Welsh cooking: Crempog with Selsig Morgannwg

Jim Hillibish

Cooking Welsh — have you had your lobscows today?

The recipe names are confounding and priceless: Anglesey bakestones (fruit cookies), cawl mamgu (leek soup), llanddarog (country-fair cakes), teisin sir fon (spiced fruit cake) and the memorable Selsig Morgannwg (Glamorgan leeks and cheese in vegetarian sausages).

Recipe execution is typically British.


Lobscows is a hearty and fast-boiled beef stew eaten by quarry workers for supper:

1/2 pound stewing beef, lamb or chicken pieces

1/4 pound carrots

1 large onion

1/4 pound green beans

1 pound potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

Peel and slice vegetables, cut meat into 1-inch chunks. Place meat and vegetables, except for potatoes, in a pan and cover with 2 pints water or tomato sauce. Boil for 30 minutes, then add potatoes and cook for another half hour or until tender.


Caws pobi is Welsh rarebit in the rest of England. It is baked cheese — not rabbit. The dish’s history is a mystery. It might be Welsh or simply a reference to Welsh-type cuisine. In another world across the channel, it would be a fondue:

6 cups cheddar cheese, grated

4 cups beer or ale, room temperature

2 egg yolks, beaten

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

8 slices toast

Heat the cheese in a double boiler. Mix beer and yolks. When the cheese melts, stir in the beer mixture and add remaining ingredients.

Pour cheese sauce over toast, warm under broiler.

Note: Chopped apples and walnuts often are served under the sauce.

A 10th-century law permitted cultivation of only leeks and cabbages, and these have remained the most popular vegetables. Lamb is the most popular meat in Wales and bacon the most popular additive.

Cawl is soup, and the leek version (the national vegetable of Wales) is most popular. Bara lawr (laverbread) is made with seaweed and bacon and served at breakfast.

The morning meal is the heartiest of the day, often including eggs, cockles, fried bacon and sausage with laverbread and a side of crempog (pancakes made with self-rising flour).

Ketchup is a major condiment in Wales, served at every breakfast, usually on eggs. It is miles from Heinz. Prince of Wales Ketchup is made from elderberry vinegar, shallots, anchovies, mace, ginger, nutmeg and garlic. Nary a hint of tomatoes in it. To order it, just say “tywysog cymru sôs coch.”

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