In light of Angharad

People’s stories often intertwine in the most unexpected ways, and so it was with the story of Angharad, a fair Welsh woman walking in the footsteps of photographer Tom Mathias.
Mathias was from West Wales, and with his camera he documented much of the daily life in Cilgerran where he lived. In 2015, Angharard organised an event in Cilgerran called ‘In light of Tom Mathias’, breathing life back into those moments captured in Mathias’s camera almost a century before.

And now Angharad has become part of my photographic story, as I search through the daily life of Adamsdown, looking for people and their recipes. It was Angharad who introduced me to some of Adamsdown’s older residents, people who she meets with friendliness and cheer – as she does with everyone, making everyone feel at home even those from far away lands. These recipes she’s shared with me were taught to her by her forefathers.

Glamorgan sausages. You can fry them in the pan or cook in the oven for a slightly healthier option. It will also be more evenly cooked and less burnt.

Ingredients

1. 25g butter
2. 2 leeks, sliced in circles
3. 175g breadcrumbs
4. 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
5. 150g grated Caerphilly cheese
6. 2 free range eggs.
7. 100ml milk
8. 1 tsp mustard
9. a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Method

1. Melt butter, add the leeks and fry them until golden.
2. Then add them to a big bowl together with 125g of breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, milk and mustard. Mix it all.
3. In a separate plate break the eggs. Put the remaining breadcrumbs onto a separate plate. Shape the main mixture into sausages, role them on eggs and the remaining breadcrumbs. Put the pan on heat and let the oil start to sizzle. Then put the sausages and fry them for 3-5 minutes.
4. Enjoy!!

Sweetcorn fritters. This recipe requires some extra spices, but the rest of the ingredients are just potatoes, sweetcorn, eggs and onions.

1. 4 medium potatoes
2. 1 garlic clove, minced
3. 1 onion
4. 200 g sweetcorn
5. 2 eggs
6. 1 tsp paprika
7. 1 tsp ground corriander
8. 1/2 tsp tumeric
9. 1/2 tsp garam masala

Method

1. Boil potatoes. Then mash them in a bowl.
2. Slice the onion, fry it in the pan with garlic and add it to potatoes.
3. Mix the eggs and add it to potatoes.
4. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix them all.
5. Put the pan on heat, add oil and let it heat up. Make pancakes out of the mixture and add them to the sizzling oil. Fry for about 3-5 minutes on each size.
6. Enjoy!!

Christine’s comforting ‘frogspawn’

With this recipe I felt like I have unearthed a treasure. It was passed on to me by Christine, an elderly lady that used to do lots of cooking even for 30 or so years ago. She would have three soups simmering at a time to feed her hungry family.

I later found out that tapioca, which is a pure starch extracted from a Cassava root, was much more popular in the past. You could buy it in every corner shop, according to Christine. Tapioca pudding or so-called ‘frogspawn’ used to be a British school lunch classic. It wasn’t particularly loved, but it is still vividly remembered amongst older generations. Despite the name it has nothing to do with frogs or toads, or other creatures. Just a lovely (in my opinion) comforting thing with little translucent perls that stare at you from your a plate like an army of frogspawns in the pond. They are soft and chewy and taste a lot like a rice pudding, just the texture is more bubbly.

Tapioca pudding is very simple to make and has very few ingredients.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of tapioca
1 1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk)
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
a pinch of grated nutmeg

Method

1. Mix tapioca with water, milk, salt and sugar in a pot. Let it simmer for 30 minutes (check to see if tapioca perls are soft)
2. When it’s cooked grate a bit of nutmeg on top.
3. Enjoy!!!

The hunter-gatherer Kate and her (slug) omelette

Kate likes exploring the outside world and being in different places. She likes going on a food hunt, whether its skipping through a surplus food from supermarkets (although those days are way behind her), or foraging in parks, orchards or a back garden. She is curious about food textures and creatures that live outside her door, most notably the slugs. She got into them after she was invited to share her harvest with friends at the party. The only thing she could harvest were those slimy creatures, and Kate boldly gave it a go. This is how the ‘Slug omelette’ came about.
She learned that slugs require special preparation, such as starving them and then boiling to help remove toxins and parasites. Since it takes time to prepare and it’s not a slug season yet, Kate served me a nice omelette with mushrooms instead, texture of which is similar to that of a slug.

Adamsdown hasn’t been Kate’s neighbourhood for that long, but it looks like she’s putting roots down Adamsdown ‘community soil’. She and a friend have started a small co-working studio space that will also have a small sourdough bakery, a pottery, a community kitchen and quite possibly a sauna (!).

