Something for the Weekend: Welsh rarebit

What with the arrival of Autumn (sorry, Fall…), we’ve been rushed off our feet here at Tea & Sympathy. Here on the blog, we’ve become a bit slack on giving you what we know you like the best – recipes! But fear not, we are back with a vengeance. From now on, we will be posting a weekly recipes, every Thursday, designed to titillate and inspire for the weekend ahead. This brave new addition to the world of British culinary blogging, will herein be known as ‘Something for the Weekend’. And what is more, in choosing the weekly recipe, great care and consideration will be given to the season at hand.

So, to begin, what better dish to snuggle up with (mind the duvet) as the wind chills, the leaves turn brown and the nights draw in, than the delicious, homely simplicity of a Welsh Rarebit.

Who are you calling Welsh?

Rarebit, a fancy version of cheese on toast, originated in Wales as far back as the fourteenth century. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of the dish’s name are unknown. One theory suggests that it is a comment on the poverty of the Welsh. In England, rabbit was the poor man’s meat. In Wales, they couldn’t even afford rabbit, so ate cheese. Over the centuries, many versions have been created, some using vinegar or beer and some with additions like buck rarebit, which is Welsh rarebit topped with a poached egg. This is a versatile recipe; you may add several teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, scallions or any kind of onion to the mix.

Here's our version. This photo come courtesy of the excellent Endless Simmer (

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

5 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (Vermont Cheddar is ideal)
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon mustard (Dijon or stronger)
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
6 bread slices
Tomato slices (optional)
Small bunches watercress, washed and trimmed (optional)

  • Mix the cheese, egg yolks, mustard, cream and salt and pepper to taste into a spreadable paste.
  • Toast one side of each bread slice, then spread the other side evenly with the mixture. We like ours spread thinly, but you may use as much as you like. Just remember that it is quite rich.
  • Place bread slices under a hot grill (or preheated broiler) for a few minutes, until bubbling and brown.
  • Serve topped with tomato slices and garnish with watercress, if desired.
If you do make this recipe at home, please let us know how you get on, or – even better – send us some pictures on the finished dish!

6 thoughts on “Something for the Weekend: Welsh rarebit

  1. Pingback: Treacle Pudding: Something for the Weekend | Tea & Sympathy

  2. Interesting, I’ve always seen this recipe call for at least some beer, Guinness stout being traditional. It always tastes somewhat bitter that way though so I may give this recipe a go. Will post results.

  3. Pingback: Branston Pickle | Tea & Sympathy

  4. Pingback: Welsh Cakes: St David’s Day Recipe | Tea & Sympathy

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