Tag Archives: laverbread

Welsh Cakes And Cockle Hats

1 Mar

27 tinkers cakes

Today is Saint David’s Day, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant, in Wales and small girls are dressed in a traditional Welsh costume with a daffodil corsage, small boys are put into Welsh rugby shirts with a leek corsage and copious Welsh Cakes are eaten. For aeons these have been baked on a griddle or bakestone, maen in Welsh. Pice ar y maen translates as cakes on the stone and this method of cooking is shared by all the Celtic nations. There is another version, substituting grated apple for dried fruit and cinammon for mixed spice and these are called Tinker’s Cakes (Teisennau Tincar). I made some a while back and drew them.

little me

Here’s three-year old me, in my Welsh costume, traditional Welsh flannel which was very itchy as I remember. There are two types of hat – the more common stovepipe hat that I’m wearing and the smaller black straw bonnet that we called the Cockle hat, after the cockle women who used to sell seafood from large baskets on street corners, like in this famous portrait by Evan Walters.

Walters, Evan; The Cockle Woman; Carmarthenshire Museums Service Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-cockle-woman-177587

Walters, Evan; The Cockle Woman; Carmarthenshire Museums Service Collection

I can just remember one of the cockle women selling on the corner outside the Lower Lamb pub on Swansea’s High Street on a Saturday morning. My dad would pop over to buy some cockles and laverbread (a Welsh seaweed delicacy) and cook us a Welsh breakfast with bacon and eggs, the cockles fried till they popped in the hot bacon fat and the laverbread turned into the cockly bacony grease to warm through.

The F. C. B.

8 May

FCB 1

For people from outside Britain, an F. C. B. stands for a Full Cooked Breakfast. In England, it’s a gigantic platter of sausage, bacon and eggs, supplemented by a variety of delicacies like fried potatoes, fried tomatoes, baked beans and black pudding (made with blood). The addition of cockles (like clams) and laverbread (seaweed) turns it into a Welsh F. C. B.

FCB 2

 

Husb and I went to our local Greasy Spoon caff earlier to meet up with some friends for a consolatory F.C.B. to cheer ourselves up after the UK election results. We stuffed ourselves and I took the opportunity to scribble some of the other punters. One of them was a little old lady who was wearing a typical little old ladies woolly hat. At least, it’s typical for these parts. We don’t have the best weather in the world, y’know. Anyway, we consoled ourselves with our grub and have spent the rest of the day in each other’s company, valuing one of the things that matters most in life, friendship.

Cats And Seaweed

16 Apr

Ink sketches: cat throwing shapes

Today I fancied doing some tehnical exercises in my sketchbook, just for a few minutes, so I squinted my eyes and drew the outline shapes thrown by my little cat Sparta. It’s not that easy because the second you start to draw a cat, they fidget. Even when they’re asleep! It didn’t take long to scribble these and it helps to analyse positive and negative shapes and to improve accuracy. They’re not pretending to be great art, but in my opinion artists, like all other professionals, need to practice regularly.

Earlier I cooked up some traditional Welsh laverbread to go with locally cured sausage and bacon from Pontiets for our tea. I scraped the glutinous laver into the pan and put its plastic pot on the table. When I turned back, Sparta was on the table [naughty girl], licking the remains of the laver with relish. In my experience, cats are quite conservative eaters, generally preferring only food that can be caught and killed so I was really surprised to see her tucking into laverbread. Must be celebrating her Welsh heritage :).

 

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