Cheesy kimchi toastie with Bloody Mary mayo

This is my ultimate quick and easy brunch, lunch (I’m never sure what the difference is) or hangover cure. Of course, that’s assuming that you’re organised and have the components already made and ready to go as part of your no-waste kitchen.

I haven’t reinvented the wheel here – this recipe is based on the classic Welsh rarebit. It was one of the first dishes I learned as a commis chef many moons ago in London. As for the mayo, there is no vodka in it, but it does have the same spicy kick as a great Bloody Mary. Depending on your mood or how bad your hangover is, you can use your favourite shop-bought mayo or you can make it from scratch in minutes.

With your jar of kimchi and your cheesy bits already at hand, you just need to head out to your local bakery for a fresh loaf of sourdough – and a strong coffee for the trip back. The rest is simple.

Makes 1

120ml Guinness or milk
25g butter, plus extra softened butter for spreading
25g plain flour
140g cheese ends (you can use any odds and ends here – I normally have a mix of soft and hard cheeses), roughly chopped or grated
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp prepared English mustard
1 egg yolk
2 thick slices of sourdough bread
a little kimchi, chopped so it’s not too chunky
2 egg yolks (freeze the whites for another use)
1 tsp English mustard
a pinch of fine sea salt
500ml rapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)
1–2 tbsp white wine vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
brine from your jar of kimchi


First, make the mayo. If you’re making it from scratch (or see the intro), using a stand mixer, blender or hand blender, whisk the egg yolks until creamy, then whisk in the mustard and salt. Very slowly – literally drop by drop – add half of the oil while continuously whisking or blending until thickened. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of vinegar to loosen the mixture slightly and give it a paler colour. Continue to add the remaining oil in a slow, steady stream, still whisking continuously. Season with another pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and another tablespoon of vinegar if needed. You now have a basic plain mayo that you can store in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to one week. To make it into a Bloody Mary mayo, simply stir in some of the fantastic brine from the jar of kimchi. My ratio is two spoons of mayo to one spoon of kimchi brine.

To make the toasties, get two small saucepans. Put the Guinness or milk in one pan and slowly warm it over a medium heat.

Melt the butter in the second saucepan, then add the flour, stir to combine and cook for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the warm Guinness or milk to create a smooth sauce, then add your cheese mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the cheese has completely melted and you have a thick paste, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce and mustard until evenly combined. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolk. (You can keep this in a covered tub in your fridge at this point, ready to go for a snack of cheese on toast.)

Now it’s time to bring it all together. I love copious amounts of mayo spread evenly over one side of each slice of bread, then the cheesy spread, then the kimchi. Sandwich it together, then spread some softened butter on the outside of both pieces of bread.

Put the sandwich in a warm frying pan over a medium heat (or you can use a sandwich toaster) and gently toast until the bread is golden, then carefully turn it over and toast the other side. Reduce the heat and cook each side for 1–2 minutes longer, until the centre is warm. Dig in with a strong coffee, a lunch cocktail or a good beer to set yourself up for the rest of the day.

From Blasta Books 7: WASTED by Conor Spacey

Illustration by Nicky Hooper

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