Dyfed is a county in the south-west region of Wales and these are a collection of local and regional recipes handed down within families who have lived and worked in the Dyfed area. All of the recipes below are regionally authentic, originally coming from recipe books published in the 1800s or 1900s, with the weights and measurements adjusted (alongside the old standards) where appropriate for the modern kitchen.
A ham bone cut into pieces if necessary, 1 or 2 chopped leaks, 1 or 2 diced carrots, small cup of pearl barley, 2 or 3 diced potatoes, pepper, water, grated cheese, chopped parsley.
Reserve a piece of thick fat from the ham and dice neatly. Put bone in water to cover and simmer gently for several hours, Cool and skim. Add vegetables, barley and pepper (no salt). Simmer gently for about an hour or until vegetables and barley are cooked. Add diced ham, sprinkle with grated cheese added separately.
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.
CACS FFAIR LLANDDAROG (LLANDDAROG FAIR CAKES)
12 oz (340g or 3 cups) self raising flour, 6 oz (170g or 3/4 cup) sugar, 8 oz (225g or 1 cup) butter, 3-4 tablespoons beer, currants to decorate.
Makes about 24 cakes. Can be cooked on a bakestone or in the oven. Rub the fat into the flour then add the sugar and mix to a paste with the beer. Roll out on a floured board to 1/4 inch (1cm) thick and cut into rectangular shapes and stud with currants. Put onto a lightly floured baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 15 minutes or until pale gold.
3 tablespoonfuls hot water, 4 tablespoonfuls medium oatmeal, 1/2 tablespoonful bacon fat, pinch salt.
Melt the fat in the water, then sprinkle the oatmeal on it, kneading it well. Roll out very thin on a board floured with oatmeal, then cook on a fairly hot bakestone or thick frying pan for 10 minutes, then put to harden in a warm place. We like to eat the bara ceirch spread thickly with good farm butter, or placed between slices of thin bread and butter. In olden times the oatcakes were used to make a dish called SIOT (see below).
A cupful of crushed oatcake was put into a basin, a pint of buttermilk was poured over it and left to soak for an hour. Then it was ready to eat. This very old dish is still used as a first course either for supper or breakfast, taking the place of the modern cereals sold in packets.
6 filleted trout, 1/2 teaspoon anchovy essence or paste, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 bayleaf, pinch of mace, pepper and grated nutmeg to taste, water or fish stock
Serves 4-6. Put the filleted trout with the bayleaf and a pinch of mace in an oven-proof dish and barely cover with water or stock. Cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for 20 minutes then let them cool slightly. Lift out the fish and remove the skin and any small bones that may have adhered to the rib cage. Pound them well, mixing in the anchovy essence or paste, pepper and grated nutmeg to taste. Put into a jar or pot, pressing the contents down firmly and when quite cold pour the melted butter over the top. Serve cold on toast or yeasted oatcakes.
SGADAN ABERGWAUN (FISGUARD HERRINGS)
8 medium size filleted herrings, 1 large peeled cored and sliced apple, 2 lb (1kg) peeled and sliced potatoes, 1 large heaped teaspoon made mustard, 1 teaspoon chopped sage, 1 level tablespoon butter or margarine, salt and pepper to taste, boiling water.
Lay the fish fillets flat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub over a little of the mustard on each and roll up the fillets. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish and line it with half the sliced potatoes then a layer of sliced apple, then onion and finally the herring rolls. Sprinkle with chopped sage and season again. Cover with the remaining potatoes and half fill the dish with boiling water. Put the rest of the butter in small pieces on the top, cover and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the top to brown for a further 1/2 hour. Serves 4 – 6
This recipe can be used with mackerel fillets, anchovies, pilchards, John Dory or tuna fish. Half cider and half water can be used if liked.
BARA CEIRCH (OATCAKES)
8 oz ( 225g – 2 cups) fine oatmeal, 2 teaspoons lard, 2 teaspoons butter or margarine, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, pinch salt, 1 1/2 gills (225ml or 3/4 cup) hot water at 90F or 35C
For the Glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Makes around 12 oatcakes.- Melt the butter and lard in the water with the sugar and salt and whilst still hot add to the oatmeal, kneading it well to a soft dough. Sprinkle oatmeal fairly thickly onto a board and put the dough on it rolling it in the oatmeal. Break off small balls one at a time and flatten them on the board with the palm of the hand to the required size – approx 1/8 inch thick by 3 inches across is easiest. Provided there is sufficient oatmeal on the surface of the cakes to stop them from sticking, there will be no need to grease the bakestone. On a moderately hot bakestone, place 3 or 4 oatcakes, brush on the glaze lightly to give the oatcakes a shiny appearance when cooked and bake for about 7 minutes on one side. Leave to harden in a warm place or toast the other side under a slow grill when needed. If the kitchen is not warm, the mixture hardens quite quickly so it is sometimes best to make up half the quantity at a time. When the first batch has been made the remainder can be mixed. They will keep well for months in a tin.
