t about anyone missing out, it’s about everyone getting something out of it.
However, Soulsubsistence isn’t about compromise! Soulsubsistence is food hedonism in a million ordinary ways.
I give you … *drum roll
Cauliflower Cheese Soufflé Pie
Is it soufflé? Is it cauli-cheese? Is … … what the—?
This baby is the most delectable, light, almost fluffy soufflé, perfect cauliflower cheese, resting solidly in a case of delicious cheese pastry. A heart attack in a pie, most likely, depending on how fervoured you are with a grater.
It looks complicated because I’ve added the pastry recipe, but it’s as easy as … well … home made cheese straw pastry, filled with cauliflower cheese. You could cheat with the pastry and buy some in, roll the cheese into the bought stuff, no-one will care!
- 100g butter
- 200g plain flour
- Few splashes of cold water
- About 100g cheese
- 1oz butter
- 1oz flour
- 1 pint milk
- About 150g cheese (to taste tbh, who knows how much is enough?)
- Small-to-medium-size cauliflower
- 2 eggs
- Optional jalapeno slices to cut through all the cheese
- Parmesan (unless you want to be ethical, in which case vegetarian parmesan-style hard cheese).
1. Breadcrumb the butter and plain flour together.
2. Splash water and mix with metal dining knife till a barely clagged-together dough.
3. Clag it into a rough ball with the knife, but don’t touch with your hands.
4. Wrap it in plastic/ into a plastic bag and into fridge for half an hour. No touching, just through the plastic for minimal moments.
5. After half an hour, get it out, roll it out, grate a light layer of cheese on one half of it, fold the bare half over the cheesy one, and roll it again. Do this multiple times. The more the better the pastry.
6. Wrap it in plastic/cling/bag again and back in fridge.
1. Boil/steam cauliflower until desired texture.
2. Melt butter in a pan, stir in flour, and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring.
3. Pour in half the milk, stir to meld the flour with the milk, then the other half. I have to use a sauce whisk these days, but I used to be better at this bit and did it with a wooden spoon.
4. Stir sauce. It should thicken when it begins to boil. (Mine have been BASTARDS lately, no idea WTF I’d been doing wrong. Then I measured the flour out and realised I haven’t been putting in enough. For about a year).
5. Grate in cheese, add white pepper or whatever, stir and cook a bit longer on lowish heat, and make sure you taste it.
6. Let the sauce cool for a few minutes, and grab the eggs. Separate them both, get the whites into a large bowl, and whisk those buggers till they’re solid foam.
7. Beat the yolks very well into the slightly cooled sauce.
8. Fold the egg whites into the sauce (honestly, I use a wooden spoon nowadays, because I can never get a metal one to disperse the whites enough. But I stir carefully).
9. Oven temperature needs to be at about 180 deg C.
Transform it into a pie!
***preheat oven to 180deg C/350 deg F***
1. Roll out cheese pastry and lay in a flan dish (think mine’s 8 inches diameter, but I made two).
2. Pour in the cauliflower cheese.
3. Top with jalapenos and grate parmesan over it. Be generous.
4. Into oven for about 40 minutes. Longer than you think. If it’s still wobbly, it isn’t really ready yet.