It’s often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but whether you’re a man or a woman there’s something special about cooking a meal for a special someone.
So, this Valentine’s Day, why not try one of our romantic recipes, guaranteed to warm your heart and fill your stomach!
Baked Organic Golden Cenarth
You’ve heard of baked Camembert, and who doesn’t love gooey cheese, but why not try the Welsh version?
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
1 organic Golden Cenarth cheese, plastic cover removed
A loaf of sourdough or ciabatta
A tablespoon of olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Place the cheese in its wooden packaging on a baking tray, secured with string to prevent leakages.
Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble. Meanwhile slice and lightly toast the bread under the grill.
To add something extra to the dish, serve with a roasted whole bulb of garlic or some red onion chutney.
Rack of Welsh lamb with a herb crust served with bubble and squeak, shallots and a red wine jus
You can’t have a list of Welsh recipes without including delicious lamb. This recipe sounds a lot, but it’s surprisingly easy and bound to impress.
Serves: 4 (or two with plenty of leftovers)
Prep: 40 min
Cook: 45 mins
1 double rack of lamb ‘French’ trimmed – fat removed and bones cleaned (your butcher will do this if you ask nicely)
A tablespoon Welsh grain mustard
25g (1oz) fresh dried breadcrumbs
Chopped fresh herbs
Half a pint of lamb stock
1 glass of full-bodied red wine
6 potatoes for mashing – King Edwards are ideal
6 leaves of Savoy cabbage
1 small onion
12 small shallots
Knob of Welsh butter
Dash of olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 sprigs of rosemary to garnish
Make mash by boiling peeled and chopped potatoes for 20 minutes, drain and mash until light and fluffy.
Slice cabbage and boil for 2 minutes, cool and squeeze dry.
Peel and finely dice onion, sauté in a small knob of butter. When cool mix the potatoes, cabbage and onion together with seasoning and form into ‘cakes’ ready to pan fry later.
Coat the trimmed racks – cut into 4 portions – with the mustard and seasoning, then cover with the herbs and breadcrumbs which have been mixed together. Place in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast in a hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes for medium or 20 minutes plus for medium to well done.
While the racks are roasting reduce the red wine and stock by half, remove lamb and let rest for 2-3 minutes in a warm place, add any juices from the roasting tray to the jus and pass into another pan, adding a small knob of butter to give a shine to the jus.
While the racks are roasting, also pan fry the bubble & squeak for 2-3 minutes on each side and poach the peeled shallots in a dash of seasoned water with a small knob of butter for 8-10 minutes.
To assemble the dish place a bubble & squeak cake in the centre of the plate, carve the lamb into three cutlets and arrange around the cake with the glazed shallots, pour over the jus and garnish with the rosemary.
Pan-fried fillet of Welsh sea bass with shrimp butter and crushed potatoes with peas
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
2 sea bass fillets
50g fresh or frozen peas
500g new potatoes
1tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
50g fresh peeled shrimps
4 shrimps with shells for garnish
1tsp fresh dill finely chopped
2tbsp lemon juice
1tsp fresh parsley finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Put sea bass fillets on a plate and season with sea salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Boil potatoes until soft and drain. Transfer to a bowl and crush using a fork.
Boil the peas with a little sugar, salt and pepper and 1tbsp butter. Simmer until soft then drain.
Add peas to the potatoes and mix together with 2tbsp olive oil and the mint.
In a heavy based pan, melt the butter, add the shrimps, herbs and lemon juice and season to taste. Fry until cooked then set aside.
Heat a frying pan with some oil, put the fish fillets in skin side down and fry for a few minutes until the skin is brown and crispy. Turn the fish upside down and either finish under the grill or fry for a few minutes more in the pan.
Arrange the warm potatoes on a plate, put the fillet of fish on the top and finish with the butter sauce.
Garnish with the shell-on shrimps.
Bara brith bread and butter pudding
Combining two of our favourite Welsh products, this bread and butter pudding uses bara brith and contains just a splash of Penderyn whisky.
Prep: 20 mins (plus cooling time)
Cook: 50 mins
1 loaf of bara brith
100g caster sugar
1ltr of milk
1 vanilla pod
20g brown sugar
20ml Penderyn whisky
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Slice the Bara Brith and spread with butter, then arrange in an ovenproof dish. Splash over the whisky and leave to soak.
Whisk the eggs, caster sugar and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan boil the milk with the vanilla pod, and allow to cool. Pour the milk over the eggs and sugar and mix, and then pass this through a sieve.
Pour the liquid over the sliced bara brith until covered and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown. Serve with either ice cream or custard.
As the cries of the Six Nations crowds become a memory and you finally remove that eighth layer of clothing, it is clear that spring is officially here, bringing with it a little more sun and a lot more of an appreciation for the great outdoors.
