Gwynedd (including Anglesey) is a county in the north-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 Gwynedd 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.
TATWS RHOST (POTATO HOT POT)
1 1/2 lb (750g) potatoes, 3 large onions, peeled and sliced thinly, 1 lb (500g) thickly sliced smoked bacon or raw ham, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) water, stock or cider. salt and pepper
Serves 4. Peel and slice the potatoes thickly and slice the onions thinly. Trim off rinds from bacon rashers but leave whole. In a fire-proof dish start with a layer of potatoes at the bottom the add bacon, parsley and finally onion, all seasoned well. Repeat the layers ending with a layer of potato. Pour over the stock, put a sheet of greased foil on top, then the lid and cook slowly in a slow oven 250F (120C) for about 2 hours. Remove the lid and foil for the last 20 minutes to brown the top.
TATWS RHOST (ANOTHER WAY): Fill a casserole with alternate layers of salt bacon, sliced onions and sliced potatoes, add a little salt, cover with the lid and cook slowly for about 3 hours. If cooking in an oven, remove the lid for the last 15 minutes to allow the top layer of potatoes to brown.
STWNS RWDAN A LAU
This dish was cooked over the fire in a pot, but a casserole in the oven is best. Its ingredients are liver, onions or leeks, swedes and potatoes. Cut the liver and the onions into slices and fry until brown, then roll in seasoned flour, place in a casserole or saucepan and simmer gently for about 3 hours. This is served with what is called stwns – boiled swedes and potatoes well mashed together, with a lump of butter and a little fresh milk or buttermilk.
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.
TEISEN ‘BERFFRO (‘BERFFRO CAKES)
‘Berffro is short for Aberffraw in Anglesey. Use the deep side of the scallop or clam shell as patty tins – when baked the little cakes retain the shape and pattern of the shells. If scallop or large clam shells are not available, this mixture can be rolled out and cut into rounds, or put into a Madeleine tin.
8 oz (225g or 1 cup) butter, 8 oz (225g or 2 cups) sifted self raising flour, 8 oz (225g or 1 cup) sugar
Makes about 8. Cream the butter and sugar together, then gradually work in the flour with the hands, as for making a shortbread. Roll out gently, cut into rounds and press into the buttered scallop shells. Bake in a moderate oven 325F (170C) for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the shell and sprinkle coarse sugar on the curved fan marked side. Serve as they are or with some jam.
BARA SINSIR (GINGERBREAD)
6 oz (170g or 1/2 cup) black treacle (molasses), 12 oz (340g or 3 cups) plain flour, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) butter or margarine, 6 oz (170g or 3/4 cup) Demerara (soft brown sugar), 2 oz (60g or 1/2 cup) chopped mixed peal, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) milk, 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 level teaspoon cream of tartar
This recipe does not have any ginger in it but tastes as though it has. Warm the milk and treacle together. Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and the cream of tartar. Rub the butter into this until it is like fine breadcrumbs, mix in the sugar and peel and finally stir in the milk and molasses. Mix very thoroughly, then grease and line a tin about 8 inches (21cm) long by 3 inches (9cm) wide and pour in the mixture. Bake in a slow to moderate oven 300F (150C) for about 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If liked, halved almonds and slices of crystallized ginger can be put on top half way through the cooking time.
PWDIN REIS (RICE PUDDING)
2 oz (60g or 1/4 cup) rice, 1 pint (600ml or 2 cups) milk, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1cup) water, 2 oz (60g or 1/4 cup) Demerara (soft brown) sugar, 1 large or 2 small separated eggs, 1 heaped tablespoon caster (extra fine) sugar, 1 heaped tablespoon butter, 1 bay leaf, good pinch grated nutmeg
Simmer the rice in the water for about 10 minutes then drain the liquid off. To the rice add all the other ingredients except the eggs and caster sugar. Either cook in a double boiler on top of the stove or in a very moderate oven 300F (150C) for about 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the beaten egg yolks and return to the oven for a further 1/2 hour (30 minutes). Meanwhile beat the egg white until stiff with the caster sugar and just before serving fold this into the rice pudding. If serving hot, put back into a cool oven just to set the whites. It is also very good served cold later on. This rice pudding is often served with jam, honey or a compote of oranges.
BARA BRITH (MALT)
This local Snowdon recipe uses powdered malt as an ingredient (like Ovaltine) which gives it a unique taste amongst 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.