Although not traditional, this foolproof method uses 6 oz (170g or 1 1/2 cups) oatmeal and 2 oz (60g or 1/2 cup) flour. The mix is easier to handle, the cakes can be pressed much thinner and do not break so easily. Serve with butter, honey or eat with laverbread, cheese, fish etc.
TEISEN LAP (PLATE CAKE)
8 oz (225g or 2 cups) flour, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) butter, 4 oz (115g or 1 cup) mixed currants and seedless raisins or sultanas, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) sugar, 1 heaped tablespoon lard, 2 well beaten eggs, 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1/2 cup) approx cream, milk or buttermilk.
Rub the fat into the flour and add the fry ingredients. Mix in the well beaten eggs and gradually add enough cream or milk to make a fairly soft mixture. Beat well and roll out on a floured board or table to 1 inch thickness. Cut into rounds, using a plate as a guide, and cook on a moderate bakestone or hotplate for about 15 minutes each side. If cooking in an oven, grease a shallow tin or plate and put the mixture in. Cook in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) for 20 minutes then lower heat to 275 degrees F for about 40 minutes. Test with a skewer before removing from the oven. Turn out to cool on a wire rack.
BRAISED GAME BIRDS
2 pheasants (or the equivalent in other game birds) and the giblets. 2 oz (60g or 2 tablespoons) butter or oil, 1 large onion, 2 large carrots, 2 turnips, 2 leeks, 1 parsnip, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 bottle (125ml) red wine, 1 bay leaf, sprig of parsley and time, 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary, salt and pepper, water.
Serves 6 – 8 – Take a heavy-bottomed stewpan and on the bottom make a bed of around 4-5 inches deep of the peeled and coarsely cut root vegetables and game giblets, herbs and seasoning. Add water to almost cover the vegetable bed and let it simmer gently. Meanwhile heat the butter in a fry pan and gently fry the birds. Remove the birds but reserve the butter for later use. Place the birds on top of the vegetable bed, cover with foil and a tight lid and simmer for 2 hours or until they are tender. The birds, as they are above the liquor do not break up, just steam in the aromatic stock. When cooked, re-heat the butter the birds were cooked in and mix in the flour. Pour in 1/2 pint (300ml or 1cup) of the game stock, add the red wine and reduce rapidly on top of the stove. Serve over the carved portions of game. This is a simple recipe which retains all the fine flavour and succulence of the game birds.
PASTAI GOCOS (COCKLE PIE)
1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters can be added if cockles are in short supply. Canned or bottled cockles can also be used but if in vinegar, wash first then add 4 tablespoons of milk to the pie.
4 Cups Of Cockles – to prepare the cockles: Scrub the shells well to remove sand and grit. Put into a large saucepan barely covered with sea-water or salted water. Put a lid on and bring to boiling point, continue boiling for 2 minutes or until the shells are open. Leave until cool enough to handle the remove from the shells with a sharp knife. Reserve the cockle liquor after straining. Once prepared they can be eaten cold with lemon juice or vinegar or heated in a little butter, pepper, salt and lemon juice or made into soup or Cockle Cakes.
For the Pie: 8 oz (225g) short crust pastry, 1/2 pint (300ml) cockle stock, 3 pints (1.8 Litres or 4 cups) approx cooked prepared cockles, 3 tablespoons chopped chives, spring onions or green onion tops, 8 oz (225g) streaky bacon or salt pork diced, pepper, a little milk
Serves 4. Take a deep pie dish, damp the sides and line with thickly rolled short crust pastry leaving enough pastry for thin strips to put on the top. Place a layer of cockles on the bottom, a layer of chopped chives, then a layer of bacon all seasoned with pepper. Repeat the layers until the dish is full ending with a layer of cockles. Pour over the reserved cockle stock. Damp the edges of the pastry and lay strip across, lattice style. Brush over with milk and bake in a hot oven 400F (200C) for about 1/2 hour (30 minutes) or until the pastry is golden. Serve either hot or cold with salad.
