When it works - truly spectacular, especially with eggs from your own roaming hens.
At the start of each school day I had various items on my classroom interactive board to create some discussion - there would be the order of the day,,an image from the news to discuss and a word of the day. This would be from the twitter feed of the writer Robert Macfarlane. If you do not know his work it is a fascinating exploration of place and memory, past and future.
He wrote a book called Lost Words to 'rescue' words lost from the Oxford Children's Dictionary - words such as bramble, acorn, conker and dandelion - words that the powers that be deemed no longer relevant to a 21st century childhood. Anyway, he extended his work to a word of the day, often a dialectic word or a word from another language that had entered English but been forgotten. The children never knew any of the words except for one glorious morning when the word was hanzer and two children knew it was a word for a heron - one because she had been to The Hanzer - a pub - and the sign had a picture of a heron!
Having taken a break from it, word of the day has returned to Macfarlane's twitter feed so I'm going to add it to this daily epic because they are words of beauty - this is today's offering:
"glisk"––sunlight glimpsed through a break in the clouds; a fleeting glance at a glittering sight; a brief glow of warmth from a fire that's burned low; a sudden flash of hope in the heart. (Scots).
I particularly like the latter usage.
Over the weekend we 'planted' trunks of birch trees in the lawn around the oak tree as we prepare to create a pollinator habitat of standing and laying deadwood with a spring bulb garden as well as summer flowers. It requires raising the level of the ground and building a woven willow revetment. Photos will follow but it has already changed the entire aspect of the garden.
Another new experience too this weekend. Having killed 4 of our 'spare' cockerels they were plucked and gutted (not my favourite bit) and readied for the freezer - apart from the one we ate last night. That's the task done for now as it will be another year before we have to cull any cockerels hatched over the summer.
We are blessed with many eggs and so I found this recipe and created the root vegetable accompaniment. I remember souffles being 'the thing' in the 70s and it being really important that as it was taken out of the oven there was a no sudden gust of wind (!) that would cause the whole thing to collapse and spoil the beautifully risen edifice.
Serves 1 – but if you have a friend just double it up and cut in half!
For the soufflé
2 eggs separated
15g/½oz/1tbsp butter/olive oil
15ml/1 tbsp water
Flat leaf parsley or coriander/cilantro to garnish – I prefer the former in the omelette
For the mushroom sauce
75g/3oz/generous cup of mushrooms of your choice thinly sliced – I like chestnut
1tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
120ml/4fl oz/½ cup of milk
Few drops of Worcestershire sauce (food of the gods)
1. To make the mushroom sauce, melt the butter/oil in a pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Fry them gently for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in the flour then gradually add the milk, stirring all the time. Cook until boiling and thickened. Add the parsley at this point and season. Remove from the heat but keep warm.
3. Beat the egg yolks together with the water and season with salt and pepper (+ Worcestershire sauce [food of the gods] if you choose to use it).
4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff – I use my mixer for this ‘cause the hand whisk makes my arms ache and I get bored easily.
5. Fold the yolks into the whites and turn on the grill.
6. Melt the butter in a frying pan – try using a smallish one as the egg will keep its height and look impressive – and pour in the egg mixture. Cook over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes – careful not to let the bottom burn but to allow the egg to start to cook through.
7. Place the pan under the grill for a further 3-4 minutes until the top is golden brown – same advice above about burning but on the top. – REMEMBER THE PAN HANDLE WILL BE HOT!!!
8. Slide the omelette on to a plate and pour over the warm mushroom sauce – add a little water if it has stiffened whilst the egg is under the grill.
9. Garnish with parsley or coriander.
Do not eat if allergic to mushrooms – the soufflé omelette is great with other sauces or try with grated cheese and onion added.
PS Robert Macfarlane's books:
Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination. 2003.
The Wild Places. 2007.
The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot. 2012.
The Lost Words. 2017.
Underland: A Deep Time Journey. 2019.
The Old Ways is a good place to start if you are interested
“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”. - Julian of Norwich