By Lisa Harlow.
Tom Kerridge’s Welsh Rarebit
My first job was as publicity officer for a small theatre in Stafford and in the café the chef’s speciality was Welsh Rarebit. It would be fair to say that it was far and away my favourite lunch while I worked there and that it was far from being ‘rare’. That was twenty-something years ago so Tom Kerridge’s recipes caught my eye straight away, plus, posh cheese on toast looks like a no-brainer.
I used Wold Top Bitter from the Wold Top Brewery near Driffield – a 3.7% amber coloured aromatic session bitter that I picked up on my last trip to Yorkshire – to reduce down to a glaze and then added the double cream. The Cheddar, when grated, looked like a gigantic cheese mountain but did thankfully melt satisfyingly into the cream and beer after a bit of cramming into the pan and stirring. The addition of the egg yolks and all the punchy flavours made a really thick and gooey cheesy custard. The next bit of the recipe surprised me in that it called for the mixture to be cooled, spread out onto greaseproof paper and frozen. Unfortunately, I didn’t read that bit before I started and fully intended to eat the stuff for lunch, so the goo went straight onto some toasted bread and under the grill, where it bubbled and browned satisfyingly.
So to the tasting – accompanied by the rest of the beer, obviously – incredibly cheesy and with strong spicy flavour, there was still the unmistakeable undercurrent of ale – don’t ask me to opine about malt and hop flavours as a beer reduction pretty thoroughly vanquished by Worcestershire sauce, mustard and cayenne pepper is stretching even the finest and most accomplished palette. Perhaps it could have done with some nice nutty bread and a salad garnish, but it all happened in a bit of a rush, so my nice wholemeal sliced toast did the trick as the carbohydrate platform. The rest was left, as the recipe suggests to cool and flatten – and it’s in the fridge for another day as a slice of beery cheesiness or should that be cheeriness – as and when the fancy takes me.
Another couple of serving suggestions struck me – the cheesy mixture would make a fab dip for celery or breadsticks or as warm canapés when spooned onto big rustic croutons.
So go on, give it a go and let us know how you get on. February’s recipe will feature another Tom Kerridge special – chocolate and ale cake – a must for all Valentine softies…
(Lovingly ripped-off from The Times on 3rd January 2013)
½ pt ale
400g strong Cheddar (grated)
200ml double cream
1 large tbsp English mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
10 splashes of Worcestershire sauce
5 splashes of Tabasco
2 egg yolks
Reduce the ale down to a glaze. Add the double cream and reduce by half. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to cool, then roll it out between two sheets of baking parchment and place in the freezer to set. Toast some bread and cut the rarebit to fit the slices. Place on the bread and grill until browned.