Welsh Rarebit Recipe

welsh-rarebit-1.JPGTonight the cook in the house made Welsh Rarebit. Now I must admit that I have never tried it before and for some reason I had always thought that it was a type of meat dish. That was until I found a recipe of it on the net.

So for those like me who don’t know what it is, basically it is melted cheese on toast albeit a lot more fancier than that as it incorporates a number of other ingredients to make a beautiful tasting cheese sauce.

So anyway,  when I found the recipe on the net I printed it out and subtly mentioned it to the cook in the house hoping he would make. Well tonight he did and it was a definite welsh-rarebit-4.JPGsuccess.

There are a lot of different ways to make Welsh Rarebit so you will see a lot of different recipes for it. Since this is the first one I’ve tried I can’t really comment on the others.

I did notice during my research for this blog post, that some recipes don’t include the ale. All I can say is that I really enjoyed this so I was happy with the inclusion of the ale and it is not something that dominates the taste anyway. In fact, if I didn’t know what the ingredients were to begin with then I would never have even welsh-rarebit-6.JPGrealized that there was beer in it.

The cook in the house did mention that he didn’t use the recommended porter beer which was in the original recipe but instead opted for a pale ale. His reasoning was that a porter beer would have a stronger taste and overpower the sauce.

The recipe below is the recipe we used so if you want to use the original then just substitute the pale ale with a porter beer.

Now for some reason I didn’t take note of the site that I found the recipe on so I can’t give credit here. welsh-rarebit-2.JPGIf anyone knows leave a comment and I will link to the site. Mind you, the recipe below is slightly modified using the ingredients we had around the house. (UPDATE: A reader has found the recipe – you can find the original here.)

The most important thing to remember with this recipe is to keep the heat low as it can easily burn and it will ruin the sauce.

So here it is:

Welsh Rarebit

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pale ale beer
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
  • 4 slices of your favorite bread (choose a nice crusty loaf)

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and whisk in the flour.
  2. Keep whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the heat low so you don’t brown the flour.
  3. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Whisk in the beer.
  5. Pour in the cream and whisk until smooth.
  6. Gradually add the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. (Approximately 4-5 minutes).
  7. Toast your bread and pour the hot cheese sauce over the toast.
  8. Top with the a few drops of the Tabasco sauce or add to taste.

ENJOY!

Nigella Lawson – Eton Mess For Family Night Dessert

nigella-lawson-measuring-cupsTonight was family dinner night at my house. We had beef bourginon with rice for the main course. My daughter, Varinia, brought the appetizers, cheese platter, olives, kabana, tapinade and quince jam to serve with crackers and my grandaughter, Ishta, brought the ingredients to make a dessert that was just amazing and everyone went back for seconds.

She got the recipe from Nigella Lawson on You tube and made a small variation to what is essentially a very easy dessert called Eton Mess.

Because there were 8 of us for dinner, Ishta doubled the recipe.

The ingredients that Ishta used are as follows:

  • 2 bottles of cream beaten with 1 tsp of vanilla essence and 1 tsp raw sugar.
  • 1 pavlova base
  • 3 punnets of strawberries soaked with 6 tsp pomegranate juice, 4 tsps of caster sugar and 4 tsps of balsamic vinegar which just cuts the sweetness.
  1. Prepare the strawberries ahead of time, a couple of hours is probably enough.
  2. Slice the strawberries and pour over the pomegranate juice.
  3. Whip the cream with a tsp of vanilla essence and 1tsp of sugar (optional-this is our family’s preference) until it is light and fluffy
  4. Crumble in the pavlova and stir through the beaten cream
  5. Fold the strawberry mix through the cream and meringue mix – add to glasses and serve.

I was talking to friends at work the next day and they have seen the same base recipe using other fruits such as blackberries, blueberries and even nuts.



Over dinner we discussed among other things, Nigella Lawsons recipes and her range of kitchen accessories including the functional and very handy ceramic measuring cups that resemble teacups with their wide mouth, shown at the top of the page.There is a set of four and the measurements ,in both ounce and metric conversions, are written on the inside of the rim.

The set includes the following:

  • 1/4-cup.
  • 1/3-cup.
  • 1/2-cup.
  • 1 cup.

The Nigella Lawson 4-pc. Lavender Measuring Cup Set is a limited edition set created as a special offer to raise money to support young women with breast cancer. The royalties from this set are donated to the Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care (registered charity no. 1017658) along with an additional royalty from Bliss.

Cooking with Garlic – How to Use Garlic to its Best Effect

cooking-with-garlicGarlic, with its strong, spicy flavor, is a critical ingredient to many meals like Mediterranean dishes, pastas, steaks, and burgers. Furthermore, garlic has been revered for thousands of years as an herb with remarkable health properties, from fighting off the common cold to lowering bad cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, many beginner cooks are hesitant to work with this amazing spice. Find out how to use garlic in your cooking to add flavor without overwhelming your other flavors by reading these commonly asked garlic questions.

