Being in Lille, France, there is so much food on offer I have no clue how I’m still able to fit through the doors in my halls anymore. Baguettes, cheese, wine, pastries and since Lille is almost part of Belgium, Belgian beer! The list goes on… So I decided to make a dish typical of my region, Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Myself, one of my friends from Portugal and another who is French, decided to make a Welch. It’s the French take on Welsh Rarebit as far as I can gather, and was pretty fun to make! I’d never had Welsh Rarebit before so the technique of making the Welch was a bit strange for me but it was a new experience!
The ingredients we used are shown above. As we wanted to make it with ingredients from our region as much as possible, we used the Ch’ti beer, which is what the people in my region are called. It took me ages to be able to pronounce it but I think I’ve mastered it now- its literally said like “chi-tee” but so that it all blends into one syllable. The only way we strayed from the normal French recipe was to change the cheese slightly to make it our own. The Cathedral City Cheddar was my addition to make it a little bit British and Adi, the French boy, had some cheese sent from Mauritius, where he has a lot of family.
First, we dipped the slices of bread in the Ch’ti beer and left them to soak for a little bit while we melted the cheese. We melted both of the cheeses together and added mustard. We then fried the beer-soaked bread, and then added a little more beer after they were cooked for good luck. We placed a slice of meat- either chicken or ham- on top of the fried bread. On top of this, we spread out the melted cheese and added an egg to the top. They went into the oven for about 15 minutes et voilà- (the not-very attractive dish is served)!
We had the Welch with chips and then got cracking on dessert!!
We decided to make a Pain Perdu which we had tasted at a meal hosted by our school. We asked our friends at school how to make it and it sounded simple to make so thought we’d give it a go! It literally translates as “lost bread”, referring to the stale bread used in the dish. It’s a typical French dish and, after being home at Christmas, actually found it in a restaurant menu in Scotland! Obviously, this goes to show how good it is that we Scottish people who love all things sweet (I’m missing tablet a LOT) are adding it to our menus!
Its basically a sweet eggy bread topped with cinnamon and, in our case, ice cream. We mixed eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and then dipped the bread into the mix. With lots of butter (which we learnt after the first burnt attempt was scraped off the pan), we fried the bread and then topped it off with a huge serving of ice cream.
Now comes the verdict:
The Welch went down very well with the boys but I wasn’t such a huge fan. Despite being surrounded by Belgian beers and having no choice but to like them, there was too much beer in it for me. I think we did a really good job at making it though and Adi, the French boy, said it was different to the ones you normally get in restaurants but a good different due to the excess beer! 😛
I absolutely loved the Pain Perdu though! The mix of the bread, cinnamon and ice cream was absolutely perfect! Despite being about full to bursting after the Welch, I somehow managed seconds of the Pain Perdu! Definitely taking this recipe home and introducing Scotland to its wonders.