CREGYN GLEISON (MUSSEL STEW)
60 – 80 mussels, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) water, 2 tablespoons oil or butter, 4 tablespoons sherry, 6 small finely chopped mushrooms, 1 clove crushed garlic (or wild garlic), 1 large finely sliced onion, 3 oz (85g or 1 cup) fine fresh white breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 egg yolk beaten with 4 tablespoons light cream, salt and pepper
Serves 4 – 6. Wash and scrub the mussels well in cold running water to remove all traces of grit, sand, barnacles etc. Discard any that are open. Put them into a large saucepan with the water, cover and cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes or until all the shells are open.
Strain off the liquid and reserve. Break of one side of the mussel-shell (keeping any of the escaping juices) and remove the beards. Heat up the oil or butter and very lightly fry the onion, garlic and finally the mushrooms. Drain off any excess oil. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, liquor from the mussels, parsley, sherry and season to taste. Bring just up to boiling point and simmer gently for around 5 minutes. Finally add the egg yolk and cream beaten together. Stir well and put in the mussels. Heat up but do not let the sauce boil once the egg yolk and cream are added.
MUSSEL SOUP: For a more soup like dish proceed as for Mussel Stew but cook the mussels in 1 pint (2 cups) water, omit the breadcrumbs and remove both shells from the mussels. Serve with hot bread spread with garlic butter.
BRYTHYLL A CHIG MOCH (TROUT WITH BACON)
6 trout, 12 thin rashers of smoked bacon (half lean, half fat), 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, salt and pepper
Serves 4-6. Split and clean the trout and remove the bones. Line a fireproof dish with half the bacon rashers. Lay the trout on top, season well and sprinkle over the parsley. Cover with the remaining bacon rashers and bake in a hot oven 400F (200C) for about 15 – 20 minutes.
PWDIN ERYRI (SNOWDON PUDDING)
4 oz (115g or 1 cup) grated suet (butter or margarine can be used but are not traditional), 4 oz (2 cups firmly pressed down) white breadcrumbs, 1 oz (30g or 1 tablespoon) cornflour (cornstarch) or ground rice, finely grated rind of 1 lemon, 3 oz (85g or scant cup) lemon or orange marmalade, 3 oz (85g or 3 tablespoons) brown sugar, 3 well beaten eggs, 3 tablespoons seedless raisins, a little butter, pinch of salt.
Grease well a pudding basin about 6 inches high with butter. Press as many of the seedless raisins onto the sides as it will take. Mix together the suet, breadcrumbs, cornflour and salt, add the grated lemon rind, marmalade and sugar. Beat the eggs well and mix them in with any left over raisins. Spoon the mixture into the basin taking care not to dislodge the raisins from the sides. Cover with foil and tie down. Either steam the pudding or simmer it in a saucepan of boiling water to half=way up the basin for 50 – 60 minutes. Ensure the saucepan does not boil dry by topping up with water. Turn out onto a warmed plate and serve with Saws Gwin (wine sauce).
2 oz, (60g or 2 tablespoons) sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 lemon rind in one piece, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) Madeira Red Wine (or sweet sherry Marsala or sweet red or white wine), 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
To make the wine sauce: Boil the sugar, lemon rind and water for about 15 minutes then remove the rind. Thoroughly mix the cornflour into the butter and stir into the sugar mixture. Add the wine and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes until the liquid has become syrupy. Serve very hot in a sauceboat. Serves 4
TO STEW A BREAST OF VEAL (Anne Wynne of Bodewryd, Anglesey, 1675)
Take a brest of veal and score it and flower it, put a good quantity in yr pan, where yr liquid is bott, put the brest in it and let if fry till it be very brown – turning it ofter – then take brest and clean it from the liquor and clean the pan, then put a good quantity of claret with some cloves, mace, nutmegs into yr pan, with pickled oysters, 2 anchovies and a shallot. Let yr brest stew in it, and when it is stewed enough, serve it up with sliced lemon – claret or cider will do.
APRICOCKE WINE (Anne Wynne of Bodewryd, Anglesey, 1675)
‘Your fruit must be very ripe, then take to every gallon of boyling water a pound and a half of good powder sugar: paire your apricockes and mashe them and ye peeloe along with them, by sure to take ye stones out; your sugar must be boyled with the watter till the rawness of the watter be boyled, then have in readiness your apricockes in an earthen vessell, so pour the hott Liquor upon them and let them lye 2 days stirring them twice a day, then straine them through a haire sieve, barrill it up for a fortnight, then bottle it with a lump of sugar in each bottle.’
ROAST CHICKEN IN CHICKEN
2 fresh chickens (boned) 3lb (1.4Kg) each in weight, 9 streaky bacon rashers.
Stuffing: 6 oz (170g) breadcrumbs, 2 oz (60g) butter, 4 oz (115g) finely chopped boiled ham, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, a little cream, sea-salt and black pepper to season.
