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Breakfast of champions


CHEESY DELIGHT Welsh rarebit is a traditional Welsh dish of toast with a savoury cheesy topping.  Pic: Creative commons/wormthatturned

Comfort food from Wales, just when we need it

Redmond Cabot

Once I had a really good Mexican friend, dearest Tatito, who’d crack open an icy cold Sol beer first thing in the morning. An enormous grin would engulf his face. “Ahh! The breakfast of champions,” he’d say as he guzzled that beer. He died young, but he did live a very exciting and happy life.
Beer is not my morning cup of tea, which is actually a cup of tea. But I’ve been to fabulous morning buffets in Germany and Czech where beer is part of the early breakfast menu.
On school days (remember those?!), breakfast is more of a rush and ordeal in our house, while the weekends are another story, thankfully. Of course at the moment, with the kids home from school, we all have more time for longer morning meals.
Recently for breakfast we had a delicious spread – fried eggs from our hens; baked beans courtesy of Heinz; toast from Patrick of Cornrue. Lots of Irish butter. Grilled tomatoes. And a few saussie sandwiches (sliced pan, loads of butter) stuffed with Kellys of Newport’s very tasty new veggie sausages.

Unlike Tatito I’m not keen on beer for my breakfast. However, for a lovely brunch I wouldn’t say no to Welsh rarebit with a dribble of beer in its sauce. Quick and tasty. And so comforting – and couldn’t we all do with a bit of comforting these days? You can have this any time of the day, whenever the mood grabs you.
We often make and love a very plain cheese on toast, but a good Welsh rarebit is an unctuous delight. ‘Rarebit’ comes from ‘rabbit’, but don’t worry, there are no little Thumpers in this recipe! No one really knows how the dish got its name.

Beery Beautiful Welsh Rarebit
What you need:

  • 225g grated vintage cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsps of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp teaspoon of English mustard
  • 2 tsps of sieved flour
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsps of beer (lager or dark beer)
  • 4 slices of strong bread

What you do next
Place the cheese, beer, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sieved flour and pepper into a medium saucepan. Mix well, then add the beer (you can use milk to moisten the mix if you’d rather not use booze).
Stir over a very gentle heat, mixing gently until all is melted.
When it becomes a thickish paste, stop moving it around and take it off the heat.
Toast one side of your bread slices under the grill. Now smooth the mix over the untoasted side of the slices of bread, and brown under a very hot grill until bubbling.  
Serve up with a zesty salad (try spicy rocket) and down with a chilled Mescan beer if you’re like Tatito or a super cold non-alcoholic ginger beer if you’re not! Or a nice cup of tea.

Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.