Bad and Good News

Sadly Vikki had to be put down earlier this week which has left a big hole in our lives but she will soon be back and joined up with Pudding and Bertie until we are ready to bury their ashes together. It was a horrible experience as at the end she was unable to walk and just lay in my arms in the vets looking very, very sad indeed. To be honest the whole of the previous week I had been hoping that when I went to her run in the morning I would find she had passed away during the night as that would have taken away the guilt feeling both Sam and I had when taking her to the vets for the deed to be done.

The good news is that next week, for the first time, we are to be at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells doing our take home meals. As they had 240k visitors last year and the weather is better this year we are very optimistic that our bravery in doing such a big event will be adequately rewarded.

There will be a couple of things happening there that I can’t speak about at present but should be very rewarding for us so please view this site for updates on both Tuesday and Wednesday(and if in Wales view the BBC2 programme on the Tuesday evening for highlights of the day from the show). If possible we shall update this site each day of the event but as the event requires an early start and late finish each day this may be limited.

What follows is rather long winded but is important as if something isn’t done soon about it then irreversible decline will follow, as we have already seen at at least two events.

We have noticed a trend this year that organisers of events are not only increasing the cost of attending their events but they are also experiencing difficulties in filling their events with producers. Possibly due to the increasingly high cost of taking part? As a consequence their idea of a balanced offering often looks very lopsided as they appear to be prepared to take anyone on who will pay the fee. At one recent event we found no less than seven other producers offering similar products to us which made it virtually impossible for anyone to have a successful day.

Perhaps even more worrying is that we now increasingly see that, for example, butchers or meat producers are now selling pies and savoury baked goods which breaks them away from their traditional offering into ours. Perhaps we need to get some cows, pigs, chickens and sheep in to play them at their own game!

Where this will all end up I don’t know but I do know that what we are currently seeing cannot go on.

I hope I haven’t bored you too much and thanks for listening.

Eat good, eat well, eat proper food and live well.

Wilf

Pastry recipe

I promised yesterday that I would supply a pastry recipe that is both easy to handle and tastes good.

This makes about 4 big pasties. I would make double and freeze the rest in 200g  – 225g balls sealed in plastic or a plastic bag. Then you know you have a top or bottom for a pie or a pasty ball that you can defrost when it’s needed.

400g plain flour

200g of fat – half a soft white fat like Trex and half a soft yellow margarine such as stork cake.

a good pinch of salt

The best way to make the pastry is in a food processor or a mixer but you can do it by hand.

Put the flour and salt in a big bowl or the bowl of your food processor/mixer.

Add the fat in big chunks.

Mix it until it looks like big breadcrumbs. If you are doing it by hand then you will need to rub the fat into the flour between your thumbs and fingers until you get the same effect.

Add one tablespoon of cold water for every 100g of flour you have used so 6 for 600g of flour to you mix and combine.

You should have a nice ball of pastry which you need to wrap in plastic cling or a bag and seal.

Either freeze now weighed into balls or let it rest for a couple of hours before you use it.

goats cheese on a bed of marinated red onion served atop a slice of toast (or bruschetta if you like)

I was inspired to make this dish after a lunch at a local restaurant (Y Polyn), the starter was goats cheese over marinated  red onion served on bruschetta. It was simply delicious.

I thought that I too must be able to make it and set about recreating the slightly acidic onion with the creamy cheese on a crisp slice of toast.

It’s a perfect dish for a cool Sunday evening. Tucked up at home with a nice fire going and a glass of red wine. We’d had an early Sunday lunch so nothing too heavy needed. It does take a bit of time to cook the onions but you could do it a couple of days before if your’re having a dinner party and need this for the starter.

As a supper dish for 2  or a starter for 4

The bread 

I make my own but any good quality white loaf would do.  A couple of slices per person for supper or 1 each for a starter.

The goats cheese

A creamy cheese – why not try a local producer. We have Cothi Valley who make some great goats cheeses. You need about 25 g per person. We managed to use a roll of the cheese between us so I think we may have added just a little more than that.

The marinaded red onions

2 tb of olive oil

3 to 4  red onions The aim is 300 g of thinly sliced red onion.

60 ml of balsamic vinegar

30 g sugar

Heat the oil gently in a medium sized saucepan.

Add the onions and stir to coat the onions in oil. The heat should allow a very gentle sizzle.

You should cook the onions without browning them until they have softened and become slightly translucent around the edges. This takes about 15  minutes and you will need to stir frequently to avoid any browning and to get all the onions cooked.

Add a teaspoon of the sugar and cook again for 10 to 15 minutes stirring frequently to stop the sugar browning.

Add the vinegar and the rest of the sugar. Again keep a close eye and stir the onions regularly for about 10 minutes. The vinegar should reduce somewhat and the sugar dissolve. Taste the onions which should be slightly vinegary and not too sweet.

Put the grill on high and lightly toast the bread.

Divide the onion mixture up between the slices and add goats cheese on top in slices.

Put this under the hot grill and watch carefully. It’s guaranteed that if you get involved in something else it will burn. However a few minutes should allow the cheese to warm through and start to melt. Watch the edges of the bread don’t burn.

Serve up and enjoy!!

