Recipes are a bit like friendships. There are those with whom we spend a lot of time and the oft resulting familiarity can occasionally breed contempt. When I was a child, mince was the dull old standby I longed to throw over for something more fashionable. My mum, ever on-trend, made Bolognaise a family favourite in a way I doubt stovies were ever a regarded in suburban Bologna. Now I long for the deeply plain yet savoury taste of my mum’s mince in the same visceral way I often long to see my oldest friends.

Then there are those recipes we dally with; they come into our lives when we need them and then we part ways when their job is done. There was a grilled chicken liver salad I made dozens of time in the 90s. Occasionally I flirt with revisiting it in the same way I hover over the accept button when an ex boyfriend of dubious character tries to make nice on social media. But really, there are recipes that have overtaken my love of it and always new ones to try out. So why bother…

Finally there are recipes that are deeply rooted. I may not always see them, but I know they are there. For whatever reason, I don’t spend enough time with them but it does not diminish my affection. Whenever I do cook these old friends, I wonder why it took me so long to look them up again.

This is one of those recipes.

It’s based on Raymond Blanc’s recipe of the same title. I’ve fiddled with the quantities to make it suitable for a greedy single or a starter for two. I hope your friendship with this beautiful dish blossoms as quickly as mine did. I promise I won’t be jealous.


  • 1 tbsp fine breadcrumbs + butter for greasing
  • 20g butter
  • 20g plain flour
  • 150g milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60g Comte cheese, grated
  • 2 egg whites
  • a few drops of lemon juice

For the Sauce

  • 50g whipping cream
  • 20g Comté Cheese, grated
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp Kirsch


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C
  2. Lightly grease the inside of a small earthenware dish or soufflé dish. Tip in the breadcrumbs and coat. Discard the remaining breadcrumbs.

Thermomix Method:

  1. Put the butter, flour and milk into the bowl of the Thermo. 9 min/speed 3/100C.
  2. When the white sauce is made, kill the heat and add most of the cheese, mustard, salt and cayenne. 1min/stir speed.
  3. Scrape the sauce into a bowl and stir in the egg yolk. Set aside.
  4. Clean the Thermomix bowl well and make sure it’s cool. Insert the butterfly and whisk the egg whites for 3 mins/Speed 2. After a minute, add a few drops of lemon juice through the lid.

Non-Thermo Method:

  1. In a small pan, melt the butter, add the flour and cook until you have a light blonde roux. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly.
  2. When the sauce has thickened remove from the heat and add most of the cheese, mustard, salt, Cayenne and stir to melt the cheese. Add the egg yolk and set aside.
  3. In a clean glass bowl or mixer, whisk the eggs whites until they are soft peaks. As they start to gain shape, add the few drops of lemon juice.

To finish both methods:

  1. The whites should be soft peaks. Glossy and holding their shape but not dry looking. Take one spoon of the whisked egg whites and loosen the cheese sauce. Fold in the remainder.
  2. Place in the crumbed soufflé dish and sprinkle over a little of the remaining Comte.
  3. Place in the oven on an oven tray for 15 minutes.
  4. To make the sauce, simmer the cream and add the cheese, Kirsch and a pinch of Cayenne. Taste and season.

To serve, remove from the oven and place the risen soufflé in its dish on a board. At the table, make a hole in the top and pour in some of the sauce. Spoon onto plates with extra sauce as desired. Serve with a crunchy fresh salad. I like a tomato salad with finely chopped shallots and French dressing. To make the meal more substantial, some shredded cooked ham in a green salad is a great accompaniment.