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Cawl Cennin (Welsh leek soup) with Welsh rarebit slices



International editor



Kick off your Six Nations celebrations in delicious style with a Grand Slam-worthy dish from each country

Nothing brings nations together quite like major sporting events, and they don’t come much bigger than rugby’s Six Nations Championship. Whether you’re an avid fan or just looking for an excuse to get experimental in the kitchen, you can show support for all six nations (including the women’s teams, whose tournament runs simultaneously with the men’s) with these top regional recipes. All the dishes can be made using ingredients or pre-prepared food you can find in store (no tricky-to-find ingredients here) and are perfect for enjoying before, during or after the game. And with Ireland defending their crown, we know which recipe we’ll be making first.
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Irish potato cakes with leek and parsnip

Serves 8

450g M&S Ultimate potato mash
1 medium leek
1 medium parsnip
25g plain flour
2 tsp vegetable oil

Halve the leek lengthways and finely slice. Grate the parsnip.

1. Tip the potato into a bowl. Add the leek, parsnip and plain flour and with clean hands, mix together well. Divide the mash into eight equal pieces then form each into a crumpet-sized cake.

2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the potato cakes in two batches for 4-5 on each side minutes or until nicely browned and crusty.

3. Transfer to a warm plate or oven whilst you cook the remaining cakes.

Serve with warm Irish soda bread and salad or greens.


Macsween sliders

Serves 10

300g pork mince
227g haggis
5g fresh parsley
30g rapeseed oil
10 mini brioche buns
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
little gem lettuce and portobello mushrooms (to serve)

1. In a large bowl, break up the haggis and gently mix with the pork mince.

2. Add the chopped fresh parsley and fold in gently.

3. Form the mixture into 10 small 50g balls.

4. Flatten the balls and place in fridge to firm up prior to use – it is best to chill them for 4-6 hours in order to rest and the flavour to develop.

5. Heat a skillet to a high heat and add a little rapeseed oil.

6. Season the sliders to taste and cook for five minutes on each side until golden brown and piping hot.

7. Serve in the mini buns with lettuce, fried mushroom and your choice of garnish.


Cawl cennin with quick Welsh rarebit

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
3 medium leeks
400g potatoes
900ml vegetable stock
150ml double cream or crème fraiche
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
pinches of salt and pepper
225g grated cheese
25g softened butter
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp English mustard
2 tbsp Welsh ale or milk
4 slices of toast

Chop the onion. Slice the leeks. Roughly chop the potatoes.

1. To make the soup, heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, leek and potato and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened and lightly coloured.

2. Add the stock and seasoning, bring to the boil then cover, reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes or until the potato is tender.

3. Whiz with a hand blender to a smooth consistency then reheat, stir in the cream or crème fraiche and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

4. Meanwhile for the Welsh rarebit, crumble the cheese and mix with the butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and ale or milk. Spread evenly over the toast and cook under a preheated grill for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese and tinge brown in places.

5. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Cut the rarebit into triangles to enjoy with the soup.


Caramelised red onion Yorkshire puddings

Serves 6

4 tbsp flavourless oil
1 large red onion
1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
pinch soft light brown sugar
1 tsp thyme leaves
175g plain flour
2 large eggs
160ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Finely slice the red onions. Plus an additional 6 sprigs of thyme. Sift the plain flour.

1. Put 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan set over a low-medium heat.

2. Add the red onion with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until softened and just starting to colour.

3. Add the vinegar and brown sugar, increase the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are sticky.

4. Stir in the thyme leaves and set aside.

5. Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F fan/gas 7 (200°C fan).

6. Divide the remaining oil across the six-hole muffin tin. Put it in the oven.

7. For the batter, put the flour in a bowl and create a well in the centre.

8. Break the eggs into the well and, using a whisk, begin to incorporate them into the flour.

9. Add the milk and 120ml water, continuing to whisk to make a lump-free batter.

10. Whisk in the mustard and transfer to a jug.

11. You now need to work quickly, so have the caramelised onions and thyme sprigs to hand.

12. Remove the hot tin from the oven and swiftly divide the batter among the holes (it will splutter when it hits the hot oil).

13. Quickly spoon a sixth of the onion mixture into each hole and top with a thyme sprig.

14. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until well risen and browned.

15. Remove from the tins, season with salt and pepper and serve straightaway.


Pasta with butternut squash and sage

Serves 4

850g (medium) butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
240g pasta (messicani or orecchiette)
1 small bunch sage leaf
30g unsalted butter
5g pecorino or parmesan cheese (to serve)

1. Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 (180°C fan). Cut the bottom end off the squash to stand it up, remove skin with a peeler, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and set them aside.

2. Cut the squash into bite-sized chunks, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.

3. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions, drain and set aside.

5. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the squash seeds and fry until golden, being careful not to burn yourself as they pop.

6. Remove from the pan and set aside.

7. In the same oil, fry the sage leaves until crisp, remove from pan and set aside.

8. When the squash is ready, reheat the sauté pan and add the butter.

9. Cook until it froths then starts to turn brown, then add the squash to stop the butter burning.

10. Toss for a minute then add the pasta.

11. Season to taste then serve with the toasted seeds, sage and some grated pecorino or parmesan.


Pear and almond tart

Serves 6

300g ready-made shortcrust pastry
100g caster sugar
100g butter
2 eggs
Zest of half a lemon
2 just-ripe conference pears
100g ground almonds
1 tsp water
1 tbsp apricot jam
clotted cream

Zest the lemon. Beat the eggs. Peel, halve and core the pears. Make sure the butter is at room temperature.

1. Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 (180°C fan).

2. Lightly grease one 24cm shallow, loose-bottomed, fluted tart tin with butter.

3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a circle 4cm larger than your tin.

4. Using the rolling pin, lift the pastry onto the tin and press into place, allowing the pastry to overhang the tin slightly. Chill for 15 minutes.

5. Lightly prick the base with a fork, line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the baking beans, then return the pastry to the oven for 5-10 minutes until lightly golden.

7. Reduce the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 (160°C fan).

8. Leave to cool slightly, then trim the overhanging pastry using a sharp knife.

9. In a bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then gradually whisk in the beaten eggs and fold in the almonds and lemon zest.

10. Spoon into the pastry case and spread evenly over the base.

11. Starting 1cm below the top of each pear half, cut lengthways into 6 slices and fan out slightly. Sit each pear half on top of the mixture and press down gently.

12. Bake the tart for 45-50 minutes until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin then transfer to a board.

13. Heat the jam with the water until runny, then brush over the tart.

14. Serve warm or cold with the clotted cream.