22 February 2013

The Welsh Rarebit Question.

~   Menu  ~

Welsh Rarebit
Glass of White
Blush Pear Sponge and Cream

I had lunch at Carol's house the other day - Welsh Rarebit.  She was concerned that I might think it was going to be just cheese on toast but I am a wise old bird and know different.  I didn't watch Carol cook my rarebit (although I did grate the cheese which is probably helped a lot) but this was much more than cheese on toast, it was a thick savoury cheese sauce grilled till bubbling and golden and served with a glass of wine and a good old chat.

I have seen recipes for Rarebit varying from, as I say, plain cheese on toast to a souffléd version à la Delia here.

Although it seems polite to me to use Caerphilly, if this is indeed a Welsh recipe, a mature Cheddar is best I think.  Anyhoo here are some ideas on the two and a half basic methods I am aware of ...

Method 1 ~ Roux Based, egg yolk enriched and probably the most traditional, although I think the original dish was yolk-less - serves 2

15g butter
15g plain flour
50ml ale, dry cider or milk
80g grated mature Cheddar eg. Cornish Crackler
1 egg yolk
½ tsp English mustard powder
dash of Worcestershire sauce
s & p and cayenne to taste.
2 thick slices of great bread

~  Melt the butter and stir in the flour to form a paste called a roux.
~  Slowly stir in the ale or cider to form a thick sauce and stir over low heat for a couple of minutes
~  With your other hand turn on the grill to hot.
~  Stir in the cheese and the egg yolk till the cheese has melted, taste and season with all the other bits (except the bread!)
~  Toast the bread under the hot grill and put into a shallow heatproof dish.
~  Pour over the sauce and pop back under the grill till hot, bubbly, golden, and enticing.

Method 2 ~ Similar to above but quicker as without a roux or an egg yolk.

20g butter
100g grated Cheddar
½ tsp English mustard powder
dash of Worcestershire sauce
60ml ale
seasonings as above
2 thick slices lovely bread

~  Melt the butter and then mix in the rest of the ingredients down to but not including the bread.
~  Toast the bread, spread with the cheese mixture and pop back under the grill till bubbling.

Method 2½ ~ Just Cheese on Toast.

I have one useful thing to say about "just cheese on toast" - if you can be bothered and especially if you have added other cool ingredients such as a slice of ham under the cheese, then the best way to heat this through is in a hot oven as the middle can warm through without overdoing the cheese - read all about it with loads of good ideas here.

Some while ago I briefly mentioned (here within the body of a rant!) that we used to serve Cornish Rarebit in appropriately enough, our Cornish restaurant  Here's a picture of Cornwall to get you in the mood! 

Rabbit or Rarebit?

I got this from The Old Foodie, a really interesting site which is well worth a visit.

The OED traces Welsh Rabbit to 1725, sixty years before “rarebit”, and the eminent lexicographer H.W.Fowler stated in no uncertain terms “Welsh Rabbit is amusing and right. Welsh Rarebit is stupid and wrong."

Lunch Pudding

Last night we had, at my real man's request, a pear sponge made with blush pears.  Not only was this delicious I was surprised and delighted to find that the pears were a beguilingly pretty pink when cooked - perfect for a real man!

Although I nearly always make stuff up as I go along for this sponge topping I use the Beeb's recipe here

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19 February 2013

'Breakfast for Dinner' ~ a Review

Having just written about Dinner on Toast for lunch and Ice Cream for Breakfast  it is a coincidence (or maybe destiny) that I am now reading a rather lovely book called 'Breakfast for Dinner'!  Written by Lindsay Landis and her husband Taylor Hackbarth, a couple of American chaps, and published by Quirk Books this really takes me back to my years in the Caribbean where Sunday Brunch at the Tamarind Club was (and still is) a huge, popular and fun event.  Many of the dishes in 'Breakfast for Dinner' are either similar to those I used to do or exactly what I would like to do if I was still cheffing out there, or even here.

On first flick through there are a lot of American ways of putting things which may be unfamiliar in the UK; but, seriously, don't let this be a deterrent.  Among talk of grits, marinara sauce and Monte Cristos there are some excellent recipes and ideas and, in fact, I'm having a bit of a drool right now as I browsefor examples to give.

The Parmesan Beignets look gorgeous as does the recipe for Tomato Peach Jam which is recommended to serve with them. Chocolate Brownie Waffles are a inspiration as is so much in this book.

In addition to great photos (I've been trying to find out who took them but perhaps it was the talented authors themselves)  and very tempting recipes there is a lot of useful info on how to poach eggs, make crepes and homemade pasta, and such like.  In addition are footnotes to the recipes giving alternatives, serving suggestions, suitable side dishes and, a personal favourite, what to do with leftovers.

Bacon Action! 

Another thing I very much like about this book is there is a lot of bacon action; Bacon Jam, Candied Bacon, Maple Bacon Cupcakes, Candied Bacon and, of course, that old breakfast standby Bacon Infused Bourbon leading inexorably to how to make a Bacon Old-Fashioned. 

Whilst already available in the States Breakfast for Dinner is due to be released in the UK on 13th March but it can, of course, be pre-ordered here and is available on Kindle so ...