CAWS POBI (WELSH RAREBIT)
8oz (225g) grated strong cheese (Cheddar or Cheshire), 2 teaspoons flour, 4 tablespoons beer (or milk) 1 tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 4 sliced bread toasted on one side only, 1 level teaspoon dry mustard.
Put the cheese, flour mustard, Worcestershire sauces, butter and pepper into a saucepan and mix well. Add beer or milk to moisten but not make it too wet. Stir over a gentle heat until all is melted. Stop stirring when the mix forms a thickish paste that can be swirled around the saucepan. Leave to cool a little while the bread is toasted on one side only. Spread the rarebit over the untoasted side and brown under a hot grill. The rarebit mixture can be made up and kept in the refrigerator for several days. Sweet white wine can be used instead of beer and gives a good flavour.
This is made as a Welsh Rarebit (see above) and served with a poached egg on top.
CREMPOG FEL (HONEY PANCAKES)
For the Pancakes: 10 oz (285g or 2 ½ cups) flour, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cups) buttermilk (or milk), pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, pinch of mixed spice, 3 oz (85g) currants, 3 tablespoons clear honey (more to drizzle).
Make The Pancake Batter: first beat the eggs well. Pour the melted butter into the salt, mixed spice, currants and flour, then add the beaten eggs, then the honey, beating well. Whilst beating all the while so that the mixture is smooth, gradually pour in the buttermilk (or milk – buttermilk is traditional) until it is a batter, like thick cream. Leave to stand for 30 minutes to an hour.
Lightly grease and heat a Welsh bakestone or flat griddle. Beat the batter mixture well once more. When the bakestone is hot, brush over a little melted butter, then pour on a tablespoon or so of the batter, three or four at a time, to make small, thick pancakes (crempog). When the underneath is golden, turn and cook the other side. Serve on their own, sprinkled with sugar and a drizzle of honey, or with a little jam.
CYW IAR (SPATCHCOCK)
This is a recipe from the 1500s which is seldom served today. The name of the dish comes from ‘dispatch-cock’, meaning a fowl bird killed and cooked in hurry, usually split and grilled.
2 plump young chickens, 6 oz (170g) melted butter, 1 oz (30g or 1/2 cup) fresh breadcrumbs mixed with 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, 2 tablespoons milk, salt and pepper
Serves 4. Split each chicken in two halves, right through the breast bone. Beat each half well with the flat side of a heavy knife. This prevents it curling up whilst cooking. Place in a grilling tin without the rack and season well. Pour over half the melted butter and cook under the grill for 7-10 minutes starting with the inside part of the bird. To prevent burning, do not have the grill too high. Turn and repeat this on the flesh side, pouring over the rest of the butter. Mix the mustard with the milk making it thinner than for table mustard. Brush the flesh side of the chicken with this, then sprinkle with the fresh spiced breadcrumbs. Baste with the butter from the pan then put back under a slow frill and let the top colour slowly to golden.
CREMPOG A BWYD MOR (SEA-FOOD PANCAKES)
For the Pancakes: 8 oz (225g or 2 cups) flour, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 pint (600ml or 2 cups) buttermilk or milk, pinch of salt
For the Filling: 2 cups of cooked, boned and flaked fish or chopped shellfish (approx 2lb or 1Kg before boning etc), 2 heaped tablespoons grated hard welsh cheese, 1/2 pint (300ml) milk, 1 heaped tablespoon butter, 1 heaped tablespoon flour, pinch of dry mustard, salt and pepper
Make The Pancake Batter: first beat the eggs well. Pour the melted butter into the salt and flour then add the eggs, beating well. Whilst beating all the while so that the mixture is smooth, gradually pour in the buttermilk or milk. Leave to stand.
Make The Sea-food sauce: In a pan, heat the butter and stir in the flour and let it cook for 1 minute, pour in the milk stirring all the time to avoid lumps. Add the seasonings and dry mustard and finally, mix in the fish and the grated cheese. Simmer until the cheese has melted.
