Sunday 31 July 2011

Days out and Bread Pudding

We took advantage of the warm sunny weather on Saturday morning and decided to take a trip with our Mitzie in tow to Llangollen in Wales. Llangollen (pronounced Clang-gock-lyn) is one of my very favourite places on earth to visit. It has a rough rustic beauty that is quite breathtaking to say the least. With more sun than Cornwall and less rain than the Lake District, it is no wonder that this beautiful little gateway to Wales is one of the most popular Welsh destinations in the North West.

It hosts the the famous International Music Eisteddfod where singers and dancers congregate from every corner of the earth each year amongst a multitude of other activites . . . but we go just to walk around and take in it's beauty.

As we are going up to Cumbria for a week in September and bringing Mitzie with us, we thought it would be a good experience for her to come along with us today, and she didn't mind a bit. It is probably less than an hour's drive from us here in Chester and is always very busy and we thought it would get her used to being around crowds and to travelling in the car for more than just to the dog groomers and the vets!

We always like to take a nice walk along the river in Llangollen. It is so pretty and filled with mini white water rapids, flat rocks you can walk on and lots of birds and other wildlife. Our friend Colin swears he saw a Kingfisher there last summer when we took him and Jo (his wife) there, but . . . he was the only one.

Mitzie enjoyed it very much, even if her nose was to the ground for most of the time. (she is such a sniffer!) She didn't even bother to chase the ducks, which I was happy about. I have come to realize that she is a bit timid of other animals, especially cats and large birds and of course dogs that are larger than herself. I don't think the sheep in Cumbria will be a problem.

WE always like to visit the old railway platform. There is an old Steam Engine there and you can take a trip on the old Steam Railway if you want.

Today there was a 1960's event going on with lots of old cars and vehicles, people dressed up in pschcadelic clothing and all sorts.

The classic cars were beautiful.

And there were quite a few of them. I was particularly fond of this old Mini. One of my first cars ever was an old green Austin Mini Station Wagon, that I never really did learn to drive properly . . . but I had a lot of good laughs in it anyways, with it slipping out of gear, etc.

Of course we must stop for refreshments when we are there. This is our favourite tearoom. It's very quaint inside, and of course you can also choose to sit outside on a nice day, as we did today. It's so pretty. We feasted on

Cheese on Toast on Brown Bread

And Todd enjoyed some Bara Brith, which is a traditional Welsh Teabread, and really scrummy.

Mitzie just enjoyed laying next to our table and watching all the people having fun. She did also get to enjoy the odd crumb which fell her way. I think she charmed a lot of people today, which was nice. I would hate to have an obnoxious dog.

When we got home I surprised Todd with another treat that I picked up for him while we were there. A good old fashioned Bread Pudding, which would differ quite about from some people's ideas of bread pudding. This is a very old recipe which was originally devised to help to use up the stale bread way back in the day. Todd's mum apparently made wonderful bread puddings . . . all stodgy and spicy and chock full of fruit and spices. Todd has very fond memories of his mum's puddings, so he was well pleased when I set this little gem down in front of him today. (The recipe is from the National Trust Complete Traditional Recipe Book, by Sarah Edington, another gem!)

*Bread Pudding*
Serves 6

A thrifty recipe devised by old bakeries to use up yesterday's bread. You can create your own mix of dried fruit. (candied peel, crystallized ginger, chopped prunes and dates, candied cherries, chopped dried apricots, sultanas, currants etc.)

425ml of milk (1 1/2 cups)
150ml of cold strong tea (1/2 cup)
4 ounces butter, melted (1/2 cup)
1 TBS mixed spice**
3 large free range eggs, beaten
350g of mixed dried fruit (3/4 pound)
450g of fresh bread crumbs (1 pound)

Combine the milk, tea, melted butter, beaten eggs, mixed spice and dried fruit. Combine together well. Stir in the breadcrumbs and leave to soak for an your or overnight if you wish.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter an 8 by 11 (2 inch deep) pan and line with baking paper. Butter the baking paper. Spread the soaked mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cool and serve cut into squares.

And if you so fancy it, here's a look of a short film I took of some fit kayakers that came down the river whilst I was standing there enjoying . . .

