Monmouthshire (Gwent) is a county in the south-east region of Wales and these are a collection of local and regional recipes handed down within families who have lived and worked in the Monmouthshire 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.
PWDIN MYNWY (MONMOUTH PUDDING)
12 oz (240g or 4 cups) fresh white breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar or sugar with 4 drops vanilla essence, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) boiling milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 3 stiffly beaten egg whites, 1 lb (500g) raspberry or strawberry jam
Serve 4. Put the breadcrumbs into a warm basin and pour the boiling milk over using just as much as will lightly soak them but not make them sloppy. Cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes then flake up with a fork. Stir in the sugar and the melted butter, mixing it very lightly. Grease a round ovenproof dish with butter. Whip up the egg whites then fold them into the breadcrumb mixture. Put a thick layer of jam on the bottom of the dish, then half the breadcrumb mixture, then another layer of ham and finally the rest of the crumb mix. Bake in a slow oven 250F (120C) for about 20-30 minutes or until the crumb mixture is just set. Serve either hot or lukewarm. For Christmas the jam can be flavoured with a little rum or sherry and mixed with chopped crystallized fruits.
WELSH BROTH (A FARMER’S STEW)
2 lb (1Kg) lean bacon, 1 small chicken (2lb or 1 Kg in weight), 1 onion, 1 lb (480g) leeks, 1/2 lb (240g) parsnips, 1/2 lb (240g) carrots, 1/2 lb (240g) swede, 1 lb (480g) potatoes, 1 oz (30g) oatmeal, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, 2 tbsp chopped chives, salt, pepper.
Skin the chicken (use skinless chicken breasts if preferred) and trim the lean bacon. Cut the chicken and bacon into cubes of meat. Clean the vegetables, (except the potatoes) and peel them. Slice the onion and leeks finely – and cut into small cubes the swede, parsnips and carrots. Into a large stewpan or saucepan put the meat and vegetables and cover them in water. Season and bring this up to the boil, then simmer on a low heat for 2 hours.
Skim off any impurities three or four times over the two hours of simmering. After two hours add in the peeled and medium cubed or sliced potatoes. Blend the oatmeal with a little water, stir into the broth and simmer the broth at a medium heat until it reduces and thickens (30 minutes). Add the chopped parsley and chives and simmer on a low heat for ten minutes. Adjust the seasoning. Then serve.
2 lb (1Kg) pigs liver minced (calves or lambs liver can be used), 4 oz (115g or 2 cups) breadcrumbs or 4 oz (115g or 1 cup oatmeal), 4 oz (115g or 1 cup) grated suet – or 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) butter or margarine, 2 large onions minced, 2 teaspoons chopped sage, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg or mace
Serves 4-6. Finely mince the liver and the onions and put into a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs or oatmeal and all the other ingredients and mix together thoroughly. Grease a large meat tin, put the mixture in and cover with greased foil. Cook in a slow to moderate oven about 250F (120C) for 40-60 minutes. After 20 minutes cooking, take out the tin and with a knife, evenly mark out squares. Return to the oven. 15 minutes before it is ready, take off the foil to let the tops brown. Cool in the tin and break apart to serve. They can be eaten cold with salad or re-heated with 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 generous cup) of good stock poured over to make a gravy.
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.
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.
CAWL CYMREIG (WELSH BROTH/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.
BAKED TROUT WITH BACON
4 trout (cleaned and gutted), 1lb (480g) streaky bacon rashers (thinly cut – rind removed), 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 lemon (cut into 4 wedges), 2 0z (60g) butter, salt, pepper.
Thickly butter a shallow oven-proof dish and put a layer of bacon rashers on the bottom. Place the clean and gutted fish on the bacon, season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper and sprinkle over the chopped parsley. Cover over everything with another layer of bacon rashers. Cover over and seal with buttered greasproof paper or baking parchment. Bake in the oven at 400F (200C) for 30 minutes. Remove the paper and put under a hot grill or back in the oven for 10 minutes to crips up the bacon. Serve with a lemon wedge and seasonal vegetables.
BAKED STUFFED MACKEREL
4 small mackerel (cleaned and gutted), 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 tbsp chopped chives, 2 oz (60g) softened butter, 1/2 lemon (juice only), salt and pepper.