Bone the chickens: this can be done with a boning knife or ask your butcher to do it for you (always ask in advance of purchase). Skin the inside chicken (if you prefer you can just purchase one boned chicken and four skinless chicken breasts) and place it neatly inside the outer bird which still retains its skin – legs into legs, wings into wings etc. Make the stuffing: gently fry the breadcrumbs in the melted butter, then add all the other stuffing ingredients, season, mix, take off the heat, and bind together with the cream into a stiff paste. Put the stuffing into the inside chickens cavity to fill. Massage and tighten up the chicken and stuffing combination, turn over and shape the outside chicken into a nice compact shape and put them into a roasting tray with a cup of water and a large knob of butter. Place the streaky bacon tightly over the top of chicken, and season. Roast the chicken in chicken at 20 minutes to the pound (500g) of the combined weight of everything (normally for just over 2 hours) at 370F (190C). Occasionally take the chicken out of the oven and baste with the roasting juices before returning.
WYAU SIR FON (ANGLESEY EGGS)
6 medium sized leeks or scallions, 8 hard boiled eggs, 1 lb (500g or 2 cups) hot mashed potato, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon flour, 2 oz (60g or 2/3 cup) plus 2 tablespoons grated cheese, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) warm milk
Serves 4. Clean the leaks and chop them into pieces then cook them in boiling water salted water for 10 minutes. Strain very well and add the leaks to the hot mashed potato. Add half the butter, season to taste and beat until it until it is pale green and fluffy. Arrange around the edge of an oval or round fire-proof dish and keep warm. Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter, stir in the flour and add the warmed milk. Stir well to avoid lumps. Put in the 2 oz (60g) grated cheese and mix well. Cut up the eggs and put in the middle of the leek and potatoes and cover with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese on top and put into a hot oven 400F (200C) until the top is golden brown.
PWDIN CAWS POBI CYMREIG (WELSH CHEESE PUDDING)
4 thick slices of crust-less bread, 8 oz (225g) grated hard strong Welsh cheese, 1 egg, 1 pint (600ml or 2 cups) milk (or half milk half cream), pinch of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, sea-salt, black pepper, butter.
Lightly toast the bread on one side only. Butter them on the untoasted side. Grease a round ovenproof dish and lay two slices on the bottom, toasted side down. On top put half the grated cheese sprinkled with half the seasonings. Add the two remaining slices of buttered toast, buttered side upwards then scatter over the rest of the cheese. In a pan, bring the milk just up to the boil and add the remaining seasonings. Beat the egg and pour in the hot milk. Pour this over the cheese pudding and let it stand for at least 1/2 hour (30 minutes) or so to let the bread soak up the liquid. Bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for 30 minutes or until puffed up and golden on the top. Serve hot. For a light meal this gives 2 portions but as a savoury will serve 4.
EOG RHOST (ROAST SALMON)
5lb (2.25Kg) salmon, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) butter, 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 cloves, 2 bayleaves spread with butter, 1/2 large sliced orange 1/2 finely sliced lemon, 1 inch sprig of rosemary, salt and pepper
Serves 8-10. Season the salmon well inside and out with salt and pepper and rub in the nutmeg. Place inside the gullet the buttered bayleaves, rosemary and cloves. If using a cut of salmon out the bayleaves underneath and the other spices and herbs on top. Rub the 4 ounces (115g) of butter over all, cover with greaseproof paper or foil and roast in a moderately oven 350F (180C) for 20 minutes to the pound, basting it at least once with the juices. When cooked, remove the salmon to a warmed dish and peel off all the skin. Put the pan of juices on top of the stove and add the tablespoon of butter in small pieces, the very thin slices of orange and lemon and the vinegar. Boil up quickly and reduce on a fast flame until the orange is soft and slightly brown on the edges and the gravy is reduced by half. Remove the orange and lemon slices and place them alternately along the back of the fish. Serve the juices separately in a sauceboat. Any leftover salmon can be cut into pieces and dipped in batter and served with a sauce.
HWYADEN HALLT CYMREIG (WELSH SALT DUCK)
1 large duck, 1/2 lb (250g) sea-salt, duck giblets boiled in 1 1/2 pints (900ml or 3 cups) water, ½ pint (300ml) giblet stock reserved, ½ pint (300ml) cider, 1 sliced onion, pepper.
