We have several farmhouse goat-cheesemakers in Ireland. We use Ardsallagh goat cheese, St. Tola from Inagh in County Clare is also heaven, as is Gortnamona from Cooleeney farm in County Tipperary and Corleggy from County Cavan.
We bake this soufflé until golden and puffy in a shallow oval dish instead of the traditional soufflé bowl. It makes a perfect lunch or supper dish. Little individual bowls also make wonderful appetizers. Reduce the cooking time accordingly.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 12in shallow oval dish (not a soufflé dish) or six individual wide, rimmed soup bowls with melted butter.
Put the cream and milk into a saucepan, add the carrot, onion, peppercorns, and fresh herbs. Bring slowly to a boil, and then set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding the flavorings (we rinse them off and throw them into the stockpot if there is one on the go).
Melt the butter, add the flour, and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in the strained cream and milk, bring to a boil and whisk until the sauce thickens. Cool slightly. Add the egg yolks, goat cheese, Gruyére, and most of the Coolea or Parmesan (reserving some for the topping). Season with salt, cayenne, freshly ground pepper, and nutmeg. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold them gently into the mixture to make a loose consistency. Spoon into the prepared dish, scatter the thyme leaves over the top, and sprinkle with the reserved Coolea or Parmesan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes (9-11 minutes for the individual souffleés), or until the sides and top are nicely puffed up and golden -- the center should still be creamy. Garnish with thyme flowers. Serve immediately with a good green salad.
From 30 Years at Ballymaloe by Darina Allen © 2014 Kyle Books.
Richard Wrangham, a professor at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire, studies the role of cooking in human evolution. "Once you start thinking about the importance of cooking -- its supply of energy, its strange distribution compared to natural foods -- it's bound to have affected our evolution hugely, our behavior, our society, our cognition, all sorts of features about us," he says.