So, I had this cute idea the other day.
Wait, let me re-phrase: I had an idea the other day. In my head it seemed like a good one, but then again the last time I felt that way I ended up carrying a girl with a sprained ankle on my back for 2 kms at 5:30 in the morning. So….
A bunch of us were planning on getting together for the first South African game in the Rugby World Cup. But because the whole thing’s being held at literally the bottom of the world – it means rugby at breakfast time – which is a slightly different dynamic than a lot of us are used to (in the pub you always see large, confused men resolutely ordering coffee, usually to reckon ah fuck it, and getting rounds of beer by half-time).
So the plan was some mates, breakfast and early morning drinking – a conversation that inevitably turned to talk of me making the breakfast and then doing a lot of the early work when it came to the drinking, so that everyone else didn’t feel quite as bad about cracking the champagne. Yes, I’m selfless that way.
Breakfast for ten people is never really that much of a big deal – mostly because there’s a lot of frying involved and just about everyone can do that. You fry enough things and the happy silence that surrounds the hardening of a room full of arteries is music to a breakfast-maker’s ears. So the cuteness of the idea came when I was thinking what to do for the breakfast itself, and I was struck by the fact that we were playing Wales, and so we should have a Welsh-influenced meal so that we could literally eat the Welsh for breakfast.
I will now break off for applause.
The first problem is that, when it comes to breakfast the Welsh are fucking insane. Because sure as I don’t really fit into my pants as well as I should, aint none of the people who were going to gather at nine in the morning to watch a rugby match going to be interested in savoury cakes made of seaweed and clotted-blood sausage. No sirree bob.
Thankfully the Welsh are famous for something else which not enough people have discovered because they think it’s made of rabbits, but is in fact one of the more glorious things you can do with bread and cheese. Clue, you add beer to it.
It was a good thing the boks managed to cling on for the win (Francois Hougaard you ridiculously idiot-hairstyled beauty) – otherwise the whole idea would have been fucked, this post would have been pointless, and I would have been sad and possibly wandered out into traffic, come what may.
Rugby Breakfast Welsh Rarebit. (feeds 10)
It’s probably best not let anyone actually see you make this, as it’s just chock-full of butter, cheese, more cheese, more cheese and then some beer – just to seal the deal. It also looks like vomit when it’s being made – but trust me, tastes like golden naked angels when it’s all done.
60ml Dijon Mustard
2ml Worcester sauce
210 ml good beer (if you can get hold of a good micro-brewed ale you’ll be smiling – I used the new Robsons East Coast Ale, excellent)
100g camembert (make sure you cut off the rind)
300g mature cheddar
2 egg yolks
1 large handful of chives, finely chopped
1 large loaf of bakery-fresh sourdough bread, cut into thick slices
What to do
Get a large pot, and into it put the butter, Worcester sauce, Tabasco, mustard and beer. Turn the heat up to a gentle simmer and let it all melt together, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up slightly and add the two types of cheese and the chopped chives. Stirring gently but constantly, let all the cheese melt and mix with the rest of it until you’ve got a thick, velvety, cheesy sauce – maybe about 20 minutes worth.
Now this is key. Take the pot off the heat, and let it cool for at least ten minutes. The reason for this is that you’re about to add the eggs and the last thing you want is for them to scramble the second you add them to the sauce.
While the cheese is cooling, turn the oven to 220ºC, then separately beat the two yolks together and the two eggs and have them ready. Then add them to the sauce and gently mix them in – it should create an extra silky sheen and thicken it slightly.
Lay all the sliced pieces of sourdough onto a baking tray, then spoon a goodly amount of the cheese sauce onto each slice. Season generously with salt and pepper, whack them in the oven and wait for them to toast up until golden brown. Serve on their own, or with poached eggs and fresh rocket.