Thursday, 1 March 2012

Daffodils are out to celebrate all things Welsh!

Daffodils on 1 March
Hurray it’s March and the daffodils are out! I always love to see the beginning of March as it lifts my spirits after the dark winter days. The lighter days are coming and the weather is getting warmer. There’s even a hint of the first blossoms on the trees. 1st March is a day of celebration in Wales as it’s the national day of the patron saint, St David and a chance to wear either a daffodil (or leek) as a symbol of all things Welsh. The traditional meal on St David's Day is ‘cawl’ which is a soup that is made from leeks, potatoes and Welsh lamb or beef.

One of the most famous Welsh baking recipes is Bara Brith or 'Os gwelwch yn dda' which translates as ‘speckled bread’. My Uncle Albert, who lived for twenty years in North Wales after he went there from The Potteries always made several loaves of Bara Brith whenever we went to stay. It’s really a sort of sticky ‘teabread’ made with dried fruit and soaked in black tea overnight. Once it’s baked, allowed to cool and ready to serve, you slice and spread it with (Welsh) butter to enjoy with afternoon tea.

Uncle Albert’s Bara Brith recipe :
450g/1lb dried fruit (mixed sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel)
75g/3oz soft brown sugar
300ml/½ pint black tea
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp mixed spice

Soak the dried fruit and sugar in the tea and leave overnight. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Mark 3. Line a 900g/2lb or 2 smaller 450g/1lb loaf tins with baking or greaseproof paper. Add the beaten egg, flour and mixed spice into the fruit mixture and mix well. Put the mixture into the loaf tin(s) and bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake(s) comes out clean.

Celebrate the national cake of Wales with a slice of Bara Brith or two and don’t forget your daffodils. Enjoy! Mwynhewch eich bwyd!

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