For writer, broadcaster and Great British Bake Off finalist Beca Lyne-Pirkis (BMus 2004), the key to Cardiff’s success is in its diversity.
“I learned a great deal about cooking from my mother and grandmother, so when I was a student, I’d cook and bake for my housemates. Then, during the summer breaks, I travelled to Thailand, Malaysia, and Italy, and those experiences dramatically influenced my cooking style. Favourite dishes like Thai green curry and risotto are still crowd pleasers now – and let’s not forget the sweet treats, like flapjacks, lemon and blueberry cake, and pancakes! Shrove Tuesday was always a much anticipated event in our house.
My time at Cardiff University definitely helped develop my cooking style and gave me the confidence to apply for the much-loved show.”
Reaching the final of the Great British Bake Off in 2013 “changed my life,” says Beca. “Since then, I’ve had four cookery series and I’m starting my second book.”
Still living in Cardiff, she is excited by the culinary changes afoot. “I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to do a job like mine here!”
Try Beca’s fabulous recipe for White Chocolate, Raspberry & Cardamom Welsh cakes:
- 225g Self-Raising Flour
- 30g Lard or Vegetable Fat, cold and cubed
- 70g Salted Butter, cold and cubed
- 110g Caster Sugar
- 100g White Chocolate Chips
- 1 Tube of freeze dried Raspberries (6g)
- 10-12 Cardamom Pods, discard the outer shell and grind the black pods inside
- 1 large Egg, beaten with a little milk
- 1/2 tablespoon of Golden Syrup
- Sift the flour and spices into a large bowl and rub the lard and butter into the flour until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs.
- Mix in the sugar, fruit and chocolate chips and then add the beaten egg and golden syrup. (Tip: Heating the syrup slightly will make it is easier to mix into the other ingredients)
- Bring the mixture together in the bowl until it forms a dough – try not to over work the mixture. (Tip: I use a butter knife until it starts to come together and then use my hands to gently make it into a ball.)
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out/flatten to 1cm thickness. I do this in two batches so that it’s easier to handle the dough.
- Place your bakestone or heavy frying pan on the hobs to a low heat.
- Cut out into 2 inch rounds, grease your bakestone/frying pan with a little butter and cook your Welsh cakes until they are a ‘nut brown’.
- Don’t over-crowd the pan and grease the pan in between every batch.
- Once baked, sprinkle liberally with sugar and serve. Delicious warm or cold!
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