Some upper crust options for British Pie Week

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As it’s British Pie Week, we’re taking a look at the places in Wales where aficionados of the crust can purchase the perfect pie for them.

For lovers of steak pies:

Butcher’s Martin Player of Cardiff has award-winning steak and kidney, and steak, pies made on site at their shop.

The shop also offers Welsh ox cheek, stout and mushroom pies.

http://www.martinplayer.com/pies-and-cooked-meats

For lovers of pork pies:

Former London restaurateur Rob Didier, who trained under Raymond Blanc, is the founder of Orchard Pigs based in Wrexham. His company has a trademark Tractor Wheel Pie made from rare breeds pork, along with a range of mutton, beef and game pies.

https://www.facebook.com/Orchard-Pigs-150180525054619/?rf=218278868276247

Or try the Hunstman Pie, which contains pork, turkey, and a topping of sage and onion stuffing from Edwards of Conwy – their pie has impressed judges at the Royal Welsh Show.

http://www.edwardsofconwy.co.uk/shop//Pies/huntsman-pie

Edwards also has a black pudding and egg pork pie which has won top honours in the paste at the True Taste Awards.

http://www.edwardsofconwy.co.uk/shop//Pies/black-pudding-and-egg-pork-pies

For pasty lovers:

There’s a great range of pasties at the Little Welsh Deli in Swansea.

They even have traditional Welsh cawl in a pasty! From corned beef to Mexican chilli and the vegetarian Italian Job with courgettes, aubergines, and sweet potato in a tomato and basil pesto sauce.

http://www.thelittlewelshdeli.co.uk/lwd%20web%20stuff/savourybakes.html

Or you could try a traditional Welsh lamb oggy with a hint of mint at Conwy’s Tan Lan Bakery.

http://www.tanlanbakery.co.uk/pies.php

For lovers of chicken pie:

Try a chicken, leek, and laverbread pie from Leonardo’s Deli in Ruthin.

http://www.foodtrail.co.uk/members/leonardos-delicatessen/

For veggies:

Parsnipship in Ogmore Vale has a plethora of pies and other goods for vegetarians and vegans. Try their mushroom bourguignon pie, made with puy lentils and porcini mushrooms. They suggest serving it with olive mash. Their Mexican pie is made with kidney beans and cayenne pepper, and has a paprika crust. They suggest serving it with sautéed potatoes and either lime crème fraiche, or soya yoghurt for vegans.

Their Indian summer pie has chickpeas, butternut squash and cumin, and they suggest serving it with broccoli stems pan fried in lime, ginger and chilli.

https://theparsnipship.co.uk/

 Maria Williams is a professional blogger, copywriter, and PR for small business at www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk.

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Treat your mum this Mother’s Day

Treat your mum to a mouth-watering meal this Mother’s Day. Here are a few recipes to give you some inspiration:

Garlic crusted salmon with fresh tomato and basil relish:

 

If you want to try out a mouth-watering beef and porcini stew click here.

Check out a tasty tomato and Parmesan tart here.

Try this warm chocolate and hazelnut bread pudding here.

Serve this Bramley apple pie with custard or ice cream. See it here.

Or how about this roasted sweet potato soup? See the recipe here.

Enjoy!

Show some love with a lasting gift for your foodie this Valentine’s Day

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If a box of chocolates simply won’t hack it this Valentine’s Day, Welsh food and drink experts have some perfect ideas for lasting gifts:

For the wine lover

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White Castle vineyard near Abergavenny has a scheme where you can adopt a vine for your loved-one. That gives them a personalised certificate of adoption valid for a year, a plaque with their name on their adopted vine, a conducted vineyard tour for two people to include a glass of wine to toast the adopted vine, and the chance to join owners Robb and Nicola Merchant at harvest to handpick the grapes from your adopted vine.

The package also includes a bottle of wine from your adopted grape variety to take home and a warm welcome to events taking place throughout the year at The Cellar Door.The price is £45.00 Contact Robb or Nicola on 01873 821443 or email: info@whitecastlevineyard.com. See more details here.

For the chocolate lover

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Book a chocolate tasting and making course at Black Mountain Gold based in Crickhowell.

Your loved one can join a three-hour course for £85, or have a one-to-one workshop with master chocolatier Jules for £250. The courses include an introduction to truffle making, tempering, hand rolling and piping ganache, enrobing and detailing, using dipping forks, mouthfeel and cocoa butter, and chocolate moulding techniques. To book and pay for your place please call the shop on 01873 812362. See more details here.

For the fish lover

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Book  your Valentine a Welsh fish and shellfish cookery course at Bodnant Welsh Foods at Conwy.

The course teaches people how to cook and prepare sustainably-sourced fish and learn techniques such as skinning, filleting and boning. For lunch your Valentine will try the fish and shellfish they have cooked and pair them with matching wines from Bodnant’s onsite wine cellar.

 

The next course is on February 27. Your Valentine will learn to cook lobster bisque, citrus cured salmon, poached pollock and black curry powder, halibut wellington and baked scallops and coconut. The day course costs £115. See more details here.

