Welsh Cakes

This post was written by Catholic Cuisine contributor, Charlotte from Waltzing Matilda

A sweet friend called my attention to this recipe and we decided to give it a try a little early to see if we wanted to add it to our St. David's Day feast. The kids loved them and begged me to make some more tomorrow! My husband's family has some Welsh heritage so we've found ourselves with a special, little devotion to this Welsh saint. This Welsh prince turned priest was responsible for founding many monasteries and condemning the Pelegian heresy. The original recipe is written using British cooking terminology, so I've made some changes to make it easier to understand for us 'mericans! ;)

Welsh Cakes

2 C. all purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 stick (4 Tbl.) of salted (preferably Welsh) butter
1 egg
1/4 C. milk, (more if needed)
1/4 - 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/3 C. caster sugar* (plus extra for dusting; see note below)
1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. allspice** (see note below)
extra butter for greasing

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until it forms crumbs. Add the sugar, raisins and egg. Mix to combine into a ball using a splash of the milk if you need to get it to hold together.

Roll out dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 3-4 inch rounds. Use extra butter to grease a heavy griddle. Heat griddle to medium heat and cook cakes 2-3 minutes per side.  Turn only once.

 They should be a caramel brown, like pancakes, when cooked, although, some people prefer them almost burnt. Remove from pan and dust while still warm with the extra caster sugar.  Enjoy!

*Caster sugar is regular white sugar that has been processed to a finer texture. If you don't have any, just take a clean food processor or clean coffee grinder and process some regular white sugar until fine but not powdery. If you don't have any way to make your own, you can use powdered sugar but it's a different texture and usually includes some cornstarch. I used a coffee grinder for mine and in the picture below you can see that the homemade caster sugar is lighter and fluffier.
Homemade caster sugar on the left and regular white sugar on the right
** I read in other recipes that you could add some "mixed spice" for a more authentic flavor. British "mixed spice" is basically pumpkin pie spice but since I don't use pumpkin pie spice, I added my own blend of spices.

(Just to clarify… I don't use pre-made pumpkin pie spice because it usually has cloves and ginger in it. My family doesn't care for the taste of cloves and only tolerates ginger in small quantities. I mix my own spice blend only so I can control the flavorings. No other reason. If you want to use pumpkin pie spice, I would think a teaspoon would be all you need.)

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St. David's Day Soup

This post was written by Catholic Cuisine contributor, Charlotte from Waltzing Matilda

The feast of St. David is coming up on March 1st. In honor of the Welsh tradition of wearing leeks and husband's family's Welsh heritage, it's become our tradition to celebrate with leeks for dinner.

Creamy Chicken Potato Leek Soup

2 Tbl. butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
4 small-medium leeks, cleaned and sliced
6-8 cups chicken broth
1-2 Tbl. cornstarch
4-6 cups of yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1C. of heavy cream
1 C. leftover chicken, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheese to top, opt.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter.
Cook leeks in butter and oil until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.
Stir cornstarch into broth and pour broth into pot. Add the potatoes and chicken and bring to a boil. Pour in the cream, reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Mash potatoes for a chunkier soup or blend with an immersion blender for a smoother consistency.  Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Serve with shredded cheese on top.

Roasted Butternut Squash "Croutons"

2 C. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 Tbl. olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the squash cubes in the oil. Place on cookie sheet in single layer. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in hot oven for 25- 30 minutes. They won't be crispy like regular croutons but they will be incredibly flavorful.

God our Father, you gave the bishop David to the Welsh Church to uphold the faith and to be an example of Christian perfection. In this changing world may he help us to hold fast to the values which bring eternal life.

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Simple Daffodil Cake for St. David's Day

This post was written by Catholic Cuisine contributor, Charlotte from Waltzing Matilda


Many Welsh people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel to celebrate the Feast of St. David: the daffodil (a traditional Welsh symbol which is in season during March) or the leek (Saint David's personal symbol) on this day.

We've made a daffodil cake to celebrate the feast of St. David for a couple of years now. This is not an actual Daffodil Cake Recipe. It's my simplified version using any white cake mix. Have you ever made a fudge marble cake? This is a basic marble cake except I used a white cake recipe with some yellow food coloring and little lemon extract instead of fudge. You can use a white cake (box) mix if you like. 

Make the batter as the recipe or the box describes. Before you pour the batter in the pan, separate out about a cup of batter. Add yellow food coloring to the reserved batter until it reaches the desired color. I recommend going a little darker than you think you'd like because it will fade a little when it bakes. You can also add up to 1 tsp. of lemon extract for a light citrusy flavor.


Pour the white cake batter into the pan. (I like to bake the cake in my bundt pan.) Drop tablespoon fulls of the yellow batter all over the white batter. Using a butter knife or skewer, lightly swirl the colors together until you get a marble effect like above. Don't swirl too much! You want the colors to stay separate. Bake and cool as the recipe recommends for the type of pan you chose.


Served upside down with a little bit of glaze frosting and yellow sugar crystals my kids think it looks like a daffodil. The marbled white and yellow slices will delight them even more!

