• 45g butter, at room temperature
  • 45g plain flour
  • 300ml Irish stout
  • 125ml double cream
  • 150g cheddar cheese, mature, grated
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • Spice: 1 tsp black peppercorns fresh ground, scant ¼ tsp mace fresh ground and a little cayenne pepper for sprinkling
  • Some gammon or ham, about 400g is ideal, pulled or chopped up
  • 4 thick slices of soda bread or sourdough, toasted and cooled
  • 4 eggs, fried with a soft yolk


  • Take a large saucepan, place on a medium heat, add the butter, stir lightly with a small whisk, then when the butter has melted add the flour, whisk to form a roux and cook for 30 seconds or so.
  • Measure out the stout and cream into a jug, turn up the heat, then pour the liquid bit by bit into the pan, whisking all the time to combine well with the roux, once all is added, keep whisking and allow the sauce to cook until you see the first bubbles appear, then continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Next add the cheese, mustards, black pepper and mace, stir continuously to combine. Once the cheese has melted continue to cook gently for 5 minutes with only the odd bubble or two popping up, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  • Turn on your grill to its hottest setting.
  • Arrange the gammon on the toast, place each slice on the base of a grill pan, coat generously with the cheese sauce, pop under the grill, for a minute or two, until the sauce bubbles and only just, lightly scorches, then remove, place a slice each on warmed plates, top with a fried egg and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Yum!