Bara Brith Blondies

a fresh, bite-sized twist on a Welsh classic…
Bara Brith Blondies Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! (Happy Saint David’s Day!) …For yesterday! The Welsh weather was hilariously on form all weekend – one minute sunny, the next minute rain, thunder, hail stones… And so my Saint David’s Day weekend was spent indoors (are we ever going to get a dry weekend?). Most of my Saturday was spent pottering around in the kitchen whipping up a few of my favourite Welsh Bakes to dole out to family and friends, and then on Sunday – I scoffed the lot. Standard. Obviously I made a massive batch of Welshcakes (I mean, it’s criminal not to scoff at least a dozen Welshcakes on Saint David’s Day, I think you’ll agree…), tried my hand at Aberffraw Shortbread, and I also made these Bara Brith Blondies.

Let’s be honest, Welsh Cakes and Bakes are never going to win any beauty contests; they’re pretty much the equivalent of me first thing on Sunday morning when I’m plodding around in my yoga pants and glasses walking the dog – unappetizing, no frills, what you see is pretty much what you get (and is at its finest when paired with a cup of tea). Welsh baking is simple and homely – it’s supposed to taste good, not look good, and usually be made with whatever you’ve got bashing around in your cupboard. And that’s why I love it.

I fancied making some Bara Brith over the weekend, but I wanted to try something a little different to the traditional tea loaf we all know and love (find my recipe for that right here). I wanted something a bit more bitesized – perfect for lunchboxes, for tea breaks, and for warming up in the microwave and serving with ice cream (I also saw someone serving up pancakes topped with little bits of Bara Brith over the weekend on social media – how genius is that!?). And so, I came up with these Bara Brith Blondies. They’re a really easy twist on the traditional recipe, with the same tea-soaked sultanas and mixed spice flavour, a super moist sponge and a honey drizzled crust. Yum! 🙂

Easy Bara Brith Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch

Bara Brith Blondies

Ingredients
  • 250g sultanas
  • 300ml boiling hot water
  • 1 black teabag (I used Earl Grey)
  • 170g melted butter (cooled)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 260g plain flour
  • runny honey to glaze
Bara Brith for kids Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. Soak your sultanas and teabag in the boiling hot water – leaving them to steep overnight if possible, or for a couple of hours. The sultanas should plump and soak up either all or most of the tea. Discard any leftover water.
  2. Grease and line a deep, rectangular baking tin, and set your oven to 160C.
  3. To make the batter, cream together the melted butter and sugars. Stir in the eggs, mixed spice and vanilla bean paste, and then fold in the flour and tea-soaked sultanas.
  4. Try not to overwork the batter – call it quits when all the ingredients have more or less come together – and then pour it into your baking tin, gently smoothing it into the corners.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, then leave to cool.
  6. Brush the surface with runny honey, and then chop up and scoff with a cuppa. 🙂
Bara Brith Blondies Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch - St David's Day Food

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus, pawb! (Happy Saint David’s Day Everyone!) 💛 You can find a video of this recipe (along with two other easy Welsh Bakes with a Twist) over on my IGTV.

Indian Spiced Cawl

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I’m so excited that it’s soup season again!  Not only is it the perfect meal to come home to when you’ve been out in the cold, but it’s also so easy – whether you get it out of a tin or cook it from scratch.  And when it gets cold enough here in Wales we don’t sip soup, we slurp Cawl.  In case you didn’t know, Cawl is a Welsh soup traditionally made with lamb and whatever root vegetables happen to be lying around in your cupboard (the word “Cawl” can also mean to make a mess of something).   For this version I’ve spiced things up a bit; I’ve kept the base recipe traditional, but have flavoured the lamb and stock with some Indian spices and fresh coriander.  It’s all served up with some toasted naan bread – yum!

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Indian Spiced Cawl (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • Neck of Welsh Lamb
  • ½ a white onion roughly chopped
  • 1 echalion/banana shallot roughly chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes roughly chopped into chunks
  • 1 large parsnip sliced
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • Handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Place the lamb in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.  Skim off the fat, then leave to cool overnight.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan and fry off the onions with the cinnamon.
  3. Slice the lamb off the bone and cut into rough chunks, then add to the pan along with the rest of the spices (set aside the water – that makes up the soup stock). Coat the lamb with the spices and leave to fry for three minutes.
  4. Add the potato and parsnip, then stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down heat and leave to simmer for an hour.
  5. When ready to serve, add the chopped coriander. Serve with warm naan bread.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

*Tinker’s Muffins

I’m sneaking in a blog post a day early this week to celebrate St David’s Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus pawb!  Here in Wales everyone has their special own way of celebrating the patron saint of Wales on March the 1st.  Kid celebrate in school with a full-on Eisteddfod, some pin a fresh daff to their suit before heading in to work, or pick up a pack of Welsh Cakes on the way home.  I’ve heard that there are even a few pop-up celebrations in London this year, with both Borough Market and Paddington Station serving up Welsh nibbles to commuters (definitely not to be missed if you’re in and around the big smoke today!).