Lightly grease and heat a Welsh bakestone or griddle. Beat up the batter mix well. When the bakestone is hot, pour on a tablespoon of the batter at a time to make the small pancakes. If using a heavy pan, tilt the pan so that the batter runs evenly around. When the underneath is golden, turn and cook the other side. Remove the pancake and drain on paper. When all the batter is used, take a deep dish and put in the pancakes (flat) layering them with the fish and sauce, ending with a pancake on top and a little of the sauce. Put into a slow oven 250F (120C) for 15 minutes to heat up and crisp a little. To serve cut into quarters. Makes about 20 pancakes 4 inches (10cm) across.
12 oz (340g) self-raising flour, 8 oz (225g) sugar, 4 oz (115g) butter, 4 oz (115g) golden syrup (corn syrup), 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, pinch of sea-salt, 1 egg.
Warm the butter and golden syrup (corn syrup) in a saucepan. Sieve all the dry ingredients together into a bowl, then add the butter and syrup, stir in, then mix in the beaten egg. Beat well to make a stiff mixture, (like a pastry). Flour your hands, pinch off a little mixture, and roll into a ball about an inch (2.5cm) in diameter. Place these spaced apart on a greased baking tray and bake in an oven at 300F (150C) for 20 minutes. The biscuits will flatten as the bake, remove before they dry out too much.
CACEN BOETH (HOT CAKE)
This cake is intended to be eaten hot from the oven.
4 oz (115g) butter, 4 oz (115g) softened sugar, 4 oz (115g) self-raising flour, 2 oz (60g) sultanas, 2 eggs, pinch of sea-salt, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons clear honey, optional: 2 tablespoons jam.
Beat the butter to a cream, add the sugar and beat again until white and creamy. Gradually stir in the beaten eggs and beat well in – fold in the sifted flour, sea-salt and cinnamon gently into the mixture and stir in the sultanas. Turn the mixture into two small buttered round sandwich tins, and bake in a moderate hot oven 375F (190C) for 25 minutes. Turn the cakes out, spread some softened butter over one base, (and some warmed jam if preferred) then sandwich the cacen boeth together, brush over some honey, slice and eat hot.
Filling: ½ lb (250g) ripe cherries, 1 oz (30g) flour, 8 oz (225g) sugar, 1 egg. A beaten egg and extra golden brown sugar to sprinkle over the tart.
Pastry: 8oz (225g) flour, 4 oz (115g) butter, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 egg yolk, a little water to bind.
Make the pastry: rub the butter into the flour, add the sugar and cinnamon, then bind with an egg yolk and a little water until a firm pastry dough is made, leave to rest. Make the filling: wash, destalk and remove the cherry stones – then cut the cherries in half. Mix the sugar and flour together in a bowl and add the beaten egg; beat well together and then add the cherries. Line a deep plate (or tart tin) with two-thirds of the pastry rolled out and cut to fit. Spoon the filling mixture in. Roll out the rest of the pastry, cut into narrow strips, twist them, and then form them into a trellis (criss-cross) pattern over the filling – trimming where needed. Brush over the pastry twists with a little beaten egg and sprinkle over some golden brown sugar. Bake in an oven at 400F (200C) for 30 to 40 minutes – until the fruit is soft and the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Serve slices with cream.
HAM AND LEEK PIE
Filling: 8 oz (225g) prepared leeks, 2 0z (60g) butter, ½ pint (300ml) cream, 2 eggs, 6 oz (170g) boiled ham, pinch of sea-salt and black pepper.
Pastry: 8oz (225g) flour, 4oz (115g) butter, 1 egg yolk, a little milk, pinch of sea-salt and black pepper. 1 egg to make a wash to brush the pie lid with.
Make the Pastry: In a bowl sift in the flour, add in the ground salt and pepper, rub in the softened butter. Mix together with an egg yolk and a little milk until a stiff pastry dough is made. Reserve and let rest. Make the filling: Clean and prepare the leeks by cutting off the roots, the coarsest green leaves and any damaged outer layers. Slice the leeks, put into a colander and run under a tap to remove any grit – then drain. Chop the drained leeks and the boiled ham into similar sized small chunks. In a bowl beat the eggs, then whisk in the cream, season with salt and pepper. To this egg and cream add the chopped leeks and ham. In a buttered pie dish line it with two-thirds of the pastry, rolled out and cut to fit. Pour the filling in, roll out the remaining pastry to make a pie lid, brush the edges and close the pie over, crimping the pastry lid to the pastry base. Make a little hole in the centre and brush the lid over with an egg wash made with a beaten egg. Bake in an oven at 350F (180C) for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove when pastry is golden brown and crisp.