In celebration of the new season, we’ve selected some of the most attractive views of the Welsh landscape you can enjoy this spring, and some places to stay.
Keen skiers may see the start of spring as the prime time to head to the Alps, but there are a lot of high points in Wales that will be kinder to your muscles and bank account. In fact, Wales has more than 138 mountains. The highest, Mount Snowdon, in North Wales, is visible from the bedroom windows of Porth Tocyn Hotel in Abersoch, so if you’re not into extreme sports like abseiling you can still capture its majesty through a camera lens while savouring breakfast in bed.
There are few better places to walk off that final Easter egg than the rural Welsh countryside. Described by Visit Wales as “the heart and soul of Wales”, The Valleys of South Wales with their extensive walking routes offer a relaxing alternative to city life. Stretch your legs across rolling hills and fresh blankets of grass, or take a more challenging route over rocky terrain. The Bear Hotel is just a short drive from the heads of the valleys, and may help take the weight off your feet afterwards.
If your best efforts at gardening have been somewhat hampered by the winter frost, you can enjoy new blooms and fresh foliage in the grounds of multiple hotels and National Trust properties alike. Many of these gardens are free to visit and picnic-friendly, but when exploring the gardens at The Falcondale, a country mansion just outside Lampeter, try a roast celtic beef sandwich with horseradish and a glass or two of something fizzy from their handpicked wine menu. There’s also 14 acres of lawns and woodlands to roam around, and dogs are just as welcome.
Wales is home to some of the most unspoilt coastlines and picturesque beaches in the UK, despite not having the best reputation for its sunny weather. One of its highlights is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, voted as the world’s second best coastal destination in 2012 by National Geographic. Also worth a visit is Swansea’s Gower Peninsula, which provided inspiration for much of Dylan Thomas’ poetry. Populated by surfers for its strong waves and high tides, the Gower also has 188 sq km of sandy grasslands and inviting country pubs, ideal for blowing away the last of the winter cobwebs.
On the table
Although not quite in the same vein as the country’s natural landmarks, Welsh Cakes are still a welcome sight. These shortbread delicacies are a staple for any lunchbox or picnic basket, especially on St David’s Day (1 March) when it would be almost bizarre not to find them on menus across the country. Enjoy them with afternoon tea at Holm House Hotel, in Penarth, or prepare some of your own for a countryside jaunt.
With each New Year comes a tide of new trends, and the wine industry is no exception. From British bubbles to light reds and rosés, we take a look at the things you should expect to see out and about and on the shelves in 2016.
Is the prosecco bubble bursting?
Although 36 per cent of wine drinkers now also enjoy a glass of prosecco, compared to 29 per cent in 2013, experts believe the demand for the Italian favourite may decline in the coming months. Simon Field, a buyer for wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, predicts that as consumer’s palates become more sophisticated, they are becoming ‘more ambitious in their quest for fine fizz’. Don’t worry too much if you’re an avid fan though, the prosecco bubble might be deflating but it hasn’t burst yet.
British bubbles are on the rise
Last year the British wine industry was given exciting news when the French champagne house Taittinger announced it would begin producing an English sparkling wine. Partnering with UK wine company Hatch Mansfield, it plans to begin planting orchards in Kent in 2017. Experts believe the quality of British wine has been on the rise over the last few years, with Berry Bros & Rudd CEO Dan Jego speculating it may rival champagne within the next two years. So if you’re partial to a glass of fizz then you can expect to see more British brands around this year.
If you fancy tasting the best wine that Wales has to offer, head to Cwm Deri Vineyard, which offers tastings of all the 23 wines it produces. Making a weekend of it? Both the St Brides Spa Hotel and the Penally Abbey Hotel are less than 30 minutes away from the Vineyard.
Roll up wine truck
Although this trend hasn’t completely taken off yet, the success of food trucks in previous years has sparked interested in whether a wine truck might have similar luck. A group of wine makers from Saint-Emilion plan to give it a try this summer. The tasting truck will transport 16 different wines to almost 20 locations around France, with experts on hand to give their best advice. Let’s see if this is a trend that crosses the channel in 2016.
Rosé is here to stay
A firm favourite, if not a guilty pleasure, rosé wine looks set to stick around in 2016. Although it’s usually considered a summertime tipple, Rosé is a great choice for less experienced wine drinkers as it tends to be sweeter than most white wines. As well as pale pinks, this summer will also see a rise in the popularity of light red wines. Served chilled, these are a great alternative if rosé is too sweet for you.
By the glass, not the bottle
In a move to accommodate the tastes of more adventurous consumers, bars and restaurants are now adapting their drinks menus to offer more wines by the glass. This trend can be attributed to the recent advances in technology like the Coravin system. This handy device allows for wine to be poured by the glass without removing the cork. This has allowed business’ to offer their customers a much wider range of wines in smaller measures.