For the cake and bread lover 

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Your Valentine can hone their baking skills at a half day bakes and cakes course at The Culinary Cottage at Pandy, Abergavenny.

The course will cover beer and soda bread, sweet and savoury pastries, and a chocolate genache-covered creation. The half day course cost £65. See more details here.

For the meat lover

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Book your Valentine a place at a Weber Essential course at Angela Grey’s Cookery School in Llanerch Vineyard, Vale of Glamorgan. The course teaches American barbecue, low ‘n’ slow cooking and smokehouse cuisine skills, creating deliciously authentic dishes from scratch. Dishes will include barbecued beef brisket and a side of signature slaw, spicy buffalo wings with gorgonzola dip, stacked ribs, and Bourbon and smoked bacon chocolate brownies.

During the four hours, your Valentine will get hands on with an array of different meats, expand your cooking repertoire on the barbecue and also use the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. The cost is £129. See more details here.

For the veggie lover

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Your Valentine will love the vibrant veggie recipes taught at Kather’s  Kitchen cookery school in Monmouthshire. The dishes will be seasonal The day course costs £85 per person. Call 01292 650801 to book. See more details here.

Maria Williams is a journalist, copywriter, and professional blogger www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk

 

 

UPDATED: Sup a new red ale to support Wales in the Six Nations

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UPDATE: Monmouthshire brewery Mad Dog has been chosen to create the official beer for this year’s National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.

Founder Alexis Jones says the decision was made by Monmouthshire County Council and the Eisteddfod board. The ale will use Welsh ingredients, and, like its Six Nations ale, it will be red.

Cwrw Steddfod will be available in cask and bottles in pubs in Mid and South Wales, and there are plans for a brewing demonstration at the July event.

Six Nations ale goes red for Wales:

If you want to show your Six Nations support for the Welsh rugby team while supping a local craft ale, the Mad Dog brewery has come up with your perfect tipple.

The brewery based in Penperlleni near Abergavenny has brewed a Welsh cask ale called Scrum Sox which it is distributing to a select group of pubs. In honour of Warren Gatland’s side, it’s red.

Brewer Alexis Jones says the ale is made using chocolate rye malt, which gives it the distinctive colour.

“I’ve made about 1,000 litres, and it will be available in the Boar’s Head, Brecon, the Horseshoe in Mamhilad, and the John Fielding in Cwmbran,” he said.

Mad Dog has made a name for itself by creating delicious craft ales from unusual ingredients, many of which are sourced locally. Its All Day Breakfast granola stout, available between October and March, uses handmade granola from the Wye Valley.

all_day_granola_stout_bottle

Afternoon Sunshine, which has citrus notes, is an American Pale ale which is dry-hopped to the finish. Alexis said this is to give the beer “extra bark”.

Full-bodied stout John Peel, available between September and March, is infused with fresh orange peel, and is named after one of Alexis’ musical heroes.

“I listened to John Peel’s programme when I used to drive a truck,” he said.

john_peel_bottle

Submissible Anarchy, available between September and March, is a golden crafted ale made with local honey, and added flavours of citrus and juniper berries.

A keen home brewer whose passion for creating beer was re-ignited by YouTube videos, Alexis learned his craft at Caerphilly’s Celt Experience brewery. He also completed a microbiology course in beer at Brew Lab.

He started Mad Dog Brewing Company Ltd in October 2014, initially creating four beers from his home kitchen – Afternoon Sunshine, Bark Like A Bird, Dirty Dog, and Now In A Minute.

He moved the brewery to a unit in Penperlleni in February 2015. The business has taken off, and now he’s expanding, and hopes to take on two members of staff.

A number of Mad Dog’s bottled beers are available in a number of shops as well as cask ale being available in pubs.

“We’ve got around 26 different wholesalers situated across the UK,” Alexis said. Close to home, the beer is sold at The Marches Deli in Abergavenny.

Find out more about the beers at http://maddogbrew.co.uk/beer-range/

Customers can buy the brewery’s bottled beer, including John Peel, Now In A Minute, Bohemian Hipster, and It’s All Propaganda, online at http://maddogbrew.co.uk/shop or through Beer Revolution http://www.beerrevolution.co.uk/

John-Peel-Mad-Dog-Brewing-Co

 

Maria Williams is a professional blogger, copywriter, and PR for small business. Visit www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk

 

 

Telling the sparkling tale of a Welsh cider revival

 

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Wales’ craft cider revival is set to be recorded in a new project backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Welsh Perry and Cider Society (WPCS) is recruiting for the project, ‘The Heritage of Orchards & Cidermaking in Wales’.

The aim is to enlist community groups to develop orchards, to build a comprehensive list of Welsh perry and cider fruit varieties, and collect oral histories to build digital stories about the revival of cidermaking and the orchard tradition in Wales.

The society is looking to recruit a heritage project manager and project support assistant based at Blaengawney Farm near Hafodyrynys, Caerphilly county borough, and a heritage project officer based in north Wales. The jobs are full time and for a fixed two-year term. The deadline for applications is January 14, and anyone interested should email heritage@welshcider.co.uk or call 07702 942587 for more details.