What are the Health Benefits of Garlic?

Garlic has been prescribed for health problems for as long as people have been prescribing medications. The major health benefits of garlic come from two sources: Allicin and Diallyl Sulphides.

Allicin has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. However, it is only released when garlic is chopped; the more finely chopped, the stronger the health benefits. Furthermore, cooking or storing will cause the allicin to break down, meaning that fresh, raw, finely chopped garlic has the strongest benefits. However, too much raw garlic can also be harmful, and even cooked garlic can still have health benefits.

Diallyl Sulphides are thought to have a positive effect on the circulatory system, lowering levels of bad cholesterol and keeping the heart healthy. Furthermore, they may boost the immune system. Unlike allicin, diallyl sulphides do not break down when cooking garlic.

Will Garlic Overwhelm My Dishes?

As anyone who’s ever sprinkled too much garlic salt on a slice of pizza knows, garlic can add an overwhelming flavor to a dish, making it difficult to make out any other flavors. However, it’s actually quite easy to regulate the strength of the garlic that you use. There are two major factors that regulate the strength of the garlic in your meals: how finely the garlic is chopped, and when in the cooking process you add the garlic to your food.

How Fine Should I Chop Garlic?

Whole cloves of garlic have a quite mild flavor, whereas piercing the cloves will release more flavor. Meanwhile, very finely chopped garlic has the strongest taste of all.

So how finely the garlic should be chopped hangs upon how strong you want the garlic in your meal to be. For a very mild garlic flavor, try caramelizing whole garlic cloves. For a moderate taste, hack or thickly slice your garlic cloves. For an intense garlic taste, such as you’d like to find in garlic bread or lasagna, chop the garlic as finely as you can.

When Should I Add Garlic to the Meal?

Rosle Garlic Press, Stainless SteelTo receive the maximum taste and health benefits of garlic, allow the cloves to stand for at least ten minutes after cutting and before adding them to your meals.

The longer that garlic is cooked, the milder its flavor will become. In order to have a more subtle garlic flavor, add the spice to your meal early in the cooking process. Just be careful not to burn it, or it will get a harsh, bitter flavor. For a stronger, more noticeable garlic flavor, add it to your meal shortly before the cooking is done.

Is There Any Herb that Counteracts a Strong Garlic Flavor?

Whether you have gone a bit overboard with the amount of garlic in your meal or you just want to get rid of garlic breath after overindulging, you’ll be glad to hear that parsley does wonders to counteract strong garlicky flavors or odors. For example, if you make a soup and find that the garlic is overwhelming all of the other flavors, put some parsley leaves in a tea strainer and allow them to soak in the broth. The parsley will absorb some of the garlic flavor. Similarly, chewing on parsley after a garlicky meal will reduce the scent on your breath.

Garlic is a wonderful spice that can improve your health while adding flair to your dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with using it in your cooking.

Cooking with Herbs – How to Use the Most Common Kitchen Spices

aerogardenEveryone knows that using the right herbs and spices can make the difference between a sumptuous meal and a bland, tasteless failure. Experimenting with flavors can really bring your meals to a new level and help you to create dishes that satisfy your specific tastes. If you are new to cooking, however, choosing the right herbs and spices to use in your meals can seem daunting. These tips for cooking with herbs can help you get the knowledge and confidence you need to go beyond simply following recipes.

The Difference between Herbs and Spices

Although many people use the words interchangeably, there is a difference between herbs and spices. Herbs are leaves of plants without woody stems. Some common examples include dill leaves, rosemary, thyme, and basil. Spices, on the other hand, come from bark, seeds, roots, berries, flowers, and fruits. Dill seed, cinnamon, and coriander are examples of spices.

Experimenting with Herbs and Spices

It can be daunting to try new herbs and spices if you don’t know how they will taste in your favorite dishes. However, if you don’t experiment, you will never stretch your cooking abilities and making the same dishes over and over again will become boring.

It never hurts to be a little adventurous. It’s a good idea to start when you are only cooking for yourself, and with a simple dish that you already know well. Then see what happens when you tinker with the herbs and spices that you use. Some good examples of dishes to experiment with include scrambled eggs, spaghetti sauce, hamburger, and lettuce, egg, or potato salad. Why? Because these dishes won’t break your heart if the spice mixtures you try aren’t fantastic, and they are so familiar that it’s easy to see the differences that different herbs and spices make.

Which Herbs to Use: Fresh or Dried?

Many herbs are available in two different forms: as fresh, succulent leaves, as dried herbs in small jars. Fresh herbs usually have a more subtle flavor and are more visually appealing. Imagine a tomato and mozzarella salad, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and dotted with bright green basil leaves. Gorgeous!

Dried herbs last longer on the shelf without spoiling. They usually have a stronger, more intense flavor. In general, a rule of thumb is that 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh herbs can be replaced by a third of a teaspoon of dried herbs.

