Snacks Soups Salads and Light Meals

Welsh Leek and Sweet Potato Soup

Those that follow this blog might have seen a bit of a trend recently. Leeks are quintessentially associated with Wales and are used widely in Welsh dishes.

The leek is proudly sported every St. David's day in Wales on March 1st and of course at every international rugby match.  But the history of the leek in Wales goes back much further. In 589 AD as the story goes St. David himself ordered his soldiers to wear the leek on their helmets in a battle against the 'hated' pagan Saxon invaders of Britain. This might be a myth but demonstrates the close association there is between the Welsh and the leek.

Ingredients Serves 4
3 medium Welsh Leeks sliced
1 tbs Welsh rapeseed oil
4 180g sweet potatoes diced
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of dry chilli (optional)
2 tbs cream
water to cover 
1 cube of vegetable stock

Pour the oil into a thick based saucepan and place on a medium heat.  
Add the leeks and sweat gently for about 4 to 5 minutes.  
Add the diced potatoes and enough water just to cover all the vegetables.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft to cut.
Once ready, blitz the ingredients and spoon in the cream.
When serving sprinkle a pinch of chillies onto the surface of the soup.

When serving sprinkle a pinch of chillies onto the surface of the soup.

Enjoy with some fresh crusty bread.  If you enjoy this dish please share.

Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt and Pepper Squid ready to eat

These are easy to make and excellent as a side dish for a Chinese or Thai meal.  Ask your fishmonger to clean the squid for you if you prefer not to do it yourself.  Once prepared the squid takes less than a minute to cook but are sensational to eat.


400g Squid cleaned
60g cornflour
60g plain flour
2 tsp black pepper cracked
2 tbs ground szechuan peppercorns
2 tsp salt

Cut the squid into rings and cut the tentacles if they are too long.

Grind the pepper and peppercorns and add to the flour and salt.  Mix well together. Add the squid to the flour mixture and toss until they are coated all over.

Prepared Squid

I sallow fried the squid in enough oil to cover them once they were placed in the wok.  I cooked these in small batches for about 30 to 40 seconds each time.  I removed them and placed them in an oven proof dish and put them in the oven to keep warm on 120C until they are all cooked.

I served these with some sweet chilli sauce.  My children are my biggest critics but these were a big hit. 

Scotch Egg with Cumin, Coriander and 

Edwards of Conwy Sausage Meat

Scotch Egg with Edwards of Conwy Sausage Meat

Recently my children have taken a liking to Scotch Eggs bought in our local Supermarket.  Not that this is a bad thing as Scotch Eggs are very taste but as anything massed produced they can be full of preservatives etc.  I decided to make my own and they were much easier to make and according to my children much tastier.

Edwards of Conwy Sausages

For these scotch eggs I have used sausage meat from a local company Edwards of Conwy.  I have known the owner, Ieuan Edwards, for a few years and I know he only uses the best quality cuts for his sausages.

Ingredients makes 4 Scotch Eggs

For the Sausage Mixture
6 sausages (400g skin removed)
parsley about 10g chopped finely
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds

I have added cumin and coriander to add a little bit of spice to my scotch eggs.  I roasted the seeds then ground them to a powder.

Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and use your hands to mix the ingredients together well

Sausage Meat mix
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and place 4 Free Range eggs into the boiling water. Remove after 5 minutes and place in a bowl of cold water.  After they have cooled the egg shells should easily peel off.  Once you have done this place to one side.

You will now need to prepare the coating to the scotch eggs.

I used 6 slices of bread, lightly toasted and then blitzed in a food mixer to prepare the breadcrumbs. Once done place in a bowl.

In a second bowl place three table spoons of flour in a bowl and add a teaspoon of salt and pepper and mix together.

Finally in a third bowl I cracked two eggs and then mix well.

Now you are ready to make the scotch eggs.  Separate the sausage mix into 4 equal parts then place the first lot of sausage meat in one hand and flatten out to make a patty.  With your other hand dip the egg into the flour and roll about until all the surface area is covered in flour.  Then place the egg into the centre of your patty.  Fold the sausage meat around the egg.

