Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Picau Ar Y Maen - Welsh Cakes & A Dash of Flavour's 200th Post! (plus a Giveaway)

Oliver and his class have just completed a "World Tour" assignment for school, in his project he chose 5 countries to visit. One of the country's Oliver chose to visit was Wales, my homeland. As a celebration of the class's World Tour, each student needs to take a plate/dish of either a parent's national dish or a dish from a country visited. Needless to say he wanted to take something Welsh for his plate and asked if we could make Picau Ar Y Maen ~ Welsh Cakes.

I was actually born in Wales but emigrated with my parents to Australia as a young child - in fact I have spent most of my life living here. Thankfully my parents, aunties and uncles kept a lot of welsh traditions continuing allowing my generation and future generations to learn a little about the country we were born or where our ancestors came from whilst living in the "land down-under". One tradition that has been hugely focused on was Welsh cooking and the cooking of traditional recipes. Recipes such as swp caws (cheese soup), cawl (broth), tatys popty (roast potatoes especially cooked with lamb bits), taffi triagl (trecle toffee) and not to forget my all time favourite ~ ffagodau a phys (faggots and peas) ~ especially when served with a double serve of mushy peas and lots of onion gravy, freshly ground black pepper and vinegar! mmmmmm!!

Welsh cakes are very easy to make and a favourite snack amongst the young and old. I say snack as they are not really a cake, a biscuit or dessert. Somewhat similar to a scone in texture but resembling a piklet or grill scone in appearance. Usually served with a cup of tea, they are sprinkled with a little caster sugar and maybe served with some butter. My opinion, they are best eaten as soon as the caster sugar is sprinkled and the welsh cake still warm... straight from the pan!

(a typical "old" welsh kitchen)

My nana used to cooked them on a griddle on her hearth (fireplace) as she had the traditional welsh open fireplace in her kitchen. Growing up I remember my aunty Maggie making these in her electric frying pan every time I stayed over. I still recall eating them while warm with the hint of spice and the sweetness of the currants making every bite a taste sensation. Not only do I still love them but my kids love these also.

Also a bit shout out to Ellie, at Almost Bourdain, who made Welsh Cakes the other day and they looked delightful!

Needless to say I spent the evening making Welsh Cakes, the first batch out of the pan were quickly gobbled up by two little monsters...... thankfully Oliver has some to take to school.

Welsh Cakes

makes approximately 40
points each: 2
250 grams self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
125 grams butter
90 grams caster sugar
90 grams currants
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
additional flour
cooking spray
butter for greasing
additional caster sugar for dusting

Sift the flour, baking powder, spice and salt together. Rub int he butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and currants. Add the beaten egg and enough milk to make a firm paste.

Roll out on a floured board to the thickness of 5mm and cut into rounds using a 2 inch pastry cutter for smaller cakes or a large cutter if you wish.

Coat a thick frying pan with cooking spray and a little butter. Cook the cakes over a gentle heat for three minutes on each side or until golden brown. Cool and sprinkle with caster sugar.

~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~

Before I finish for this post.... although it is already long enough can you imagine my delight that this is in fact not only a lesson in me and my heritage but my 200th post? I was really excited about my 100th both but this goes without saying!! I never imagined my nerdy hobby that I kept a secret would become as big as it is not to mention be visited and followed by as many of you who have been kind to do so. I really appreciate you taking the time to pop in and I especially love the comments and the feedback that I receive. Thank you all so much......

To celebrate reaching the big 200, I have a cookbook to giveaway! It's the Australian Woman's Weekly Christmas, another Australian Woman's Weekly Publication - as I have mentioned before a Woman's Weekly is a household name here and well worth reading.

The Australian Women's Weekly (AWW) is an institution in itself here in Australia, a monthly magazine that covers all aspects of life - current topics, celebrities, beauty, fashion, health and of course cooking. The AWW have released countless cookbooks and seasonal magazine specials on specific cuisines etc. To be honest I own quite a few, okay a lot, of AWW publications.

All you have to do for your chance of receiving this cookbook is:
~stop by my blog
~ post a comment introducing yourself, your background
~ describe your favourite traditional family dish - one from your heritage/background - you know that one that you cook passed on by your mam or your grandmother or one that you have taken on as your own traditional country dish.
Your comment must be received by Monday 14th December 2009 by 12pm EST (don't forget that's my time here Down Under!!) so I can hopefully this to you by Christmas. Good luck!

~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~

Note: If you are not a registered blogger user you can still leave a comment anonymously but please email me ( your contact details and copy of your comment just incase you are the lucky winner.


Clare Murray said...

OOOOOOH! I like, they look delicious. Now you can't give the prize to ya sis but I thought I would let you know the main thing I love that mum cooks are Yorkshire Puddings.................grreeeat

Velva said...

Love it! Your Welsh cakes look delightful. I have no doubt that his classmates gobbled them up too :-)

Country Mum said...

Interesting post & I enjoyed reading it, have no idea how to pronounce those welsh names!

Unknown said...

Hi Jo, it's Liz (from Caerphilly)- Funny my welshcakes don't have baking powder in, but then mines my Nan's recipe. She also used to make some with no fruit, but with jam in the middle (for the fussy ones). I make mine on the hot plate part of my George Foreman. But am so glad Oliver got to share these at his school.
Funny haven't found anyone who doesn't like them yet!

Mine would have to be either
Cawl a Caws (Lamb stew with cheese)
Lamb or mutton,
Lamb stock (from bones)
Leeks, Spuds, carrots, parsnips, onions, parsley and pepper. Served with crusty bread and topped with chunk of Cheddar.
or Pastai Cenhinen a Caws (Cheese & Leek Pasties)
240g lard
450g flour
1 tsp salt
150ml water
For pastry
2 Leeks, browned
Potatoes, boiled, mashed
salt and black pepper
Grated Cheddar
beaten egg (to glaze)

Unknown said...

And forgot Congrats on your 200th post... Keep it up we love them x