Fergus Henderson’s Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit – posh for cheese on toast. This recipe takes a small amount of time, and a bit of effort, but if you make enough, you can use it over several days.

A knob of butter
A tablespoon of flour
1 teaspoon English Mustard powder
1/2 a teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (or two teaspoons!)
200 ml Guinness. Yep. Beer. Makes everything better.
Copious amounts of Worcestershire Sauce
450 grammes of mature strong Cheddar – grated
Toast. The above goop will cover about 4-6 pieces.

Melt the butter and stir in the flour – this makes a roux. Don’t brown it though, just let it cook until it starts to smell a bit like biscuits – or cookies if you are from the colonies.

Add the mustard powder and the cayenne. stir well, then add the Guinness and the Worcestershire Sauce. Keep stirring and slowly add the cheese, allowing it to melt each time you add more.Once its all melted, and the mixture is all the same consistency, pour it into a container and allow it to cool. It will set nicely.

Spread the goop onto toast, about 1 cm thick, and put it under the grill. Wait until it is bubbling all over and turns a golden brown.

It’s blooming delicious and goes well at the end of a meal, with port, or just as a snack.

Fix me a sammich

I do enjoy a good sandwich. It has to be made with excellent bread and fresh ingredients mind you, which is why most pre-packaged triangular “sandwiches” so rarely come up to snuff. Making your own is more satisfying on many levels – you make it yourself, and you make it exactly the way you want it;  can’t be bad.

While adding condiments can be the way to go, think mustard on ham, or horseradish on roast-beef, there is one sandwich that requires no condiments at all, just great ingredients and a bit of seasoning. As a kid, growing up in Holland, I used to regularly head to De Bruine Boon in Leiden, and order a koffie-verkeerd (Basically a coffee made “wrongly”, lots of milk) and a broodje-brie. The Bruine-Boon is still there today, but seems to have been renovated, so to me, has lost some of its charm. Of course, it may be exactly the same, and I have become jaded, who knows? If you are in Leiden, I recommend it for a spot of lunch (or brunch with a hangover – I seem to remember doing a lot of those at the Boon).

So for a broodje-brie, or Brie sandwich, take a fresh, crusty, French Baguette ( I believe they’re called Freedom Baguettes over here), some Brie (the most delicious is invariably a triple-cream, but for the sake of your weight or your heart, any will do), and a fresh, ripe tomato.

Slice about 6 inches diagonally from the baguette, and split it down it’s length. Cut slices, about 5 mm thick of the Brie and cover the bottom slice of bread with it. Then thinly (or however you want) slice the tomatoes and lay them on the Brie. Season with salt and freshly ground black-pepper. That’s it!

This sandwich really hits the spot at lunchtime, and goes well with a crisp, dry white-wine like a Sancerre, or a New-Zealand Cabernet-Sauvignon. Or a nice dry cider, or a beer, or a glass of water, or a koffie-verkeerd. You get the picture.