This recipe goes back to the Middle Ages: the dish was sometimes served like this to travellers arriving at Gloucestershire or Oxfordshire inns when the meat and birds were finished. It was originally, of course, a farmer’s winter supper dish, but at least one Cotswold manor house still makes it, though cut in neater and smaller portions than those served by earlier farmers’ and innkeepers’ wives, and made at table in a chafing dish.
Put the cheese in a flat fireproof dish or skillet. Daub and spread the mustard over it and then pour on the ale. Stir it over low heat until it is all amalgamated and bubbling. Put the toasts on plates and spread the cheese mixture on them, allowing it to run over. Spoon a little of the hot ale on each piece and serve immediately, very hot.
©1975 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton