Some of my favorite childhood memories are based at my maternal grandmother’s home: Welsh cakes on the griddle, picking out the morning glory sheets warm from the laundry room, huge bunches of lavender in the garden, eating fresh veggies from the garden, swinging on the striped garden bench with a glass of orange juice, hiding in the coal shed with my brother, the smell of wood shavings in my Granddad’s shed, putting out the bird food with my Gran.
The house of those memories was sold about a year ago now, after Gran moved into a care facility for those with Alzheimer’s. After a long and horrible battle with Alzheimer’s, Gran passed away two weeks ago today.
The last time I saw my Gran was this past summer. We’d travelled over to the UK a couple of times while we were in Italy. The second time was the best set of visits, probably the best for several years. She had absolutely no idea who we were and that was almost better. She just enjoyed us and specifically our daughter. It was just joyful.
I’ve already cried buckets for the loss of her mind, and for the anguish that the disease created for both her and her children. This was not the way she wanted to go. This was not death with dignity, but that is a post for another time. Perhaps a post for my mum to write. So this post is not to mourn, but to celebrate. This is a post to say thank you to both sets of my grandparents for the love that we always felt and to share some of the love in the form of Welsh Griddle Cakes. I made those Welsh Cakes of my memories for the first time, with my child, the weekend I found out about Gran. It isn’t quite the same, not being in that kitchen, but almost…
Welsh Griddle Cakes
8oz of self-raising flour
4oz of unsalted butter
4oz of ultra fine granulated sugar (I think this is the same as the caster sugar as I grew up with)
1/2 cup of raisins
splash or two of milk
Chop the butter into tiny pieces and rub into flour using your fingertips until the consistency is like small breadcrumbs. Bean and I did this together. We add the sugar and dried fruit next and give a quick mix to distribute throughout. Then Bean cracks the egg into the bowl and I stir it into the dry mix. Theoretically, you should whisk the egg before adding it to the dry ingredients, but eh. Then a splash of milk. We use 2% because that is what is in the house, but I’m guessing full milk would be better. Using our hands we get this into a nice dough and then roll it out to about a 1/3 of an inch. Bean cuts away with a scone/biscuit cutter, then off to the frying pan we go. Actually, it isn’t supposed to be a frying pan, rather an old fashioned griddle, but I don’t have one of those. I do have a cast iron frying pan. Grease the pan up a little, heat it up, not too hot. Then pop the cakes on. Three to five minutes on each side. They should be a light brown with some crispy bits. Toss a little caster sugar over them while they’re warm. Make them with the help of children, share them with loved ones.
Goodbye Gran. Be at peace.