Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good Eats from Historic Scotland and Wales by Danielle Thorne

I’m not a Scottish writer or researcher, although the culture intrigues me. What also captures my interest is long ago recipes that might have been eaten aboard wooden ships at sea. This fascination often leads down other paths, such as the road to ALL THAT WAS PROMISED by Vickie Hall. Vickie’s Welsh inspirational story tracks the conversion of a Methodist Welshman to Mormonism in the nineteenth century. It also offers up an interesting array of recipes to the modern day observer.

Recently, I spoke with Vickie about an interesting recipe of Scottish origins she shared online.

The first time I heard about Cock a Leekie Soup was from you. What’s the origins of this stuff? How did you learn about it?

Leeks are abundant and used in many Welsh dishes. My dad used to talk about some of the dishes his mother used to make, she being a grandaughter of the converts who came to the U.S. from Wales. She died when I was very young, so unfortunately I don't have her family recipes. I do remember my dad talking about her delicious rice pudding, though. In doing research for my book I wanted to lend an authenticity to it and so incorporated some traditional Welsh dishes.

You have many Welsh recipes on your website that are also in your book, ALL THAT WAS PROMISED. Care to share one?

The cawl was delicious.

Traditional Welsh Cawl

Serves 6

4 tablespoons bacon fat

2 pounds Chuck roast cut into 1" pieces

3 pints vegetable stock (Can use 4-5 14oz. vegetable stock from cans)

1 pound peas, shelled or frozen

1 pound broad beans, shelled or frozen, cut into smaller pieces

1/2 pound cauliflower or small bag frozen, cut into small florets

1 medium leek, diced, rinse well before cutting

1 large carrot, cubed

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium turnip, peel and dice

1 medium parsnip, peel and dice

4 cloves garlic, minced

10 peppercorns

3 leaves lettuce, sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Begin with a large soup pot. Place the bacon fat and vegetables (except for the cauliflower and lettuce, they go in later) into the pot and brown lightly. Remove the vegetables to a bowl, and put the beef into the pot and brown lightly.

2. Add the vegetables back into the pot, and put in the vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.

3. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours.

4. Add the cauliflower and lettuce and simmer again for 20 minutes.

5. Check the salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.

6. Serve piping hot with crusty bread.

How did you research Welsh cooking? Have you tried these recipes yourself?

My research was done largely on the internet, linking to authentic sites in Wales. Yes, I tried all the recipes, with my sister's help, and will do so for book two which hopefully will also be picked up by my publisher.

Which recipe is your favorite?

It's a tie between the cawl and the whipod (rice pudding). The pudding is thick and creamy and quite rich, but oh, so good!

Can you give a quick blurb about your book?

In 1847 young Methodist minister, Richard Kenyon, converts to Mormonism. Richard's newfound faith is put to the test as he faces down the anger of his former congregation, his wife's indecisiveness, the betrayal of his brother, and the murderous intentions of misinformed villagers.

All That Was Promised can be ordered online from Barnes &,, Cedar, or purchased at Deseret Book and Seagull Book.

Thanks for sharing your historical good eats with everyone, Vickie. Best of luck with your novel!

Thank YOU, Danielle. It was a pleasure!


Find out more about her at Vickie Hall's Website

~Danielle Thorne


Marie Higgins said...

Danielle! This is great information. I'm especially thrilled to see you are friends with some of the same ladies I am. Say hi to Anita, Regan, and Anne for me. (grins) Of course they know me under a different name... lol


JoAnn Arnold said...

I have Scottish and Welch blood in me so I was especially interested in this information

Gail Pallotta said...

Anything that starts out with bacon and chuck roast has to be good, and I love rice pudding. Your book sounds like a page turner. Changing denominations back then must have created quite an upheaval. Good luck with All That Was Promised.

Unknown said...

I love the interview. My mother was part Welch and Native American. So I got a mixture of the Welch vs down home cooking. I remember her rice pudding. I love rice pudding! I remember your reference to Cock A Leek soup being your grandfather's favorite. I had to look google it to see exactly what it was. I have posted that recipe on my website, but am sure it is not the one you have in your cookbook, so probably is not as good.

DanielleThorne said...

I've never had homemade rice pudding but I think I would like it. I've tasted store bought and was on the fence. And I have to agree with Gail--anything with bacon is probably going to be pretty tasty to me.

Fiona McGier said...

Me faither was from Glasgow and crossed the pond when he was 21. He liked mince (browned ground beef with canned carrots and peas, over frozen dumplings), steamed pudding (a very thick and heavy date/nut cake thing that you eat a small slice of with heavy cream on it), and wee hot pies, sausage rolls and bridies that he bought from the Gaelic Imports store, along with bangers. It's hard to get good fish and chips anymore, even in London. It was all pretty bland and fact he joked that he thought garlic was something "gone bad", and too spicy for him.
Maybe it was just the part of Scotland he was from, but fine cuisine is not what I associate with the British Islands!

Laurean Brooks said...

Danielle, thank you for introducing Vickie. The Scottish-Welsh recipe sounds the cauliflower and turnips. LOL.

I'd love to get my hands on the pudding recipe. Yum-yum!

Danielle, Vickie, may God continue to bless you in all your endeavors.

DanielleThorne said...

Wow, Fiona, I would love that "mince" recipe on dumplings? That sounds awesome. Is it similar to American pot pie I wonder?

The pudding sounds dee-lish, too.

Thanks for coming by, Laurean!

Deborah Swift said...

Wow, that made me quite hungry. I'll have to go and make a snack! It all sounds like good food for our cold wet climate here in the UK. Book sounds tasty too.

Unknown said...

Great interview Danielle. Of course I had to hop over to Vickie's site and scoop the rice puddling recipe. I can feel the pounds on my hips already lol mmm

Fiona McGier said...

Danielle, you can't mean that! That IS the recipe for Dad's mince...just brown the beef and add a can of peas and a can of carrots. That's it. Then glop it over steamed frozen dumplings that always reminded me of rubber...kind of flavorless and chewy. Bleah. I was very skinny growing up, but the food in our house was tasteless! Just the way Dad liked it! Remember, the Scots are the ones who invented Haggis! Left-over "pieces" of sheep stuffed into a sheep's bladder, then boiled. Thankfully, he never made me eat that, or I'd have had to run away from home!

Stephanie Burkhart said...

How interesting. I see that recipe is mostly vegtables - probably easier to be at sea with. I just discovered leeks when I cooked for thanksgiving this past year. It's a unique task. Thanks so much for sharing.


DanielleThorne said...

@Fiona--no really, I love dumplings, I'm going to have to try that, maybe with some spices thrown in. But I'm going to have to skip the sheep bladder. YUCK-O!

Thx for coming by, Steph!