So, Christmas is upon us, and I'm back at my parents' house for the week. It's so strange getting used to cooking in a different kitchen - it took me a while to remember where everything's kept. I nearly tried to slice a loaf of bread with a spoon.
The biggest obstacle so far is that my parents eat entirely different types of foods to me, so things that I view as kitchen staples are nowhere to be found here. My mum's a great cook when she tries, but it appalled me that I couldn't find a single herb, dried or fresh, in the house, and with my car back at my own house I had no way of getting my hands on any. I had to resort to getting flavour from elsewhere, hence my use of garlic and herb cream cheese. If you'd prefer, you could just use plain cream cheese and add your favourite herbs.
One major plus of being back here, though: my parents have a dishwasher! It felt delightfully naughty to just stick all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of actually having to do any washing up.
Aaanyway, onto this feta soufflé. Have you ever seen a more gorgeous selection of foods in one place?
Roasted grapes and onion (the first time I tried a roasted grape I literally uttered the words 'oh my god...'), cheesy feta soufflé and, to bring it all back down to earth, some white toast. Combine the lot, and it all becomes something pretty special.
I've called this a soufflé because I wanted to sound fancy, but actually it doesn't rise in the same way a soufflé does, so the name's probably not technically correct. However, the egg causes it to set and forms a firm spread, as opposed to your usual creamy dip. If you want something that's able to have crisps dipped into it, just miss out the egg.
If the three types of cheese in this soufflé didn't give you a hint, I'm quite a big fan of cheese, and the smell while this dish is cooking is a.maz.ing. When you cook cheese, it goes from crumbly to gooey to crispy, and it's this last stage that smells the best, so I always try to stop myself digging in before it's reached this stage. The roasted grapes keep the dish moist, and add an incredible sweetness.
These little toasts would be perfect for your Christmas party, give them a go!
By the waaay, my boyfriend told me at the start of the month that I wasn't getting any Christmas presents unless I got to 1000 Facebook fans before Christmas. I still have a few to go and I really don't like the idea of watching my family open all their presents next week while I'm stuck on the internet begging for people to like me - help me out pretty please?
Feta soufflé with roasted grapes
100g feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1tbsp garlic and herb cream cheese (I used light) - or 1tbsp plain cream cheese plus your favourite herbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 spring onion, chopped
25g cheddar cheese, grated
100g red seedless grapes
1/2 medium onion
1tbsp olive oil
Toast or crackers, to serve
Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
Combine the crumbled feta, cream cheese, egg and spring onion, and mix well. Season with a little salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Transfer to an oven-proof dish, and top with the grated cheddar.
Cut the onion into small wedges, and halve each grape. Toss the onions and grapes in a little olive oil, and lay in a single layer on a baking tray. Season with black pepper.
Bake both the feta dip and the tray of grapes in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the dip is set and the cheese on top is crispy, and the onion and grapes are soft.
Serve the dip spread on toasted bread or crackers, and top with the grape and onion mixture.