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Spinach soufflé with creamy anchovy sauce and maple roasted bacon, perfect comfort food for the cold weather in Cape Town! (makes about 6)

350g baby spinach, washed and trimmed
50g butter, plus extra for greasing
3tbsp flour
1 c milk
4 free range eggs, separated
150 g cheese ( gruyere/cheddar/gorgonzola or mix of your choice, chevin is also a  nice variation instead of gorgonzola)
5 ml paprika
5 ml salt

Sauce:
6 anchovy fillets, finely minced
250 ml cream
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Black pepper
Juice of half a lemon
1 pack bacon rashers
Maple syrup
Fresh rosemary and thyme

Place the rashers on a baking sheet and drizzle with the syrup. Top with a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary and bake at 220 degrees for 30 minutes or til crispy.

Heat up a pan. Add the spinach and cover. Cook for 1-2 minutes till wilted. Remove from the pan and process till smooth, or chop very finely. In a clean pan, melt the butter. Add the flour en stir till combined. Gradually add the milk to the flour paste and combine. Return to the heat and cook till thickened. stirring CONTINUOUSLY! (very important, otherwise clumps will form). Once it is nice and thick, stir in half the cheese. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks. Add the spinach, salt, paprika and mix thoroughly.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites till stiff. Using a metal spoon add a  bit of the egg whites to the cheese mix and stir through just to lighten it. Once this is done, add the rest of the egg whites. The secret lies in the air, and the aim is losing as little of the air bubbles as possible. Stir trying to trace a figure of 8 in the bowl, combining as you go. This helps minimise the loss of air in the egg whites. Using a metal spoon instead of wood or plastic also helps. Once combined, spoon the mix into 6 greased ramekins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 180 degrees without opening the oven during the cooking process.

For the sauce, use a smallish saucepan or pot. Fry the anchovies, mashing them well, in a little butter with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme.

Add the cream and simmer. Once it starts boiling, remove the herbs. Season with cayenne and black pepper. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Add lemon juice and cook/reduce till the desired consistency is reached. Remove the soufflés from the oven and cool slightly. You can prepare the soufflés ahead of the time up to this point. They can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Remove them from their ramekins and place in individual ovenproof bowls ( 1-2 per person, depending on you appetite or course, of course). Spoon over some of the sauce, top with the remaining cheese and grill for 5-10 minutes at about 220 degrees till the cheese is bubbling and start browning.  Top with the roasted bacon and serve!

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