Despite the mild spell the daffs aren’t quite out as they were a couple of years ago, but the Welsh don’t need much excuse for a party. St David’s Day – or Dydd Gwyl Dewi is no exception.
In my youth we always went to school in National costume and took part in an eisteddfod – singing, poetry recitation, clog dancing… and then came home for a tea of Welsh cakes to be followed by a knees up – Noson Lawen. And, of course it was all accompanied by the smell of leeks. The boys in the class munched at their buttonholes at regular intervals during the day!
I may have escaped over the bridge but we still celebrate in Wiltshire with some dressing up, Welsh cakes for tea and the odd chorus of Calon Lân. Go on spoil yourself. Welsh cakes are not only for the Welsh you know. Here’s how.
Sift 250 g s-r flour into a bowl with 1/2 tsp salt. Lightly rub in 100g unsalted butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 100g caster sugar and 100g currants. Mix in a beaten egg and about a tbsp milk and bring together to form a soft dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to a thickness of about 6mm. use a scone cutter to cut out 12 6cm circles.
Heat a slate plank if you’re Welsh and old-fashioned, like me. Otherwise a heavy-bottomed frying pan will do. It should be hot but not so hot that you cremate your Welsh cakes. Drop the cakes onto the plank and cook on one side fpr about 3 mins. Turn and do the same on the other side. If they take less time than that you probably have the heat too high.
Leave to cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with a little caster sugar.
And that’s all there is to it – unless you have a bit of a rebellious streak like me. I get a bit fed up with dried fruit from time to time and sometimes make a savoury version. Instead of the sugar and currants I like to substitute 100g sliced leeks, sauted in a little butter and 50g grated Caerphilly cheese. (OK you can use cheddar if you really want to.) Equally delicious for a tea time treat on St David’s Day – or any other.