Some Popular Herbs and Spices to Use in Your Cooking
Here are some ideas for popular herbs that you can use in your cooking. These herbs are common in many kitchens because they are delicious and flexible, working well with many types of dishes.

Rosemary
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This pungent, piney herb is delicious in salads, with potatoes and mixed vegetables, or sprinkled over meats like chicken, fish, and lamb. It is popular on its own or when blended with other herbs. It is a good complement to thyme, sage, bay, and garlic.

Basil

Basil has a sweet, earthy flavor that is an excellent companion to tomatoes, cheeses, pizzas, and pasta dishes. It is also delicious with vegetables and is a primary ingredient in pesto. It’s a common ingredient in Italian spice mixes and works well with other herbs, especially thyme, marjoram, oregano, and garlic.

Thyme

Thyme has a strong, spicy flavor with just a hint of sweetness to it. There is also a strain called lemon thyme which has a citrus flavor to it as well. Thyme is excellent with chicken and fish, with sausage or eggs, sprinkled over roasted potatoes, or served in Mediterranean cuisine. It blends well with chives, bay, garlic, sage, and rosemary.

Oregano

Oregano has a strong, fresh flavor that makes it popular in Italian, Greek, and Mexican dishes. It is also good with tomatoes, eggs, lamb, cheeses, beef, and seafood. It blends well with basil, thyme, garlic, and chives.

Chives

Chives have a flavor that is similar to onions, but more delicate and soft. You can use them in just about any dish that calls for onions, as a replacement or as a companion. They are best when used raw, or when added to the dish at the end of the cooking process, to retain their flavor and color. Use with baked potatoes, eggs, fish, soups, or blended with butter. Chives pair well with garlic, dill, basil, tarragon, and oregano.

Cinnamon

Most people think of cinnamon as a spice that should only be used with sweet dishes and baked goods, but actually cinnamon adds a depth of flavor to meats and other savory dishes that is absolutely delicious. Try adding cinnamon to eggs, hamburger, and tomato sauces.

Garlic
Garlic is a healthy and delicious spice that is heavily used in Mediterranean dishes from Italy, Greek, and Turkey. It can be used fresh, dried, or mixed with salt. It is excellent in a wide variety of dishes including garlic bread, pizza and pasta dishes, and sprinkled over meats, vegetable, fish, and poultry. It blends well with oregano, thyme, sage, chives, and basil.

By experimenting with cooking with herbs, you can create delicious and satisfying new meals that will delight your taste buds and keep you from getting bored in the kitchen.




Tips for Making Good Sauces

nroritake-gravy-boatA delicious sauce can make the difference between an average meal and an extraordinary one. Sauces can temper a spicy dish, add flavor to a bland meal, or complement and intensify the taste of a complex recipe.

Your sauces should be smooth, free of lumps, and delicious enough to enjoy alone or when paired with a dish. Here are some tips for making sauces that will help you achieve a delicious flavor and texture at home.

General Sauce Tips

The key to a delicious sauce is patience. You should never try to rush your sauce by looking over a high temperature.

Avoid adding cold ingredients to a hot sauce. Instead, mix flour or other cool ingredients with a small amount of the warm liquid before adding to the main pan. This will help prevent lumps.

The best ingredients, like fresh herbs, rich butter, and home-made stock, will result in the best-tasting sauces.

Starting Your Sauce

Most sauces start with the same main ingredients. Rich juices from roasted or baked meats are a wonderful place to start flavorful sauces. If those are not available, a stock that you have made yourself is a good second choice, followed by cooking wines.

Pan Drippings – Before you roast lamb, beef, pork, or chicken, butter the pan so that the juices won’t stick or burn. Use the drippings to create a sauce to go with the meal.

Stock – Homemade stock is a far better choice than cans of broth or bouillon cubes, which are often high in salt, artificial flavors, and other unhealthy ingredients. Create a stock by boiling bones or seafood shells for several hours, stirring frequently and removing fat as it floats to the surface. Strain well to remove bones, and freeze any excess stock that you don’t need immediately.

Wine – Wine can be used to deglaze pan drippings or to mix with eggs and/or cream for a meatless sauce.

Thickeners

A good sauce has a thick, not watery, consistency. To achieve this, you’ll add a thickening agent to the base of your sauce. Some common thickeners include:

Roux – The most commonly used thickener is a roux, which is made by mixing flour with the warmed sauce starters listed above.

Cornstarch – Cornstarch can be used to make a translucent sauce, and is commonly used in Chinese-style dishes.

Egg Yolk – Egg yolks can be used to make a thicker, richer sauce. Mix the yolk with cream before adding to the pan. Never boil a sauce with egg yolk in it, or it will curdle.

• Reduction
– You can also thicken a sauce by allowing the liquid to evaporate by cooking slowly over a low heat. Season after the sauce reaches the right thickness to avoid over-spicing.

Creating a perfect sauce takes time and practice, but it’s a richly rewarding way to expand your cooking abilities.