It’s October again. The weather is getting cooler and the leaves are slowly turning their beautiful shades of orange and red. It’s a time to savour the last of the vibrancy of summer, and to start getting used to the darker evenings and crisp mornings. The jackets are out, the gloves are on, and scarves begin to be draped around us during this seasonal shift. I wrote in my email newsletter this month about our autumn traditions that help us to embrace these changes, from camping to mushroom hunting, and the foods that we’re enjoying reflect the season too. Pumpkins, squashes, mushrooms and apples are all key autumn fare, and our bodies begin to crave warmer, richer, more spiced recipes than the lighter dishes of summer.
With life’s business beginning to return, especially for me in peak mushroom season and in my other life as an artist gearing up for the festive season, foods that are quicker or less “involved” to cook are becoming my go-to. This take on a Welsh Rarebit feels more special than a simple cheese on toast, and with the spice of cayenne, the smokiness of the paprika, and tart sweetness of the cider, its flavour is cosy and complex. For evenings that are about unwinding and warming my soul, this is a perfect autumn dish.
I enjoy my rarebit most when it’s made with a thick slice of granary bread lightly toasted before topping with the cheesy mixture. Recipes I’ve come across tend to use stout rather than cider, which is a great way to add depth and richness and is my choice for later in the year, but while there’s still a vague memory of warmth in the air, I do enjoy the sweet, sharp tang you get with cider.
Autumn Rarebit Recipe
- 4 slices bread
- 200g mature cheddar
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 2 egg yolks
- 20g butter
- 3 tbsp cider
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- In the bottom of a small saucepan, mix the mustard powder with a drop of the cider to make a paste, then stir in the rest of the cider and add the butter, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper.
- Add the cheese to the pan and heat gradually until it has melted, taking care not to burn it. Once the mixture is smooth, adjust the seasoning if needed before taking the pan off the heat. Allow the cheese mixture to cool slightly.
- While the topping mixture is cooling, pre-heat the grill to medium-high, and toast both sides of the bread. By now your cheese should be cool enough not to overcook the egg yolks, so these can be beaten in. Spread the mixture on top of the toasted bread, and cook under the grill once more until the surface of the cheese starts to bubble. Enjoy hot.
I’d love to hear from you if you try this recipe, or how you like to enjoy your rarebit or cheese on toast. Get in touch over on Instagram @plotandlane or comment below!
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