When spare time and inclination are unforthcoming, yet you still feel the need for a fresh, exciting supper, try this cheeky little stand-in for le fast-food.

I have written elsewhere of how delicious, and simple, Burgundian Gougères can be, but these little golden puffs – not dissimilar in their construction – can be assembled and cooked in less time than it takes a Deliveroo driver to collect something fast and clammy from the local burger bar.

Aigrettes are enduringly delicious as well as inexpensive. And an additional culinary benefit is that you get to select the oil they are fried in, a rare and healthy bonus these days.

Serve alongside a carefully chosen fruit chutney, a vibrant leaf salad, and you may experience such unexpected proximity to health and wellbeing, you could find Gwyneth Paltrow dropping in for supper, especially if she’s heard you’ve cut down on moped-miles.

My choice is from a little gem of a recipe book and one borrowed some 15 years ago from Mike, the former catering director at Gresham’s School in north Norfolk. If this publication, Classic French, indicates the general inspiration provided for school dinners, then I guess the school’s fulsome fees were thoroughly warranted.

Aigrettes au Fromage from Classic French – DeliciousRegional Recipes from France (1996), foreword by Marie-Pierre Moine

50g plain flour

15g butter

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten

115g finely grated Cheddar or Gruyère

1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp mustard powder

Pinch of cayenne

Oil for frying

Salt and ground black pepper

Chutney and salad to serve

Sift the flour on to a square of greaseproof paper and set aside

Place the butter and 150 ml of water in a pan and heat until butter is melted

Bring the liquid to the boil and quickly tip in the flour all at once

Remove the pan from the heat and stir well with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan and forms a ball, allow the mixture to cool slightly

Gradually add the egg to the mixture, beating well after each addition

Stir in the cheeses, mustard, cayenne and season

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds

Drop 4 spoonfuls of the cheese mixture at a time into the hot oil and deep fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden

Keep them hot in the oven while cooking the remaining mixture.

Serve immediately with chutney and salad

Wine thoughts(mainly)

One of the new breed of ‘New World in the Old’ wines from Languedoc-Rousillon, such as a Pinot Noir, (slightly chilled) or a Sauvignom Blanc (very chilled) would clear the palate nicely.

Or…continuing the narrative of le fast food supper, a selection of hard pear or apple ciders from northern France would fit the bill very well.