Celebrate St David’s Day with Welsh Recipes – Dewi Sant in Welsh, is St David, and the 1st March is St David’s Day. To help you celebrate, I’m sharing some of my favourite Welsh recipes today.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!
(Happy St David’s Day in Welsh)
St David’s Day is nearly upon us, and to celebrate Wales’s national day, I have gathered together a few of my favourite Welsh recipes from Lavender and Lovage, and beyond, to help you get in the mood for this special day. From world-famous Welsh Cakes and Welsh Rarebit to Cawls (stews) and Glamorgan Sausages, I hope today’s post will give you some inspiration to make some of these recipes. March 1st is one of the most colourful days of the year here in Wales. You’ll find bright yellow daffodils, green leeks and vibrant traditional dress, as well as some delicious plates of food, not just on the family table at home, but in pubs, cafes and restaurants too.
There are plenty of stories about Saint David (Dewi Sant in Welsh), though it can be hard to separate legend from fact. He’s reputed to have travelled widely, with some saying he made it all the way to Jerusalem where he became an archbishop. He eventually established a strict religious community in what is now St Davids in south-west Pembrokeshire and became known both for his pious austerity and his ability to perform miracles. Most famously, he is said to have caused the ground to rise up beneath his feet while preaching at Llandewi Brefi, so that all in the audience could hear his sermon. (Taken from Visit Wales)
And my first recipe for St David’s Day is for Welsh Cakes, which were baked on an old griddle. I love baking on my old griddle, it is about sixty years old and was my grandmother’s, and many a pancake, hot cake, Welsh cake or “singin’ hinny” I have seen my grandmother make on this much-loved piece of vintage kitchen equipment. Welsh cakes are incredibly easy to make and if you don’t have a traditional griddle, then a heavy cast iron frying pan can be used instead.They can be made in under half an hour and any that are not eaten on the day can be popped into the school or office lunch box as a treat the next day, although like all scone-style bakes, they are always better eaten on the same day, and when warm too.
(Welsh cakes, in Welsh: picau ar y maen, pice bach, cacen gri or teisen radell)
Next we have a lovely veggie recipe for Glamorgan Sausages. These “sausages”are made from leeks, Caerphilly cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs – a poor man’s sausage in its day maybe, but a tasty breakfast or supper dish now. These veggie bangers have some history behind them it appears; they were traditionally made and served for breakfast, and George Borrow, a fascinating character, is known to have mentioned them in his book called Wild Wales based on his travels in Wales during the 185o’s, although the book was not published until the next decade. They were originally made with Glamorgan cheese, which is no longer made, however Caerphilly cheese is a direct descendant of Glamorgan cheese and has the same texture and flavour.
(Selsig Morgannwg in Welsh)
Next up is another family favourite, and another vegetarian recipe for Anglesey Eggs. This wonderful Welsh recipe comes from the island of Anglesey, which is separated from mainland Wales by The Menai Strait, or Afon Menai as it is known locally. This classic Welsh recipe of mashed potatoes with leeks & hard-boiled eggs, is baked in a cheese sauce with a crisp crumb topping, and makes a thrifty and tasty midweek supper dish for all the family.
(Ŵyau Ynys Môn in Welsh)
Welsh Cawl is up next, which is often attributed as Wales’s national dish. My recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint, as was commonly used in times gone by. A bowl of cawl is usually accompanied by crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese, and makes a wonderfully comforting family supper dish. The word cawl rhymes with owl, and this traditional country soup is beloved by all Welsh people, young and old, with eyes misting over as they recall their mother’s or grandmother’s recipe for this hearty dish. Similar to a Lobscouse, Lancashire Hotpot or Panackelty, there are many variations of the recipe, but they all seem to have one thing in common, they all have leeks, potatoes and carrots as the main vegetable components, and when meat is used, it seems that lamb is the most popular, although on researching the recipe, it seems that salted bacon/pork and beef were also used at certain times of the year.
(Cawl Cymreig in Welsh)
Welsh Rarebit is a well-known and very popular dish, which again uses cheese as its main ingredient. I always associate a good Welsh Rarebit, or Rabbit as it should be called, with tea time and evenings, as the recipe contains ale in it, although not a lot, and it is more of a “slow snack” that needs to be enjoyed when time isn’t at a premium, as it may be at lunch time. The first Welsh Rabbit recipe as seen in print, was way back in 1725, although another version, for what we now know as Welsh Rarebit was seen sixty years later in 1785; there were many “rabbit” recipes about, and the 18th century cookery writer, Hannah Glasse, offered several recipes for a rabbit, from Wales, Scotland and England. It seems that a Welsh rabbit had mustard added whilst an English rabbit had ale or red wine added, so the recipe below is both English and Welsh, as I have added mustard and ale to the mix. This is mum and grandmother’s family recipe, and in my opinion, it is the best! (Recipe taken from my book, Lavender and Lovage)
225g vintage or mature Cheddar cheese, grated
25g butter, softened
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon English mustard
4 slices toasted bread
- Mix the grated cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce, English mustard and beer together into a paste.
- Divide the mixture between the toast, spreading it right up the edges of the crusts.
- Place the toast and cheese mixture under a pre-heated grill and cook until the cheese has melted, is bubbling and it is singed brown in places.
- Serve immediately with chutney, relish or pickles.
Another variation on Welsh Rarebit – Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread: A fabulous cheese spread that would make a wonderful gift for any serious food lover, made in under 2 minutes in the Vitamix Ascent, with all the traditional ingredients for a classic rarebit. Pot the cheese spread in covered jars and add a card with the serving suggestions. Today’s recipe for a gift in a jar, makes three x 125g jars of cheese spread, and would be great when added to a food hamper, or why not keep one jar back for personal snacking and enjoyment
Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread
Now we have a lovely cake recipe for Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo). This is a traditional recipe for a Welsh seed cake, and one that would have been served to the sheep shearers during shearing season. This buttery cake would have originally used bacon fat in place of butter, although the caraway seeds and peel are authentic to older country recipes. Also known as Threshing Cake, when it was served to the workers at harvest time, the original recipe would probably been made with bacon fat and buttermilk with vinegar when the hens were not laying.
Welsh Shearing Cake
(Cacen Gneifo in Welsh)
Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt – Easily made, these “Pikelets”, also known as “Crempog” in Wales, and “Scotch Pancakes” or “Drop Scones” in Scotland, are delicious little, fluffy pancakes resembling a thin crumpet, and are perfect for breakfast when served with honey, yogurt and fresh blueberries.
(Crempog in Welsh)
Welsh Recipes from the Web: