Friday, 29 May 2009

A Trip to Wales

Mother-in-law A&N moved to Wales a few years back. The lure of endless fresh air, a vegetable garden the size of most London flats, and plenty of large hills up which to hike and jog during dangerously inclement weather proved too much for her. She and her husband now live in a beautiful valley with their 4 ducks and the cows and sheep in the next field over singing them off to sleep.

The biggest shame about Wales (and the biggest factor in preserving its beauty) is that it can be mighty difficult to get to. A 60 mile as-the-crow-flies stretch of road can take two stomach churning hours of dipping up and down hills and rocking to and fro around endless bends in the road, often stopping or reversing since the road isn't wide enough to hold two cars at once. We haven't visited them in two years since the thought of taking the 5 hour trip when pregnant made me immediately queasy. Mr A&N last week found himself with a few days off between his freelance projects, so we packed up the c
ar and set off for a week's holiday at his mum's.

Being with baby doesn't make the traditional early morning hikes easy to negotiate, and Mr A&N was glad for the excuse to take it easy. We instead had gentle walks around ruined castles and several tours of the vegetable patch with Baby A&N taking delight in the ducks and the butterflies that stopped by the say hello. I came away from our castle trips with a build-your-own castle book that I'm trying my best not to rip into until Baby A&N is old enough to do it with me, even though I so desperately want to build a while medieval city on our dining table.

Our dining in Wales always takes place at home, with Mr A&N's mother picking things from the garden that are fresh and balancing them with meat or fish from her local farm shop. Ambling about in the same fields as your sheep and seeing them wandering in your church yards brings me closer to the reality of what I'm eating, so I appreciated the chance to buy some well reared meat from the source. Eating lamb these days does give me pangs, thinking that I'm tucking into some sheep's own Baby A&N. Thank goodness it's delicious enough to help me swallow down that guilt with a slight garlic aftertaste.



At the farm shop, the farmer explained (first in Welsh, then in English as I gave him polite but empty smiles) how he had some goat meat going cheap. He was given two goats, and while letting himself have a day to decide what to do with them (cheese? milk? sell them on? grow a herd?) they managed to eat through two water butts and some important wiring. And so goat was now being served up at the shop. Mr A&N's mother and I happily offered a home to the bargain meat, only scratching our heads on the way out over what to do with 2 racks of goat rib each. Eat them, is the short conclusion, but anything more than that and we're both stumped. Any suggestions, anyone?

8 comments:

Wendy said...

I was going to say curry but would ribs work in a curry?

What about rubbing & marinating the ribs in curry spices and roasting them? Know that goat is pretty tough so maybe boil them for a little before marinating and roasting them (my local butcher suggested that to me and it's worked a treat with pork rib).

Looking forward to hearing what you do!

Helen said...

I would be massively tempted to jerk those ribs!

Elra said...

Oh my, it is my dream to be able to go to Wales one day. I have a friend from Wales, that is why I want to visit. Beautiful place!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

When I've done any ribs, I've slow roasted them covered in the oven and then broiled or grilled them to brown them up. The slow roasting tenderizes the meat and the high heat gives them color.
Sounds like a wonderful trip. Let's hear what happens to those ribs.

Pinget said...

I've nothing useful to say. I just wanted to say hi and that I really enjoy your blog. I stumbled across it some months back looking for quail recipes. So Hi from Southeast Alabama! :)

Annemarie said...

Hi Wendy - Yes, curry was the first thought too but the rib rack would require one ginormous pot. Rubbing and roasting seems along the right lines...

Hi Helen - Jerking is a solution to many problems. :)

Hi Elra- The Welsh are lovely people so it's easy to see how your friend has done a good sales job for the country!

Hi Tanna - Slow roasting is an excellent idea. Have the mother in law on the phone now to say she had to cook the ribs twice over and she's recommending slow cooking.

Hi Pinget - Just saying hi is very useful, especially since you have kind words to say with the hello. Hello to you back!

jasmine said...

Wales is an absolute favourite place of mine...the people, the grassy fields, stone circle hunting...

j

London hotels said...

Well, wales is sure an underrated and almost divine place, but as a tourist who visited London and wales couple of time in (businesses and pleasure) i truly think that London takes the pot! i have to come back :)