Thursday, 1 March 2012

Cawl & pice ar y man (soup & welshcakes) for St David's Day

Happy St David's Day
Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus.

morning coffee and afternoon tea on St David's Day.

March 1st is Saint David's Day, also known as the feast day of Saint David.  Many Welsh people will prepare a traditional meal of cawl (soup) and pice ar y man (welshcakes) to eat. They will also wear a daffodil or a leek today to symbolise their Welshness. Leeks and daffodils are both considered national emblems of Wales. The story goes that some Welsh troops once wore leeks on their soldier uniforms to distinguish each other from enemy English soldiers. I'm not sure why the daffodil is considered a national emblem, perhaps it's down to some some confusion...?
The translation of the word Daffodil is very similar to leek -
Daffodil - Cenhinen Pedr
Leek - Cenhinen

This photo is from last year's blog post about St David's Day - (link here)

So yesterday the cawl was prepared by Gu (as it's better made the day before) and I cooked the first batch of Welshcakes on the bbq. I posted in the past about welshcakes and included the recipe link here and how we have adapted our cooking methods for Australia.

This year I'll share the other traditional meal of Cawl.

traditional Saint David's Day meal
Cawl (pronounced kah-ool) is a hearty soup made with root vegetables and a meat stock. There is no definitive recipe as it's an ancient idea of using what was to hand. Quantities of individual ingredients can vary according to supply and taste, so don't worry too much about precision here!
Here is a guide recipe to serve 4-6

2-3 lb. Welsh lamb (or equivalent)
1 large sliced onion
3 leeks
2 medium sliced carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 small swede turnip or 2 white turnips
6 small potatoes
salt and pepper
4 pints (8 cups) water

Trim the fat from the meat, cover with cold water, season, and bring to the boil
Simmer until the meat is very tender (approx 1 hour)
Once cooled, skim the fat
Add all the chopped vegetables except for the potatoes and leeks
Simmer for approx 1 hour
Add the potatoes and leek and cook for 20 mins

Serve with crusty bread, good quality butter and a hard strong cheese.

The above is a traditional recipe which is the one I use on March 1st. Any other time I cook cawl in the slow cooker. Just throw everything in and turn it on!

Welsh Gu (grandma) and Tadcu (grandad) are staying
so we will have an extra special St David's Day meal tonight.


8 Comments and thoughts:

  1. It's nice learning about different traditions. I'm always amazed at how difficult the welsh language is! I like it though as reminds me of my childhood with our Welsh Mountain ponies. The breeders often call them traditional names.
    Enjoy your evening tonight x

  2. Looks lovely Beth, perfect for the Aga, same goes for welsh cakes, dropped straight on the hot plate! So nice to have your mum there to share it with this year. Big hello from us here to them. Sun actually shining this morning, hope rest of month stays the same xxxxx Wendy

  3. Oh Lordy, Beth! That means it's a year since you challenged me to make some Welshcakes ☺. I must rectify that soon! Enjoy having your dear ones with you, Sweetheart. J x

  4. Hope you had a lovely St Davids Day with your family Beth.

  5. Just happened across your blog.
    Hope you all enjoyed your St David's Day celebrations and meal.
    Best wishes
    Gaynor (another Welsh exile from Staffordshire)

  6. A belated Happy St David's Day.

  7. Hope you had a great St David's Day Beth - the soup looks wonderful,thankyou for sharing the recipe and for the meaning behind the leeks and daffs!! Just one of those things you take for granted without really knowing what lies behind.

    Gill xx

  8. Hope you had a happy St. David's Day...I love a good cawl...might have one next weekend...heading over to Abarearon...Robx