A Culinary First

Thursday 4/8/2005

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Diary and Notes

What a combination. I am willing to bet that firstly, no person in the history of the British isles has ever served Welsh rabbit* with samphire. I also bet nobody has ever had Welsh rabbit before bouillabaise and I will even go so far as so wager that I am possibly the first person ever to have jam roly poly after bouillabaisse. It's just the bizarrest of combinations - not for reasons of taste, but simply that the different dishes on offer are from completely different ends of the culinary spectrum.

Take for instance samphire with Welsh rabbit. Normally Welsh rabbit is a snacky type thing - not really a starter at all - and I can't imagine anyone thinking of having some buttered samphire on the side. Samphire is a posh vegetable, at the moment it's possibly the absolute pinnacle of culinary chic. It's only available for about 8 weeks a year and you can't get it in supermarkets - people just don't serve some buttered with cheese on toast. But why not eh? It worked a treat, quite the best thing to go with a nice cheesy appetiser.

And then having that most classic of French stews, bouillabaisse next. This is just too much cultural mixing for even the most open minded to contemplate - and then to finish off with a jam roly poly that I bought for a quid in Tesco's, well that's just culinary heresy. Who does this man think he is?

It was an excellent meal. I would happily serve samphire with Welsh rabbit again. The cheese I used (Wensleydale and Cheddar) was a little salty and next time I'd stick to just Cheddar, but apart from that I don't think a better accompaniement to some buttered samphire could be found.

And the bouillabaisse and rouille croutons - parfait madame, parfait indeed.

One or two people who were eating though I'd over garlicked the rouille - but what do they know? It's supposed to be garlicky, really really garlicky. Plus I followed the recipe in my Petit Larousse de la Cuisine to the letter. Some people eh?

Twas truly a superb evenings dining.

Curry tomorrow. Aah, isnt life grand?

*And before anyone says "It's Welsh rarebit you fool." I should like to point out that the dish has always been called Welsh rabbit and Welsh rarebit is some modern renaming which means nothing and should never be tolerated. If you don't believe me and insist on calling it rarebit I should like to direct you to the Oxford English Dictionary which describes a Welsh Rabbit as: A dish consisting of cheese and a little butter melted and mixed together, to which are added ale, cayenne pepper, and salt, the whole being stirred until it is creamy, and then poured over buttered toast: also, simply, slices of toasted cheese laid on toast. Wheras under rarebit it just says: See Welsh Rabbit.

Cake Blog

Jam Roly Poly and Custard - and then the bell rang for then play time and we all ran outside and had a game of hop-scotch.


  • Welsh Rabbit
  • Buttered Samphire

  • Bouillabaisse
  • Crusty Bread
  • Rouille

  • Jam Roly Poly
  • Custard


    Welsh Rabbit
    4 Slices Malty Bread
    250g Cheese
    50g Butter
    1/4 Pint Strong Beer
    1 tsp English Mustard
    Big Dash Worcestershire Sauce
    Black Pepper
    1 Lump Conger Eel
    1 Monkfish Steak
    2 Durade
    1 Gurnard
    1 Parrot Fish (A very odd blue fish with a snout)
    250g Sprats
    500g Prawns in Shells
    2 Onions
    1 Bulb Garlic
    2 Sticks Celery
    2 Leeks
    1 Red Pepper
    1 Fennel Bulb
    4 Large Tomatoes
    1 Medium Potato
    1 Buoquet Garni
    1/2 Tube Tomato Puree
    1 Tbsp Olive Oil
    Few Strand Saffron
    White Pepper
    3 Cloves Garlic
    2 Egg Yolks
    Pinch White Pepper
    1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
    30cl Olive oil
    Pinch Salt


  • Welsh Rabbit: Cut the crusts ff the bread and toast. Make a fondue from the other ingredients. Pour over the toast and grill.
  • Bouillabaisse: First make the 'soup'. Cut off the heads and tails of the fish and along with all the sprats and any over fishy bist lying around put in a very large pan. Add one halved onion, the green bits from the leeks, 3/4 of a bulb of garlic, the gloves smashed bruised with a knife, a little white pepper, a good squirt of tomato puree a buoquet garni and a stick of celery. Pour over about 2l of water and boil the whole lot for 30 minutes and mash occasionally to get all the fishy flavour into the liquid. Strain the liquid to remove and solids.
  • While the soup is bubbling prepare the fish: Clean the fish and cut into large chunks (removing as many bones as possible) and sprinkle over a little ground saffron which you've dissolved in a drop of warm water - any firm white fish and shellfish will do, I've just listed what I had. Baby crabs are a traditional ingredient but I couldn't buy them in britain - I had to make to with prawns in their shells.
  • Dice the other onion, the leeks, the fennel, red pepper and mince a few more cloves of garlic and sweat gently in some olive oil. When soft add all the soup and keep simmering. Add the finely chopped potato and the chopped tomatoes.
  • When the soup is really tasty add the fish and prawns and cook for a few minutes. Remove the fish and prawns and arrange in a big dish, taste the soup to see if it needs extra seasoning and pour over the fish. Serve with bread and rouille (essential).
  • Rouille: Basically a really garlicky and spicy mayonnaise. Allow the eggs to come to room temperature before making the rouille. Mince the garlic and add the pepper, chilli powder etc. Put the garlic/spices and eggs in a bowl and pour on a little oil, whisk, add a little more oil, whisk. Repeat until a suspension forms and then chill.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for about six people