Now dip the scotch egg into the egg mixture and roll around to ensure the whole surface is coated.  Then dip into the bread crumbs.  Repeat the egg and bread crumbs process until you have a good covering for your scotch egg.
Scotch Eggs coated with breadcrumbs

Repeat the process for the remaining three eggs.

I deep fried my scotch eggs at a temperature of 180C for 4 minutes and served them with some home made chips, scummy was my daughter's comment.

Scotch Eggs ready to be eaten with some home made chips

Welsh Rarebit

Originally called Welsh Rabbit or in Welsh - Caws Pobi

This is more than just cheese on toast. A fully fledged Welsh Rabbit/Rarebit is a more complicated affair.  The cheese is usually mixed with butter, mustard, beer and eggs and is usually poured over the toast rather than just grilled as you would a conventional cheese and toast.

For this recipe I have used two main local ingredients. Snowdonia Cheese Black Bomber is a fabulously creamy, smooth extra mature cheddar and the Golden Pale Ale I used is called Snowdonia Ale from the Purple Moose Brewery in Porthmadog (what a great name for a brewery).


175g Snowdonia (Black Bomber) Cheddar Cheese
3 tbs Snowdonia Pale Ale 
30g butter
1 tsp English Mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2  Free range egg yolks
small pinch of salt and pepper

Place a small saucepan over a moderate heat
Add the ale and mustard, mix until blended
Add the butter, mix until melted
Add the Worcestershire Sauce
Add the cheese a bit at a time, and keep mixing until you have a smooth sauce type consistence. 

In the meantime toast some bread.  If the consistency of your sauce is slightly on the runny side (which happened to me the first time I made this) don't worry. Pour some of the Welsh rarebit onto the toast and place under the grill for a few seconds until gently bubbling, helps to set the sauce.  You might have to do this a few times to build up the layers of sauce onto to the toast.

The Welsh Rarebit is now ready to be enjoyed either on its own or with a salad.

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks with Honey, Soy Sauce and Chilli

Chicken Drumsticks cooked with honey, soy sauce and chilli flakes

Last weekend with summer coming to an end here in the UK the BBQ came out for the last time.  These chicken drumstick work well on the BBQ after being marinaded for a few hours in this sweet and spicy sauce. 


16 chicken drumsticks
3tbs paprika
1tbs honey
4tbs olive oil
3tbs soy sauce 
2 tsps chilli flakes

Use a sharp knife to cut incisions in the chicken drumsticks and then place in a mixing bowl.  Add all the ingredients to the bowl and mix well together.  Placed covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours. 

You can cook these on the BBQ straight away but I partly precooked these in the oven first by placing them on a cooking tray in a preheated oven at 180C for 45 minutes.  Then remove from the oven and place on a sheet of foil on the BBQ rack.  Pour the remaining sauce from the cooking tray over the chicken and cook on the BBQ for a further 15 to 20 minutes. They will then be ready to eat preferably with fingers.

BBQ Chicken Wings with Honey and Chilli Sauce

Chicken Wings

16 chicken wings cut in two at the joint
2 tbs Honey
3 tbs Soy Sauce
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs sweet chilli sauce
salt and pepper
Chicken Wings Precooked

Use a sharp knife cut the tips off the wings and cut the joint in half. Place all the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl.  Add all the ingredients to the bowl and mix well together.  Placed covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

It is best to precook these otherwise they can just burn to nothing on the BBQ.  Place in the oven  on a cooking tray in a preheated oven at 180C for 45 minutes.  Then remove from the oven and place on a sheet of foil on the BBQ rack.  Pour the remaining sauce from the cooking tray over the chicken and cook on the BBQ for a further 15 to 20 minutes. They are then ready to eat and should be finger licking good.

BBQ Chicken Wings with Paprika and Cayenne Pepper

Having a BBQ with some friends the other day and had a load of chicken wings. I was wondering what to do with them so I put this recipe together and it worked out a lot better than I expected with a nice kick from the cayenne pepper.


16 chicken wings
3 tbs flour
2 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Chicken wings
Cut the tip off the chicken wing otherwise they will burn when cooking.  Cut the joint in half then place all the chicken wings into a large bag.  Add the ingredients to the bag and shake well until all the chicken wings are well coated.

