Showing posts with label Cathy Ace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cathy Ace. Show all posts

Sunday, January 24, 2016

WELSH CAKES and the WISE WOMEN

Join Mystery Lovers' Kitchen in welcoming guest Cathy Ace, who writes two delightful mystery series (I've read them!). She was born in Wales, so this recipe is as authentic as it gets.

Thanks for having me along today, ladies. I’m delighted to have the chance to share a recipe that’s been in my family for generations. Welsh cakes are traditional tea-time treats in Wales, and every home will have its own recipe for ‘the perfect Welsh cakes’. (Everyone swears theirs are the best!) With that in mind, I’ll mention some alternative choices up-front: I use currants whereas some will prefer sultanas – if that’s a switch you choose to make, don’t add the sultanas until after you’ve rubbed the flour, salt and sugar to the breadcrumb stage…sultanas will squish; also, I use all butter, while I know many people (my mother included) prefer to use all cooking margarine, or half and half; finally, some will use the same amount of sugar as butter, but I find this too sweet, hence the slightly reduced amount.



Ingredients:

lb all-purpose flour
7 ozs granulated sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
6 ozs currants
7 ounces chilled, cubed butter (I prefer slightly salted)
1 medium egg
Milk (as necessary)
Flour for rolling out
(Makes about 40 cakes, using 2 inch-diameter cutter)

Equipment:

Bakestone (this is a large, flat disk made of cast iron – you’ll find most Welsh households have one. It’s placed directly on the heat. When I migrated to Canada I carried mine in my suitcase – it takes a lot to separate a Welshwoman from her bakestone!)
Alternatively – cast iron griddle or cast iron pan
Fork
Cutting ring – your choice of diameter – I used 2 inches, fluted edge is traditional
Rolling pin
Metal spatula/slice for flipping while cooking

Method:

1) Bring bakestone/griddle to high heat, then turn down to low – heat needs to be constant when you’re cooking

2) Mix flour, salt, sugar and currents together



3) Rub butter into the mixture until you achieve a breadcrumb-like consistency
4) Make a well, crack in your egg




5) With a fork, whisk the mixture into the egg, adding milk as you go to produce a dry-ish mix that just hold and squashes together




6) Place in a mound on a floured surface, roll out to about one quarter of an inch thick
7) Cut rounds and place them on a large, cold plate



8) Put one cake on your griddle to test temperature – the heat needs to brown the cake without burning it. You flip it over just once, then cook until it’s no longer squishy – meaning the center has cooked. This test allows you to work out temperature and timing. Usually the first one doesn’t work out too well, which is why you try just one, rather than loading the griddle.

9) Load the bakestone/griddle and turn cakes just once.



10) Allow to cool.
11) To be served cold, without butter, jam, or anything at all – they are perfect just as they are!



Either store in an airtight container for a week, or freeze (for up to three months) and allow to thaw naturally.


I'm delighted to offer a giveaway--a copy of The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer. Leave a comment below and I'll choose one winner (randomly!). US and Canadian comments welcome!


ABOUT THE BOOK: In the second WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery, THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER, Henry, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth, is getting married. One of the troupe of Morris dancers due to lead the duke and his freshly-minted duchess from the church to their stately home has disappeared, threatening this critical (to the local community) Welsh wedding tradition. The four women of the WISE Enquiries Agency – one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish and one English, hence the acronym, who are softly-boiled but utterly professional private investigators working out of a converted barn on the spectacular Chellingworth estate in Powys, Wales – are aided and abetted by Althea Twyst, the dowager duchess, as they investigate the case and try to save the day. As a part of the wedding festivities the Young Wives’ Group in the village of Anwen-by-Wye, led by the indomitable Marjorie Pritchard, have to produce a couple of thousand Welsh cakes. Marjorie’s militaristic planning of the task is quite spectacular! 


This charming sequel to The Case of the Dotty Dowager will delight M.C. Beaton and Jeanne M. Dams readers as the lively ladies use their individual talents to track down their quarry.” Library Journal, January 2016. The book is released in February 2016, and can now be ordered at your local bookstore, online, or at your local library. (NOTE: In April 2016, Cait Morgan Mystery #7, THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE, is published.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, and worked in marketing communications for decades across Europe. Having migrated to Canada in 2000, she now lives in beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband (and two chocolate Labradors) ensure she’s able to write full-time. Cathy writes two series of mystery books: the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. Her fourth Cait Morgan Mystery, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair, won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery.


You can find out more about Cathy and both her series of traditional, cozy mysteries at her website (and sign up for her newsletter on the homepage) at: http://cathyace.com/
Follow Cathy on Twitter: @AceCathy