Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rabbit or rarebit?

A debate periodically breaks out in the cookery columns of the press about whether the celebrated dish welsh rarebit should be spelt rabbit or rarebit. Majority opinion suggests the origin was rabbit, the explanation being that the Welsh, who were poor, couldn't afford the real thing and that rarebit evolved to avoid what might be deemed a national insult! When I was growing up we always called it rarebit so I tend to stick to that though you will see it spelt the other way on the menus of many modern British restaurants.

Be that as it may, a rarebit/rabbit was what I made with some of the cheap Montgomery cheddar I told you I'd picked up and very good it was too - a definite step up from cheese on toast. For one person you need 75g of strong cheddar, just under 3 tbsp good strong ale, 1 1/2 tsp plain flour, 1/4 tsp English mustard or mustard powder, a medium egg yolk and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. And a large slice (or two smaller ones) of sourdough or wholemeal bread

Pre-heat the grill and toast the bread then pour the ale into a pan, add the cheese and mustard, sprinkle over the flour, stir and place over a low heat until the cheese has melted. Take the pan off the heat, add the egg yolk and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and a grind or two of black pepper. Line the grill pan with foil, place the toast on top, pour over the melted cheese and flash under the grill until brown and bubbling. Comfort food at its best!

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