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Most romantic Valentine’s Day recipes

February 10th, 2017

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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?

Serves: 2

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 20 mins

 

Ingredients:

1 organic Golden Cenarth cheese, plastic cover removed

A loaf of sourdough or ciabatta

A tablespoon of olive oil

 

Method:

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

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Method:

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

Serves: 2

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 20 mins

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Method:

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.

Serves: 6

Prep: 20 mins (plus cooling time)

Cook: 50 mins

 

Ingredients:

1 loaf of bara brith

100g caster sugar

1ltr of milk

6 eggs

60g butter

1 vanilla pod

20g brown sugar

20ml Penderyn whisky

 

Method:

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.

 

Dydd Santes Dwynwen

January 20th, 2017

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Image Credit: Visit Wales

Every year on the 25th January we celebrate what is commonly known as the Welsh St Valentines Day.

St Dwynwen’s Day, or Dydd Santes Dwynwen, is a celebration of Wales’ patron saint of love. Dwynwen was a 4th Century Welsh princess who was unlucky in love.

Legend has it that Dwynwen was the prettiest of all of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s daughters. She fell in love with a local boy, Maelon, but was already betrothed to another prince. After telling Maelon the bad news, Dwynwen fled to the woods to lament her lost love and pray for help from God. An angel appeared to Dwynwen and gave her a potion to help her forget about Maelon, which turned him to ice. After seeing the effects of the potion on Maelon, Dwynwen prayed for help. Hearing her cries for help, God granted her three wishes; she chose to cure Maelon, have God look after all true lovers and for her to remain unmarried.

St Dwynwen’s day is considered as the most romantic day of the year in Wales, and is celebrated much the same as Valentines Day; cards are exchanged and (mostly) thoughtful presents are given.

 

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate the Welsh holiday, we’ve put together a few ideas to impress the significant other in your life.

Top bag and car packing tips, with room for hidden presents

December 2nd, 2016

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Buy presents that are easily transportable

Of course, it may be too late to do this but if you bear in mind how you’re going to be getting Christmas presents to people while you’re shopping it could save you time when it comes to actually transporting them. If you’re struggling for ideas, experience vouchers are a great gift. Why not get someone a stay for two in a Welsh Rarebits hotel?

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You’re going to be taking Christmas knitwear, use it to wrap the presents

Despite what you might think, don’t wrap the presents in advance if possible.

If you’re flying, security officials may need to open them and ruin your hard work. This can be particularly handy when transporting presents for your own children; glitzy wrapping can attract the snooping eyes of children.

 

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Include fragile gifts in the centre of the luggage, surrounded by clothing ideally

If you’re travelling with fragile gifts, you need to think about how they’re protected during the journey. This is especially important when flying, as baggage handlers might not handle your bags with the care that you would prefer. If you can, take fragile, expensive or rare gifts in your carry on luggage.

 

Pack smart

Think about how you’re going to be greeted at the end of the trip. If you’re expected to be handing presents over as soon as you get there, pack them in a way that they will be easily accessible, which will save any scrabbling around at the destination. If you’re looking for the perfect bag to take away for a Christmas weekend, take a look at these beautiful items from Melin Tregwynt.

 

Recruit your very own Santa Claus

If you’re travelling in a big group, it may be worth picking a designated present transporter –your very own Santa. Ideally this person will be travelling without children, and will have a fairly big car. (A beard is optional.)

 

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The 10 must-follow Instagram accounts in Wales

October 7th, 2016

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We may be biased but Wales truly has some of the most stunning views, picturesque places and fantastic areas of interest in the UK. There really is something for everyone to visit and stay in Wales. If you can’t get to explore Wales’ beauty in person, the next best way is through pictures. Ranging from professional Welsh photographers with a large fan base, to up-and-coming Instagrammers that offer a glimpse into everyday life in Wales, we’ve selected a handful of our favourite Instagram accounts that show the country in all its glory and are all definitely worth a follow.

 

1. @buxtonc

Understated yet spectacular shots from Chris Buxton who is based in Wales. These images are sure to take your breath away and make you want to visit all the beautiful places Chris photographs, for example Llyn y Fan Fach (right), a lake in South Wales.

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2. @suesmithpics

Focusing on people, nature and landscapes, this Instagram account gives an insight into life in the Rhondda Valleys. Susanne Smith captures this area of Wales beautifully.

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3. @finn

Award-winning photographer Finn Beales is based in the Black Mountains of Wales. Although he posts photos of all his travels, Finn’s posts of his home landscape are truly captivating.

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4. @katieonthehill

On Instagram Katie Jones showcases clear and bright photography of some of the top destinations  to visit in south Wales, including Penarth Pier (image 1) and Caerphilly Castle (image 2).

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5. @willbendall

Will Bendall shows off his skills by picturing secret spots across Wales. Take Mwnt Beach in Cardigan Bay for example (image 2), possibly one of the most beautiful places to visit on West Wales’ Coast.

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6. @arian_fp

Who wouldn’t want to see gorgeous pictures of Wales’ scenery featuring a loveable little beagle? Heddwyn James explores beautiful Wales alongside little pal Megan, such as Dunraven Bay (image 1) and Dunraven Castle Gardens (image 2).

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7. @thedimmick

Steve Dimmick captures family life in Wales in all its glory, focusing on days out with his family in places such as Coed Y Nant Parc (image 1) and the Taff Trail (image 2) in Cardiff.

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8. @nadyacandy

Specialising in stunning sunset and beach photography, Nadya Candy is based in Ogmore-by-Sea, Vale of Glamorgan; we definitely want to stay here! #sunsetstodiefor

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9. @owenwarrell

Wedding photographer Owen Warrell offers a sweet glimpse into everyday life in Pembrokeshire. Little Haven Beach in Pembrokeshire is a must-visit (image 1).

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10. @giddygavin

Giddy Gavin, based in Harlech, adds shots of colour to his posts to bring out the charm of Wales. One of our favourites is his little vintage car in front of Snowdonia (image 2), an ideal place to visit to get the full Wales experience.

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To visit these locations yourself, check out our places to stay