The restaurant culture came late to Wales. Home cooking predominated until quite recently. We are big meat eaters, particularly lamb (of course) and beef — Welsh Black beef is extraordinarily fine.
Welsh Saltmarsh Lamb
Universally recognised as the finest tasting lamb in the world. The lamb of choice for every 3 star Michelin restaurant. Best from the butcher in Penrhyndeudraeth, or from the butcher in Dyffryn Ardudwy.
Vegetarian sausage made with breadcrumbs and Caerphilly cheese. Inexplicably delicious. Almost impossible to buy — you have to make them at home, so here’s a recipe from Felicity Cloake at The Guardian:
100g leeks, finely sliced (about 1 large one)
Nutmeg, to taste
170g fresh breadcrumbs, preferably a mixture of white and brown
2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
2 eggs, separated
1½ tsp English mustard
175g Caerphilly cheese
2 tbsp milk
Melt half the butter in a frying pan and sweat the leeks over a medium heat until well softened. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Mix 100g breadcrumbs with the thyme, and beat the egg yolks and mustard together. Crumble the cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and stir in the leeks, followed by the egg yolks and mustard. Season, mix well and add the milk.
Shape into six sausages (damp hands will make this easier) and chill for half an hour.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark four. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Put the egg whites, flour and remaining breadcrumbs on separate plates, and roll each sausage in the flour, then whites, then breadcrumbs to coat.
Melt the remaining butter in the pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the sausages and cook until just golden on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes, until richly golden. Serve immediately.
Not bread at all, but seaweed — Porphyra umbilicalis — boiled for 24 hours to make a gelatinous blackish-green goop (doesn’t that sound yummy?). The most popular way of serving it is to mix with a spoonful of oatmeal and fry it in butter and bacon fat, then serve with bacon, or cockles. If Umami means something to you, you will LOVE this. We do. Unfortunately it is as foreign to North Walians as it is to the English, and the only place you can buy it round here is in souvenir cans at the ‘fish’ shop in Porthmadog. It’s strictly a South Wales delicacy, to be found in Llanelli, Swansea and Cardiff markets. The Japanese call it Nori, and market it successfully around the world.
A Welsh currant loaf. Every shop sells it. Buy it. You’ll love it.
Like flattened scones with sultanas. Very more-ish.
Immensely popular in South Wales, and eaten with laverbread. Available from good fishmongers. But there aren’t any round here.
FISH IN WALES
You see the sea? We’re surrounded by the stuff. But is there a decent fishmonger in the area? No. Aberdovey and Pwllheli seem to be the nearest, and they won’t be troubling the fish markets in the Rialto or Sanlucar de Barrameda any time soon. This is quite perplexing.