If you want to expand your palate, Jabajak Hotel and Vineyard offer a number of bespoke wine tasting tours that can be tailored to your tastes. The Vineyard also has an on-site hotel so you can extend your stay and enjoy a meal in their 5 star restaurant.
As featured on Countryfile.com
This delightful, tender vegetable is hard to describe but imagine a salty combination of asparagus and green beans and you’re almost there. It grows in abundance in marshes and muddy sea flats, and is often a nourishing treat for curious grazing salt marsh lambs.
Where: The salt marshes at Portmeirion Village, North Wales
When: The summer months of June to September
How to serve it: Samphire is brilliant with fish, and is delicious served fresh with king prawns and a squeeze of lemon juice, or lightly fried in olive oil as an accompaniment to a fillet of Welsh sea bass.
STAY: Hotel Portmeirion & Castell Deudraeth is set on its own private peninsula, and overlooks sand, sea and mountain. Samphire grows in abundance on the salt marshes, and guests staying in the village can enjoy breathtaking views of Tremadog Bay.
Wales has the ideal climate for growing edible wild mushrooms. Chanterelles, porcinis and wood blewits are all available in late summer and early autumn, and are distinctive from each other in both appearance and flavour. However, we strongly recommend only undertaking wild mushroom foraging with an expert guide.
Where: Woodland and river banks
When: between August and November
How to serve them: Chanterelles and wood blewits are delicious simply fried in butter and served on toast with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Porcinis can be dried and rehydrated for a deep and intense flavour in risotto and pasta dishes.
STAY: The Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells, mid Wales, runs half-day guided mushroom foraging tours for hotel guests and visitors. Tours are available throughout the summer and include a tasting session and preserving demonstration.
Pembrokeshire’s mussels are small and distinctively sweet in flavour. You can forage for them on the coastline during autumn and early winter, following the famous rule of only harvesting them during the months ending in ‘R’.
Where: Solva beach in Pembrokeshire at low tide
When: best between September and December when the mussels are fully grown and full of the subtle, sweet flavour of the Irish Sea.
How to serve them: Lightly steam in butter, olive oil, and garlic, followed by a good glug of white wine and a dash of cream.
STAY: Warpool Court Hotel is located in the historical city of St. David’s, and sits just three miles along the coast from Solva in Pembrokeshire.
When visiting Wales’ coastal regions, it’s only right that budding foragers should try a taste of the unique Welsh marine delicacy at its source – laver. There are numerous varieties of edible seaweed on offer, but the high iodine and iron content of laver gives it a subtle and distinctive flavour of the sea.
Where: Penclawdd, Gower Peninsula, Swansea
When: Best in September to December
How to serve it: Laverbread requires considerable cooking time before it’s ready to eat, but boiling it for 10 hours does appear to enhance its flavour. Once cooked, roll in oats and fry in bacon fat for traditional laverbread. You can also add it to soups and stews for a subtle seaside kick.
STAY: Fairyhill Hotel is located just minutes from the Gower Peninsula, where access to bays, beaches and cliffs are aplenty. Visitors can wander down to any of the intertidal beaches in the Gower and will find the purple-black laver leaves strewn over rocks.
Wild garlic grows in damp, fertile soil and therefore thrives in the Welsh climate. Follow your nose when you walk into any forest or stream bank in late spring and you will find a plethora of brilliant green leaves. Although the leaves only grow in spring, they freeze well and can be added to dishes straight from the freezer as a seasoning all year round.
Where: by the edges of streams and rivers in South and West Wales
When: between March and June
How to serve it: fresh in a salad for a garlicky hit, or fried in a little olive oil and mixed with sautéed green vegetables
STAY: Llanerch Vineyard is located just outside Cardiff on the M4. Only 15 minutes drive away is the famous Victorian masterpiece, Castell Coch and Fforest Fawr, in which you will find an abundance of wild garlic growing everywhere you turn – don’t forget to bring a pair of scissors and a bag for collecting the leaves.
With the final few weeks of warm weather in sight, we’ve put together a selection of gourmet picnic recipes from some of Wales’ best hotels and restaurants
Rosemary Skewered Welsh Lamb Kebabs with Tzatziki (serves 4)
Recipe courtesy of Gwesty Cymru, Aberystwyth
INGREDIENTS – KEBABS
METHOD – KEBABS
INGREDIENTS – TZATZIKI
METHOD – TZATZIKI
Caramelised Onion Tart (serves 4)
Recipe courtesy of Ye Olde Bull’s Head, Beaumaris
Crispy Carmarthenshire Ham and Asparagus
Recipe courtesy Peterstone Court, Brecon