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Wednesday, May 07 2008

During the 18th and 19th century many Welsh people sought to escape Britain for both linguistic and religious reasons to found new homelands. Many Welsh colonies were founded, some in very surprising places but most were subsumed into the native culture. One exception to this was in Pagtaonia (Argentina) where Welsh is still spoken and a new Cymro-Hispanic culture has emerged.

This region of Patagonia is known as the 'Gwladfa' (literally the 'little country') and is a vibrant mix of Welsh, Amerind and Hispanic cultures.

As well as an inter-mixing of languages and cultures there's also an inter-mingling of foods and cookery so you end up with many dishes that are based on Welsh originals but have a distinctly Hispanic flair or flavour about them.

Below I present two such dishes (both translated from the original Welsh).

Teisen Sbeis Eirin a Chnau (Spiced Plum and Nut Cake)

225g of dried plums (or prunes) finely chopped
230ml boiling water
460g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
330g white sugar
3 eggs
350ml of a light oil grape-seed oil or olive oil infused with lemon are good)
1 tsp each of powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger
225g of walnuts finely chopped
225g of seedless raisins
grated rind of 1 orange

Pour the boiling water over the chopped dried plums, add the raisins and orange rind to this and set aside to stand. Next prepare the liquid ingredients by mixing the eggs and oil to a large bowl and beating them all together well. Add the plums, raisins and their seeping water to this and again mix together well. In another bowl mix together the flour, the spices and the sugar. Gently tip this into the bowl containing the liquid ingredients a little at a time, ensuring that each time the flour is properly folded into the oil and water mixture. Finally add the nuts and fold in. If the mixture is too stiff at this point you can add a little milk to slacken it up (however, this recipe is an excellent cake for someone whose lactose intolerant if you're serving it for someone like this add more oil rather than milk). Bake in an oven pre-heated to 150°C for about 45 minutes.

Cyw Iar Bricyll (Apricot Chicken)

2 pieces of chicken meat per person (8 in all)
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
500ml vegetable stock
300ml cream
1 dessert spoon each of sage, dried bay leaf and basil
butter for frying
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
12 ripe apricots
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1 dessert spoon cornflour (mixed with 2 tbsp water)

Melt the butter in a pan and when hot add the meat and season. Fry until the chicken has browned then add the vegetables, the stock and the cream. Bring to a simmer then cover the pan and cook for 90 minutes.

About 30 minutes before the meat is ready add the apricots (stoned and halved), water and sugar to a saucepan. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly. After about 10 minutes add the cornflour slurry and cook for a further 15 minutes. At this point mash the apricots.

When ready to serve spoon the apricots onto a plate and place the chicken on top. Serve with plain rice.

I hope that these recipes have given you a little taste for both native Welsh and expatriate recipes and that you are now ready to find out more . . .

Dyfed Lloyd Evans is the creator of the Celtnet Recipes where you can find many more examples of traditional and modern Welsh and Patagonian Recipes as well as the best of British Recipes in general.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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