Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's Occurrin'? A Wanna-be Welsh Foodie For A Day

Update:  I made the St. David's day feast a few days early so that Mr. Neil could enjoy it along with me (working late this upcoming week, boo).  As predicted, I couldn't bring myself to buy or make seaweed (not to knock it, I mean who doesn't love some good sushi seaweed?!)  But the chicken and leek pie was AMAZING.  I used a little less cream than called for, a little less cheese than called for (and couldn't find caerphilly, so used soft goat's cheese), and given the chance again, I'd make it in separate serving vessels for each person eating (this probably should have fed 3 - 4, but in my house it fed just the two of us...oops).  But other than that, even the prunes, which I was a little skeptical about, fit in the dish perfectly.  And I forgot to take a photo because I was so ready to eat.  Hope you can enjoy it soon too!

Monday, March 1st is St. David's Day.  The patron saint of Wales, David (or Dewi Sant in Welsh), was born around the year 500 and unlike other patron saints of the British Isles, was a native of Wales.  He died on March 1, probably in the year 589 in Pembrokeshire, Wales.  (Thanks, Wikipedia!)  He was a teacher and preacher and worked to spread Christianity through Wales, Cornwall and Brittany.

Living an austere life without booze or meat, his symbol is the leek, and that's where we come in.

Always one to celebrate for the simplest of reasons, I find that despite my complete lack of Welsh heritage, it's time to start a St. David's day tradition in my house.  So, bring on the day's menu  (well, the night's menu, because I don't know anyone who can be bothered to make a fry-up on a Monday morning).

Up first, the British pie.  (And who doesn't love something that involves puff pastry? - Nobody, that's the answer)  Also, I got this recipe from a British site, so please excuse the inconsistency with measurements.

Chicken, Leek, Prune and Caerphilly Cheese Pie

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit

1 lb/500g ready rolled puff pastry
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4 boned chicken thighs, cubed
7 oz/200g leeks, sliced, white part only
2 Tbsp. flour
150 mL dry white wine
1 pint chicken stock
200 mL + 1 Tbsp. double cream
2 tsp. English mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 1/2 oz/100g prunes, halved
5 1/2 oz/150g Caerphilly (Welsh) cheese, crumbled
2 oz/55g mixed chopped tarragon and parsley
1 egg yolk

1. In a medium saucepan melt the butter and oil, then fry the onions and garlic until they start to colour, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook for further 5 minutes until chicken is sealed

3. Add the leeks and flour, stirring continually until well combined

4. Add wine and chicken stock slowly until sauce has thickened.

5.  Add the cream and mustard.  Then season.

6.  Take off heat and stir in prunes, cheese and herbs.

7.  Place the pie filing into a medium pie dish.

8.  Mix egg yolk and 1 Tbsp cream together and brush around pie dish.  Cover with pastry and cut around sides with a knife.  Brush remaining egg mix over pie.

9.  Poke a couple small holes in top of pastry

10.  Cook for 25 minutes.

Let's hope it looks something like this:

The next recipe, a true Welsh original, is made with SEAWEED.  Yes, you read that correctly, seaweed.  I really doubt I'll be able to bring myself to make this one...

Laver Cakes
4 oz/100g fresh or canned laverbread (seaweed!)
1 oz/25g medium or fine oatmeal
2 tsp bacon fat or lard

1.  In a mixing bowl, mix laverbread and oatmeal

2.  Divide into 2-inch round, 3/4-inch thick patties.

3.  Heat fat in heavy frying pan (hot, but not burning)

4.  Fry quickly, 2 to 3 minutes each side


I think I might throw some chips (ahem, fries) in the oven just to be on the safe side(dish).

1 comment:

  1. I love this blog. Keep writing, Cook! Keep writing!