Saturday, 18 April 2009

Welsh rarebit with cherry tomatoes

As a part Welshman, I often wonder what Wales' gifts to the world were, besides longbows and endless comedy revolving around fornication with sheep.

People who haven't had this often think of it as glorified cheese on toast. Well, it basically is, but still, it's a very nice spin on it that makes a good light lunch or snack. This recipe will serve about four people.

  • About 100g grated mature cheddar cheese (I guesstimated this so use your own judgement)
  • 2 tsps English mustard
  • 150ml milk
  • About 3 knobs of butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 4 slices of bread, preferably good, thick country stuff
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • Yolks from 2 eggs, beaten
  • A good handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the grill at a medium-high temperature.
  2. Warm the milk up in the microwave.
  3. Heat the butter GENTLY in a frying pan (you don't want it to burn) and stir in the flour when it starts to bubble; this is what the French call a "roux" and it allows the flour to thicken the sauce without making it taste all pasty. After about 30 seconds, add the tomatoes to the pan and fry them for a couple of minutes, then add the egg and stir constantly.
  4. Add the milk in small increments, again stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire Sauce and mustard while you're at it. Season it, stir in the cheese and let it get to a nice thick consistency.
  5. Toast the slices of bread on both sides until golden brown, then spoon a dollop of the cheese sauce onto each slice and put it back under the grill for a couple of minutes until the mixture is bubbling.

Some people like to put leeks in the rarebit, which would probably be nice but I didn't have any to hand at the time. If you do this, I would dice them or slice them quite finely and add them to the pan to soften for about 10 minutes before you add the flour. The leek is actually the national symbol of Wales; no wonder they got conquered.

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