Firstly, I should start with apologising as for the first time since I started this blog, I didn’t have the time to post a blog last week. What with moving house, getting back from holiday and no broadband till this week, I just didn’t have the energy to be honest. All I could manage was early nights after evenings of unpacking boxes and trying to find somewhere to put it all (it’s amazing how coming from a one bed flat you still manage to fill a three bed house!) I was totally zonked and could only manage work and sleep.
I can’t complain though… St Lucia was just what the doctor ordered. Relaxation, sunshine, snoozing and of course plenty of good food. We were spoilt staying in a lovely resort that served some beautiful fresh food and I had endless amounts of mahi mahi, jumbo prawns and of course some jerk chicken.
We dined at some high-end restaurants that could easily rival those in London but also had the opportunity to try a local restaurant called ‘Flavours of the Grill’ that delivered up some proper home cooking served with some cool Caribbean style.
Lovely fresh fish is of course expected when you’re on a Caribbean Island but what did surprise me were the fantastic desserts I sampled over the course of two weeks.
At the hotel was a wonderful restaurant called ‘Piano Piano’ which you guessed it had a piano player playing endless songs with requests getting shouted out by the diners in a challenge to find something he couldn’t play. He won. There was a dessert on the menu called a ‘Melody of Chocolate’, which was a rich chocolate cake in the shape of a piano. I just wish I’d had a camera with me to take a photo of it; it really was incredibly detailed and impressive.
The ice cream wasn’t quite as good as some we’ve tasted in Barbados (the rum and raisin is a must try if you’re there) but we did discover a Peanut Brittle Sunday at the Big Chef Steakhouse that was sublime. Chunky peanuts in a lovely vanilla ice cream with some caramel swirls. It took me straight back to the UK when I have been known to eat peanut butter straight from the jar with a spoon.
I had the most fantastic chocolate fondant at a beautifully located restaurant called The Cliff at Cap Maison In fact the whole meal was just superb and my husband enjoyed his birthday dining in style. He also picked a delicious dessert that was a beautiful passion fruit soufflé that I must admit he did kindly share a mouthful of. It was incredibly light but with an intense passion fruit flavour that ‘smacked’ you in the chops (as Greg would say). Just delicious.
It inspired me to have a go at recreating it when I got back and finally I have a Saturday afternoon to make a home cooked dinner followed by passion fruit and custard soufflé.
There did appear to be a number of recipes online for passion fruit soufflé but most were for 4-6 people. And whilst I might be more than capable of chowing down more than one, I thought James Martin’s passion fruit and custard soufflé would do the job (particularly as it was only for two).
The recipe was incredibly easy to pull together, literally 15 minutes and in the oven. My excitement as they soufflés rose above the ramekin edges to gigantic heights was enough to even get my husband to leave the sofa and the pull of Top Gear to peak into the oven.
They were incredibly light with a strong tang of passion fruits throughout the fluffy centre which took me right back to St Lucia. The caramelised bananas and vanilla ice cream complimented this simple but very satisfying dessert.
I just want to add a final note which is a thank you to my mum and sister for writing some fabulous blogs whilst I was off sunning myself on holiday. I must make both recipes in the coming weeks, obviously just for testing purposes and not because I’m just incredibly greedy.
Serves two (although we got 3 plus a half out of the recipe)
For the soufflé
Butter, for greasing
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 medium free-range egg whites
120ml of fresh ready-made custard (or make your own if you have the time or inclination)
2 passion fruits, halved, seeds and pulp scraped out
For the bananas (optional on the side)
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 medium bananas, peeled and halved lengthways
Vanilla ice cream
Few sprigs of fresh mint (if you’re feeling poncey)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Grease two ramekin dishes with butter and then sprinkle with one tablespoon of caster sugar so that the inside of each ramekin is dusted with caster sugar. Gently shake out any extra.
Place the egg whites into a large clean bowl and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Add the remaining caster sugar (1 tbsp) and whisk again until it looks thick and glossy.
Place your custard in a separate large bowl and add your passion fruit centre (seeds and pulp) and mix well. Very gently fold in the egg whites, trying to keep as much air as possible so that you get a good rise.
Spoon your mixture into your prepared ramekins and using your thumb, gently drag round the inside of the ramekin so that you get a slight indentation all the way round. This should help the soufflés rise up straight.
Place your ramekins on a baking tray and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Don’t be tempted to open the oven before 15 minutes or they could drop!
Whilst your soufflés are rising, heat the butter in a non-stick pan until it turns slightly brown (but not burnt!) Add the sugar and the bananas and cook, stirring frequently, until the bananas are golden-brown all over.
Remove your soufflés from the oven and place the ramekins on serving plates. Add your bananas alongside and add a serving of vanilla ice cream. Garnish with fresh mint (for the professional look).