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The Horrid Little Soufflés

One evening last week my friend K came to visit and so did several bottles of wine. At some point during the night we went out to the convenience store and returned equipped with two miniature chocolate soufflés.

This is how delicious and chocolatey they were meant to be. Just look at the serving suggestion:

serving suggestion

But there was a crucial flaw to our plan which, as we drunkenly hurtled round the convenience store, we’d somehow overlooked: the soufflés required OVEN cooking. My accommodation only has a MICROWAVE.

We weren’t phased by this development. We had enough wine. We would boldly go where no chef has gone before.

If I have one piece of advice for you to take away from what ensued, it would be to Never Microwave A Soufflé.

It actually started off reasonably well. We watched smugly as for a few seconds, serving-suggestion-esque perfection was attained. But then the soufflés began to swell, into monstrous and unnatural desserts of encroaching-on-the-microwave-ceiling proportions: we went into full-blown panic meltdown. K ripped the microwave door open with such force she nearly pulled it clean off; the mushroom clouds inside deflated themselves guiltily and rapidly.

repeated horror

After inspecting them with extreme caution, we decided they were not edible yet, and so enthusiastically repeated the whole process about five or six times- but then suddenly the soufflés stopped ballooning and we realised ominous silence had fallen. The kitchen smelled only of cake where there had never been any cake in the first place.Where had the cake smell come from?

We opened the microwave and looked at the things inside the ramekins. I don’t think they could even be called soufflés any more. The original things we’d bought had condensed – the end result was two little brown disks, essentially coasters. We had made COASTERS. They sat forlornly in the bottoms of their ramekins, just above the size and shape of two digestive biscuits. Because I was hosting this impromptu cooking session, and it had been my idea to purchase the soufflés in the first place, I bravely pried part of one of the coasters out of the ramekin with a kitchen knife and nibbled some. K watched in horror from the other side of the kitchen telling me things like ‘don’t eat that’ and ‘what if you die’.

I concluded that it was like a ‘small, dehydrated cake’. A very hot, small, dehydrated cake. How on earth to rescue the situation? I drank another glass of wine and concluded that yoghurt, yoghurt would save the situation. I had a pot of vanilla-flavoured yoghurt which, without consulting K about, I whipped out of the fridge and poured onto the soufflés, or what was left of them. A vague idea about rehydrating the soufflés popped into my head, and while K shouted hysterically at me to ‘stop’, and that there was ‘too much yoghurt, my God woman, stop’, I used up the entire pot. Better safe than sorry. But in the microwaving/condensing process, the soufflés had also developed a curiously solid and watertight outer layer, and all I’d achieved now was two lakes of yoghurt with the coasters drifting sadly around in the middle, like the pucks on an air hockey table when there’s no air. Only dairy products. There was no rehydrating these terrible things. Doom.

“It’ll be fine,” I declared furiously, pouring another glass of wine. “I’m sure it’ll taste absolutely fine. People put chocolate and vanilla together all the time. Cakes and dairy products always go together. It’ll be fine.”

It was not fine.

The ramekins were untouchably hot in spite of the gallons of yoghurt sitting inside them; ignoring K’s protestations that people generally put cake with ice cream, not yoghurt, I manoeuvred the soufflés onto the only tray-like thing to hand – a reinforced plastic chopping board – and set off down the corridor back to my room, wafting the smell of damp cake and yoghurt along behind me. I couldn’t find any of my spoons, either, so we had to try to eat them with forks. The yoghurt dripped appallingly.

So, I hold my hands up and guiltily admit it: K was right. The disgusting little soufflés were downright inedible, nauseating in fact. They had all the appearance and consistency of varnished coasters floating in lukewarm yoghurt – possibly because that’s pretty much exactly what they were. K, if you are reading this, I am truly sorry for what I put us through.

review

Quite understandably, the trauma of and recovery from the soufflé fiasco meant that all the remaining wine mysteriously vanished. We woke up the next morning to find my table littered with empty bottles and very unexpected paperwork. Evidently, we had tried to write reviews of what had happened, and aside from in-depth diagrams of a ‘soufflé in PERIL’ and a ‘poor pathetic soufflé’ and the scrawled notes ‘nearly blew up’ and ‘exploding soufflé’, the reviewing process also seemed to have involved drawing pictures of clowns. Clowns. Signed with our names and ages. I haven’t a clue what they were doing there either, but there they are. Clearly that is what eating microwaved soufflé does to you. I wholeheartedly do not recommend it.

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