Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could source artisanal Welsh food and drink directly from independent producers, to any location in the UK? Well, now you can, thanks to Discover Delicious, a new online marketplace selling gourmet produce from Wales’ favourite homegrown heroes. The website provides a platform for local producers to market their goods, while also enabling dedicated foodies such as myself to get our hands on lush Welsh food and drink. When I was invited to create a Welsh three-course dinner menu using a hamper of ingredients from Discover Delicious, I simply couldn’t resist.
When ordering from Discover Delicious, you can either buy a selection of individual products or splash out on a hamper just like the one I received, so you can create a Welsh three-course dinner menu of your very own. I’m going to upcycle my hamper by filling the wooden crate with fresh compost to create my first ever herb garden!
All of the ingredients used in my Welsh dinner party menu can be sourced from Discover Delicious by following the links at the beginning and end of this post.
To tantalise your taste buds before dinner, get your hands on some Barti Ddu rum and concoct some cocktails to get your guests in the party spirit. This Pembrokeshire seaweed-infused spiced rum is named after a famous Welsh pirate called John Roberts, otherwise known as Barti Ddu. I mixed it with ginger beer, fresh lemons and limes to produce a refreshing, tangy taste, perfect for summertime sipping.
Welsh three-course dinner menu
As it’s looking like Wales is actually going to get a decent summer this year (fingers crossed!), my Welsh three-course dinner menu takes its inspiration from long, hot days and short nights; when it’s lovely to have friends round for dinner, but you don’t want to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Both the starter and dessert can be prepared in a matter of minutes, leaving you with plenty of time to focus on perfecting the main course (which takes under an hour to prepare and cook, excluding marinating time!) and socialising with your guests.
Starter: Beetroot Bomb with Welsh goat cheese
Based in the small seaside town of Ogmore in South Wales, The Parsnipship is a quirky vegan and vegetarian business that first began selling pies, pates and crumbles around 11 years ago at Riverside Market in Cardiff (just a ten-minute drive from my home).
My Welsh three-course dinner menu starter pairs The Parsnipship’s Beetroot Bombs with Welsh goat cheese. Once you’ve warmed the Beetroot Bombs through in the oven for around 20 minutes, this starter won’t take you any time at all to prepare. I managed to find a honey and ginger-infused goat cheese in Aldi which tasted delicious with these carrot and cumin-infused balls of beetroot goodness, but any good quality Welsh goat cheese will do the trick. Pair the dish with some crisp salad leaves or watercress and you’ve got yourself a scrumptious starter that will leave your guests wanting more, and it’ll take less than five minutes to prepare (not including the cooking time).
Main: Oak-smoked lamb chops with rosemary and garlic
I’ve been obsessed with Anglesey-based Halen Môn’s sea salt for years. Don’t just take my word for it – it’s been awarded Protected Designation of Origin status and is enjoyed worldwide by the likes of Barack Obama, as well as being served at royal weddings, political summits and the London 2012 Olympics. However, sea salt isn’t the only thing that this popular Welsh brand is known for; at Abergavenny Food Festival last year, I fell in love with Halen Môn’s oak-smoked water. I use it to add smoky depth to casseroles and risottos, and it also makes a mean Bloody Mary!
No Welsh dinner party would be complete without lamb, but I didn’t want to serve up the usual lamb and mint or lamb and rosemary – I wanted to show my guests I’d put some real thought into my Welsh three-course dinner menu. Halen Môn’s oak-smoked water enabled me to do just that. Team it with fresh rosemary sprigs and Halen Môn’s roasted garlic sea salt, and you’ve got an aromatic, meaty dish with smoky depth, that you can almost guarantee your guests won’t have tasted before.
I can’t stress enough the importance of using quality cuts of meat in your cooking. Not only does this help to ensure the welfare of the animals, but it also means the meat is of a much better standard and you can always taste the difference. I’m using lamb chops from Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher, included in my hamper from Discover Delicious Wales. Established in 1878, this reputable family sources its meat from three local farms, including the famous Salt Marsh Lamb from the Gower coast.
I served my oak-smoked lamb chops with crunchy roasted Chantenay carrots, steamed kale and Hasselback potatoes (sprinkled with plenty of Halen Môn’s roasted garlic sea salt, of course!), but feel free to experiment with your favourite seasonal veg.
The best bit about this recipe is that it only takes around 15 minutes to prepare, with around 40 minutes’ cooking time, but it tastes so good, your guests will think you’ve spent hours in the kitchen.
Oak-smoked lamb chops with rosemary and garlic
Making the most of Halen Môn's oak-smoked water and roasted garlic sea salt, this recipe for oak-smoked lamb chops with rosemary and garlic is the perfect main course for a Welsh-inspired dinner party menu.
Hasselback potatoes aren't Welsh (Swedish, in fact) but I'm sure you'll agree, they're a fantastic match for this dish - I love how the thinly sliced potatoes fan out during cooking - it makes it look like you've spent ages crafting them them, when in fact, it was only a matter of minutes!
Team this dish with fresh seasonal veg of your choice for a tasty, wholesome dinner that's ready in less than an hour.
For the lamb chops
- 4 lean lamb chops
- 3 tsp Halen Môn oak-smoked water
- 1 tsp Halen Môn's roasted garlic sea salt
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the Hasselback potatoes
- 200 g Maris Piper potatoes small to medium-sized
- 2 tsp Halen Môn's roasted garlic sea salt
- 25 g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the veg
- 150g fresh kale
- 100g Chantenay carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the gravy
- 100ml lamb stock (a Knorr stock pot works well if you can't get enough from the lamb chops)
- 1 level dessert spoon plain flour
- 1 lamb stock cube crumbled
Before you start cooking, marinate the lamb. Mix together 1 tbsp olive oil, oak smoked water, roasted garlic sea salt and rosemary and use a pastry brush to coat the lamb chops with it. There's no need to be too careful here, just slap it on generously until the lamb is fully covered. Cover and leave to marinate for four hours.
