Archive | wales

Recipe |Dragons blood sauce

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How to cook your dragon.

My coastal Boston to coastal Wales transition came as some what of a shock. Jet lag muddled with rain and chilly British waters was not a cocktail I was necessarily ready for. However once I had been persuaded that the best way to overcome the jet lag was indeed these chilly choppy waters I soon found myself happily immersed into my new surroundings.

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The area, besides being tremendously scenic with wild ponies, wild flowers and the occasional wild wave is also home to some rather delicious potatoes. The Pembrokeshire Early Potato , harvested in  May, is protected by geographical origin, similar to Champagne orParma Ham. They have been farmed here since the 1700s and it is said the spray from the sea is what makes them taste extra special. We were lucky enough to have a field of their later crop right next to the house, some of which may or may not have made its way into my cooking pot.

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With all this potato talk and my location being in Wales you may think I am missing a trick with a leek and potato style recipe for my postcard however what really caught my attention was the dragons. Local shops seemed to be selling dragon mustard, dragon jam, dragon bread and dragon cheese, which was all very impressive I thought considering I had trouble even getting hold of a local mackerel, let alone dragon.

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Legend has it that many blue moons ago the red dragon was fighting an invading white dragon and the shrieks from the battle were so terrible they caused death and destruction to the living. To deal with this dragon problem the king was advised to dig a pit, fill it with mead and lay a cloth on top. The dragons, as suspected, came along, drank the mead and fell asleep. The king wrapped the dragons in the cloth and buried them at Snowdonia.

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Some years later a new king tried to build a castle in the very spot where the dragons lay buried but every night unknown forces demolished any progress. The king is advised, to solve this problem, he needs to seek out a boy with no natural father and kill him. When they find such a boy and the young lad hears of his fate he tells the king the story of the two dragons. The king is persuaded to excavate the hill, release the dragons who can then finish their fight. The red dragon is eventually triumphant, and the boy, who we all know as Merlin, explains that the red dragon represents the Welsh who refused to yield to the Saxons.   For some the red dragon also marks the coming of king Arthur.

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For this postcard recipe I give you Red Dragon sauce, although, as they seem to be constantly out of season these days I have substituted beetroot for dragon.

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This week

Wet suits ARE my new LBD ( but literally for this week only)

Sandy sandwiches consumed : 0

Crabs caught :0

Every home should have: a fairy princess body board

Pembrokeshire potatoes scrumped : xxx

 

Dragons blood sauce

This sauce is great served with fish or meat and delicious with Pembrokeshire potatoes

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4 small /medium red beetroots

2 tbs horseradish sauce

2 tbs Dijon mustard

3 tbs crème friache

1 tbs olive oil.

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Boil the beetroots in slightly salted water till cooked, then peel.

Blitz in a food processor till smooth then add the mustard, horseradish, crème fraiche and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Blitz again and check the seasoning. Serve at room temperature with grilled chicken fish or some fine Pembrokeshire potatoes. 

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 Next Stop…Provence.

 

 

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Recipe | Meringue Roulade

whisk

Nawr yn dod â rhai pwdinau hufennog ni …

If I was Father Christmas I would generally go for the glass of sherry over the milk, I am sure the reindeer are perfectly capable of doing their own navigating by now and it would be just too bad a PR for the police to pull over FC on drink driving charges. When dropping off the presents on a dairy farm in Wales however I would defiantly go for the milk, fresh from the udders of the herd it would make a most nourishing drink.

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My weekend was spent in an incredibly beautiful area in Pembrokeshire, Wales on a farm cooking a traditional Christmas Turkey dinner for 12 a canapé party for 30 and a Sunday lunch. Although I was as busy as one of Santa’s elves in the pre Christmas rush, preparing the food for the parties I did have time to take a quick spin around the country lanes, up onto what’s known as angels mount and down into the sheep spattered valleys. My excellent guide amusingly told me all the local gossip (I think there must be something in the Welsh water) and historical facts about the area, we were very near where the stones from Stonehenge in the west country originated from. I could have listened to them for hours although this could also be because I have fallen in love with the lyrical Welsh accent.

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The weekend was a joint celebration of the family’s Christmas together and a milestone birthday. The traditional Christmas dinner was like a session at the gym, carrying a 9 kilo turkey plus stuffing in and out of the oven and then once cooked parading it into the dining room on a spectacular silver tray filled with hot water – I tell you I now have arms like the incredible hulk. What was impressive was the fact that they requested 4 puddings! Sticky toffee pudding, a triple choclate cheese cake, a sloe gin and quince trifle and a raspberry meringue roulade (this postcards recipe). Mind you if you can’t eat four puddings at Christmas when can you?

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The canapé party was great fun as all the generations pitched in. Setting up the rooms ready to receive the guests, making the cocktails and handing out the drinks, helping finish the canapés (some rather enthusiastically) and of course passing round the plates of food.

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Come Sunday morning there was a fridge filled with various goodies and a chicken pie if needs. With everyone well fed and watered and a definite festive spirit now in the house I packed my bags said my goodbyes and headed west towards Dorset for Christmas…

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 This week,

Mince pies made: 72

Mince pies eaten: 12

Every home should have a dairy herd.

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 Raspberry Meringue roulade

Serves 8 – 10

You can make the meringue a few days before and add the cream and fruit just before serving.

There are quite a few methods to make merengue’s but having tried a lot of them this is my favourite way to make them and it works for roulades, individuals and pavlova. It definitely is easiest to make if you are have a standing electric mixer though you can use hand held electric whisks and a lot of patience.

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4 egg whites

caster sugar – double the volume of egg whites

400ml double cream

1 tbs. icing sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

400 raspberries and

4 sprigs of redcurrants to garnish.

 

Pre heat the oven to 110°C. Place one oven rack on a low shelf and one on a high shelf. On the highest shelf put an empty baking sheet or roasting dish (this just helps the meringue stay white.

You will need a flat baking tray lined with baking parchment roughly 30 cm x 25cm.

 

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Get two glasses the same size.

Pour the egg white into one of the glasses then measure the same volume of sugar in the other.

Pour the sugar into the bowl of the electric mixer (making sure it is grease free).

Measure another volume of sugar the same as the egg whites and keep to one side.

Pour the eggs whites into the electric mixer (with the first half of sugar) and whisk until thick (about 6 minutes).

In 3 stages over the next ten minutes add the glass of caster sugar, continuously whisking on the fastest speed.

By the end the mix should be thick enough to hold the bowl over your head (or someone else’s) and for the meringue mix to stay in the bowl.

Ladle the mix out onto the lined baking sheet into a rectangular shape.

Bake in the oven for about 1 ½ – 2 hours until firm (but it should still be soft in the middle). You can check by having a gentle prod in one of the corners.

Once cooked bring put the oven and leave to cool.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla till soft peak stage.

Flip the cooled meringue onto a clean tea towel.

Lather the meringue with the whipped cream, scatter on the raspberries then roll up (using the tea towel to help) into a roulade.

Serve with extra raspberries and redcurrants on top.

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Next stop …Dorset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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