Lady Ashcombe of Sudeley Castle explains how to rescue a collapsed souffle!

PUBLISHED: 11:36 16 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:39 20 February 2013

Sudeley Castle Recipe Book.

Sudeley Castle Recipe Book.

An old recipe book, now re-published, comes to the aid of the party

Its 2010 already I cant believe it! Has time speeded up, have I been having such a wonderful time, or is it just a symptom of ones ever increasing age? Such a delicate subject, so I wont explore it further but I do catch myself saying it just seems like yesterday that such and such happened or so and so was, and that yesterday has mysteriously turned into a bulk of concentrated, vacuum-packed, whizzed by unharnessed time.I mustnt get distracted with abstract musings on the relativity of time and space, particularly as I had planned to tell you about a recent success I had with a recipe rediscovered from my old cooking notes. Back in the days when I was a young hostess aspiring to impress, the perfect souffl was the status symbol of a successful dinner party. Fortunately for me, as my efforts in this field tended to deflate and look miserable upon presentation, the souffl went out of smart dinner party fashion in the 60s in favour of more exotic or healthy styles of cooking.To be honest, I am not, nor have ever sought to enter, the ranks of a good cook, nor do I really enjoy cooking except occasionally. One such occasion which did do me proud back in the old souffl days came about as a result of yet another crestfallen heap of cheesy stodge and a tip from my sister. Let the disaster cool and turn it out into an oven dish (and you can refrigerate for next day). When ready to serve, pour creamy cheese sauce over top and put under grill. It helps to have added another egg yolk (not white) to original mixture, and you can be creative with all sorts of variations on the ingredients. On rediscovering this lost secret I tried resuscitating little individual purposely collapsed blends in this way to serve to a few sporting guestsand what a success!. Could it be that the souffl is back in a new form? I hope not too often as it still is a bit of trouble to make and, oh dear eggs, cream and cheese it defies all todays wisdom on healthy cooking and eating.It is fascinating discovering the cooking and eating styles of times past. We have recently republished The Sudeley Castle Recipe Book, which I originally found about 40 years ago tucked away in an old box. Unfortunately some missing or illegible pages make it impossible to give an exact date of when, or by whom, the book was begun, but the earliest handwritten entry is dated 1660 and a subsequent date of 1703 is recorded, thereafter the handwriting changes a number of times. From the way it was written and the care with which it was preserved, this little book of recipes, cures and household hints must have been a treasured possession handed down for many generations. I love some of the weights and measures for everyday household cooking Take a viper and a half pounded into powder, a peck of fine flour, a 2pennyworth of pomegranate, a handful of wormwood, a quantity of pigeons, two or three bushels of berries, a parboiled calveshead, four quarts of rum and so on, until my modern mind boggles at the enormous effort of managing and feeding a household, or just baking a cake, let alone eating and digesting the results of these old recipes.Well, here you are 2010, welcome, but please dont speed by too quickly or I wont be able to catch up on the unfinished business of 2009. I would like to take this opportunity to send my warmest wishes to all Cotswold Life readers for many happy times in the New Year it seems only yesterday that I was writing these sentiments for

If you would like your own copy of The Sudeley Castle Recipe Book please send 3.70 (2.95 + p&p cheques payable to Sudeley Castle Ltd.) With your name and address to Recipe Book, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5JD.Or better still, come and visit Sudeley after we reopen on the March 29.

Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5JD

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