This month the Best of British challenge moves to Dorset and is hosted by Lavender and Lovage where the challenge is introduced with lots of inspiration for foods that are good in Dorset. I chose to base my dish on ingredients from Dorset rather than a traditional Dorset dish and so I have found some Dorset beer and bacon with which to put together a dressed up meal of Dorset Rarebit, bacon and mushrooms. A perfect autumn lunch.
There is a fascinating review of what makes a perfect rarebit which appeared as part of a series on 'perfect' renditions of favourite foods in the Guardian paper. Their recipe calls for stout and Lancashire cheese but I was very happy with my substitutions of Hall and Woodhouse brewery Badger Champion ale and a Somerset cheddar. I ventured as close to the Dorset border as I could with my choice of cheese, based on what I could actually buy easily, and the Wookey Hole cheddar worked really well.
I based my recipe loosely on the one at the end of the Guardian article. The topping is made up as a sort of sauce out of the beer, mustard, cheese, egg and butter which is poured over the bread and toasted until golden. I only had whole grain mustard and not mustard powder so I used that and I used more Champion ale and less butter than the Guardian recipe calls for. I guess I need to polish my technique a little as my 'sauce' was actually rather separated and lumpy when it went onto the muffin but once it was all bubbled up and toasted it looked rather moreish and made a perfect lunch with some Dorset Denhay dry cured bacon and fried chestnut mushrooms. The remainder of the Champion made a perfect accompaniment. Cheers!