Remove the scales, clean and gut the mackerel, cut off the fins. Mix together in a bowl the softened butter, chopped parsley and chives, and squeeze in the lemon juice. Thoroughly mix into the butter and then season the butter with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Put a knob of btter into each mackerel belly. Place each fish on an individual piece of buttered foil and make a neat, loose parcel. Place the parcels onto a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F (190C) for 20 minutes. Unpack the foil parcels and serve the mackerel with the juices.
WELSH PIKELETS (GWENT)
These are smaller and thicker than ordinary English flat pancakes, and using buttermilk in a Welsh pancake (crempog) is traditional.
6 oz (170g) self-raising flour, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of salt, 3 oz (85g) butter, 1 oz (30g) sugar, 2 eggs, ¼ pint (15oml) approx buttermilk (or milk).
Rub the butter into the sifted flour, nutmeg, salt and add the sugar. In a separate bowl beat the eggs then add half the buttermilk (or milk). Stir this into the flour mixture and beat well. Gradually add enough buttermilk (or milk) to make a smooth batter, like a very thick cream. Brush the Welsh bakestone or griddle with a little melted butter. Heat the bakestone through and cook the pikelets by dropping large spoonfuls of batter onto the hot surface. Don’t let the batter spread out too much, keep them thick. Turn each pikelet over as it browns. Cook 3 or 4 pikelets together. Once cooked place them on a dish, brush them over with a little melted butter, and sprinkle over some sugar.
ROAST WELSH LEG OF LAMB WITH GRAVY
4 lb leg of welsh lamb, 2 oz (60g) beef dripping or lard (softened), 1/2 pint (300ml) water, 2 carrots, 1 large onion, 2 celery sticks, salt, pepper, 1/4 pint (150ml) red wine, 1 tbsp flour.
Peel the vegetables and roughly chop them up into large pieces. Place the vegetables into the center of a roasting tin as a bed for the meat to sit on. Wipe the meat and trim away any excess fat. Rub over the dripping or lard and sprinkle over plenty of fresh ground sea salt and black pepper. Put the joint in a roasting tin on top of the peeled vegetables then add in the water to the base of the tin. Loosely cover in a tent of tin foil or the lid of the roasting tin. Put into a pre-heated hot oven at 450F (230C) for twenty minutes, then lower the heat down to 350F (180C) for the remaining time. Roast a leg of welsh lamb for 25 minutes to the lb (480g) and add on an extra 25 minutes. Every twenty minutes remove from the oven and baste the meat before returning.
Once roasted remove the meat from the roasting tin and allow to rest (for 20 minutes) still covered loosely in the foil or the roasting tin lid. While the meat is resting make the gravy. Pour off any excess fat, (leaving the roasting juices and a little fat) from the bottom of the roasting tin – sprinkle in a 1 tsp of sugar and a tablespoon of flour, stir in, then use a fork or a masher to mash down all the roast vegetables into a pulp. Strain all this through a sieve into a saucepan, mashing down the vegetables in the sieve to get all the liquid stock out. Take this clear stock in the saucepan and put it onto a medium heat. Add in 1/4 pint (150ml) of red wine, bring to the boil and then simmer on a medium-high heat until reduced and thickened. Once thickened sieve into a gravy boat and serve the lamb with seasonal vegetables and mint sauce.
If the parsley sauce is to be served with chicken or poached salmon then substitute the ham stock for chicken or fish stock.
1/2 cup (100g) freshly chopped parsley, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) ham stock, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon butter, pinch of nutmeg, 1 tablespoon cream, pepper to taste.
Serves 6. Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Add the warm ham stock and stir briskly to avoid lumps. Add all the other ingredients and simmer for around 10 minutes. Finish with a tablespoon of fresh cream and season to taste.
SAWS NIONOD (ONION SAUCE)
1 lb (500g) finely sliced onion, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1cup) chicken stock, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) light cream, 1 heaped tablespoon butter, 1 heaped tablespoon flour.
Simmer the finely sliced onion in the stock, season to taste, for about 1 hour (60 minutes) until quite soft. In another saucepan heat the butter, stir in the flour letting it cook for 1 minute then add the strained liquor from the onions, stirring all the time until the sauce is smooth. Add the onion, mix well then add the cream, stirring until it is all incorporated.
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.
