St. David's Day Traditional Dishes
Where to eat during St. David's Day
St. David is a celtic monk who spread the word of Christianity across Wales in the 6th century and this 1st of March, people in Wales will celebrate the St David's Day in honor of the patron saint. People usually wear a dafodil or leek as National Emblems of Wales.
They believe that leek is associated with St. David and represent health, virtous, and have the ability to heal cold and wounds. Some believe, if there is a girl who slept with a leek under her pillow on St. David's Day, she would probably see her future husband in her dream. Welsh cooking contain many of leeks, maybe because they believe about the leek's benefits.
Welsh Dishes are pretty shocking to me, why ? Because of their simplicity and the taste. Despite their difficult-to-spelled name of the dishes, those are pretty easy to make and all the ingredients are really easy to find. Even in a tropical country like my country, the herbs are abundance here and leeks are everywhere and cheap.
Wales is located in Northern Europe and is part of the United Kingdom. Its terrain is mainly hills and low mountains with areas of fertile lowlands. Much of the land in Wales is used for agricultural purposes. Their crops are barley, oats, potatoes, leeks, and cabbage. Wales is so rich with dairy product and cattle like sheeps and cows. Wales is so famous with their seafoods and fresh foods.
The Welsh people use to stew or boil their foods. Their famous soup recipes such as Cawl Cennin and Cawl Mamgu are very well received in many society and even after I learn about the recipe, I realize that I used to make the Cawl Mamgu without prior knowing that it's one of the Welsh dishes, only I used the Beef broth instead of Lamb's. Another method of cooking is on a bakestone.
They used to griddle items like cakes, scones, pancakes, and oatcakes on a flat stone which is heated on a fire. The stone is superseded with metal, and iron. The Bakestone is still in use in many Welsh kitchen. My local culture also know this bakestone, like in Papua, Indonesia. There is a tribe that used to cook pork in a hot stone, it's very similar, they heat the stone first and cook their food on the hot stone. Some of restaurants and cafe in my country also use the hot stone to cook some dishes.
St. David's Day special dishes
I love the Welsh full breakfast, almost similar with Indonesian breakfast..so full, the difference is I eat rice and the Welsh eat toast as carb, but the rests like sausages, eggs, bacon, and veggie like tomatoes or mushrooms are the same. Even the tea! So, on this St. David's Day, you may start your day with this full breakfast for the whole family.
The breakfast contain of : Grilled Welsh bacon, pork sausages, black pudding, eggs (you may scrambled, fried, or poached), laverbread or toast, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms fried in butter and some baked beans. Some will add laver cake too.
Laver cakes are an essential part of a Welsh breakfast but can also be served as a side dishes with roast meats. This quick and simple Laver Cake recipe is adapted from a recipe by Gilli Davies recipe in her book A Taste of Wales.
4 oz/ 100g fresh or canned laverbread (seaweed)
1 oz/ 25g medium or fine oatmeal.
2 tsp bacon fat or lard
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the laverbread and oatmeal.
- Divide the mixture into 2 inch/5cm round and ¾ inch/2cm thick patties.
- Heat a heavy-based frying pan on the stove top. Add the fat to the pan and heat to hot but not burning.
- Slide the patties carefully into the hot fat a couple at a time and fry quickly for 2 - 3 minutes on each side.
- Lift carefully from pan with a palette knife and lay onto kitchen paper to drain.
- Keep warm until all the patties are cooked.
Serve as part of a Welsh breakfast or as a side dish to roast meats.
For lunch, after big and full breakfast, to have some light lunch is great. Like Welsh Rarebit. There are many versions of Welsh rarebit, some recipe use goat cheese but here is richly flavored with mature Cheddar cheese (more common in my country than goat cheese) and thickened with breadcrumbs for the texture.
90 ml semi-skimmed milk
1/2 tsp mustard powder
125 g well-flavoured mature Cheddar cheese, grated
40 g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
4 thick slices wholemeal bread, about 45 g each
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
Baby spinach, apple and celery salad
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp poppy seeds
200 g baby spinach leaves
2 red-skinned dessert apples, quartered, cored and sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
salt and pepper
- Preheat the grill to high. Put the milk, mustard powder and cheese in a small heavy-based saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs. Cool for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a spreading consistency.
- Meanwhile, arrange the slices of bread on a baking tray and toast on both sides under the grill.
- While the bread is toasting, make the salad. Put the sunflower oil, walnut or hazelnut oil, red wine vinegar and poppy seeds in a salad bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk to mix. Add the spinach, apples and celery, but do not toss.
Top the toast with the slices of red onion, then spoon over the cheese mixture, spreading it out to cover the toast completely. Return to the grill and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the cheese mixture is golden brown and bubbling. Toss the salad and serve with the rarebits.
Most of Welsh main course use lamb as main ingredient. I love lamb, and according to my blood type diet, I have to consume lamb :)
Welsh recipes for main course dishes cannot ignore Welsh lamb. The naturally good flavor of Welsh lamb with the addition of spice, herbs and a little sweetness.
Roast Welsh Lamb with gin and cranberry.
Welsh Lamb leg joint, allow 175-350g per person
450g (1lb) lamb or beef sausages, slit skins and remove meat
90ml (6tbsp) gin
45ml (3tbsp) cranberry sauce
4 small red onions
5ml (1tsp) butter
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Medium - 25 minutes per 450g/0.5 kg (1lb) plus 25 minutes
Well done - 30 minutes per 450g/0.5kg (1lb) plus 30 minutes
Oven temperature: gas mark 4-5, 180°c, 350°f
1. Weigh joint and calculate cooking time.
2. Line a roasting pan with 2 sheets of foil & place the lamb leg onto the foil.
3. Mix together the gin & cranberry jelly and spoon this over the lamb.
4. Scrunch the foil around the joint, but leave the top exposed.
5. Cut the onions in half horizontally (stalk at top) and using a spoon scoop out some of the layers leaving 2-3 in the shell.
6. Roughly chop the removed onion. In a pan heat butter and lightly fry onion.
7. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the rosemary and sausage meat and combine together.
8. Take a handful of mixture and stuff into onion shells. Prop up around the joint, drizzle with a little olive oil and cook for calculated time.
9. Baste occasionally during cooking.
10. Rest the joint for about 15 minutes.
Serve with roasted potatoes, seasonal vegetables and cranberry gin meat juices.
That recipe and photo courtesy of Eat Welsh Lamb