Remove from the bag and place on a backing tray. Preheat the oven to 180C and place the chicken pieces in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and then finish off on the BBQ. These are definitely good finger food, serve with some sweet chilli sauce.

Thai Fish Cakes

These I serve as a side dish with a Thai curry.  We first had them when visiting a street market in Bangkok and they have been a firm favourite in our household ever since.   They are very easy to make and only take a few minutes to cook in oil.
Thai Fish Cakes
Makes 8 fish cakes
300g of firm white fish
1 tbs of red curry paste (I used a good quality Thai Curry paste such as May Ploy)
100g green beans chopped
A small bunch of coriander chopped 
Juice of 1/3 lemon
1 tsp of fish sauce 
1 free range egg

300g of firm white fish
Place the fish in a food processor and blend until the fish is a fine mixture, be careful not to allow the mixture to become pureed. 

Chopped green beans

Chop up the green beans finely and then add all the contents into a mixing bowl.  Mix all ingredients together making sure that the curry paste especially has combined well with everything else.

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl

When all the ingredients are combined make the cakes, there should be enough for about 8 evenly sized cakes.

Make some cakes from the mixture
You can then either shallow fry or deep fry the fish cakes using sunflower oil.  On this occasion I shallow fried the cakes.  Using a frying or saucepan placed enough oil in the pan so that it would just cover the cakes when placed in the pan.  Heat the oil until you can see it starting to bubble slightly.  Carefully place the fish cakes in the oil, as I was using a frying pan I was able to put four in at a time, if you are using a smaller pan you might have to do them two at a time.  Cook until browned and then place in a preheated oven about 120C to keep warm and then cook the remaining cakes. When ready either serve as a side dish with a Thai Curry or as a snack with some salad and Thai chilli Sauce.
Thai fish cakes ready to eat

Hot and Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

We had this thick creamy, spicy soup for supper the other night with crusty bread and it went down a treat, with the children especially enjoying it.  It is easy to make with preparation time about 10 minutes or so and cooking time not much longer.  When I did this I made enough for two meals and placed the second batch in the freezer for another night.

Hot and Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 8
2 tbs Blodyn Aur Rapeseed Oil (this is produced locally to me and I have been pleased with its quality) alternatively use Olive Oil
3 onions chopped
5 garlic cloves chopped
6cm of fresh ginger peeled and grated
1 birds eye chilli chopped (use more if you like it spicy) 
1 tbs garam masala
4 tsp curry powder
2 or 3 large sweet potatoes 1.2kg chopped into cube type shapes
Vegetable stock about 2 liters, if you have made your own that would be great if not 2 cubes of veg stock added to the water.
400ml coconut milk
small bunch of fresh coriander chopped 
juice of 1 lemon or lime
A good pinch of salt and pepper to season

Chopped Onions ready to be fried
Use a heavy based saucepan and place over a medium heat, add the oil.  Gently saute the onions for about 10 minutes till they are soft.  add the garlic,  ginger, garam masala and curry powder and stir a bit more for about a minutes.

Spices ready to be added
Tip in the potatoes and mix till they are well covered by the spices, then add the seasoning, and pour in the stock. Increase the heat slightly until it is simmering and add the coconut milk.
Sweet potatoes added to the pan
Reduce the heat again and allow to simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Use a blending stick if you have one or place contents in a food processor and blend until you have a puree.

Add the lemon or lime if you prefer and coriander (I would have used coriander but it is not to my children's taste I therefore added a bit of basil) and serve with crusty white bread.  If a little bit too spicy add some yogurt.

A Surprisingly Good Welsh Leek and Cheese Toasty

Welsh Leeks and Cheese Toasty

Welsh leeks, Double Cream, Crusty Bread and Double Gloucester Cheese

I was scrabbling around the other day thinking what we could have for a quick snack and and found this recipe for leek and cheese toasty.  I was a bit sceptical about it especially considering the amount of leeks suggested but boy was I surprised by the result.  This is an extremely tasty snack which I can highly recommend.

