Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

...Happy St. Davids Day! Last year when I tried to educate the masses on Wales National Day last year I encountered bewilderment and bemusement. So this time around I'm going to provide a crash course in some essentials you will need to get to grips with this magnificent of national days.

Most people will know St Patrick's Day in Ireland (and have probably enjoyed a few pints to celebrate) - St David is the patron saint for Wales where St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and St Andrew for Scotland. 

St Davids day is always on 1st March every year. It's not a public holiday (yet...) but celebrations take place across the country in schools, city centres and communities - and venues across the world - in 2003 the Empire State Building was lit up in the national colours of Wales (Red, White and Green) in celebration of the day!

Children in Wales take part in school concerts or "eisteddfodau", with recitation and singing being the main activities. There is usually a bake-off for mums and grannies to see who can make the best Welsh Cakes (also known as griddle scones, they are flat cakes with dried fruit inside) or Bara Brith (a traditional fruit cake)

Traditional dress is often worn by girls - this consists of a woollen skirt, white blouse, woollen shawl and a Welsh hat (a stove pipe style tall hat / bonnet) - I remember dressing up in this when I was in primary school!

To get you in the mood, I will share with you a recipe to bake your own Welsh Cakes:

You will need:
  • 225g plain flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter cut into small pieces plus extra for frying
  • 50g currants
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Splash milk 
  • Rolling Pin
  • Small size cutter (6cm / 3")

  • Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. 
  • With your fingers, rub in the butter until crumbly. 
  • Mix in the currants. 
  • Work the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough, adding a splash of milk if it seems a little dry - it should be the same consistency as shortcrust pastry.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger. 
  • Cut out rounds using a small cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. 
  • Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with butter, and place over a medium heat. 
  • Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through. 
These will keep in an airtight tin for up to 1 week - if you think they will last that long! 

So have a very happy St Davids Day one and all - and give the Welsh Cakes a go - they are very tasty!



  1. From a fellow Welsh girl a belated Happy St David's Day. My name is Sarah, I live in Cardiff and I am a knitting designer (www.knitables.co.uk). I just wanted to get in touch to let you know about a new knitting website I am launching. My email address is sarah@knitables.co.uk and it would be great if you could contact me so I could let you know about my new venture based in Wales! Thank you also for the Welsh cake recipe. Delicious!