Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Mary Berry's Bara Brith

Last week I was away on a gorgeous trip to North Wales. Having not had a distinct break from work since Christmas, this trip was just the tonic. We stayed in a beautiful house, right on the beach and went for wild walks and ate lovely food, and above all it was nice to be reminded to slow down and enjoy the view and the mountain flowers.

As an ode to Wales and a reminder to slow down once in a while, my boyfriend and I made a Bara Brith on Sunday. When coming back from a holiday on a trip, cooking something reminiscent of the trip can make the holiday seem to last so much longer.

The epitome of slow baking, the recipe we used (Mary Berry's, naturally) suggested that the currants and sultanas be soaked in tea overnight so that they go all fat and juicy. Waiting all night for the soaking really takes the impatience out of baking, you can relax for the evening; have a beer, and luxuriate in the fact that your hands will tied on the baking front until the next day. 

The baking itself is a doddle. You mix the fruit, flour, sugar, mixed spice and two eggs (yes, that's it), and bake for a really long time. We sat back and watched the tennis whilst the scent of the bara permeated the house. We ate ours in slices with a little butter and dreamed we were still kicking back on the Neolithic Coast of Anglesey, and not under the Heathrow flight path.

Queen Mary Berry's recipe was found here: http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1145824

Lovely Rhosneigr - the view from our garden *sigh*
And some thoughts on eating in Rhosneigr: We were staying in a beautiful house with a well-equipped kitchen, so most of the eating was done at home. However we did treat ourselves to a few lunches and dinners out. And the best treat of all was the Oyster Catcher in Rhosneigr. This was restaurant was a hop across the sand-dunes from where we were staying. The restaurant is elevated so you can see out across the Llyn Maelog lake. The food is very nice - I had a 'smoked fish platter' which was listed as a starter, and chips. They source the fish locally, which would be a crime not to when you're within 5 minutes of both the sea and a lake. The puddings were also good - Most notably the rice pudding, controversial choice from James - but the right one - the creamiest rice pudding I have ever tasted. As we were treating ourselves, we also had coffee - making for a very pleasant lunch all-in-all. One of the nicest things about the restaurant is the ethos behind it - it's a chef academy where young locals can fulfil their dreams of becoming a chef, and as it's a social enterprise, all their profits go back into training their staff. The prices are approaching London prices, and we did chalk up a £50 bill for lunch - but hey, a treat is well-deserved and the service, ambience and food were worth it.

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