Tag Archives: St Dwynwen’s day

All you need is … a love-inspired recipe for Saint Dwynwen’s Day!

To celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day on 25 January this week, we’ve invited Lia from Lia’s Kitchen to create a love inspired recipe for us …  

Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers, and to celebrate this very time of the year when love is in the air (if “love” means hanging out inside eating and drinking lovely things because it’s cold outside) we encourage you to follow this recipe for Greek chocolate-coated caramel almonds … excuse us while we wipe the drool off the floor …

All you need is love… and Greek chocolate-coated, caramel almonds

Love is all you need! At these times when our world is going through global change on a large scale it is really important to celebrate love and all that is good around us. I hope a small, sweet treat will help you shift your mood to happy. This is my easy and delicious recipe for Greek chocolate and caramel coated almonds – a sweet something to help make it all better.

chocolate-caramel-almonds

My excuse to celebrate love (and chocolate) is our own Welsh Lady patron of love, St Dwynwen. We have a lady for our love angel here people, how is that for woman power? Even though St Dwynwen’s story is a sad one (she never got the chance to be with the love of her life) she seems to have remained a beacon of hope and positivity. Her most famous saying is: ‘Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness.’

So, I invite you to use St Dwynwen’s day (25 January) as an opportunity to think about all the things you love in this world and to show your love to all those important to you, as early as three weeks before Valentine’s day! Love your friends, your family, that special hunk or goddess in your life. Love your community, your environment, the good things in this world, like millions of people coming together to send messages of grounded positivity and strength to each other through the global marches in January 2017. And, of course love good sustainable food!

My recipe for chocolate and caramel salted almonds is an all-time Greek favourite. It is easy and quick to make as a token of love and appreciation to those you love (including yourself). You can have so much fun with this recipe by mixing various nuts and seeds, and even dried fruit together. You can use different specialty salts and spices to add your own bespoke flavour. And it is a healthy snack too (if not abused). Below is my basic recipe using almonds. Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 12 chocolate almond bites)

  • 100g dark chocolate (or chocolate of your choice)
  • ½ tsp coconut oil (optional)
  • 140g almonds
  • Halen Mon vanilla salt (optional)
  • Salt Odyssey smoked salt (optional)
  • Zest of one mandarin
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp. water
  • Baking paper

Preparation (2 hours including chilling time)

  1. In a non-stick pan roast the almonds in medium heat until slightly browned. Then take off the heat.
  2. Mix the water, icing sugar and a pinch of your preferred specialty salt in a small cup (if using) and pour over the almonds. Stir mix well and return to medium heat until they are caramelised.
  3. Prepare your bain-marie to melt the chocolate, by adding boiling water to a pot, placing it on a hob (medium heat) and placing a heat resistant glass bowl (Pyrex) on top. The bottom of the pot should not touch the water.
  4. Add the chocolate broken in small pieces and stir until it melts. Add another pinch of the second specialty salt in the chocolate, if you are using salt.
  5. Add the almonds to the chocolate mixture, remove the bowl from the bain-marie, and set aside to cool down for a few minutes.
  6. Layer a baking sheet with some baking paper (non-stick).
  7. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture on the baking paper until the mixture finishes.
  8. Grate the zest of one mandarin on top of the chocolate almond bites. Add a pinch of ground all spice over the chocolate bites, if you are using spices.
  9. Chill the chocolate almond bites for at least two hours, preferably in the fridge.
  10. You can wrap the chocolate almond bites in (coloured) aluminium foil to preserve freshness, particularly if you are making more than one batch.
  11. You can use a mixture of nuts, hazelnuts and pistachio nuts work really well. The ratio of nuts to chocolate is almost 1 unit of chocolate to 1.4 of nuts. If you are using dried fruit you can double the amount.
  12. Occasionally, I add a hint of mandarin juice or rum or cognac in the melted choc for that extra layer of flavour.

To find out more about more about Greek food join one of Lia’s Kitchen intimate cooking classes on 3 and 10 February. Lia will be introducing participants to Greek Kitchen basics but will also be sharing Greek flavours and recipes that are not yet widely known in the UK. You can book online here or contact Lia for more information at lia@liaskitchen.com.

Lia Moutselou mugshot

Lia Moutselou is a self-taught chef who has lived in the UK and abroad for the past twenty years. She runs Lia’s Kitchen and through it pop-up food events, cooking classes and social enterprise projects around the world. She inspired by Greek food, sustainability and world flavours, from her second home of Wales and places she has lived at and visited over the past two decades. For more information visit her Lia’s Kitchen website.

Meet Lia on social media: Lia’s Kitchen Facebook  /  @LiasKitchen  /   Lia’s Kitchen Instagram.

Want to find out more about St Dwynwen’s Day, including how to download this awesome card? Head for the Visit Wales website

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Happy St Dwynwen’s Day! Dydd Santes Dwynwen hapus i chi gyd

Today is the Welsh Valentine’s Day. So happy St Dwynwen’s Day – the patron saint of Welsh lovers!

She’s not recognised by the Vatican as an ‘official saint’ anymore, but like we care. The story of Dwynwen has dark interpretations, like most old school tales, but there’s a fairly upbeat one that’s told to school children, which is the one we’ll focus on: Dwynwen was the prettiest daughter of 24 born to the Welsh king Brychan Brycheiniog. She fell in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill, but she was already in an arranged marriage situation, courtesy of her father.

Bummed out by the situation, Dwynwen prayed and asked for help to forget her main squeeze Maelon. An angel came to see her in her sleep and gave her a potion that would erase her memory of feelings for Maelon, and also turn him into a block of ice.

After her dreams came true (poor old Maelon, eh?), Dwynwen devoted her life to God. She set up a convent on the island of Llanddwyn off the coast of Anglesey (the remains of the church are still there, along with a well that is home to sacred fish that can – apparently – predict whether relationships will succeed or fail).

'Porth Twr Mawr' - Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey

(Photo: Llanddwyn, Anglesey)

God offered Dwynwen three wishes, so she wished for Maelon to be thawed, that God should meet the needs of all lovers, and that she should never marry.

I’m not quite sure about the third one – I feel like she should have married the face off Maelon and raised loads of tiny Celtic kids running around all over the north!

Anyway, that’s one version of the story that was told when I was at school (there are many other versions that include rape and various other gross things – you can check the  St Dwynwen Wikipedia page for a taste of those).

So happy Welsh Valentine’s today to all of you – happy St Dwynwen’s Day!

Feeling frisky and looking for some Valentine’s fun this year? How about the Mary Bijou Cabaret Bad Romance Social? It takes place on Saturday 13 February at Four Elms on Newport Road and the We Are Cardiff DJs will be spinning some tunes!

Bad Romance Social – buy tickets

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Photo: ‘Porth Twr Mawr’ – Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey by Kris Williams on Flickr

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