SAWS EOG TYEIFI (SALMON SAUCE)
2lb (1Kg) salmon, 8 oz (225g or 1 cup) melted butter, 1/4 pint (300ml or ½ cup) Port, 1 teaspoon mushroom ketchup, 1 anchovy fillet, salmon stock
Serves 4: Wash the salmon thoroughly and remove all skin and bones and cut it into chunks. Boil up the trimmings in 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) water, well seasoned for 1/2 an hour (30 minutes). Strain and reserve the liquid which should have reduced considerably and have a good strong flavour. Mash up the anchovy and add the salmon and all the other ingredients and put into a fireproof dish. Cover and bake in a hot oven 400F (200C) and bake for about 40 minutes.
Salmon has a delicious flavour if cooked simply. A whole fish can be rubbed with butter and lemon, wrapped in double foil and either baked in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for 15 minutes to the pound. Or gently poached for the same amount of time in boiling salted water with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice. If serving cold, leave it in the water until wanted, then drain carefully. Remove the skin and lay out on a suitable dish. Serve with mayonnaise or whipped cream or yoghurt with grated cucumber in it. Small cuts can be poached or grilled. For grilling, brush over with oil first but do not have too high a heat (thick cuts would burn before being cooked through). Serve with a nut of butter worked with a lemon juice and fresh cupped parsley.
GOLWYTHAU CIG DAGAD (LAMB CHOPS)
Allow 2-3 chops per person if they are small, 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme, pepper
Dust with black pepper and sprinkle with chopped thyme. Grill quickly under a hot grill for about 5 minutes each side. Sometimes served with mint butter (knob of butter worked with fresh chopped mint) and a little rowanberry jelly.
GOLWYTHAU CIG OEN A PHYS (LAMB CHOPS WITH PEAS)
8 small lean lamb chops, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, 2 lb (1Kg) shelled green peas, 1 pint (600ml or 2 cups) water, 1 level tablespoon cornflour, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper
Serves 4. Trim the fat off the chops and dust with black pepper. Boil up the water with the sugar and just a pinch of salt. When boiling add the shelled peas and cook for 5 minutes. Strain the peas reserving the liquid. Put the peas in the bottom of a casserole dish and sprinkle over the chopped mint. Cream the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water, heat up the pea stock and stir it in mixing well until smooth. Pre-heat the grill and also set the oven to 350F (180C). Quickly sear the chops on both sides. Pour the peas stock over the peas in the casserole and lay the chops on top. Put the uncovered casserole in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with finely pureed potatoes.
TEISEN GOCOS (COCKLE CAKES)
6 dozen (72) cockles (or clams) “about 4 quarts”, a little oatmeal, deep oil for cooking
For the Batter: 8 oz (225g or 2 cups) flour, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 egg separated, salt, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) tepid water.
Stand the cockles in slightly salted water sprinkled with oatmeal for several hours or overnight. Drain then scrub them well to remove sand and grit. Put into a large saucepan with salted water to cover and bring to the boil for about three minutes or until open. Do not continue to cook once the shells open as it can make them rubbery. Leave until cool enough to handle.
To make the batter: put the flour into a basin add the salt and the oil then stir in the beaten egg-yolk and the water. Beat until smooth and leave in a cool place. The batter mix is meant to be of a thick consistency.
Remove the cockles for their shells with a sharp knife. Beat the egg white until stiff and fold into the batter. Heat the oil for deep frying until just smoking. Dip one or two cockles together in the batter and using a spoon, drop into the hot oil and fry until golden. Drain on absorbent paper. If lightly fried, until just coloured, the cockle cakes can be reheated without losing the taste or crispness of the batter. Serve with lemon wedges and home-made bread. Serves 4-6.
TEISEN FEL (HONEY CAKE)
8 oz (225g or 2 cups) sifted flour, 1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) butter or margarine, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) brown soft sugar, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) warmed and runny honey, an extra 1 tablespoon warmed honey, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 2 egg yolks, 3 egg whites, 2 tablespoons milk (if eggs are small).
Sieve together the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda. Separate the eggs, keeping 1 egg white separate from the other two. Cream the butter and sugar together, beat in the 2 yolks and add in the honey, slowly, whilst beating. Stir in the flour mixture and if it seems very stiff add a little milk. Beat up the single egg white until stiff then gently fold it into the mix. Grease an 9 inch (23cm) tart tin and pour in the mixture. Bake in a hot oven 400F (200C) for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool for 2 minutes then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Beat the remaining 2 egg whites with the caster sugar until thick. The remaining tablespoon of warmed honey is brushed over the cake and the meringue mix is roughly put on the top so that it stands in points. Put the cake back into a moderate oven 325F (160C) for 10-15 minutes or until the meringue has set and is very lightly golden on the top. If preferred, the cake mix can also be put into patty pans with the tops dredged in fine sugar afterwards and the meringue topping omitted.
