Saint David's Day Three Course Dinner
March 1st is Saint David's Day, the National Holiday of Wales, a day to celebrate for the Welsh and Americans of Welsh descent. In Wales, people celebrate Saint David's Day by attending church services, wearing leeks and daffodils (national symbols of Wales and St. David), holding parades and children's parties in the schools. Saint David, Dewi Sant in Welsh, lived in the 6th Century and is unique among British saints in that a surprising amount of information was recorded about his life. He was probably the son of Usai, the king of Ceredigion, and the daughter of a lord of what would later be called Pembrokeshire and was the student of another Welsh saint, Paulinus. Dewi Sant was renowned as a teacher who founded monastic settlements and churches in mostly pagan Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Today, Saint David's Cathedral stands on the site of a monastery he founded in Glyn Rhosyn (Valley of Roses) in Pembrokeshire.
The monastic rule of Dewi Sant taught humility, simplicity and asceticism and he practiced these himself: that monks ploughed, planted and tended their crops themselves, without draft animals; that they drank only water and ate only bread with salt and herbs and never meat or beer; that they spent their evenings in prayer, reading and writing; that no member of the monastery had any personal possessions, everything belonged to them all. Dewi Sant's last sermon was recorded as including the words, "Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about.... Do the little things in life," and this phrase, "Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd," ("Do the little things in life") is a phrase used today.
Welsh Pot Bread
Recipe And Ingredients
2 new, unused, unglazed or painted, bare 6-inch terracotta flower pots
1 1/2 cups Spelt flour
1/2 cup milk warmed to room temperature
1/2 cup water warmed to room temperature
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 oz or two packets fresh or dried active yeast
4 tbsp melted butter
2 Tbs finely chopped scallions
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp crushed fresh rosemary leaves
1 clove crushed garlic
Seasoning flower pots
This step can be done in advance of preparing the bread, at any time.
Pre-heat oven to 175F
Thoroughly wash pots inside and out and dry well. Coat pots all over (including the rim and the bottom) with olive oil inside and out, using a basting brush or paper towel. Place pots in oven on a cookie sheet and bake at 175F for about 20-30 minutes, or until dry. Remove pots from oven and allow to cool. Repeat this process three times.
Preparing Pot Bread
Preheat oven to 400F.
Slightly warm two tablespoons of the milk and dissolve the honey in it. Allow to cool to lukewarm and add the yeast and mix into a thin paste. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes or until yeast is well grown and foamy.
Sift together flours and salt in large bowl, make a well in the center and pour the yeast mixture into the well. Add water, butter, onions, herbs and garlic, mix together well and knead on floured surface about 5 minutes, adding additional spelt flour in small amounts until it becomes a smooth, elastic dough. Pat dough into a ball shape. Place dough ball in a lightly warmed, greased bowl and cover in a warm place for approximately one hour, until dough has risen to double in size.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and punch down only to knock out all the air, kneading lightly. Separate dough into two equal-sized balls. Place a circle of parchment paper to cover the bottom of each pot and place a dough ball on it. Cover each ball of dough and put in a warm place for approximately a half hour to an hour, until dough balls have risen to double in size or until they stop rising. Gently brush tops of each loaf with well-beaten egg. Place pots on cookie sheet in oven preheated at 400F for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and turn out to cool.
Herbed Lamb Chops With Balsamic Glaze
Recipe And Ingredients
4 large lamb loin chops
extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage
2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 large Walla-Walla onions, sliced thick
3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
2/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
Pour 2 Tbs olive oil into hot pan over medium heat. Season lamb chops on both sides with salt and pepper and add to pan. Pour onions over chops and cook until lamb is browned on both sides, about 5-7 minutes each side, stirring onions until they are clear. When lamb is cooked, remove chops and cover.
Sprinkle brown sugar over onions and saute, stirring frequently until onions are browned and coated with sugar. Add garlic and herbs and saute for about a minute. Add vinegar and wine and boil in pan until reduced to glaze, about three minutes. Spoon over chops and serve.
Recipe And Ingredients
This dessert is a sweet, early spring treat in the UK and the US and there are many versions of it to be found. Our version is simple and easily modified for larger or smaller groups. Today Caerphilly cheese is made in different parts of the UK but it originated, of course, in the area of the town of Caerphilly, in South Wales. Rhubarb was probably brought to the United Kingdom thousands of years ago and is today grown in Wales and popular in desserts, wines and other recipes.
2 Tbs. orange juice
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cup diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 1/2 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp chopped crystallized ginger
1 Tsp. freshly grated orange zest
1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup crumbled Caerphilly cheese
2 tbls butter
OPTIONAL 2 Tbs. crushed almonds
Preheat Oven to 350F and grease a 9-inch pie pan. Mix fruit with orange juice, crystallized ginger, sugar, cornstarch, and orange zest and pour into pie plate.
Mix oats, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and almonds. With your hands, mix in butter and Caerphilly cheese, pressing it into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Slowly add orange juice as needed until you achieve slightly smooth crumbles that hang together. Spread topping over fruit mix.
Place pie dish in oven over cookie sheet or foil to catch any bubble over. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until top is well browned. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.