Cidermaking in Wales, which had been established by the Normans in the 14th Century, went into decline after the Second World War.

The orchards remained standing, and the first of a new wave of craft cidermakers started to use the fruit from the old trees in the 1980s.

Mike Penney’s ‘Troggi Seidr’ began to make cider and perry with his Victorian machinery, and in Radnorshire Ralph Owen’s ‘Ralph’s Cider’ pressed local cider apples on an antique mobile twin-screw press. The national society was founded in the Clytha Arms near Raglan in 2001, and the first Welsh Perry and Cider Festival was staged in 2002.

There are now around 40 Welsh cider and perrymakers. Welsh cidermakers have won awards including CAMRA Gold Awards for Cider for Gwynt-y-Ddraig and Ralph’s, and CAMRA Gold Awards for Perry for Gwynt-y-Ddraig and Seidr Dai.

Welsh cidermakers use Welsh varieties of apples and pears including ‘Frederick’, ‘Breakwell’s Seedling’ and ‘Perthyre’. The ‘Broom Apple’ of Monmouthshire, and ‘Pen Caled’ from West Wales had to be propagated at Paul Davis’ Dolau-Hirion Nursery at Llandeilo.
Perry pears like ‘Monmouthshire Burgundy’ and the ‘Potato Pear’ have also been rediscovered. The work of the cider and perrymakers helps preserve heritage apples and pears, ensuring their future survival. The society has established a Museum Orchard with more than 20 varieties acting as a genetic bank.

For more information on the society and its work, and Welsh producers, click here.

Watch a video on the society’s work here.

 

 

Foodies bring festive spirit to Abergavenny

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Stalls at the Market Hall, Abergavenny

Crowds brought a foodie festive spirit to Abergavenny today at the town’s Christmas food and drink fair.

Thousands of people visited stalls across the town, buying charcuterie, cheeses, beers, wines, cakes, breads, vegetarian pies, fruit juices, preserves, and store cupboard delights like cold pressed rapeseed oil and fruit vinegars.

Rupert Parsons of Wormersley Fruit and Herb Vinegars Ltd, based in Chipping Norton, has been bringing his goods to the festival for the past five years.

In the Market Hall, he said: “We come to both the September and December festivals in Abergavenny, and this event has a really festive spirit. The weather has meant there have been fewer people this year, but the first two hours were buzzing in the Market Hall.

“It’s great to see people, and I just love coming here.”

Legges of Bromyard sold almost 800 pies at their stall. Their game pies proved most popular, quickly selling out.

Kody Bergstrom said: “The first few hours were crazy. There’s a great festive feeling.”

Their Old Boy pork pies were also proving popular, alongside their pork and venison, steak and cheddar, pork, perry, pear and nettle, and chicken, apple and paprika pies.

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Cheese board at the Market Hall

David Deaves of La Cave à Fromage brought around 150 cheeses to his stall. His firm, which has outlets in London and Brighton, sources its products from small, independent cheesemakers, and fairs like Abergavenny are a fantastic showcase for their products.

Mr Deaves said: “We go to a number of food fairs, cheese and chocolate fairs, and we run our own cheese festival every year. Next year it will be on April 9. That’s a chance for our producers to meet and share their products.

“This is my first Christmas event in Abergavenny, and it’s been very good.”

BusterGrantBreconBrewing
Buster Grant of Brecon Brewing

Buster Grant of Brecon Brewing was manning his stall in the Market Hall.

“We’ve brought six bottled beers and eight on draught,” he said.

“It’s been a success, and a good showcase for our beers which we supply to pubs throughout Wales.”

The Brecon brewery has been operating for the past four and a half years, and in January the brewery is opening a bar and bottle shop in the town, Brecon Tap.

“It’s very exciting,” Mr Grant told visitors.

James Swift of Monmouthshire’s Trealy Farm Charcuterie praised the food knowledge of visitors to the fair.

“People who come here are interested in cooking,” he said.

“In other places, we find people are more interested in street food, for example. Food which is already pre-prepared. While there’s a place for that, it’s refreshing to be in a place where people are looking to buy produce for cooking.

“It’s also very local to us, so it’s lovely to see people and chat with them here. It’s a great event for primary producers like us.”

 

 

WATCH: Cocktail recipes perfect for the party season

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It’s the party season, so here are a few recipes for cocktails to impress your friends and family this Christmas.

A classic Old Fashioned:

A Vesper Martini good enough for James Bond:

A Sicilian Etna Spritz:

A Moscow Mule with kick:

A champagne cocktail with cognac:

 

 

 

 

 

WATCH: Try out these recipes for Christmas bakes

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – so here are some of our favourite festive video bakes to inspire your yuletide table.

Make your own Christmas cottage cake:

Spice up your festive season with cinnamon rolls:

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a yule log:

Here’s a recipe for Christmas cup cakes:

And why not try out some Slovakian Christmas gingerbread?: