Lots of you who know me very well on Recipezaar will know of my love and research into Historical recipes, traditions, culture and food; this Toasted Cheese recipe is the first in a series of Regency recipes that I will be posting! I always like to make any recipe that I post at least twice, and this one is a real cracker in my humble opinion! Jane Austen is known to have said.... "We were greatly surprised by Edward Bridge's company...It is impossible to do justice to the hospitatlity of his attentions towards me; he made a point of ordering toasted cheese for supper, entirely on my account." --Jane Austen-- 27 August, 1805. This is a classic regency dish - often served AFTER a heavy meal and before the dessert! It was more often than not called Toasted Cheese, but is also known as Scotch or Welsh Rarebit. The original recipe was written like this: "Toasted Cheese - Grate the cheese and add it to one egg, a teaspoonful of mustard, and a little butter. Send it up on toast, or in paper trays". I have amended the orginal recipe for today's quantities, ingredients and cooking methods!! NB: In 1747, a cookery book gave a recipe for "Scots Rabbit" or Rare Bit as bread toasted on both sides and a slice of cheese, the same size as the bread, also toasted on both sides and laid on the buttered bread. The same book had "Welsh Rabbit" made in the same way but with mustard rubbed on the cheese. "English Rabbit" on the other hand had a glass of red wine poured over the toast before the cheese was added. Take your pick!
- Melt the cheese over hot, but not boiling, water and then gradually stir in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and set to one side. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Toast the bread on ONE side only and then butter the UNTOASTED side.
- Spread the melted rarebit mixture over the top of the bread - on the UNTOASTED side - make sure the mixture is spread upto the edges.
- Place under a hot grill and cook until the rarebit mixture is bubbling hot and brown in patches, about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the heat of your grill.
- Serve immediately with a selection of chutneys, relishes and pickles.