A few weeks ago I took possession of a lovely new cook book. I had pre-ordered The New West Country Cook Book months ago and, to be honest, had almost forgotten about it, so I was thrilled when it turned up in the post.
For me, there are two types of cook books; the ones you use regularly and the ones you buy just to drool over with their beautiful photography. This one ticks both those boxes. I spent a happy hour flicking through the pages and day dreaming about which recipes I might make and it was worth the cover price for that hour alone.
David Griffen is a wonderful photographer and his passion for food, the countryside and all things West Country is evident in these pages. In addition, he has enlisted the support of some amazing chefs and persuaded them to contribute some stunningly simple recipes. This really isn’t an overly “chefy” book.
As you might expect from a West Country cook book fish features very strongly amongst the recipes but you will also find Tom Kerridge’s Pork Pie and the Tanner brother’s Treacle Brushed Pork Belly amongst the meat dishes and some stunning looking desserts including a Baked Elderflower Custard with Honey Roasted Damsons from Tom Blake.
So far I have made two dishes; the first was Roasted Cod with Creamed Leeks and Wild Mushrooms by Michael Caines and it was heavenly. I will definitely be making it again at some point and will blog it when I do.
The second dish I made was the one featured here; Nathan Outlaw’s Cornish Rarebit with Doom Bar Beer. I rustled it up for brunch in 15 minutes flat and it was delicious. I suspect the Welsh might have something to say about it but, as it uses a wonderful Cornish ale and, in my case, some delicious Cornish Cheddar, I think the sobriquet can stay.
I can honestly say that it is the first time in my life that I have opened a bottle of beer before 10.00 a.m. but it was definitely worth it even if it does get the neighbours talking. The only change I made to the recipe lies in the fact that, as I cook using a Rayburn, I don’t have a grill so I put the whole thing back in the oven for five minutes and then browned the top with a blow torch. It tasted great but didn’t look as pretty as it might so please use the grill if you have one.
p.s. If David Griffen ever reads this and decides that he wants to give me some photography tips then I would be very happy to accept!
120g Mature Cheddar
60ml Doom Bar beer
30g Plain Flour
1 tbsp English Mustard
3 Egg Yolks
1 Loaf of Bread
Grate the cheese and place in a saucepan with the beer.
Heat over a medium flame until the cheese has melted and the mixture begins to bubble.
Stir in the flour, breadcrumbs and mustard.
Continue to cook gently until the mixture comes away from the saucepan cleanly and forms a soft ball.
It is important to keep stirring.
Remove from the heat and cool. Beat in the egg yolks until the mixture is smooth and all the yolk is incorporated.
Slice the loaf into ‘doorsteps’.
Lightly toast the ‘doorsteps under the grill on both sides.
Spread liberally with the Cornish rarebit mixture.
Place under a hot grill until the rarebit bubbles.
Cut and serve immediately.