At half term week we had a holiday in Ceredigion, West Wales where we stayed in a lovely holiday cottage in New Quay.
We stayed in Forget Me Not Cottage which we rented from West Wales Cottages, a traditional cottage which was beautifully decorated and well equipped.
This was our fourth visit to Wales in five years as we love the area. My hubby lived near Cardigan from being a toddler until he was 11 so it is a place very close to his heart. He grew up on a farm and loved the area. His family moved to Norfolk when he started secondary school. Since I have been going to Ceredigion on holiday I can see exactly why he loved it so much and I now feel the same.
I have lots of connections with Wales, especially North Wales. I have family in the Colwyn Bay and Llandudno area and spent four years living in Bangor and Menai Bridge when I was at the teacher training college there in the early 1990’s. As I am such a greedy girl and a foodie whenever we go away anywhere I love trying all the local delicacies, especially the cakes.
Welsh cakes are very popular all over Wales. In Welsh they are called Pice Ar Y Maen or Teisen Gri. I saw these delicious specialities being cooked on a griddle in the window of a bakery on Cardigan High Street. The bakery was called Y Popty (which I think translates as The Bakery) In previous years my sister in law and I used to buy loads of them still warm off the griddle which was heaven. This year I bought them ready sealed from Y Popty in a packet of 8, took them back to the cottage and reheated them in a frying pan to warm them through. Slathered in butter and eaten warm, you just can’t beat them!
While we were away we had some delicious meals out but one of the nicest meals we had was at a local honey farm down the road from where we were staying in New Quay. New Quay Honey Farm has a beekeeping/ honey exhibition and a Meadery which we had seen before back in 2009 when we visited. The Honey Farm also had a well stocked gift shop selling their delicious honey, mead, mustard and other delicacies. I bought two varieties of honey, some ginger chutney and some honey wholegrain mustard. My mum treated herself to some walnuts soaked in honey, which also looked gorgeous. My mum said she thought they would taste delicious with Greek Yoghurt.
Another thing I treated myself to was a little book of Welsh Baking, which I thought was a great bargain at only £1.50. It contained unusual and traditional recipes which I am keen to try as well as the more well known of the Welsh bakes such as Bara Brith and Welsh Cakes.
The Honey Farm also had a tearoom which had seating outside in tranquil surroundings. We sat outside to eat our lunch where there was a stream and trees on a pretty patio. It was great to enjoy the warm sun and eat our lunch. I loved my Welsh Rarebit made with local Welsh cheese served with a salad garnish. I tested out the mustard and the ginger chutney in the pots brought to our table. To finish we treated ourselves to some traditional cakes baked with honey from the farm in them. We ordered a honey flapjack, some honey Bara brith and some honey cake baked in a honeycomb shaped tin which we split three ways so my hubby, mum and I could taste each one. The kids missed out as they wanted to go into New Quay on their own for fish and chips and ice cream.
Back at home I tested out my baking book last weekend. I made Bara Brith but added a tablespoon of the runny honey to the mixture.
The other recipe I was keen to try was the Aberffraw biscuits or Teisennau Aberffraw. The introduction to the recipe says: “Named after Aberffraw in Anglesey, once famous as a residence of the Welsh princes, these sweet, biscuit like little cakes are traditionally cut out using a small scallop shell”
Not having a scallop shell I had to use something else. I do have a seashell cookie cutter in my collection of cutters I use for my Sam’s Smart Cookies business so I thought I would use that instead. The biscuits were made with three ingredients: unsalted butter, caster sugar and flour. The recipe book is an old fashioned one and uses imperial measures and farenheit oven temperatures but this didn’t worry me. It didn’t specify which sort of flour to use but I presumed they meant plain flour as that is usually used for biscuits. The recipe did not say how many biscuits you would get from the mixture but I managed 14 cookies. I was careful not to overwork the mixture so it would roll out easily as it was quite crumbly.
The cookies were baked for 10-15 minutes in my oven and once cooled I dusted them with icing sugar. My son ate most of them over the next few days and said they were delicious. I will definitely be baking them again.
There are many more recipes I would like to try from my recipe book. There is a recipe for a Honey and Ginger Cake (Teisen Fel a Sinsir) which I love the sound of. Watch this space!
Love Sam xx