I never promised that it would be all fine cuisine around here (quite the opposite, I think) so since we all seem to be freezing our buns off at the moment I thought I’d refer to one of my favourite cold weather comfort foods – something that I happily snaffled for my lunch today and poo to the diet guilt in this cold snap. I love cheese but God has decreed that hot cheese shall be totally irrestible, both in smell and taste, to all but the steeliest-willed skinniest of skinnies.
I have quick combos that I love on a cold day: toast one side of a slice of bread under the grill then spread the other with tomato puree (paste), good grated strong Cheddar (the real thing, not that plastic muck that tries to pass itself off as Cheddar) and sprinkle on some dried oregano. Pop back under the grill and cook until the cheese is melting and just starting to brown. Voila! – Pizza Bread! 🙂 I’ve successfully substituted a scraping of Sacla red pesto and then cheese when I don’t have tomato puree (making a kind of Basil-ly pizza bread. Mmmmmm…). And for true connoisseurs of the Toast and Cheese Tasters Guild nothing can compare to a scraping of Marmite and then the grated cheese (although if you haven’t tried Marmite before you may want to take it easy with that one – Marmite truly is a product that you either love or hate. It has been known to make grown men cry).
Purists, however, will undoubtedly prefer to go through the extra kerfuffle of making proper Welsh Rarebit (also called Welsh Rabbit, although of course no rabbits are actually harmed in the making of it). Lovely, but I’m normally too much of a gannet to muck around and do things ‘properly’. Here, however is the authentic recipe for this English (well…Welsh) classic:
Welsh rarebit (Serves 4)
(By the way, the phrase Welsh rabbit was coined in the 18th century to describe this cheese on toast. Some believe it was invented when the Welsh wives spied their menfolk returning empty-handed from the hunt and had to melt cheese as a substitute for game).
This Welsh rarebit with egg is from the Edwardian chef C Herman Senn:
- 9 oz/255g freshly grated Llangloffan, Caerphilly, Cheshire or Cheddar cheese
- 1 oz/30g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Colman’s English mustard powder, mixed with 1 tsp water
- 1 egg, beaten
- Salt and pepper
- Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce (optional) – a few drops of each may be added to the mixture
- 4 slices of good bread, white or brown, lightly toasted and buttered
Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Mix the finely grated cheese with the butter, breadcrumbs, mustard and egg. Beat well, season with salt and pepper to taste and spread thickly on buttered toast. Cook in the oven until golden brown (5-10 minutes).
That’s it. Enjoy… And stay warm! 🙂