Welsh rarebit just like Nana used to make
PUBLISHED: 17:21 18 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:13 20 February 2013
Natalie Nield-Siddall is making Welsh rarebit just like Nana used to as Emma Mayoh reports PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON
They say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. For Natalie Nield-Siddall keeping her partners appetite for Welsh rarebit satisfied not only did this, but it also turned into a full time career.
Dean Roberts asked the 44-year-old to recreate Welsh rarebit like his nana, Vera Hughes, used to make for him. No pressure then. But unperturbed Natalie, originally from St Asaph but now lives in Bryniau in North Wales, launched into making up batches to perfect her own recipe of the Welsh delicacy.
She said: Dean was always trying to track down that same taste he loved as a kid. I tried all different methods and recipes and in the end got his nanas recipe off his mum.
I added a few bits here and there and eventually Dean said thats it, thats the perfect batch. That was the only reason I was doing it. I wanted to feed my man and make him happy.
Natalie and Dean stored the leftovers from this batch overnight in an old butter dish and the taste just got better. It was then she decided to start selling Nattys Welsh Rarebit at farmers markets across North Wales, Cheshire and Wirral. Customers could not get enough of it.
She made the recipe from her home kitchen for a year but today, she operates out of an industrial unit in Llandyrnog, in the middle of the Clwydian Hills. She produces around 15,000 tubs of the rarebit a week in four flavours; original, leek, bacon and chilli. Her recipe also includes real ale.
She uses as many local ingredients as possible and still sells at a handful of farmers markets, as well as independent delis across the country and several major supermarkets. Natalie is also hoping to soon attract the attention of buyers at Selfridges and Harrods food halls in London.
This is a far cry from Natalies previous career. As soon as she had the chance as a teenager she moved to London in pursuit of a career as a fashion designer - she was adamant she was going to be the next Vivienne Westwood. She may not have become a design icon but she rubbed shoulders with celebrities like Kylie Minogue and Mick Jagger while working for labels including Emporio Armani and Josef.
But a few years ago she moved back to North Wales to be near mum, Hazel and sister Gail, after her father, Warwick, died. The family have always enjoyed cooking and it is something that has always been a big part of Natalies life.
She said: I was taught to cook by family and I have always loved it. My mum would do the majority of the cooking. My dad travelled a lot with his job but when he came back he always made exotic dishes for us to try.
He would always come back with his own bits and bobs and would be in the kitchen. I remember that time really well and I feel really proud to be doing something like this.
Natalie is hoping to put Welsh rarebit on the food map. She has already had contact with celebrity chef Bryn Williams who loves her product. She is hoping she may now be able to work with him to increase publicity for Welsh food.
She said: His agent told me he loved it and Im hoping that something will happen. Hes a big supporter of Welsh food. To work with someone like him would be fantastic.
I want to try to raise awareness of Welsh rarebit. I know a lot of people dont know what it is, they think its just cheese on toast. Thats my big challenge because its much more than that.