And another short film of Todd and Mitzie down on the rocks. If yoy listen very carefully you can hear the water, so nice to listen to.


  1. Oh, what a fun trip! Mitzi looks like she had a great time. I love spaniels!
    This town looks so sweet and idyllic. I sent a package of paintings off to Wales not too long ago, and wished I was going with them!
    I'll put this bread pudding on my list of things to try. I made an enormous one for Christmas Eve last year, with Jack Daniels sauce for topping. I almost just sat and ate the sauce!
    Hope you have a nice trip in September, take lots of photos! I'm eager to see the north :)

  2. What absolutely beautiful country! And, we love anything with tea as an ingredient! A must try! Thank you!

  3. Llangollen is stunning! I've been there too and I also always go for the Bara Brith, yum. Love the bread and butter pudding too, making my mouth water!

  4. I came here for the bread pudding recipe (one of my favs!) but found such a gorgeous post indeed :) I live in Wales (South Wales) and just loved the traditional vibe of your post, bara brith (yumm :) ), Welsh Rarebit etc. Ive never been to Llangollen actually, but will suggest it to my ma for a day out as it looks gorgeous! (plus i really want to go to that tea room and oggle the fit kayakers..haha) Anyway! Lovely post, and thanks for the scrummy recipe too :)

  5. Love the pictures dear Marie, MItzie is adorable!! and love bread pudding always!! gloria
    Have a nice day, gloria

  6. Only English people pronounce it with a C, it's actually more guttural sound, the same idea as the ch in Loch is deeper and rolling. It's easier just to say Lan (with the tongue behind the teeth) as the first syllable, rather than try to say the LL as Welsh speakers would. The c sound just sounds awful as it's nowhere near the right sound.

  7. Lovely day out and I like the daughter has an original mini cooper in British racing green......I love that car!
    I am a BIG fan of bread pudding too!

  8. Jacques loves bread pudding..yours looks different.I will have to give it a try:) I love your husband's vest.I'd like to add one to my husband's wardrobe..:) Like a fisherman's vest?

    Pretty shots should paint the tea room..So pretty!!!

  9. I stand corrected Jayne! I do know what you are talking about, but I thought that the way I explained it that made sense. It is C with a guttural sound.

    Monique, we got Todd's vest in Austria, in a little town called St Johan en Tirol where we stayed a few years ago. He loves it. its a real man's vest!

    Thanks everyone for your lovely comments! xxoo

  10. what a beautiful place,, lovely photos as well.Our friend Chris is from Wales,, I wonder if she has been here.That looks so good the cheese on toast,, yum!I love bread pudding and its a big hit in our home,, I've never added spices like this to it though,, sounds vey yummy!Thankyou for sharing Marie,, the photos were just so beautiful and the vidow,,

  11. What a scrumptious
    post, from beginning
    to sweet end! So fun
    to see Mitzie in the
    mix, as well. I wonder
    if you realize how
    gorgeous it is there??
    Can't wait to try the
    pudding. Happy Sunday!
    xx Suzanne

  12. Oh, Marie...I have added this charming town to my "hope to visit, Lord willing" list. what wonderful photos too. I feel relaxed just looking at them. I also wanted to let you know that at a ranch home in central Texas, your scones are enjoyed at least monthy (we must watch our waists) and we even partake in our version of a cream tea. Cheers!

  13. Please don't pronounce Llangollen in the way it is broken down here. The "ll" is a soft sound. The easiest way to try to explain it without being there to show you is, Rest the bottom of your tongue up behind your top teeth and rest it there and then try and say the th sound. The rest of Llangollen is said as you would in English.

    1. Sorry if this offends you Jane. I was pronouncing it the way I was taught.

  14. What would the spices be? Cinnamon? and what else?

    1. Make Your Own Mixed Spice:
      You can easily make your own mixed spice: Combine 1 TBS ground cinnamon, 1 tsp each of ground coriander and nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of ground ginger, 1/4 tsp each of ground cloves and all spice. Mix well and store in an airtight container out of the light for up to 6 months.

      I hope that this helps!


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