Ingredients:

1. 5 eggs
2. a handful of mushrooms (100-200g) or specially prepared slugs
3. a pinch of salt, and other spices or herbs (e.g. thyme)

Method

1. Slice the mushrooms and fry them in the pan with some oil until brown. Add salt, pepper and thyme.
2. Beat the eggs in a bowl and when mushrooms are ready pour it over.
3. Fry it until cooked , then turn upside (can use a plate) down and cook the other side.
4. Enjoy!

Huw’s sweet semolina

I decided to cook something that makes me feel really happy. This dessert is super delicious and also brings back some really good memories. A few years ago I was in Australia, volunteering at an Organic farm run by Krishna devotees, they were great people to be around and the food was so good there I almost didn’t want to leave – Keshava (one of the devotees) told me that’s the reason he joined the ashram!
The recipe I use is from a book called the Higher Taste, it’s a vegetarian cookbook that you’ll find in pretty much every Hare Krishna cafe, anywhere in the world.

This is the first time I’m following the recipe properly, I normally use dates instead of raisins and walnuts. That’s how we made it at the farm for their monthly feast. For me the most important part is to chant Hare Krishna while you “sacrifice the semolina grains” in the heat of the pan.

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
140 g unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups semolina

1/3 cup of walnuts

Method.

1. Combine water, sugar and raisins in a pot. Heat it and stir it until sugar is dissolved.
2. Put the butter in saucepan and melt it over low heat. Then add the semolina and stir the grains for about 15 minutes or until they become darker and more fragrant. Add walnuts for the last 5 minutes of toasting.
3. Increase heat for water and sugar and let it reduce. Increase the heat and stir continuously semolina for 1 minute. Then remove it from heat and slowly pour the sugary water over it slowly while stirring semolina making sure the liquid is absorbed.

4. Put it back on the heat and stir it for another 5 minutes until it becomes pudding-like and the grains have absorbed the water.

5. Enjoy!! (It’s very nice with some custard)

Ailsa

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Ailsa was looking for a vegetarian recipe that would delight her vegetarian friends. Her University friend Deri, the Ethical Chef himself, came to her assistance. He taught her the ways of cooking the hearty and nourishing Sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry. This is the recipe she shared with me…

When I arrive cooking has already begun: vegetables, chickpeas, herbs and spices are eagerly bubbling in the pot, selflessly releasing all the goodness they have. They will become a part of something greater. In the meantime, Ailsa and I talk life in Splott. I share my knowledge of community groups and events, places to shop and eat out, locals with some stories to tell. Our lively chat is frequently intercepted by Ailsa’s sizeable and eager dog getting concerned about nearby wandering cats or smells coming out of that very red pot.

Ingredients

1 red onion
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 tin of chickpeas, washed and drained
a handful of fresh baby plum tomatoes
small stub (1.5inch) of fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic
100g fresh spinach
2 small chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne chilli pepper
1/2 tsp tumeric
salt, pepper
2 pints vegetable stock
1/2 lemon juice

Method

1. Fry off the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, spices in oil.
2. Add the chickpeas togethre with vegetable stock.
3. Add the chopped sweet potatoes and stir.
4. Add spinach, tomatoes and stir.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Add 1/2 a lemon juice and fresh coriander to finish.

Enjoy!

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Boudicca bakes

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Boudicca bakes because she enjoys it and because that’s something one can do when one has kids. ‘Boudicca bakes’ is the name of her cake business that she’s been working on for a while. 10 years, to be precise, of perfecting brownies, flapjacks and other sweet delights.
For my food project she very kindly baked a flapjack covered with yoghurt.

Ingredients

Butter 180g
Maple syrup 100g
Golden syru 50g
Dark brown sugar 45g
Salt 1/2tsp
Ginger powder 1tsp
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Pecan and maple cereal (Aldi pecan maple crisp) 150g
Pecans 50g
Oats 280g
Mixed dried fruit (cranberry and raisin) 100g
White chocolate 50g

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
2. Melt together the butter, syrups, and sugar on a low heat.
3. Add the salt, ginger and cinanamon and stir together.
4. Roughly chop the pecans and the cereal. You can pulse it in the blender or food processor into smallish chunks.
5. Add the nuts, cereal, fruit and oats to the butter mix and stir thouroughly.
6. Pour into a lined 8inch cake tin and bake for 15 minutes.
7. Once cooled drizzle with melted white chocolate.

I brought the flapjack cake home, put it on my kitchen counter. That evening it started quickly disappearing from the counter. I had to photograph it before it was gone. So here is a photo of it midway through to disappearing.

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Feijoada, Brazilian soul-food

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Just watching this traditional Brazilian Feijoada being prepared was a feast in itself. A delicious example of nourishing, “made from scratch” slow food.
It takes time to prepare and it’s meant to be savoured as a family meal on a Sunday afternoon.

