Hayley’s Gran

Hayley’s Gran was a glorious set of coincidences of going to university in a particular city, choosing a particular course, a particular set of Hall’s and then the randomness of university accommodation allocation. I was very lucky in my neighbours in the first year of university and ended up living with them for the following 2 years. We are all still in touch some 20 years later, but with children there’s not really the time to keep up.

Hayley was (and still is) a Valkyrie of a welsh girl, 5ft 11 with long auburn hair, amazing blue eyes and a stunning sense of style. She came from a small town about 30 miles away from Cardiff and as a result of such relative closeness she tended to see her parents about every 2 weeks. In the first year I too saw my parents quite often as they only lived a train journey away in Reading…unfortunately they moved to Anglesey half way through my second year !

I lived for sunday evenings, if Hayley had been with her parents as she always came back with food and often within the various bags and packages she came back with there was a batch of Hayley’s Gran’s Welsh cakes.

Despite many attempts over the years I have just never managed to match the splendor of these little sultana dotted cake biscuits and this evening has been no different…if only I’d asked for the recipe and the method when I was at university.

This evening’s attempt was using a recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess on the new griddle – they burnt…they were at least drier and less “fried” than usual, but it wasn’t Hayley’s Gran’s standard. Didn’t bother with a photo as they were disappointing – am still eating them though as I need some sort of consolation for the fact that Spider has refused everything I have made today, that really makes me feel worthless and no good at my “job”


Ursula’s (wholemeal) Pizza

I challenged myself at the beginning of January to post in alphabetical order. There were some rules, I was allowed to bend the subject matter of the letter a little, I would not buy lots of ingredients in specially for the recipe and I would cook things that we would normally eat. On days where I didn’t have the time to cook or the inclination I could write about something related to food, like a chef.

So I was so pleased to discover this recipe under “U” in Leon:Allegra McEvedy and then to realised that the only strong flour left in cupboard was wholemeal, I have all the ingredients in the cupboard for the sauce and I can tailor the toppings to something the family will eat.

But wholemeal ? Do I eat wholemeal pizza ? Yes, in  fact a slice of wholemeal pizza, topped with pumpkin seeds from the health food shop in Llangfni (Anglesey) used to be my treat in the summer I left university…there weren’t a lot of jobs around that year and even less when you were living away from the main stream on a welsh island. Not a lot of jobs around now, and homemade pizza is cheap if you have the time.

And time is something I don’t have a lot of which is why its taken until saturday for me to make the dough. Its in the fridge now having a long long slow rise (a la Nigella Lawson) ready for movie night tonight – I’m off now to clear out the veg drawer in the fridge – fun (not!).

Oh almost forgot, can’t find recipe for this out on the web and I’m not posting it here as there is a mistake in the book (you add the yeast twice in 2 different ways, I did what I thought made sense but I won’t know until tonight whether it’s worked). Recipe for a  similar wholemeal pizza is here.