Sunday, March 13, 2011

Eating through the Six Nations #4: Ireland vs Wales (Welsh Rarebit and Corned Beef & Cabbage)

It was a mixed day of rugby. First Italy met France, which I wasn't really intending to watch as poor Italy are usually steam-rolled by the big French fellas. France has won every single meeting (except 1) of the two teams since Italy started playing in the tournament in 1997. Italy have walked away with the wooden spoon (lost every game in the 6 nations) more than once in the last few years, while France have won the entire tournament a few times. I had the game on while I was puttering around in the house and since I saw that the score was close with 10 minutes to go, I sat down and ended up biting my nails. Italy won. Pretty unreal. There's going to be some awesome partying in Italy tonight I bet :)

Ireland was not so lucky. Unfortunately Wales were the better team today. There was a very wrong call by a referee that arguably turned the game, but in my opinion the Welsh team were the better side today.

Anyway, on to the important stuff - food! I did a Welsh starter and dessert with an Irish main in the middle, so here we go :)

I started with Welsh Rarebit. My amazing Nana says its called rarebit because cheese was not very common during the war, which is why it was referred to as a 'rare-bit'. Not sure if that's true or not, but it makes sense to me :)

Welsh Rarebit (from Alton Brown)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup porter beer
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces (approximately 1 1/2 cups) shredded Cheddar
2 drops hot sauce
4 slices toasted rye bread

 In a medium pot over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine. Pour in cream and whisk until well combined and smooth. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth; this will take 4 to 5 minutes. Add hot sauce. Pour over toast and serve immediately.
Verdict: It was lacking in flavour. I added a good few shakes of Tabasco and upped the Worcestershire and salt and it was still bland. Maybe this is what it was supposed to taste like, but we weren't mad about it and its not something I'll be trying again.

Now for the main course. I've seen corned beef in a tin at home, and it was never something I tried. Ew. When I got here I heard one of my favorite Irish brothers say that his favorite meal was corned beef and cabbage, which grossed me out a little. I thought there was only the nasty tinned version. Then I saw a chunk of corned beef in the butcher window and re-thunk it. And I wasn't grossed out anymore.

Corned beef is beef brisket brined in a salt solution. I asked the butcher what the story was and he said they marinate the piece of beef in a salt solution for 3-5 days before putting it in the display case.

Corned Beef and Cabbage (by Me)
Piece of (fresh) corned beef
Head of cabbage
This is cooked exactly the same way as bacon and cabbage. Cover the beef with water, bring to a boil, change the water and boil again. When the meat has boiled for ~1.5 hrs on the second boil, throw the sliced cabbage in and cook it with the beef.

Verdict: this was actually really tasty. The beef is nice and salty but not too much. And I love the salty-beefy-flavour that seeps into the cabbage. Its really good.

I have a lovely recipe for Welsh cakes that I made (they're more of a cookie) but its a proper and slightly long-winded recipe so I'll post it tomorrow.

Game result: Ireland 13-Wales 19.

So do you like canned meat? :)


Jenn x


  1. I grew up eating corn beef cooked in the slow cooker served with white sauce and my mum still cooks it for me when I visit her, my daughter loves it.

  2. I loved corned beef and Welsh rarebit! I must have some UK blood somewhere! :P