I was just browsing through my old recipe book when I came across recipes for Welsh rarebits; Some people think Welsh rarebit is just cheese melted on toast, but in fact it’s cheese melted in a pan with a liquid, usually as far as I know, beer but it can also be milk so it would be more like a cheese sauce, and I did see one recipe using wine… I guess the success of that would be the quality of the cheese. The earliest recorded named Welsh rarebit was in 1725, but that’s only when it wa written down. It’s a traditional Welsh supper dish, but it’s so delicious it’s become a universal favourite.

How do you fancy these variations:

Fish rarebit

  • 3 oz cooked, cold, chopped fish (no bones or skin)
  • 6 oz cheese, sliced
  • 1½ oz butter
  • 1 tsp made mustard
  • ½ gill milk
  • ½ water
  • 1 tsp flour
  • pepper
  • 2 squares of hot buttered toast spread with a little anchovy essence
  1. melt the butter and add the fish, cheese and milk and cook over a very low heat
  2. mix the flour, mustard and pepper with the water to a smooth paste
  3. add paste to the cheese mix and stir in until it boils, boil for 3 mins
  4. serve on the toast

Rather a lot of boiling for my mind, and the pour fish would end up a mush; I would miss out the fish but follow the recipe and only add it when the sauce comes together, then simmer until the fish is cooked.

Tomato rarebit

  • ¼ lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ lb cheese, finely grated
  • 1 oz butter
  •  salt,pepper and mixed mustard
  • i tsp flour, smoothed in a little water
  • 2 yolks of egg, beaten
  • 18 triangles of hot buttered toast
  • extra grated cheese
  1. melt the butter and add the tomatoes, cook for a few minutes then add the flour, boil for a few minutes
  2. draw the pan aside and add the cheese and yolks, stir over a low heat until it is creamy
  3. season with salt, pepper and mustard
  4. serve on the toast with a sprinkling of grated cheese

Pimento rarebit

  • 2 level tsp chopped pimento
  • 4 oz dry cheese, finely grated
  • 1½ oz butter
  • ¼ level tsp chopped chives
  • milk
  • seasoning
  • 4 pieces of buttered toast
  • extra chopped pimento
  1. melt the  butter and add cheese, pimento and chives and stir over a low heat, gradually adding the milk  until the cheese is melted. Add sufficient milk to make it a creamy mass
  2. add seasoning to taste and pour over toast, garnishing with small pieces of pimento

I think for our tastes we might add slightly more pimento and chives, and i would use chives as garnish as well.

I don’t think my family would like the fish rarebit, although i think I might, but I’m sure they would enjoy the other two recipes – from Modern Practical Cookery, published about 1930



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