PS.  So far as my own writing is concerned I have just written a brief post here on the problems of getting anyone to review ebooks (and how my writing has been described as condescending!).  Anyone got any ideas. 

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17 February 2013

Ice Cream for Breakfast!

I have found writing a cooking book to be a little fattening - the combination of having to "test" recipes by eating the results and sitting on my bottom all day has had a spreading effect.  Luckily I have found the perfect antidote - proofreading.  I was on what, to me at least, seemed a tight deadline so forgot to eat and burnt off extra calories by stomping about a lot and talking to myself  Slightly more info here.

So having sent the proofs off yesterday I had a rather luxurious and celebratory (albeit unseasonal) breakfast this morning - homemade Blueberry Ice Cream (recipe in my very bargainaceous ebook) with granola. 

Because of this I then ate a simple lunch ...

~  Menu  ~

Italian Herb Cornish Gouda on Toast
A small bowl of dipping soup
Glass of Red

You may remember I wrote about CornishGouda earlier in the month - lovely stuff and as I mentioned the Italian Herb variety is particularly good toasted.  I had a modicum-ette of spicy tomato and bean soup leftover from last night so used this to dip my cheese on toast.  All very satisfying. 

In other news ...

I have just started reading a book called "Gull Rock" which is set in Trebarwith Strand. The writing is good, the story captivating but what makes this book extra special for me is that I lived in Trebarwith Strand for 14 years reading it is as if someone had written a story set in my own home; all very familiar, nostalgic and lovely.  Any old Strandies out there might want a look at it - available on Kindle here.

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11 February 2013

Leftover Dinner on Toast!

~  Menu  ~

Leftover Dinner on Toast
White Wine Spritzer
Last piece of Christmas Cake

Last night was yet another case of me cooking myself too much salmon so I put the leftovers, including the peas, in the fridge and today folded the flaked fish and peas into some mayonnaise with a few drips of sweet chilli sauce.  I toasted a couple of slices of sourdough, bunged the stuff on top, put in under the grill and Robert is my father's brother!  (Not really).

So that was pleasant, as was lunch pudding - the very last piece of Christmas cake.

This was not, however, the last of our Christmas leftovers.  My real man insisted we buy pretty well the largest turkey on the planet despite the fact there are only two of us and I don't much eat meat.  This means he still has, I think, 4 Christmas dinners left. No picture of those leftovers but I thought I'd just show you this rather fabulous sausage sandwich he had for lunch; made on a stottie cake.

 In other news ...

~   Speaking of Christmas leftovers I have just finished off some Salted Caramel Cream - 5 weeks out of date and just as lovely as ever (its got lots of other ingredients in it so perhaps that's why it kept so well).

~   I am knee deep (no, not in snog* juice) in proofreading and its not much fun, I can tell you, or, to put it another way I am gobsmacked at how much work there is to do. It has to be finished within a few days so I will have to work really, really hard and that is why I'm not posting much these past few days.  Luckily it will be over soon because it has to be!

*  For the benefit of readers not in the UK this refers to an advert on the telly for Valentines cards.

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4 February 2013

Brown Sugar Doo Dahs

~  Menu  ~

Glass of Red
Ice Cream and Pastry

I made my real man a steak and kidney pie the other day, as one does, using bought in puff pastry (because it's only worth making your own in exceptional circumstances - if at all).  I bunged the rest of the packet and the trimmings in the fridge and was not that surprised to find them in there today.

I recently bought some Cornish Gouda to try - I do like a bit of cheese, me. There were several to choose from and I selected the Semi-Mature and the Italian herb varieties.  Both delish.  In fact I played a little with the herby cheese yesterday and find it to be not only a good nibble but also toasts very well.  I had it on toast but it would make a fine Dutch Pizza.

Today I made two little Cornish Gouda and Leek Pasties, 2 styles of pinwheels with the same filling and some Brown Sugar Pastry Doo Dahs.

I then ate almost all of them!!!

I have written more about the Gouda and the pasties here ... 'Say Cheese! on Cornwall Community News.

For the pinwheels I wanted to compare the results of either slicing before cooking or cooking in the roll and then slicing.  I find I prefer the second method.

It is, however, the Brown Sugar Doo Dahs which pleased me most.  All I did was ...

~   Collect all the scraps from the above items and munged them into a lump.
~   Flattened the lump and added a demi-handful of soft dark brown sugar.
~   Re-munged everything together to distribute the sugar.
~   Rolled into a ball, elongated it a bit and sliced it.

~   I baked the result with the pasties and pinwheels.
~   Ate one for lunch pudding with a modicum of homemade Clotted Cream Ice Cream the recipe for which is a doddle but I'm not going to tell you what it is!  You know why - recipe in "100+ Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine"

In other news ...

1.   My talented brother in law, James Weaver of the Art Café, has taken to doing a daily sketch which can be seen on his blog The Artist and the Tartist.  I've always known he was good but to fit in a sketch of this calibre every day whilst running a successful business AND occasionally playing in a band - I am very impressed and hope you will be too. Here is a sample ...

... and another


2.   As you may know I went Up London last week for a publicity meeting about my forthcoming book, "The Leftovers Handbook".  Now all sorts of things are starting to happen which explains, I hope, the slight hiatus in my blogging.  Sorry about that.

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