I run a comics group for local teenagers (we used to meet at the library but now we meet online). For one of our drawing prompts this past week I suggested “draw someone wearing a leek.” It was very funny! They mostly interpreted it as meaning a person in a whole leek costume (being in Oregon, USA, they hadn’t really heard of St. David’s Day before to be fair). I drew this. Now I kind of want a leek shaped tie.
I use my Welsh grandmother’s recipe and absolutely no spice allowed. So I’ve never done it even though I confess to feeling tempted as I love all those warm spices. Still, everyone loves my Welsh cakes. Also it calls originally for lard, but a good substitute here in the US is the vegetable shortening called Crisco. Lard can not only be difficult to find in many supermarkets but also lots of Americans won’t touch the stuff despite it making the best pastry ever!
It seems that ‘no spice’ is a Grandmother rule then and spice a bit of a ‘modern’ addition.
Yes I think you’re right there. I’ve had Welsh cakes with spice in and very nice they are too. But for me, the “Proustian” effect is only with those made according to my Nain’s recipe or something similar! Nothing else compares. Comfort in the extreme, a proper Welsh cake and a cup of tea (although not “piso Mari” as my Mum’s Auntie Gwen would say when the tea wasn’t strong enough!)
Menter Iaith BGTM have a special ‘Dydd Gŵyl Dewi’ quiz over Zoom next week (01/03/21 - 7pm) A great opportunity to see if you have the brains to win. We will also have Marc Griffiths as our Quizmaster for the night. If you would like to register, please email email@example.com
@siaronjames I’m intrigued by what might go into a Miser’s Feast! Also lovely to see all the country wine recipes in there. Could you post the Herb Beer and Welsh Mead recipes please? Thanks for this, really fascinating.
Ffest y Cybydd - The Miser’s Feast
*This dish was very popular in Carmarthenshire about 100 years ago [i.e. mid 1800s]. Then it was made in a saucepan. Nowadays it can be made equally well in a casserole. *
Cover the bottom of the saucepan or dish with peeled potatoes and a sliced onion, with a little salt.
Cover with water and bring to the boil.
When the water is boiling, place on top of the potatoes and onion a few slices of bacon or a piece of ham.
Replace lid and allow to simmer till the potatoes are cooked, when most of the water will be absorbed.
The miser was supposed to eat the potatoes one day, mashed up in the liquid, keeping the slices of bacon to be eaten the next day with plain boiled potatoes.
Diod Dail - Herb Beer
A good dozen nettle tops
About 1 oz dandelion leaves
1 oz root ginger
1 lb demerara sugar
1/2 oz yeast
Tie bruised ginger in muslin and boil with herbs in one gallon of cold water for about half an hour.
Strain onto sugar and stir well.
*When lukewarm put in yeast floating on a piece of toast. *
Stand overnight and bottle next day in corked bottles.
Ready to drink after two or three days.
Medd Hen Ffasiwn - Old Fashioned Mead
Ingredients: Honey, hops, ginger, allspice
To every gallon of water allow 4 lb of honey and for a hogshead allow 1/2 lb hops, 3/4 lb bruised ginger and 1/4 lb allspice.
The honey and water should first be boiled for one hour, and skimmed, then the spices added, and boiled for about 10 minutes.
As it will probably be inconvenient to boil enough to fill a hogshead, put part into the cask, and fill up every day until the cask is full.
Having boiled the liquor, strain it, add the yeast on toast, and let it remain two days; then skim it off, and put the liquor in the barrel; when the cask is full, and the mead has finished fermenting bung it down closely.
Bottle in a year.
(PS. I looked up ‘hogshead’…!!)
I happened to watch ‘Bwyd Epic Chris (S4C) last night in which a historian was lucky enough to have her great grandmother’s recipe book. Lots of mention of spices which at the time had come in via the ports including Caernarfon. My great grandmother came from Grasmere and the spices in Grasmere Gingerbread were included again because of that connection with local ports. Doesn’t answer the spice in Welsh cakes debate but it was an interesting programme nevertheless
A “hogshead of real fire” gets a mention in a famous Beatles song.
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Diolch Siaron! Only 1/4 tun of mead then…
The West End of Wales (Community Interest Company) is a collective of professional Welsh musicians who are currently out of work due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and are excited to host a stellar line-up Welsh soloists and ensembles in an online concert bringing the Nation together to celebrating the patron Saint of Wales.
Featuring stars from London’s West End - such as John Owen- Jones and Lucie Jones, both accompanied by The West End of Wales Orchestra - comedian Rhod Gilbert, and Claire Jones the former official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales and international recording artist. Joining them, we have brilliant Welsh ensembles such as The Cory Band, Only Men Aloud, Bella Voce, Choirs for Good and the Morriston Orpheus Choir, and a special performance by the Fanfare Trumpets of The Welsh Guards. Other soloists include Kizzy Crawford, Rhydian Jenkins, Aaron Pryce-Lewis and John Rodge. It will be a great concert - not to be missed!
I’ve created a virtual celebration to replace our Cymdeithas Gymreig Manitoba annual gala: https://www.weicourses.com/stdavidsgala/
When is “Gwlad” concert mentiond in one of the previous newsletters? It read the day but not the hour.
30 second tip worked a treat - diolch yn fawr
TONIGHT!!! LAST CHANCE to watch this concert - 7.30pm tonight (Saturday 6th March). I watched on St David’s Day and can thoroughly recommend this.