Welsh Home Cooking


Penclawdd Pie

Penclawdd is a village in Swansea, which is famous for its historic cockle picking industry. In fact during my time experimenting with cockle laverbread recipe, for Britain’s Best Home Cook, my father, one of my chief tasters, revealed that my great great grandmother had actually worked as a cockle picker in Penclawdd. There’s actually a picture of her on my fridge in the kitchen on the show!

When I found out that I needed to make a pie I immediately knew that I wanted to make a cockle, laver bread and bacon pie as I wanted to champion our wonderful Welsh produce. However, when I tried it out on the kids, they were not at all impressed, so I added the chicken and mushroom, mellowing the flavour.

I have used Perl Las again in my pie, which with the laver bread adds a depth of flavour, but go easy with both, adding just a little at a time, they should not be the main flavour but only a seasoning.  

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Penclawdd Pie, Makes 4


1 quantity of rough puff pastry

30g butter

1 shallot

2 garlic cloves

150g smoked streaky bacon

50g flour

100g fresh cooked cockles

300g chicken thighs skinless & boneless

200g Mushrooms

50g mixed dried mushrooms

200 ml fresh chicken stock

50g laver bread

50g Perl Las Cheese 

150ml Single Cream

White pepper



1. Preheat the oven to 190 C fan.

2. Finely slice the shallot, dice the bacon and mince the garlic.

3. Dice the chicken and slice the mushrooms.

4. Melt the butter and cook the shallot and bacon gently until caramelized. 

5. Add the chicken and mushrooms and brown.

6. Increase the heat. 

7. Add the flour and cook. 

8. Add the stock.

9. Add the cream and cheese to taste (a little at a time) and stir.

10. Add the laver bread (to taste a little at a time) and cockles and season (you may not need salt).

11. Put the filling in the pie dishes. Leave to cool (ideally the filling should be put in the fridge for at least an hour).

12. Egg wash the lip of the pie dish. Put a strip of pastry around the top of the pie dish, then egg wash.

13. Roll the rest of the pastry over the pie. 

14. Seal the edge and crimp with thumb and back of knife.

15. Cut a hole in the top of the pastry.

16. Repeat with the other pies.

17. Egg wash.

18. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. 

Top Tip

The pastry on this pie rises much better when the filling is cold so it can be prepared the day before, it can even be assembled and left in the fridge, making it a breeze if making them for people coming over.

Store bought puff pastry would make this recipe super easy... I promise not to tell!

Rough Puff Pastry


300g plain flour


200g butter (120g frozen)


1 large free range egg


1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor, dice the chilled butter and add to the processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. 

2. Add enough water to form a dough.

3. Roll into a rectangle and grate over ½ the frozen butter.

4. Fold in a book fold.

5. Roll into a rectangle and repeat with the rest of the butter. 

6. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge.

7. You will need to do 3 further book folds, resting the pastry 30 mins in between each turn. 

8. Roll out the pastry and use. 

Top Tip

It is very important to keep pastry as cold as possible.My mother always told me my hands were too warm to make pastry… so, like I did on Britain’s Best Home Cook, I always wash my hands in very cold water, I have a metal rolling pin which is filled with water to stay chilled.


Spring Greens & New Potatoes

In our house, I always serve pie with either mash and peas or chips and peas. However with the Penclawdd Pie I felt like chips or mash would be too heavy, as the pie filling was already rich and creamy. 

So I created the recipe below, but it still wasn’t fresh enough to offset such a rich pie, so I added my favourite salad leaf, pea shoots.

If you haven’t tried pea shoots, I couldn’t recommend them highly enough, absolutely gorgeous, sweet, so fresh and vibrant! Well a handful or two of pea shoots and I was happy with my new take on mash and peas.

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Spring Greens & New Potatoes


30g butter

300g small new potatoes

300g frozen peas

150g of broad beans (shelled)

150g of green beans

2 leeks


1 lemon


Ground black pepper

1 bag of pea shoots


1. Thickly slice the potatoes.

2. Finely slice the leeks.

3. Boil the potatoes in salted water for approx. 10 minutes.

4. Boil the peas and beans in the potato water.

5. Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently cook the leeks. 

6. Add the peas and beans to the pan, along with the potatoes some potato water, mint and lemon juice and season. 

7. Remove from the heat.

8. Strip the leaves from the pea shoots.

9. Just before serving stir through the pea shoots. 



Originally Popcorn Cockles

When I initially submitted this recipe for Britain’s Best Home Cook I had named these deep fat fried cockles, Popcorn Cockles. 

Alan had thought they were an odd side dish, but ever since I had tried them for the first time, I’d loved them. Frockles made a lovely alternative to the usual way we eat cockles, which is out of a plastic bag coated in vinegar and white pepper.

South Wales has a very long history with cockle picking, my own great great grandmother was a cockle picker. Penclawdd in Swansea still exports its cockles all over the world, and in my opinion they are the best cockles, I buy mine in Swansea Market.

During the show Dan Doherty loved my cockles and ate the whole bowl I served, but he said that he would rename them frockles. Well, what a lovely name, so from now on they will always be known as frockles… he did say I could use the name! 

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100g cockles

100g self-raising flour

120ml sparkling water


White pepper


Parsley, chopped to garnish


1. Put the flour in a bowl and season well, with salt, pepper & paprika.

2. Whisk in the water to form the batter.

3. Coat the cockles and fry in batches at 180 C.

4. Drain the Frockles well on kitchen roll, Garnish with parsley.