Dishes of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and other Celtic countries head for Glen Innes Show

Cornish pasties: Cornwall's gift to Australia. (Pic: Cornish Pasty Association).
Cornish pasties: Cornwall's gift to Australia. (Pic: Cornish Pasty Association).

There’s a plan for a new category of cooking in the Glen Innes Show. According to Judi Toms who chairs the Australian Standing Stones committee, “This will be a ‘Celtic’ class, with … a traditional recipe from the country being honoured at that year’s Celtic Festival”.

Sceptics might say that the Celts aren’t known for their cuisine.  All the same, some favourites are Irish stew, Scotch Broth, Cornish Pasty and Welsh Rarebit (sometimes called Welsh Rabbit, though it’s a cheesy, beery substance rather than a furry one).  Bretons eat artichokes.

Celebrating the Cornish heritage.

Celebrating the Cornish heritage.

A Welshman writes: Celtic cuisine is not thought to be very refined – it does not rival French cuisine – but it is wholesome, particularly on cold days. Stew is a staple throughout Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Some would argue, though, that the national dish of Wales is actually chicken curry with chips (or chicken curry with rice and chips, known as chicken curry half-and-half) and that the national dish of Scotland is actually deep-fried pizza, or even deep-fried chocolate bar.  Many Scots deny that.

The Cornish pasty became the Australian pasty through the migration of miners from the tin industry in Cornwall.  In Cornwall, the pasty has swede, sliced potato, lamb or beef and lots of pepper.  Some versions for miners used to have savoury at one end and sweet at the other, say, apple, so that the pasty made a complete meal.

A history of the Cornish pasty says that a Cornish school children’s chant in the 1940s was:

“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, ate a pasty five feet long,  Bit it once, Bit it twice, Oh my Lord, it's full of mice.”

A good Welsh food is “bara brith” – “speckled bread” in English – which is a fruit loaf half way between a cake and a bread.  It is good untoasted with butter.  It can involve yeast but this recipe doesn’t: http://www.visitwales.com/explore/traditions-history/recipes/bara-brith