Remove the giblets and keep for making the stock. Put the duck in a deep dish then rub the sea-salt all over. Cover with a cloth and leave in a cool place for 2 days, turning and rubbing the salt in twice a day. Then rinse the duck under running water, pat dry and put into a large casserole dish. Arrange the sliced onion around, season with pepper and pour the reserved giblet stock and cider over. Put a lid on and cook in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 2 hours (120 minutes). When serving the duck hot, onion sauce is the traditional accompaniment.
COLD SALT DUCK
1 large duck, 1/2 lb (250g) sea-salt, duck giblets boiled in 1 1/2 pints (900ml or 3 cups) water, ½ pint (300ml) giblet stock reserved, ½ pint (300ml) cider, 1 sliced onion, pepper.
For the Dressing: 1 teaspoon English mustard powder, 1 teaspoon French mustard, 6 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoons wine vinegar, salt and pepper
Remove the giblets and keep for making the stock. Put the duck in a deep dish then rub the sea-salt all over. Cover with a cloth and leave in a cool place for 2 days, turning and rubbing the salt in twice a day. Then rinse the duck under running water, pat dry and put into a large casserole dish. Arrange the sliced onion around, season with pepper and pour the reserved giblet stock and cider over. Put a lid on and cook in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 2 hours (120 minutes). When cooked leave to get cold in the stock then skin, tear off the meat and arrange it on a dish. Serve with an oil and vinegar dressing
Dressing: Mix the 2 mustards together and add a little salt. Then mix in the oil and vinegar and shake well. Season with pepper to taste.
CIG OEN RHOST A SAUCE CRIAFOL (ROAST MUTTON WITH ROWANBERRY SAUCE)
1 Saddle (weighing about 9 lb or 4Kg), a pinch of finely chopped or powdered rosemary, thyme, parsley, mint, marjoram, garlic, flour, nutmeg, 4 tablespoons mutton dripping, or lard or oil, salt, pepper, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) red wine
Serves 8-10.The kidneys are usually dressed on top of the joint but as they become overcooked if roasted with the joint it is best to remove them and add them to the pan 1/2 an hour before the joint is read. Small skewers can be used to affix them before serving.
First tub the entire joint with pepper, nutmeg and the powdered herbs. Spread over the dripping and dredge the top skin liberally with flour. Set in a moderate oven 350F (180C) and roast for 20 minutes to the pound for pink meat or 25 minutes if liked well done. Twenty minutes before it is ready, baste well and dust again with flour. Sprinkle the crust with a few drops of ice cold water to crisp the skin. Pour off the excess fat from the pan and add a glass of red wine. Dilute this with about 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) water and set back in the oven. When ready put the joint on a warmed dish and secure the kidneys at the tail end, then reduce the gravy on top of the stove for about 10 minutes. A saddle is carved in slices parallel to the backbone although it can be carved down into large cutlets. Serve with Rowanberry Sauce.
SAWS CRIAFOL (ROWANBERRY SAUCE)
3 lb (1.4Kg) rowan berries, 2 large chopped apples, 1 lb (500g) sugar for every pint of juice, water
Makes approx. 5 lb rowanberry sauce. Put the berries and the chopped (but not peeled or cored) apples into a large saucepan. Cover with water and boil for 40 minutes. Drain through a muslin cloth and let it drip overnight. Then boil up the liquid allowing 1 lb (500g) sugar for every pint of juice. Boil fairly fast for about 1 hour (60 minutes) until it thickens. Bottle and seal as for jam.
ROAST STUFFED RABBIT
1 rabbit, 9 rashers streaky bacon, ½ pint (300ml) milk
Stuffing: 4 oz (115g) breadcrumbs, 2 oz (60g) butter, 2 rashers of rindless bacon, 4 shallots, the rabbit liver, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, sea-salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons cream.
Clean the rabbit (keep the liver) wash it in salt water and let it lie in warm salted water for an hour – then drain and pat dry. Make the stuffing: Snip the bacon rashers very small, then clean and slice the shallots finely and fry these two ingredients in a little butter until soft – allow to cool. Mix the cool bacon and shallots with the breadcrumbs, herbs, finely chopped liver, add ground salt and pepper to season – bind it into a paste with a little cream. Fill the rabbit with the stuffing, then cover the rabbit around the middle tightly with the streaky bacon. Put the rabbit into the roasting tray, season and pour around the base the milk. Roast the rabbit in an oven at 350F (180C) for 1 ½ hours (90 minutes). From time to time baste the rabbit with some of the milk and roasting juices from the tray. Lift out the rabbit when cooked and put it on to a warm serving tray with the bacon and let it rest. Add a teaspoon of flour blended with a little milk to the roasting juices of the tray, pour into a saucepan and stir while bringing it up to the boil. Serve the gravy with the rabbit.