Sunday, March 1, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Welsh Cakes and Saint David's Day

Happy Saint David's Day!
March first is a very special day for Paul and me.
No, we’re not Welsh.
We don’t have any Welsh relatives or friends, as far as I know.

It’s just that, a couple of times, a few years ago, we made some big changes in our lives at this time.

In 1975 - forty years ago today - we moved from our house in Vancouver, British Columbia to an apartment in Winnipeg.
Yes, the cold was a shock.
Yes, we’ve lived in Winnipeg for forty years!!

On March 1, 1978 we moved into our first little house on the prairie.
As we'd lived in two apartments in this city, it was our third home in Winnipeg.
So Paul and I stroll down a few memory lanes on March 1.


Oh, about St. David of Wales…
He appreciated the impact of doing the little things in life.
One of his sayings: A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark. 
He was a saint, not a Rhodes scholar.

He was an aristocrat from West Wales who lived in the sixth century.
In his honour many wear either a daffodil or a leek, or display the flag of St. David, which is a yellow cross on a black background.

St. David taught his monks to lead a simple life, avoiding beer and meat. 
His only drinking water, led to his nickname Dewi Ddyrwr (the water drinker).
Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus means Happy Saint David's Day.


If you’re really eager to do something Welsh try saying the name of a Welsh village:
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Llanfair PG (its shorter name) is on the island of Anglesey in Wales, and is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the place with the longest name in Britain.
It means: Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave.
Now you know.


Since Malta was part of the British empire until 1964, there were a lot of British recipes that became quite popular on our islands.
One such recipe is Welsh cakes, a nice simple dessert that goes well with a cup of tea.
Well, that’s how the Brits serve tea.
To do it Maltese style, serve the tea in a glass.


Hints:

You can use dried currants instead of the raisins.
Or a mixture of the two, if you have some bits leftover from Christmas baking.
Some people leave out the fruit, then split them and sandwich them with jam.

You can  also add a pinch of allspice for a bit of a kick.

About the milk, you want to make a firm dough that is similar to pie pastry.
You can use a glass to cut the dough into 3 inch rounds.
In a rush?  Cut them into squares.
St. David won't complain.

Some folks say each side needs to be caramel brown before turning.
Some like the sides almost burnt.
Some prefer them light brown.
Suit yourself.

You can dust the cakes with sugar while they are still warm. 
Or you can let them cool and then sprinkle them with sugar.

Welsh Cakes also freeze well.


                        Welsh Cakes

Makes 4 dozen
Sift together in a large bowl
4 Cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
Add
3/4 Cup butter or lard (or a combination of half of each)
Mix until it looks like fine bread crumbs.
Add
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 Cups raisins 
Place in a small bowl
4 large eggs
Beat lightly and add to the flour mixture. 
Gradually add about
1/2 Cup milk, more or less 
Chill dough 1 to 2 hours.

On a floured surface roll the dough to 1/4 inch and cut into rounds. 
Lightly grease a griddle or frying pan.
Bake the cakes over low heat until golden brown. 

Serve warm with butter. 

2 comments:

  1. Enjoyed learning a bit more about St David! Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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  2. Hi, Carol,

    Poor St. David! Some saints just don't enough publicity :-)
    All together now
    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

    Thank you for giving us food bloggers a chance to share our recipes on your blog http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz

    It's been fun to get to meet people from around the world!

    Happy holidays to you and yours, and all the best in 2016!

    ReplyDelete