Thursday, 28 July 2011

Welsh Rarebit, the best cheese on toast in the world, with recipe

Essentially cheese on toast with added ingredients. When it was devised in the 18th century, the English (by then well-established in their teasing of the Welsh) jokingly called it Welsh Rabbit - as a Welshman, supposedly too poor to have meat, had to eat cheese instead.
The earliest reference can be traced to 1725 and the diary of a poet called John Byrom who wrote: ‘I did not eat of cold beef, but of Welsh rabbit and stewed cheese.’
Sixty years later, the rarebit popped up in Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue: ‘A Welsh rabbit is bread and cheese roasted, i.e. a Welsh rare bit.’

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes to 7 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes to 17 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 225g As strong as you like cheddar, grated
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp bitter, pale ale or dry cider
  • A pinch or 2 of cayenne pepper, to taste
  • A little fruit or tomato chutney, eg, Baxters Albert's Victorian Chutney or Baxters Tomato Chutney with Red Peppers
  • 4 slices bread, brown or white


  1. Preheat the grill to high. Mix together all the ingredients except the chutney and bread.
  2. Toast the bread. Spread one side of each slice thinly with the chutney, then spread the cheese mixture thickly on top.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and grill until golden. Eat immediately with a tomato or watercress salad. Or indeed, with both.

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