Archive | Daffodils

Daffodils: everybody loves the sunshine

Just bees and things and flowers – spring time in the sunshine

Last week I was holidaying it up in the Czech Republic, snowy Prague to be precise. Now that’s one beautiful city but it’s still cold – very cold – this time of year. Travelling to the airport on our return journey home, the ground was dusted with a fine sprinkling of snow and spring felt like it was still a little way off for the residents of the city of Praha.

Returning to the South East of England has been somewhat of a spring awakening. The hyacinths in my garden are nearly in full bloom and there are signs of the peony plants poking their heads through the soil after their winter slumber. Heck, I even enjoyed a Staropramen in my local beer garden yesterday.

Following on from last week’s daffodils and Welsh cakes feature, I was hankering for a liberal scattering of spring flowers in my home upon my return from central Europe and, lo and behold, a dear friend of mine has bought me an abundance of narcissi. What greater pleasure can be had this time of year than having a jam jar or two of these golden beauties in each room of your little roost.

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I’d have baked a cake : daffodils and Welsh cakes

hapus Dydd Gŵyl Dewi!

Or, Happy St David’s Day! Pairing daffodils (cennin Pedr) and Welsh cakes (picau ar y maen) for this month’s ‘I’d have baked a cake’ feature is a little cliched I know, but it’s March 1st and I loves them both, I do.

Daffodils and narcissi are a staple of the Florists springtime repertoire and this year, they’ve received some unexpected media attention. Public Health England have urged supermarkets to keep the brassy, little sunshine flowers away from the fruit and vegetable aisle in case customers confuse them for food. But any press is good press, right? Just remember kids, put your daffodils in a vase and your spring onions in a Thai green curry.

I went a long time in my life before eating a Welsh cake, trying one for the first time when a Welsh colleague of mine brought a fresh batch into work one March 1st, and I regret all those years I was bereft of their buttery goodness. Living in England I rarely see these modest, fruity griddle cakes in shops so to satisfy my cravings, I bake them for myself. Traditionally cooked on cast iron griddles called bakestones, Welsh cakes are sometimes given the same name. I don’t have a bakestone and find that a thick bottomed frying pan works just as well.

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I based my recipe on the Great British Chefs Welsh cakes, but added vanilla extract. My dear old Grandad used to be a baker – he was the fastest doughnut maker in the East of England – and he swore by adding vanilla extract into any cake recipe. This recipe makes around 13 cakes.

Ingredients

  • 225g self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g (unsalted) butter
  • 50g  golden caster sugar
  • 50g currants
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A little butter for cooking
  • A little golden caster sugar to serve

Method

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the sugar and currants and mix them all together.
  2. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into the beaten egg and stir well.
  3. Add the milk and egg into the flour, sugar and currents and mix until you get a stiff dough.
  4. Roll out the ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface until it is about 5mm thick. Stamp out the individual cakes using a round pastry cutter.
  5. Heat the frying pan over a low – medium heat until it has warmed through thoroughly. Grease the pan using a small amount of butter and add the Welsh cakes.
  6. Cook the cakes for around 4 – 5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and have risen a little.
  7. Place your daffodils into a tasteful vase. Daffodils last longer in shallow water so don’t overfill your vase and top up the water as and when necessary.
  8. Sprinkle a little golden caster sugar on the finished cakes and serve. Lush.
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