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(Serves 6)

Deliciously indulgent, these little soufflés can be prepared well in advance and make a great starter or light lunch dish when served with a mixed green salad.

1. Generously butter six ramekins and set the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

2. Slowly heat the milk with the onion and blade mace. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for a few minutes.

3. Melt the butter and stir in the flour, mustard and cayenne powder.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Hold a sieve over the pan and gradually whisk in the warm milk until the mixture is smooth. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil then remove from heat.

5. Stir in 2/3 of the grated cheese and the egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Carefully fold the whites into the cheese sauce.

7. Fill the ramekins two-thirds and stand in a deep roasting tin just large enough to hold them. Boil a kettle and pour hot water into the tin until halfway up the ramekins.

8. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to sink and cool.

9. Run a knife around the edges and turn out the soufflés in your hand. Place upside down in an ovenproof dish.

10. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Top the soufflés with the remaining cheese, season with salt and pepper and pour over the cream.

11. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden and puffed up. Serve.

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300ml full-fat milk

1 slice of onion

1 piece of blade mace

40g butter and a little extra for the ramekins

40g plain flour

A pinch of dry English mustard powder

A pinch of cayenne pepper

120g grated Montgomery Cheddar

4 medium-sized free-range eggs, separated

Maldon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

200ml double cream

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