Claudia is the chef/owner of Brazilian street food cafe Amazonas, recently opened on the ever changing and wonderfully diverse Clifton street. She invited me over one Sunday morning to watch her cook Feijoada with her mum Maria – who she learned the recipe from.

Feijoada is an old dish, brought to Portugal by the Romans, – a typical ‘peasants food’ it’s made with leftover cuts of meat and black beans (a stable of Brazilian cuisine), which give the dish a rich dark purple colour.

2kg Black beans soaked in water overnight and boiled for 1 hour.
500g Diced pork (pork belly, smoked and unsmoked bacon)
1 chillie
500g chorizo
500g Brazilian calabresa
1 bulb of garlic (minced?)
2-3 bay leaves
2 onions, diced
2 tomatoes diced
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp fresh parsley finely diced
250 ml white wine,
3 tbsp tomato paste
500g rump cap full fat
1 orange

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‘The flavour is on the burnt sides of a pot-says Claudia’

Add olive oil, add pork and brown it in a pot. Then add chilli. Add chorizo and Brazilian calabresa. Stir it it until brown. Juices should start coming out. Add garlic and bay leaves. Stir it. Burn it a bit. It is important to fry meat in a big pot where you’ll be adding ingredients to make the stew as the flavour sticks to the sides of the pot. Add onions and fry. Then add tomatoes, paprika, parsley and keep stirring. Add white wine, tomato paste and rump cap. After beans are cooked add them to the main pot with all the liquid, but do it slowly. Let the liquid reduce and become thicker consistency. The total time of cooking the stew is about 2-2,5 hours. Take chilli and bay leaves out. Put a whole orange 15 minutes before serving.

It is served with rice and slices of orange.
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Fiona’s California inspired salad

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Fiona’s job is to create new recipes so it’s only natural that after visiting California where she was inspired by the ever present avocados Fiona developed this salad recipe.

Ingredients

1 avocado
2 slice of Halloumi cheese
1 boiled egg
Watercress/sweet pea shoots
1 spring onion
1 tomato
Juice of half a fresh lemon or lime

Boil the egg in hot water for about 5 minutes (depending on size of egg, keeping the yolk moist). Remove the avocado from the skin and destone it, slice into pieces and squeeze the lemon juice onto it. This will stop it turning brown.
Chop the spring onion and slice the tomato.
Add these to a plate and place the salad leaves onto the plate.
Add avocado slices and cut the eggs in half and add to the plate.
Slice 2 pieces of halloumi cheese fry it olive oil until slightly brown. Place the hot cheese onto the salad and serve.

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Alison’s indispensable lasagna

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When Alison left her parents house her mum’s lasagna was one recipe she couldn’t leave behind. It was the recipe that would have everyone in her family come back for seconds or even thirds. This is the recipe she decided to cook for me on a gloomy Saturday morning.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced
1 red and 1 green peppers, diced
a handful of mushrooms, diced
a pinch of salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp mixed herbs
500g minced beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
Lasagna sheets (7-10, depends on the size of the oven dish)

For the cheese sauce:

a big lump of butter
3-4tbsp flour
0.5l milk
75g extra mature cheddar, grated

Method

1. Fry the onion in a bit of oil, until brown, then add green and red peppers and fry a bit more. Then add mushrooms, salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Add minced beef and brown it (about 10 minutes), then add 1 can of chopped tomatoes. You can add a bit of ketchup, Worcester sauce and a gravy to add flavour and thicken it.
2. In a separate pot melt butter. Add flour to make a paste. Stir in the milk slowly, try to avoid lumps and keep stirring until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Then add cheese and stir.
3. Turn the oven to 175C. Put one layer of minced beef in a greased oven dish. Then gently press it down and then pour over cheese sauce, then cover it with lasagna sheets. Keep layering until it’s full. Shove it in the oven and cook it for about 40-45 minutes.

The final result is this very filling dish, dripping in cheese sauce, which is great for cold weather.

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Jacci’s crunchy cornflake flapjacks

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Everything about this story is sweet, from how Jacci inherited the recipe from her grandma, how she’s been baking them since she was a little girl and how she got the nickname ‘Flapjack Jacci’ because of her fondness for sharing her sweet sweet bakings with the world.

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There goes the recipe:

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup strong white flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup cornflakes

1. Melt butter and syrup in a large pan, on a low heat, stirring gently until melted.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Press into a large lined or greased baking tray.

4. Bake at 375F (190C/gas5) for 15 minutes checking from 10 minutes onwards to make sure it doesn’t burn.

5. Allow to cool and cut into squares. Should make approximately 20 small pieces.

6. Store in a tin or tub.

The final result is a substantial, sweet, energising and very crunchy snack.

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