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Friday, April 2, 2010

Welsh Cuisine

Welsh cuisine reflects its Celtic inheritance. In Wales, some laws in the 10th century permitted the cultivation of only two vegetables, the leek and the cabbage.Welsh people have tried to fiercely guard their cultural inheritance, in order to save their ancient traditions.

An important project has been begun called "Wales, the true taste" which is initiated by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA), to promote tourism in Wales and also the Welsh cuisines. Bacon is one of the most popular ingredients in Welsh dishes and "Cawl", a soup that in ancient times was cooked over an open fire, is the most popular dish.

The most prized meats are lamb and pork. Because of a law in the 10th century that allowed the cultivation of only two vegetables: cabbage and leek, these have remained the two main vegetables in many traditional Welsh recipes. A Welsh fisherman’s diet usually contained a lot of fresh fish, shellfish, salmon and oysters. Seaweed is also cooked, Laverbread is a delicious, healthy dish made of seaweed and bacon.

Breakfast is traditionally an important meal in Wales A hearty breakfast consists of eggs and cockles (small, edible saltwater clams) fried with bacon and sausage. All this is served with laverbread and is known as a traditional Welsh breakfast. The custom of dipping one’s breakfast eggs in ketchup is often associated with Wales. Ketchup is a common Welsh breakfast condiment.

Welsh dishes:

Cawl a stew of lamb and leeks and considered the national dish. It may also contain other vegetables as well.

Roast Lamb with Laverbread consisting of roasted lamb, laverbread and orange cakes and a sauce made with lamb stock, orange juice and white wine.

Cottage pie or also known as Shepherd’s pie a minced meat pie with a crust made of mashed potatoes. It has been made since 1791 but the term shepherd’s pie didn’t appear until the 1870s. Its main ingredient was beef or mutton.

Cockles are edible saltwater clams which are very popular in Wales and served in a variety of ways but usually steamed.

A Crempog is a Welsh pancake made with self-raising flour, salt, eggs, milk and butter also known as ffroes and served piled into a stack and spread with butter. They are traditional for a birthday celebration in Wales.

A Faggot is a kind of meatball which is a traditional dish in the UK, especially the Midlands of England. The meatballs are made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork. Traditionally made from pig heart, liver and fatty belly or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavoring and sometimes breadcrumbs. Then the mixture is shaped into balls which are wrapped round with caul fat (the omentum membrane from the pig’s abdomen) and baked. The dish saw the greatest popularity with the rationing during WWII but has become less popular in recent years. The meatballs are usually homemade.

Glamorgan sausage (Welsh: Selsig Morgannwg) a traditional Welsh vegetarian sausage whose main ingredients are cheese (usually Caerphilly), leeks and breadcrumbs.

Glamorgan sausage is mentioned by George Borrow in his work "Wild Wales" written in the 1850s and published in the next decade. Best eaten with plum chutney.

Laverbread (Welsh:Bara Lafwr or Bara Lawr) is a traditional Welsh delicacy made with laver (seaweed). Laver is often associated with Penclawdd (a village situated in the north of the Gower peninsula in Swansea, Wales) and its cockles (clams), being used traditionally in the Welsh diet and still eaten widely across Wales in the form of laverbread. To make this bread the seaweed is boiled for several hours and then minced or pureed. The gelatinous paste is then rolled in oatmeal. Laverbread is traditionally eaten friem with bacon and cockles for breakfast. It can be used to make a sauce to accompany lamb, crab, monkfish etc. and to make laver soup (Welsh: Cawl Lafwr). Richard Burton has been attributed as describing laverbread as "Welshman’s caviar". Swamsea Market has several stalls selling only laverbread and cockles from the nearby Gower peninsula. Laver is highly nutritious because if its high proportions of protein, iron, and especially iodine. It also contains high levels of vitamins B2, A, D and C.

Leek soup (Welsh: Cawl Cennin or Cawl Mamgu) made with bacon, chopped leeks and chicken stock.

Lobscows or Labsgows a traditional dish in North Wales, usually made with beef (braising or stewing steak), potatoes and any other vegetable available. This recipe was brought by the canal barges to Stoke-on-Trent where it is called "Lobby" the shortened version of "lobscouse". The food was traditionally regarded as food for farmers and the working class people of North Wales, but now it is a popular dish throughout Wales.

Roast Monkfish in Laverbread Sauce is a traditional fish dish from West Wales, where Monkfish (Angel Sharks) and seaweed are very common. The dish is made with fillets of Monkfish, prawn tails, laver seaweed, coriander seeds, and scallops.

