BARA BRITH (TRADITIONAL SPECKLED BREAD)
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) flour, 1 oz (30g) yeast, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) lukewarm milk, 1 teaspoon white sugar, 3 oz (85g or 1/2 cup) lard or butter, 1 egg, 2 heaped tablespoons chopped mixed peel, 1/2 teaspoon mixed ground spice, 6 oz (170g or 2/3 cup) seedless raisins, 3 tablespoons currants, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, pinch salt, warm honey to glaze
Ensure all utensils and ingredients are warm before use. Warm the milk to tepid with the teaspoon of white sugar, crumble in the yeast and set aside for 10-20 minutes until it is frothy. Rub the fat into the flour, stir in the peel, dried fruit, spices, brown sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the yeasted milk and the well beaten egg. Mix to a soft dough, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size. Turn onto a floured board and knead well. Put into a well greased tin, cover again and leave for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and put into a hot oven 400F (200C) for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 325F (170C) and bake for about 1 1/4 hours (75 minutes). If it is properly cooked, the loaf will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Put onto a wire rack and while it is still warm brush the top with clear honey to give a nice glaze. Leave it to get quite cold before cutting. Serve in slices with butter.
(1) BARA BRITH (SPECKLED BREAD-CAKE)
1 lb (500g) Self Raising flour, 1/2 lb (250g) currants 1/2 pint (300ml) buttermilk, a little nutmeg, 1/2 lb (250g) sugar, 1/4 lb (125g) butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoonful carbonate of soda, 1 tablespoonful black treacle, pinch salt.
Mix the fat well into the flour, add dry ingredients, Mix carbonate of soda into the buttermilk, add it to the treacle and beaten egg, mix well together, put into bread tim and bake in moderate oven for 1 3/4 to 2 hours.
(2) BARA BRITH (SPECKLED BREAD-CAKE)
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) self raising flour, 1 lb (500g) mixed dried fruit, 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda, 2 tablespoons marmalade, 1 egg, 6 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) warm tea (without milk), 1 teaspoon mixed ground spice, honey to glaze
Mix the dried fruit and sugar together and pour the over the warm, milk-less tea. Leave to stand overnight or for some hours until the fruit has swollen. The next day stir in the flour, spice, bicarbonate of soda, marmalade and finally the well beaten egg. Line a loaf tin with greased paper, put the mixture in and cook in a moderate oven 325F (170C) for 1 3/4 hours 105 minutes). Turn out onto a wire rack when cooked and brush to top with warm honey to glaze.
BARA BRITH (MALT)
This local Snowdon recipe uses powdered malt (like Ovaltine) as an ingredient, which gives it a unique taste amongst Welsh bara brith’s.
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour, 2 oz (60g) powdered malt (ovaltine), 2 oz (60g) caster sugar, 4 oz (115g) mixed dried fruit, 3 oz (85g) golden syrup (corn syrup), 1/4 pint (150ml) milk.
Mix all these ingredients together and beat to a smooth batter. Place the mixture in a greased and lined loaf tin. Bake at 350F (180C) for 45 minutes. Serve sliced with butter.
BARA LAVER (LAVER BREAD)
Laver is a smooth fine seaweed sometimes called sea-spinach. When found in its natural state it must be washed thoroughly to remove all sand and grit. It is then boiled in enough water to cover for at least 5 hours before draining. Once drained the laver has many uses. Laver can be bought ready prepared.
Mix the prepared laverbread (a misnomer as it is does not resemble bread at all but rather a puree) with a good sprinkling of fine oatmeal, shape into little cakes and fry in bacon fat. Serve with grilled ham or bacon, sprinkled with a little onion juice or lemon.
A lump of home-cured salty bacon or ham, potatoes, carrots, swedes, leeks, cabbage and peas and beans in season, oatmeal and water. Place the bacon in boiling water, also the root vegetables cut up, boil for about 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes). Remove the bacon and add the shredded cabbage, the leeks, peas and beans. When these are cooked thicken with a mixture of oatmeal and water. The oatmeal, besides thickening the cawl, helps to soak up the floating fat from the bacon.
2lb (1Kg) Best End Welsh Lamb, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 small turnip, 1/2 lb (240g) broad beans, 1/2 lb (240g) garden peas, 1 small cauliflower, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, salt, pepper, 2 pints (1 litre) water.
Preperation. Trim excess fat from the meat and put it into a large saucepan with the water. Bring up to the boil and simmer gently for 2 hours. Leave to go cold till the following day and skim off the fat and impurities which will have solidified on top. Take out the meat and cut into medium sized cubes.
Shell the peas and beans; peel and slice the carrot, onion and turnip very small. Add the vegetables and the cubed meat back into the water the meat was boiled in (minus the skimmed off fat and impurities). Bring this up to the boil and then simmer on a lower heat for 30 minutes. Season the broth. Wash and clean the cauliflower and break it up into tiny sprigs. Add to the broth, simmer for 20 minutes, add in the chopped parsley and serve.
CAWL CYMREIG – WELSH SOUP
3 lb (1.4Kg) best end of lamb neck cutlets, 1 large sliced onion, 3 leeks, 2 medium sliced carrots, 1 medium parsnip, 1 small swede (or two white turnips), 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 6 small potatoes, salt and pepper, 4 pints (2.4 Litres or 8 cups) water, cabbage and celery etc can also be used when in season.
Serves 4-6. Trim the fat off the meat as much as possible and place in a pan. Cover with cold water with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer slowly for 1 hour, then leave to get cold and skim off the fat. Cawl should ideally be started the day before so that the fat can rise on cooling and settle on the top making it easier to skim off. Add all the vegetables except for 1 leek, the potatoes and half the parsley. Cover and simmer very slowly on a low heat for 1 hour then add the potatoes (sliced in half) and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Then put in the remaining parsley and taste for seasoning. The remaining leek, both green and white parts, are finely chopped and put on top. Cook for not more than five minutes then serve.