Me?  Surprise, surprise, I like to celebrate with my stomach, and why not? Some of my favourite recipes are Welsh ones because they’re easy to make and taste good, and that’s probably down to the fact that food and drink produced here in Wales is tip top.  So, today I’ve partnered up with Food and Drink Wales to celebrate Welsh Food and Drink by serving up this easy recipe for Tinker’s Muffins as well as a competition to win a hamper full of fantastic Welsh produceIf you fancy seeing what everyone else is cooking today, or want to share a recipe of your own, you can follow along by using the hashtags #ThisIsWales and #GwaldGwald.

Tinker’s Cake or “Dinca Fala”  is an old Welsh recipe for an apple threaded version of the more popular Welsh Cake, and was a favourite of iron workers travelling around the South Wales Valleys.  This version has a little added spice with some stem ginger and a sweet apple cider glaze.  Yum! 🙂

Tinker’s Muffins (Makes 12)

Ingredients

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1stp baking powder
  • 1stp ground ginger
  • 50g wholemeal spelt flour 
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml milk 
  • 4 tbsp melted butter (I used Dragon Menyn Hallt Cymraeig)
  • 250g cooking apples (grated)
  • 50g chopped stem ginger

For the glaze:

  • 50g melted butter
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 2tbsp welsh cider (I used Taffy Apple Cider)
  • 1tbsp pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients – that’s the flours, ground ginger, baking powder and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter before stirring the mixture into the dry ingredients.  Once combined, fold in your grated apple and chopped stem ginger.
  4. Share the batter between twelve muffin cases, then bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Once baked, leave the muffins to cool while you make up the glaze.  Mix together the butter, icing sugar and cider until smooth then drizzle over the muffins.  Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top, then serve. 🙂

Competition

Food and Drink Wales are offering up one hamper filled with Welsh Food and Drink goodies, including; Radnor Brecon’s Smoky Campfire Marmalade and Pin Gin Marmalade, Nom Nom Halen Mon Sea Salt Chocolate Bar and their Earl Grey Chocolate Bar, Tregroes Toffee Waffles, Tan Y Castell Welsh Cakes, Welsh Brew Tea Bag Sample Packs, a Welsh apron, as well as some Welsh Gin.

To be in with a chance of winning click here to enter.  Entries close at midnight on Thursday 15th of March and the competition is open to UK residents over 18 only.  I’ll announce the winner on Friday 16th of March.  Good luck!

Now Closed!

Happy St David’s Day everyone! (And happy March 1st!) ♡

Glamorgan Sausage Rolls

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Happy Friday everyone!  This time next week it’ll be March, isn’t that crazy?  And with that in mind – seeing as next Thursday is St David’s Day – here’s a little Welsh recipe with a twist that you might have seen in this month’s Co-op Food Magazine.

Co-op got in contact with me before Christmas and asked me what I’d be cooking this St David’s Day and I came up with a recipe for Glamorgan Sausage Rolls.  Glamorgan Sausages are legendary here in Wales, but if you’ve never heard of them before they’re basically veggie sausages made from leeks, cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs and were very popular during the war when meat was hard to come by.  Now, I’m not normally one for veggie sausages, but these – if I do say so myself – are LOVELY, and would make a great snack to bring out at half time during the Six Nations.  Especially if you dunk them in either some chilli jam or onion chutney. 😉

Glamorgan Sausage Rolls (Makes 8 small sausage rolls)

Ingredients

  • 170g white breadcrumbs
  • 100g Co-op British leek, finely chopped
  • 150g Caerphilly or Welsh Cheddar, grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 2 British free range eggs
  • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 375g pack ready rolled puff pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, chopped leek, cheese, paprika, thyme and mustard.
  2. Whisk the eggs with 2 tbsp of the milk (Hold back 2 tbsp of the egg/milk mix – you’re going to need that later!) and stir into the sausage mix.
  3. Now for the sticky bit!  Mould the mix into 8 equally sized sausages (you could use a bit of cling film to help you), and then dunk them one by one into egg and milk mix you held back earlier. Lightly roll each sausage in the flour and then leave them to chill in the fridge for 30 mins – over overnight if you’ve got the time to spare. 
  4. When you’re ready to cook, melt some butter in a frying pan and fry the sausages until golden, then leave them to cool.
  5. Now to get rolling!  Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick and then cut into 8 rectangles. Place each sausage in the middle of a piece of pastry, fold over, and brush with the remaining milk to seal (or use whisked egg for a richer wash).
  6. Crimp the edges with a fork and slash the top of each sausage roll with a knife. Lay on the baking tray, making sure there’s a gap between each roll. Bake for 40 mins, or until golden. Slice, serve and scoff!

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