“Is there something cooking in there? I can smell something cheesy!”
The half-asleep husband saunters into the kitchen at 4.30 pm on a Sunday afternoon while I’m hurriedly trying to finish the dish, while mentally setting up the balcony to shoot the dish.
“Yup. I am. And yes, it’s got cheese. But don’t talk to me right now. I’m trying to finish all this up before Ikshu wakes up!” I retort. Ikshu is my cute 4-year-old Dennis-the-menace at home!
“Ok. How about passing on just one slice to me before you start shooting? I’m really hungry. Plus, I’m sure you need a taste tester before you put this up on the blog?”
Quite reluctantly, I place one slice of the Welsh rabbit on a plate I’d set aside for the photo-taking exercise, planning how to plate it while clicking the picture.
“Ummmm. It’s delicious. I’d say pile on even more of that saucy cheese topping on each slice.”
I thought that would taste wonderful and look good in pictures too. And so, I added more of theta cheesy sauce on to the next few slices and put them in the oven. And just as I was removing that tray of cheese-toast-awesomeness, I hear another sleepy voice calling out: “Amma, cake?”
And there was my four-year-old walking into the kitchen hoping to help me bake something! I’ll shorten the rest of the story to this – all the Welsh rabbit got polished off within minutes, leaving me with nothing to take pictures of. And I had to redo it the next day with less cheddar than required. Sadly, I over-baked the second batch, so some of those slices look drier than they should be.
Who’d have thought that the Welsh rabbit would actually turn out to be the most luscious cheese on toast? It is said that the Welsh were so poor, they couldn’t afford even cheap meats. The Welsh, thus, used cheese instead to make up for the absence of ‘rabbit’ or other meat.
There are thousands of versions for making the Welsh rabbit — some of which use a flour-based sauce along with cheese, while others stick to cheese alone. I used the former method as I wanted to try a different version of making a cheese toast than the simple spiced grated cheese on bread one that I make often for the little fellow and his dad. This was quite an over-the-top cheesy delight for them indeed!
The dish will work better with hardy whole wheat breads. Soft white bread slices might turn soggy or might be unable to bear the weight of the cheese topping. I used slices of the whole wheat Panmarino I’d made the previous day. The rosemary flavour of the bread worked wonderfully well with the cheesy dish. I also serve an utterly simply salad of chopped tomatoes and leek greens with the Welsh rabbit. In fact, i topped some slices with the salad, and it ended up looking like a version of bruschetta with cheese!
Thick bread slices – 5 (preferably whole-grain)
Butter – 5 tbsp
Plain flour – 1 tsp
Milk – 1/2 cup
Mustard paste – 1.5 tbsp
Cheddar (or other strong cheese) – 1 cup, grated
Mixed herbs – 1/4 cup, fresh or 1 tbsp, dried (I used Italian seasoning)
- Melt 1 tbsp buter in pan over low heat. Add in the flour and keep stirring
- Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring all the while
- Add in 3/4 cup of cheese, mustard and herbs. Remove from heat. Let cool completely
- Butter the bread slices and toast them
- Top roasted slices with the cheese mixture
- Springle the remaining cheese over the mixture and bake in a moderately hot over/place under the grill till the tops bubble and turn golden brown. Serve!