Serves 2

20g butter
2 Medium Leeks (being Welsh I would recommend using leeks from Wales, these came from Pembroke, but any good quality leeks will do)
1 tsp of dry thyme or a couple of sprigs of fresh, leaves only roughly chopped
3 tbs double cream
70g (I would recommend Caerphilly cheese but a strong Cheddar or Double Gloucester which I used because this was all I had left in the fridge, will do)
2 slices of good quality crusty bread
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Sweat the leeks
Melt the butter over a medium heat and add the leeks.  Once you hear them starting to sizzle turn the heat down and sweat gently, stirring often, for roughly 10 minutes or until they are tender.

Stir in the thyme, add the double cream and cook for a further minute or so until the cream is bubbling slightly.

Remove from the heat and add two thirds of the cheese, add salt and pepper to taste and stir.

Toast the bread lightly under the grill, when golden brown, remove and spread the leek and cheese mixture generously over the toast. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and replace under the heat and grill until the cheese is bubbling.  Serve immediately with a side salad and enjoy.

Add remaining cheese and grill

Bruschetta with Mozzarella, Tomato and Garlic

Crusty bread, tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil

This is such a tasty, simple snack that you can put together in no time.   It is a fabulous combination of fruity olive oil, crunchy fresh bread smothered with ripe baby tomatoes, garlic plus a slight peppery taste of basil topped with mozzarella

Ingredients Serves 4
125g Mozzarella Cheese
1 loaf of white crusty fresh bread
3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
14 baby tomatoes
20 basil leaves
salt and pepper to season
1tbs olive oil (Additional oil will be required for the bread)

Place the garlic, tomatoes, basil leaves, olive oil and a twist of salt and pepper to season in a food processor and blitz till you have a smooth consistence.  Leave to stand and after a couple of minutes it will naturally thicken

Sliced white bread smothered with olive oil
Next slice the bread (2 pieces per person) and place on a grilling tray.  Smother the bread either side with olive oil, use your finger to gentle work the oil into the bread to cover the whole surface area. Then place under the grill and toast both sides till golden brown.

Spread generous amounts of the tomato, basil and garlic mix onto the bread, ensure you have the whole surface area covered, otherwise the bread will burn and then place under the grill again.  After about a minute when the the topping is cooked remove and place the sliced mozzarella on top.

Add a little bit more pepper to the mozzarella and return under the grill until the cheese has melted.


Serve the bruschetta with some salad and enjoy the vibrant taste of the garlic combined with the freshness of the basil and tomato. 

Serve with salad, an excellent snack on a warm summer's day.

Salmon with Black Pepper and Ginger

Ingredients for the sauce, sugar, garlic, lemon, ginger, pepper corns, sesame oil, fish and soy sauce.
Fish is a meat that we often feel should by handled with care and should be accompanied with delicate herbs and sauces, but salmon is one of the exceptions. This recipe is bold and delivers a punch from the combination of fiery pepper corns and the zing of ginger.

This is a very quick and easy super recipe with the salmon only needing about 20 minutes marinading time with a further 15 minutes of cooking time.

Ingredients Serves 4

4 pieces of salmon fillets about 100 to 150g each

1tsp brown sugar
5 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbs Soy sauce
1/2 tbs fish sauce
1 1/2 tbs grated fresh ginger 
1 tsp black pepper corns
200ml water

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor and blitz until you have a sauce mixture. Pour the sauce over the salmon and allow to marinade for about 20 minutes.

Salmon with pepper and ginger marinade
After 20 minutes take a heavy based pan and place on a medium heat. Place the salmon and sauce in the pan and once the sauce is bubbling gently, cover and turn the heat down slightly.  Cook until the salmon starts to flake (10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the fillets, add a bit of water if sauce dries up to much). Once the salmon is ready place on a bed of rice and pour over any sauce.  Or for a special dish add some cumin, coriander, peas and sweetcorn to the rice. (see ingredients below)

Rice with Coriander and Cumin

400g Rice
100g peas
100g sweetcorn
6 cardamon pods
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 vegetable stock

Place all the ingredients in either a rice cooker or in a saucepan. Add water to cover until you have one finger thick level of water above the rice.  Cook until rice is ready about 15 minutes.  

No comments:

Post a Comment