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