SPONGE FINGERS / JAM SANDWICHES (CAS-GWENT)
If preferred, the mixture can be spooned in small circles onto the baking sheet. When cool, the rounds can be sandwiched together with jam and whipped cream.
6 separated eggs, 5 oz (140g) cater sugar, 6 drops vanilla essence (unless using vanilla sugar), 5 oz (140g or 1 cup) sifted flour
Makes about 4 dozen. Grease and lightly flour a large baking sheet. Cream the egg yolks with the sugar until they are pale and fluffy. Blend in the vanilla essence, if using. Whip up the whites until very firm and add one third of the quantity alternately with the flour, mixing very well. Fold in the remaining whites carefully and quickly. Put the mixture into a bag with a medium sized nozzle and pipe out fingers onto the greased and lightly floured baking sheet. Ensure the piped fingers are not too close together. Carefully dust the tops with caster sugar. Spilt sugar on the baking sheet causes burning. Bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 5 minutes or until they are just pale gold.
CIG EIDION CYMREIG WEDI EI FRWYSIO (WELSH BRAISED BEEF)
3 lb (1.5Kg) shin of beef chopped into 2 inch (5cm) pieces, 1 lb (500g) smoked Welsh bacon cut into 2 inch (5cm) pieces, 4 small turnips, 4 large onion, 4 medium sliced carrots, 1 tablespoon lard or butter, 1 tablespoon wheat flour, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) light beer or cider, 3 pints (1.8 Litres or 6 cups) water, 1 lb (500g) potatoes, 6 leeks, sprig of thyme marjoram, savoury, salt and pepper.
Serves 6. In a very large saucepan melt the fat (butter or lard) and lightly fry the chopped meats in it. Shake over the flour and let it just colour then add the water. Cover and cook gently for about 40 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises. Keeping the potatoes and leeks until later, add the sliced vegetables and herbs, season to taste and bring back to the boil. Add the beer or cider and simmer very gently for at least an hour or until the beef is quite tender. Add the cleaned, chopped leeks with the potatoes cut in half and stir well. Continue to simmer until the leeks and potatoes are cooked through but not mushy. This braised beef should not be too watery. If preferred, it can be cooked in a slow to moderate oven 275F (150C).
1lb (500g) potatoes, 1lb (500g) young white turnips, 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons warm cream, water, salt and pepper
Serves 4-6. In separate pans, boil the potatoes and turnips in salted water. Drain well then mash separately adding pepper to taste and divide the butter between each vegetable. Combine the vegetables and beat well together until the mixture looks like alabaster. Put into a deep bowl, then make 6-8 holes down through the puree into which warm cream is poured. Serve hot. Warm butter or plain yoghurt brought to room temperature can be used in place of cream.
TEISEN NIONOD (ONION CAKE)
2 lb (1Kg) peeled and finely sliced potatoes, 1 lb (500g) peeled and finely chopped onion, 4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) butter, salt and pepper
Serves 4-6. Well grease an oven dish and on the bottom lay a thick layer of sliced potato. well seasoned then a layer of onion. Dot each layer with butter and repeat the layers until the dish is full and ending with a layer of potato dotted with butter. If necessary, use extra butter to do this. Cover with a lid or foil and bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) removing the lid for the last 1/2 hour (30 minutes). The variety of potato makes a difference to the cooking time allowed: very floury potatoes can cook in an hour whereas waxy potatoes will take longer.
LAMB ONION CAKE: Potato and onion prepared as before but put into a meat roasting tin with stock to cover and a small joint of lamb roasted on top is very good. It would not be too fatty if a young and lean joint is used. The lamb juices running down into the vegetables gives them an excellent flavour and the meat will be succulent and free of fat. Serve with a green salad.
CHEESE AND ONION CAKE: Grated cheese can be added to the layers of potato and onion. Caerphilly cheese, a light moist cheese from Wales is most suitable. Bake in a moderate oven as before.
WELSH RAREBIT AND ONION BROTH
Welsh Rarebit: 5oz (140g) hard Welsh cheese grated, ½ tsp mustard, 1 egg yolk, 2 tbsp dark Welsh ale, sea-salt and pepper, 4 slices of thick bread cut in half.
Onion Broth: 3 tbsp butter, 2 lb (1 kg) onions, (finely sliced), a few sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 pint (300ml) dark Welsh ale, 1 1/2 pints (900ml) beef stock, sea-salt and black pepper to season.