Clark’s Pies also colloquially nicknamed "Clarkies" or "Clarksies" are well known meat pies in South Wales and the West of England. The Clark’s Pie originates from Cardiff, Wales and retains a historic connection with the city. The exact recipe of the pie filling is a closely guarded secret containing beef, vegetables and gravy. Unusually for a pie, the pastry is thick enough not to require a foil tray. Each pie has the word "CLARPIE" stamped into the pastry.

There are various cheeses produced in Wales. These include: Caerphlly cheese which is a hard, white cheese that originates in the area around the town of Caerphilly in Wales. It is light in color, crumbly and made from cow’s milk. Its taste is mild with a certain saltiness. Y Fenni cheese a variety of Welsh cheese made with mustard seed and ale. It takes its name from the Welsh name of Abergavenny, a market town in Monmouthshire, southeast Wales. Y Fenni is also known as "Red Dragon". Tintern a type of blended mature creamy Cheddar cheese flavored with fresh chives and shallots. It takes its name from the village of Tintern on the River Wye, in Monmouthshire, Wales. The monks of Tintern Abbey are said to have farmed shallots in the abbey gardens. Pantysgawn made from goat’s milk.

There are a number of Welsh beers and more than 20 vineyards in the country. Welsh whiskey also has a long tradition, starting from nearly the 4th century. Tea is a popular beverage in Wales, with Glengettie being a common Welsh tea.

Welsh Leek Soup
Cawn Cennin
(serves 6-8)
• 4 slices of raw bacon
• 6 thick leeks, trimmed of the roots and dark green, then chopped
• 10 cups chicken stock
• Salt and pepper, to taste
Garnish: Crumbled crisp bacon and a few circles of sliced leek per bowl
1. In a large soup pot, sauté the bacon over medium heat until crisp-then remove it from the pan, drain on paper towels, and reserve it for the garnish.
2. In the soup pot, reheat the bacon grease over medium heat and stir in the leeks, turning to coat them, and sautéing for several minutes, until they take on a little golden color.
3. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Purée, solids first, then pour back into the pot. Season to taste.
4. When ready to serve, reheat the soup over medium high heat, then ladle it into bowls and top with crumbled bacon and fresh circles of leek.

Welsh Cawl - Cawl Cymreig
2-3 lb. Welsh lamb best end of neck cutlets
1 large sliced onion
3 leeks
2 medium sliced carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 small swede turnip or 2 white turnips
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
6 small potatoes
salt and pepper
4 pints (8 cups) water
If in season cabbage, celery, etc., can all be used.

Trim the meat of fat so far as possible, cover with cold water, add salt and pepper, bring to the boil, and simmer slowly for 1 hour, then leave it to get cold and skim off all the fat. Put in all the vegetables except 1 leek, the potatoes and half the parsley, cover and simmer very slowly for 1 hour, then add the potatoes cut in half and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Then add the remainder of the parsley, taste for seasoning and finely chop the remaining leek (green and white part) on top. Let it cook for not more than 5 minutes and serve. Some families treat it as a French pot-au-feu - that is, they serve the clear broth first, then the meat and vegetables as a second course. Traditionally Cawl was eaten in wooden bowls with wooden spoons so that there was no fear of burning the mouth. Serves 4-6.

One Smoked Pork Hock about 1 Kg.


5x or 6 large leeks. You could use onions but it changes the flavor a bit.
6 med potatoes peeled.
Garlic according to taste. I suggest 4 or 5 large segments squashed with the side of a mallet and roughly chopped.
Teaspoon of curry powder.
2 cup Sour milk or yogurt.

Method :
• Salt to taste, but be careful many smoked hocks are heavily salted.
• Pressure cook the hock in a cup of water with the teaspoon of curry powder for one hour until it is easy to remove from the bone. Roughly chop and leave it to absorb any liquor left in the pressure cooker.(If it is very fatty you could remove the fat. I sometimes do this by letting the fat settle on the surface and then carefully draw it up with kitchen tissue, leaving the non fat liquor behind) However traditionally this meal was rich in fats and gave the welsh coal miners the energy they needed to work 12 hours or more a day. Chop the leeks into coin shaped rounds and do the same to the potatoes.
• Layer the chopped hock, potatoes, leeks and chopped garlic in a casserole dish. Combine any liquor from the hock with the yoghurt or sour cream and thicken it to a creamy consistency over low heat with flour. This gets poured over the potato, leeks and hock. The whole thing gets baked for an hour on medium heat until the potatoes are soft. The sauce should be bubbling and browning at the edges. By Rasma Raisters

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