It’s freezing outside, you open the fridge in search of sustenance – something hot and substantial yet simple that will fill you up and warm your cockles. A meaty stew ready to be warmed; some spicy chilli con carne you can pile high on a jacket potato; a smooth creamy soup that you can dunk hearty chunks of bread in? No, if you’re in the Manning household searching for something on spec, chances are the fridge will be pretty empty. So, with this in mind, Mr Manning and I were even more amazed and proud by our recent foray into the creation of Welsh Rarebit.
Glorified cheese on toast, you might say. And maybe it is. But it certainly hit the spot far more than a slice of cheddar shoved under the grill, especially by the time we’d “pimped” it up, Manning-style! Apparently the name Welsh Rarebit originates from 18th Century Great Britain, and when you look it up, you can find a host of recipes from straightforward “posh cheese on toast”, to complicated variations featuring ale, fancy cheeses, or Bechamel Sauce.
Given our desire for warming, simple food and the rather sparse ingredients in our fridge (basically cheddar and eggs), we decided to keep it basic and opted to take our guidance from a Hairy Bikers’ recipe, with a few additions of our own….Start off melting butter and into it add your grated cheese. Don’t be shy, lots and lots of cheese please. Cook until it melts, stirring all the time, then mix in egg yolk, some mustard if you’ve got it (we managed to rustle up some Dijon mustard from the back of the fridge), some Worcestershire sauce (alas, we couldn’t manage to produce this out of thin air), and some cayenne pepper.
Once it’s nice and thick and smooth, season and let it cool. Toast your bread, and then pop it on a baking tray. It’s probably best to put some foil underneath if you don’t want encrusted cheesy sauce baked solid on your tray. Then spread the sauce over the bread, all the way to the edges, and as thick as you can get it. Put it under the grill and keep a close, close eye, cooking it until the cheese is a lovely brown and bubbling.
And there you have it, a snack fit for a king. Creamy, tangy, cheesy sauce, made even richer by the egg yolk.
“But you said you ‘pimped it up'”, I hear you cry. “That’s not pimped up.”
Ah, yes, well this is what we did. Alongside the lonely cheese and eggs in our barren fridge lay some sad remaining mushrooms. So, chop them up, lightly cook them so they go soft and change colour, then sprinkle on the toast before you pour the sauce on top. If you thought your Rarebit couldn’t get any richer, you were wrong. A few slices and we had to give up. Thank god it was actually a meal and not just a snack!
So, that’s it. Simple, cheap, and a great winter warmer.
What’s your go-to snack when the fridge is bare? Let me know and I’ll try that next time!