Preheat the oven to 210°C/ 410°F. Scrub the potatoes clean, without peeling them. Then, make thin slices all along the width of each potato, without cutting all the way through. Place a pair of chopsticks either side of the potato when slicing, to ensure you don't end up going too far and chopping the potato in half.
Melt the butter by dissolving it in a saucepan over a low heat, or place it in the microwave for around 20 seconds - make sure you keep an eye on it, as you don't want it to overheat. Remove from the heat, add the olive oil and stir to combine.
Using a pastry brush, smother the potatoes with the butter and oil mixture, taking care to ensure it goes right down in to the sliced sections. If you want to ensure the potatoes are fully coated, you can even dunk them into the mixture if you like.
Transfer the potatoes to a non-stick baking tray, sprinkle them with roasted garlic sea salt and roast them in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
After the potatoes have been in the oven for around 15 minutes, place the carrots on a baking tray, brush them with olive oil and roast them in the oven for around 20 minutes.
Bring some water to the boil in a medium-sized saucepan, while washing the kale. Then, place the kale into the saucepan and steam for around 10 minutes, until slightly tender. Once cooked, drain and mix with olive oil and lemon juice for flavour.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium-heat in a skillet or heavy frying pan, and add the lamb chops. Cook for around four minutes per side, until pink in the centre - if you want them well-done, increase it to five minutes per side. Remove the lamb chops from the pan, at aside and keep warm. Leave the lamb stock in the pan, as you'll be using it for the gravy.
To make the gravy, combine a lamb stock cube with 250ml boiling water, and add to the pan with any lamb stock from the chops. Boil over a low-medium heat , stirring continuously and scraping the pan to ensure any hardened stock gets added to the mix.
Combine the flour with 75ml cold water using a whisk to remove any lumps, then add to the pan gradually, a little at a time, to thicken the gravy. Once the gravy reaches the desired consistency, transfer it to a jug or gravy boat for serving.
If you don't manage to get enough stock from the lamb chops, a Knorr stock pot works wonders.
Serve immediately, with plenty of mint sauce.
Desserts (yes, there’s two!)
I couldn’t decide on just one dessert for my Welsh three-course dinner menu, so I’ve gone with a choice of two. Be warned, both of these desserts are so tempting, your guests may well end up asking you to serve them both!
Vanilla ice cream with Halen Môn salted caramel sauce
There’s no simpler dessert than ice cream, but to really set it off, you need to put in some legwork to source some authentic Welsh ice cream. I am particularly fond of small batch producer, Gwynne’s Ice Cream. This Swansea-based family-run business is run by my friend and fellow food blogger, Rebecca Gwynne from Munchies and Munchkins, and currently trades at local food festivals and farmers markets. Gwynne’s Ice Cream’s Salted Caramel Icecream would be perfect for this dish! Sadly, I didn’t have time to order ice cream from Gwynne’s and so I strolled round to my local Joe’s Ice Cream parlour on Wellfield Road, Roath and picked up some fresh vanilla ice cream to round off my Welsh three-course dinner menu.
I scooped my ice cream into some bowls (these cute cone-esque bowls were an absolute steal at just £1 for two in Poundland!) and topped them with lashings of Halen Môn’s salted caramel sauce. This sauce of rich caramel interspersed with course sea salt has a thick consistency, ideal for spreading, but if you warm it gently over a low heat, it’s great for pouring! Don’t overheat it – a minute or two over a low flame should be all it takes to make it go runny.
Stick a chocolate flake in the top, and you’ve got a decadent dessert that’ll wow your dinner party guests, ready in less than five minutes! I’m too good to you…
Whenever I see a Welsh cheese board on a dessert menu, it doesn’t matter how impressive the other desserts are, the cheese board wins every time, so I knew my Welsh three-course dinner menu had to include one. Turophiles (that’s the official term for cheese addicts) will love feasting on Pant Mawr’s Heb Enw’s Goat’s Milk Cheese with crackers and oat biscuits, teamed with rich chutney, crunchy grapes and nuts for grazing.
This traditional Welsh cheesemonger can be found at the foothills of the Preseli mountains in Rosebush, Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales (very close to where I stayed at Bluestone Wales recently). This designated area of outstanding natural beauty has links to the mythical wizard, Merlin and is said to be the final resting place of the legendary King Arthur. You can’t miss Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheeses – just look for the word ‘Caws’ (Welsh for cheese) spelt out by the trees planted on the hillside. Here, David, Cynthia and Jason have been carefully crafting mouth-watering cows’ milk cheeses on their family farm for 35 years.
Crafted with pasteurised milk and vegetarian rennet, this goat’s milk cheese has a creamy texture and a mild, subtle flavour that won’t leave an over-powering aftertaste in your mouth. If you want to go all out, consider adding some of Pant Mawr’s Caws Cerwyn, Caws Preseli, Drewi Sant, Mature Cerwyn, Oak-Smoked Cerwyn or Oak-Smoked Heb Enw to the mix.
To find all the amazing Welsh produce I’ve created this menu with, visit DiscoverDelicious.Wales.
What do you think of my Welsh three-course dinner menu? Have you ever cooked with oak-smoked water before? Let me know your comments in the box below!