PICE AR Y MAEN (WELSH CAKES)
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) plain flour, 6 oz (170g or 1 1/2 cups) mixed currants and sultanas, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 10 oz (290g or 1 1/2 cups) butter, 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice or mace (optional), 6 oz (170g or 3/4 cup) sugar, 1 egg, a little milk, pinch salt.
Makes approximately 20. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and rub in the butter. Add the sugar, spice (if using) and dried fruit. Mix in the beaten egg and just enough milk (about 3 tablespoons) to make it the same consistency as for short crust pastry. Turn out onto a floured board, roll out and cut into rounds about 3 inches (7cm) across and 1/2 inch (1.5cm) thick. Cook over a medium heat on a lightly greased bakestone for around 3- 4 minutes each side. If browning to quickly then lower the heat. The inside has to have time to cook thoroughly so that it has a brittle. sandy texture. Serve either hot or cold with butter, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, jam or honey.
TEISEN TINCAR (TINKER’S CAKE)
1/2 lb (250g) flour, 1/4 lb (125g) butter, 3 oz (85g) sugar, little grated cooking apple, pinch salt.
Mix all the ingredients together to a stiff dough with a little milk or buttermilk, cut into rounds and cook as Welsh Cakes (see above).
WELSH CAKES (MONMOUTHSHIRE)
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour, 4 oz (115g) softened butter, 2 oz (60g) softened lard, 3 oz (85g) sugar, 2 oz (60g) currants, 3 oz (85g) sultanas, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind/peel, 1 egg, a little milk to bind.
Rub the butter and lard into the flour, then add the sugar, fruit, lemon rind and spices. Mix with the beaten egg and a little milk to make a stiff paste or (like pastry) dough. Flour a work top and roll out the dough to ½ inch (1.5cm) thick and cut into small rounds using a pastry cutter. Put a Welsh bakestone (planc) or griddle on a medium high heat and brush it with a little melted butter. Cook the welsh cakes about 3 minutes on each side, turning them over as they brown and rise. Place them on a plate and sprinkle over a little sugar. They can be eaten hot or cold and can keep fresh for several days in an air-tight cake tin.
TEISEN BLAT (PLATE CAKE / HARVEST CAKE)
This tart is thinner that an ordinary fruit tart, the pastry being almost paper thin, and is often spiced with the fruit inside pre-cooked to a puree. Any fruit according to season is used, however, stone fruits such as apricots, plums or damsons.
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) self raising flour, 8 oz (225g or 1 cup) butter or lard (or a mix), 8 tablespoons approx cold water. cooked and sweetened seasonal fruit (cooked to a smooth puree), 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch mixed spice, a little milk
Mix the flour with the sugar and spices, rub in the fat. Add the cold water and mix well until the dough is pliable. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out very thinly. then cut into 4 rounds. Grease 2 ovenproof flattish plates about 10 inches (25cm) across, damp the edges and lay one round on each plate. Prick the bottom then put into a hot oven 400F (200C) for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and fill with half the fruit to each plate, damp the edges and lay on the tops. Pressing down well so that they are secure. Prick the tops lightly, brush with milk and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. This plate cake or tart is often served cold or lukewarm cut into slices. Buttermilk was frequently drunk or served with the harvest cake.
PWDIN EFA (EVE’S PUDDING)
1 lb (500g) cooking apples, 4 tablespoons golden or maple syrup, 4 tablespoons water, juice of 1/2 lemon
For the Topping: 2 separated eggs, 2 heaped tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, 2 tablespoons caster (extra fine) sugar, 3/4 pint (450ml or 1 1/2 cups) warm milk, 1 vanilla pod or 3 drops of vanilla essence (vanilla sugar can be used instead)
Serves 4. Peel, core and slice the apples and put them in a round fireproof dish with the syrup, water and lemon juice poured over. Cook them for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven 350F (180C). Meanwhile heat up the butter, stir in the flour and then add the warmed milk, stirring all the while to avoid lumps. At this stage, add the vanilla pod or essence, then remove from the stove and beat in either the caster sugar or vanilla sugar if using. Remove the vanilla pod, if used, and add the beaten egg-yolks. Remove the apple from the oven. Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the custard mixture. Pour this over the apples, covering evenly right to the edges and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 40 minutes or until the top is well risen
If preferred 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder can be added with the flour to make a chocolate flavoured Eve’s Pudding. Also, this pudding is excellent made with half apples and half bilberries. These blue black berries found on many hillsides in Wales are sometimes called blueberries.
TEISEN AFAL (AVALLON ‘APPLE’ CAKE)
½ lb (250g) apples, 6 oz (170g) sugar, 5 oz (140g) butter, 1 lemon rind/peel grated, 2 eggs, 8 oz (225g) flour, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon, ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 4 oz (115g) currants, 4 oz (115g) raisins, 4 oz (115g) mixed chopped peel, 2 oz (60g) chopped walnuts.
Peel, core and chop the apples, stew them with 1 oz (30g) sugar and a little water. When they are soft strain and leave them cool. Cream the butter and sugar and the grated lemon rind until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one. Fold in the flour sifted with the bicarbonate of soda and spices. Stir in the dried fruit and nuts. Mix all of this together, then carefully stir in the stewed apples. Turn into a greased and lined 7 inch (18cm) tin and bake at 350F (180C) for 1 to 1 ½ hours (60 to 90 minutes) until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.