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Cranberry Valentine :: Cranberry Upside-Down Cake


Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
from Cranberry Valentine (affiliate link)
Ingredients: 

1 box of yellow cake mix
4 to 5 cups raw cranberries (we forgot to measure and used one bag... probably pretty close)
2 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter (1/4 lb.)
1 cup of walnut halves or pieces


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚.


Slice the stick of butter in thin pieces.  Distribute the pieces evenly over the bottom of a 9-13-inch pan or a large round one.  (We used a 12 inch heart pan - affiliate link) Sprinkle the walnut halves or pieces over the butter.


Wash and dry the cranberries, and pour them over the nuts.


 Add the white sugar and the brown sugar, spreading evenly over the cranberries.   


Mix the sugar and the cranberries slightly.


Follow the directions on the box to prepare the yellow cake mix, and pour it over everything.


 

Bake at 350˚ for 40 to 50 minutes.  It is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Let cool for 10 minutes.  Then, with a knife, loosen the cake from the edges of the pan, and turn over on a plate.  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Happy St. Valentine's Day! 

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Healthy Snacks for St. Valentine's Day

The following recipe was submitted by Jen, from Enter Under My Roof, for the upcoming feast of St. Valentine.  Thank you Jen! 


Normally, when I think of St. Valentine's Day, I get an instant stomach ache at the thought of all the sugar that comes along with it (even if it isn't edible). Luckily, I have an amazing mama friend who brought these adorable healthy tomato heart snacks to a St. Valentine's Day party last year and I've literally been waiting an entire year to break this recipe out! I'm sure this idea is all over Pinterest, but I'll always thank Kristi for bringing these into my life.

This healthy recipe definitely plays up more into the commercial side of St. Valentine's Day (hearts galore) but I promise, there is a spiritual aspect to these as well. By the time you're 3/4 of the way done making them, you'll be praying for patience. Trust me (wink-wink).

While a bit tedious, I really did enjoy making these. Little man was happily playing with dad in the other room, and I relished in the quiet time (get it? tomatoes? relish? ...wait, are there even tomatoes IN relish??). All in all, it took me about :30min to make a dozen of the heart tomatoes, but that's from start to finish and includes the time to gather the supplies, learn my way through a few mistakes, and clean up.

WHAT YOU NEED
  • two dozen mini tomatoes (the oval shaped ones...not the round ones)
  • one dozen toothpicks
  • white labels
  • a really sharp knife (I found a steak knife worked better than a kitchen knife. Go figure.)


HOW TO MAKE (recipe makes a dozen tomato hearts)

Select 24 tomatoes, picking them out in pairs. Make sure each pair of tomatoes is about the same size/shape. The more oval shaped, the better.

Slice the corner off the tomato as show in Figure 1 above. I found it helpful to close one eye and visualize half a heart on the side of the knife. You'll look weird if anyone walks into the kitchen while you're doing this, but it'll get you the shape you need. A tip: save your tomato graveyard of leftover corner pieces - you can throw it in the freezer and toss it into your next pasta sauce. Yum!

Repeat the above step 23 more times. Are we having fun yet or what? Remember to keep your tomatoes in pairs. Romantic, no?

Using a toothpick, spear the two tomato halves together as shown in Figure 2 above. I thought it looked cutest if you put the toothpick through on an angle, but get creative and do what you like best.

Let your toothpicks dry. This is important - if you try to stick the arrow ends onto the toothpick you just pushed through the tomatoes, it won't stick...it's too wet. Not that I'm saying this from personal experience or anything...

Using a label, or other paper with a sticky back, cut out a double triangle and two long thin strips as shown in Figure 3 above. Stick them onto the toothpick. You'll actually stick the paper onto itself by folding it in half over the toothpick. This holds it in place.

Repeat the above step 23 more times. Pray for patience. Be thankful you have the time and ability to make cute snacks for your loved ones. Remember what inspired you to do this in the first place.

Voila! You're done. I left mine in the fridge overnight in an egg plate and they held up just fine.

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French Vanilla Cocoa for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes


With Valentines's Day in just a few days, heart shaped marshmallows are easy to find this time of year. In honor of the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes consider serving French Vanilla Hot Cocoa topped with a white a marshmallow representing the Immaculate Heart of Mary!



Enjoy the cocoa while reading a story about the "Beautiful Lady" who appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes or while watching one of the great movies available including The Song of Bernadette, or St. Bernadette of Lourdes from Navis Pictures.  (affiliate links included)


From the Archives: Cocoa Pebbles Grotto

This would also be a great way to celebrate the upcoming feast 
of St. Bernadette on February 18th! 

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! 

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St. Blaise Sticks (Pan bendito)


In Europe there is a tradition of giving blessed bread to others on the feast of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr. These are shaped into breadsticks called St. Blaise Sticks or Pan bendito.

It is said that those who partake of the bread will be protected against problems with their throats. In honor of his memorial (February 3) consider serving breadsticks alongside a fish dinner, recalling the legend of St. Blaise saving the young boy from choking on a fish bone.

Breadsticks can be made with either packaged breadstick or pizza dough, or using your favorite dough recipe. You can also easily shape them into a bishop’s staff before baking for a fun and symbolic twist!



Prayer in Honor of St. Blaise

O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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