Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Welsh Cakes and Daffodils

What a strange month February was! It reminded me of the Elvis song 'Moody Blue' as one day it was Spring sprung early, and the next pouring rain, then freezing frost! But I like February for all her foibles...I like the unexpectedness of each new day, the shortness of the month which marks it unique amongst all the others. I have loved seeing each new shoot appear, holding the promise of hosts of golden daffodils. Each year I am gladdened to see the first pinpricks of gold which herald the yellow crocuses who are swiftly followed by their purple and cream sisters.

But Monday found my kitchen smelling of something almost pancakey, with a pot of leek and potato soup bubbling on the stove. There were daffodils in vases all round the house, which can mean only one thing...February has swept away, and March, and St David's day is here! (St David's day was actually Tuesday, but I had a friend visit for dinner on Monday, so I did a themed menu then instead). First we had leek, potato and parsnip soup, then moussaka. I know, Greek not Welsh, but it was Welsh lamb mince! I finished by making Welsh cakes. They are a particular favourite of my brother, so I might make some for him soon. I had never made them before, but I will be making them again! Fresh out of the pan they are a revelation compared to fresh-out-of-the-packet, even if the packet came from Marks and Spencer!

St David's Day Welsh Cakes

First, throw open the windows, no matter how cool it is, to let the spring breeze in! Tie on a happy pinnie, and gather together:

8oz self raising flour
4oz butter (Welsh if possible!)
1 egg
Handful sultanas, currants, raisins, your choice or a combination
3oz caster sugar
Splash of milk, if needed

Rub the butter into the flour, until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar and dried fruit.

Stir in the egg, to get a soft dough. You can add a splash of milk if needed, but not too much or it will go sticky!

Lightly knead the soft dough, then roll it out to 5mm thickness. Stamp out rounds with a 3-4 inch cutter.

If you have a griddle or skillet, use that, but otherwise, heat the heaviest frying pan you have, lightly oiled (I use fry light spray).

Cook the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side. Their bottoms go dark very quickly, but do try not to burn them! They don't rise like scones, but do rise as they cook. You don't really notice until you compare to the next batch of raw ones! The middle will feel slightly squidgy and uncooked, but they will firm up whilst resting on the plate. Careful when you turn them in the pan, they are very soft and floppy!

Sprinkle them with caster sugar, then serve with either butter or jam. Delicious!

(I like how these are very similar in ingredients to pancakes, so most storecupboards should hold the wherewithall to make these, but also how they are very different to pancakes and have entirely their own character!)

Hope you all had a Happy St David's Day!

1 comment:

Dinahsoar said...

I'm not familiar with St. David's day. I'll do a little research to find out more about it.

The Welsh cakes sound so very good and I will be making these very soon--albeit minus the Welsh butter. I too love recipes that can be whipped together using pantry items and this recipe uses items I always have on hand.

Your weather sounds similar to what I am experiencing here--cold, damp, wet and wintry one day, then spring like the next. I'm in the mood to do some spring decorating--I cleaned my front porch last week to get it ready for warm weather and plan to make some bunting and get out my spring decor items. I'm ready for pinks and greens and purples and lightness and fresh air and sunlight.