Authentic Welsh Rarebit

                                    welsh rarebit

A friendly little pub in Pembroke with a spectacular view of the castle offered us a chance to taste what might have been standard fare if you had Welsh ancestors, as I did.  Plan on at least a full slice of wholemeal bread per person when you serve this classic dish.  Brain’s Beer, a bitter dark ale, is the go-to beer in Wales for Welsh Rarebit.

  •  1 pound of well-aged cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons each of Worcestershire sauce, English mustard, and all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons of dark ale
  • 8 slices of a coarse and rustic bread
  • Cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients, except the bread and pepper, into a smooth paste and spread generously over the toast slices.  Place under a broiler and cook until well-browned.  Sprinkle cayenne pepper over each before serving.  Caution your guests to let it sit a moment before burning their tongues. 


Retro Favorite: Dried Beef Dip

Time to bring it back!  I know you remember this classic dip made from the chipped beef in the little glass jar. In its day it was seen on every coffee table on Saturday night.  Why? Because it was a delicious, satisfying, comfort food that somehow reminded veterans of SOS.  They still sell it in the little glass jar so you can bring back memories for your friends.

  • 2 eight ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 of a cup of sour cream
  • 1  five ounce jar of chipped beef, minced
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 of an onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, toasted and chopped

Mix first six ingredients well, spoon into a stoneware baking dish and sprinkle pecans on top.  Place in a 300 degree oven until it enthusiastically bubbles.  Tastes great with Triscuits! 


Eggs Jaipur

My friend, Franklin, and I tasted something akin to this as we explored the Golden Triangle in Northern India a year or two ago.  It was served at our hotel in exotic Jaipur as a breakfast dish, but I have adapted it as an appetizer that can be served as a dip with veggie sticks or as a spread on pita or Indian flat breads.

  • 6 eggs, boiled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of Indian chutney, minced (Major Grey’s is perfect)
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup of dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

Combine the first five ingredients and put in a serving bowl next to a basket of flat bread. Offer the coconut flakes and chopped peanuts as condiments.



Sausage and Onion Squares


Choose your favorite sausage or opt for bulk pork sausage.  This recipe offers you an opportunity to make it your own with a choice of herbs and spices.  We prefer a German or Polish kielbasa, combined with dill and caraway seeds and topped with a smoked paprika.

  • 1 pound of sausage, crumbled and browned
  • 1 large onion, chopped and cooked with the sausage
  • 2 cups of baking mix
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of dill, caraway, OR poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups of sour cream
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Cayenne, smoked paprika, or chili powder to taste

Mix baking mix with milk and one egg. Spread in a Pyrex or stoneware baking pan.  Add choice of herbs or seeds.  Top with the sausage and onion mixture.  Mix sour cream with salt and remaining egg.  Pour over the sausage and. sprinkle with your choice of peppers.  Bake at 350 for thirty minutes.  Let cool and cut into 2 inch squares.  It should make about two dozen appetizers.

Sundried Tomato and Basil Loaf

This is a tasty dish for a picnic or tailgate crowd.  Keep the loaf wrapped in foil and slice just before serving.  Better make two, for about 30 servings.

  • 2 cups of swiss cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 loaf of french bread

Cut a thin slice off the top of the bread and hollow out the soft interior.  Combine the other ingredients and fill the loaf, replacing the top slice.  Wrap in foil and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Wrap in a towel and keep warm in an insulated bag if possible if you are traveling any length of time.


Summer Garden Salmon Crostini


We never tire of finding new combinations for salmon crostini.  This incorporates freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and young red onions from your garden or the nearest produce stand.  You can brush olive oil on thick slices of french bread at your cookout, grill until golden and let your guests ladle the salmon and veggie topping for themselves.

  • 1 pound of smoked salmon, sliced and chopped
  • 2/3 cup of red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of heirloom tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, sliced and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of caper berries, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper

Goat Cheese Toasts with Olive Caper Relish

Nowadays none of us live far from a local cheese-maker and some of the most delicious cheeses available at your local farmers markets are the Chevre cheeses.  Pick your favorite goat cheese, toast some French bread, spread it generously, and top it with this universally appealing relish…enjoy!

  • 1 cup of stuffed green olives
  • 1/2 cup of oil-cured black olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons of capers
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/teaspoon of dried red chile pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of good olive oil

Coarsely chop in a food processor and store in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before using as a relish.

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