Serves 4. Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, add the finely sliced onions and cook on a very low heat for 40 minutes (or until the onions are brown and soft). Pour over the Welsh ale and reduce this by half on a gentle simmer. Add the beef stock, season with salt and pepper, add the bay leaves and the stripped leaves from the sprigs of thyme, and bring to the boil. Keep on a high simmer and cook for 30 minutes and reduce by half again to make an onion broth. In a bowl mix together the grated cheese, mustard, egg yolk, ale, and salt and pepper. Under a hot grill toast the slices of bread on one side. Turn the toasts over and sprinkle over the cheese mixture to melt and brown on the toasts under the grill. Remove the bay leaves and pour the onion broth into four bowls, gently lay in the broth two of the toasted Welsh rarebits each. Serve hot.
TEISEN GALAN YSTWYLL (TWELFTH NIGHT CAKE)
After baking the cake can be brushed with warm apricot jam and covered with marzipan, prior to icing if liked – or it can just be iced.
1lb (500gor 2 cups) butter, 1 lb (500g or 2 cups) sugar, 1 lb (500g or 4 cups) self raising flour, 1 lb (500g or 2 cups) currants, 1 lb (500g or 2 cups) sultanas (seedless raisins), 4 oz (115g or 1 cup) ground almonds, 4 oz (115g) each minced candied citron and lemon peel, 1/2 teaspoon each of powdered cinnamon, ginger and coriander, 1/4 oz (7g) allspice, 9 separated eggs, 6 tablespoons brandy, pinch of salt
First prepare a 9 inch (23cm) cake tin by lining it with buttered greaseproof paper. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar then add the spices. Beat in alternatively, the beaten egg-yolks with the brandy and a dusting of sifted flour. Add the ground almonds, dried fruit and peel. Whip the egg whites until fairly stiff and fold alternatively with the rest of the flour into the mixture. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Put the mixture into the cake tin, cover the top with greaseproof paper and bake in a moderate oven 300F (150C) for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the cover after the first 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes). Let the cake cool slightly in the tin before turning out top downwards onto a wire rack to get cold.
ICING FOR THE CAKE
4 egg whites, 1 1/2 lb (750g) sifted icing sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon
Beat the egg whites adding the icing sugar a little at a time, also the lemon juice. Work it until the icing is smooth and white. Using a palette knife or spatula, spread the icing over the cake. After all the icing has been spread, but not before, dip the knife in tepid water and smooth all over. When left overnight the icing will be quite firm.
TARTEN GENNIN (LEEK TART)
10 large leeks, 1 tablespoon butter, 4 rashers chopped ham or bacon, 2 well beaten eggs mixed with 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) cream or milk, salt and pepper.
For the Pastry: 6 oz (170g or 1 1/2 cups) flour, 3 oz (85g) butter or margarine, pinch of salt, about 4 tablespoons iced water
Serves 4. First make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour and salt until it is resembles fine crumbs. Then add the water and mix well. Keep in a cool place until required or if making the flan straight away, lightly grease a 9 inch (23cm) tart tin. Roll out the pastry roughly to the size needed, press it down lightly into the tin and brush the bottom with a little beaten egg-yolk to prevent it becoming heavy.
Wash and clean the leeks and cut them into 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces. If the leeks are young, leave on a certain amount of the green part. Heat the butter and lightly toss the leeks in until they soften. Do not let them brown. Spread this on the pastry, add the diced ham or bacon and season to taste. Beat the eggs with the cream or milk and pour over the leeks and ham. Cook in a moderate oven 350F (180C) for about 35 minutes or until the custard is set and slightly golden on top. If leeks are not available then substitute 2-3 medium onions and if liked, grated cheese can be added too. Eat either hot or cold.
SCALLOPS AND BACON
Open the shells with a knife and remove only the small black sac: everything else is edible. If the scallops are very large, cut off the red coral tongue and also cut the white part in two. Barely cover the scallops with water and simmer for about 10 minutes, drain but reserve the stock. Take as many skewers as there are people and thread them with first a bayleaf, a chunk of coral, a piece of scallop, then a thin piece of bacon until the skewer is bull. Brush with oil and grill on all sides until they are cooked, about 10 minutes, basting at least once with a little scallop stock. Remove the skewers and keep warm, add the rest of the stock to the pan juices and reduce on top of the stove. Pour over the skewers to serve.