Lentil & bacon soup

I have posted about this before but I hadn’t realized how the recipe had changed or evolved until just now. As well as this we always assume everyone understands how we cut up an onion or prepare a carrot. This recipe is an easy cook for a novice in the kitchen and gives a hearty, healthy meal. You can add other vegetables as well. A great way to hide veg from the children so they get more than they think. If it’s a real problem you can always puree the soup once it’s cooked and then they will never know.

  • 3 carrots
  • half a swede
  • 2 onions
  • an ounce of butter
  • chicken stockcube
  • 4 rashers of bacon (using smoky just now but it’s up to you)
  • 200g red lentils
  • tin of chopped tomatoes

For those more experienced cooks peel and then chop the veg into smallish pieces to help them cook easily, chop the bacon up into bite sized bits and skip to method

Prperation

Before you start cooking

Chop you onion into cubes. The easiest and least cheffy way of doing this is to take of the outer skin. Chop off the ends and discard them along with the peel. Chop your onion into manageable rings and then chop each ring  fist length-ways and then turn the chopping board and chop at right angles to give you smallish pieces of onion.

Peel your carrots and slice discarding the top, bottom and peel. The carrot slices should be quite then about a couple of mm thick – but don’t get too hung up on this after all it’s you who are eating it.

Peel the swede with a potato peeler and treat in much the same way as the onion. I like to have cubes less than a centimeter in size as they need to cook through along with the lentils.

Chop the rashers of bacon into pieces about 2 cm long by 1 cm wide – very roughly

weigh out the lentils

Method

Fill the kettle with water

Gently heat a big saucepan with the butter in until it has melted. Just sizzling is good and then add the onion. Fry this for a minute or two and then the other vegetables along with the bacon.

Give it all a good stir and let it gently sizzle for about 5 minutes stirring every now and then. Nothing should brown

Add the lentils and stir gently for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes and then put the kettle on. Once boiled put the stock cube in a measuring jug and add 1 liter of water.Give this a stir then add to your saucepan.

Gently simmer until the lentils have broken down and the veg are fully cooked.

A proper healthy meal in one pot

About us

We want to live a little better every day.

We live in rural Wales overlooking Black Mountain, near Llandeilo. We have several cats, a dog and a few pigs.

‘We’ – are a husband and wife team, Sam & Wilf Winter who make and bake pies, pasties, sausage rolls, pork pies and bread for a living along with the odd cake. Everything is handmade – with the exception of a food processor and a big mixer. We hand roll all the pastry and pride ourselves on good old fashioned food. Food your Mum would be proud of.

We have a small bakery on the side of the cottage and as is tradition baking days start very early. If you were to drive by you would smell the freshly baked food and maybe hear the little radio playing through the open window.

Life is full with a big family and we do our best to divide our lives between the children (all grown up now), the grandchildren, each other, the business and our little sanctuary in the hills.

We also love photography and now cheat with a whizzy digital camera. Every photo on the blog is one of ours.

Come and visit our blog, we would love to hear from you or come and say hello at one of the events we sell at.

We don’t sell from home but you can buy our goods from

the Olive Branch in Llandeilo, http://www.olivebranchdeli.co.uk/ or

Dryslwyn Community shop http://home.btconnect.com/dryslwyn.org.uk/

As well as at a host of events throughout Wales and beyond.

Sam & Wild Winter

Glanbrydan- the cottage bakehouse

Pont Isaac
Cwmifor
Llandeilo
SA19 7AP
 
01558 822846

Spanish chicken

While I remember how I made the dish I’ll add it to the blog. It was one of those dishes where I know roughly what goes in but not something I have made before and another roast chicken didn’t sound appetizing so time for a change.This is my take on a traditional and varied dish. I liked the results and I hope you do.

Oven to gas Mark 2, Fan oven 140 or standard electric oven 150

One small chicken cut in half and insides removed or a box of chicken thighs. Leave the Skin on.

Put a couple of table or desert spoons of flour in a shallow dish and rub the chicken skin side down in the flour to give a light coating. Don’t worry about any uncovered bits.

Heat up a casserole dish on the hob with a couple of spoonfuls of your preferred cooking oil  – olive oil or sunflower oil are good. You will need a lid for the dish or enough foil to fold up a few times and create a temporary lid.

Cook the chicken skin side down in the oil it should sizzle gentle  – turn the heat up or down accordingly. Once it has some brown skin remove to a clean dish and de-glaze the casserole dish with a good glug of sherry. Allow the sherry to reduce in volume by about half and then pour over the chicken.

Pour in a spoon of oil to the pan, heat up and add a large chopped onion or two. along with 2 de-skinned and de-seeded sweet peppers, any colour. You can buy them in a jar or grill the pepper skins until black and then wipe off with kitchen towel. Fry gently for a few minutes and then add the chicken back in along with a few rashers of chopped up smoky bacon, and about half a Chorizo cut into chunks. We use the Chorizo that’s not too hot but it’s personal preference again.

After a couple of minutes more frying add a tin of chick peas, a tin of chopped tomatoes,about half a liter of hot water and a stock cube.I used beef stock cube as I’d run out of chicken.

Lastly add a good pinch if salt & pepper and about half a teaspoon of chile flakes.

Bring to the boil giving it all a good stir and then put the lid on.

Transfer to the oven and leave for about 2 hours.The chicken should be very well cooked through and the sauce reduced by at least a third.

You can reheat this later on or the next day so it makes a good welcome home dinner.