Food

Special Olympian and COALPIT Welsh Cake founder Michael Benyon shares his favourite recipes

The founder of Coalpit Welsh Cakes shares some recipes with Big Issue readers

Michael Benyon

Michael Benyon has founded his own Welsh cake company and competed in the Special Olympics. Here are the recipes that keep him going.

Traditional Welsh Cake

To celebrate my Welsh heritage I have chosen to share with your my great-grandmother’s Welsh Cake recipe. I have enjoyed many hours cooking and eating these delicious cakes with my great-grandmother and grandmother.

Makes 10-12 cakes 
Prep 10 minutes 
Cook 4-5 minutes each

Ingredients

250g self-raising flour
4oz / 125g butter or margarine
85g caster sugar
60g currants
1 or 2 free-range eggs depending on mixture’s consistency

Method

1. Sieve flour into bowl, then add margarine or butter, rub in finely.

2. Add sugar and currants and mix.

3. Add 1 egg and mix. The consistency needs to be bound together, so if it’s too dry add another egg.

4. Roll out on a floured board, to about a quarter-inch (0.6cm) thick.

5. Cut using a 2-inch (5cm) cutter, then cook on a preheated, greased pan or bake stone, on a medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes each side.

6. The exact cooking length will depend on what you are cooking your Welsh Cakes on, but keep a close eye – too short a period and they won’t be cooked in middle; cooked for too long and they will be dry. When touched during cooking they should feel springy, but not wet to the touch (no mixture should come out of the middle).

7. Once cooked sprinkle with caster sugar and enjoy.

Vegetarian Bobotie (South African Meatloaf)

I was born in South Africa and spent four years of my life eating African cuisine. Since then my family have kept exploring African dishes and tradition, which gave me the confidence to cook the dishes and use African flavours. This recipe is one of the family’s favourites!

Prep 15 minutes 
Cook 30 minutes 
Total time 45 minutes 
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 thick slice white bread
375ml milk or non-dairy milk
2 tbsps sunflower oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
350g Quorn mince
125ml seedless raisins 
125ml blanched almonds
15ml smooth apricot jam
3 tbsps fruit chutney
2 tbsps lemon juice
5ml chopped mixed dried or fresh herbs
2 level tbsps curry powder
5ml turmeric
Salt to taste
1 large egg
Reserved milk from soaked bread
4 bay leaves to decorate

To serve

Boiled or steamed rice, cooked with a spoonful of turmeric and added raisins
A salad of sliced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers
Fruit chutney (available from most supermarkets)
Bread rolls for guests to make a Bobotie burger

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Grease a casserole dish and set aside.

3. In a bowl, soak the slice of white bread in 250ml of the milk for 5 minutes, squeeze the milk out of the bread reserving the milk.

4. In a frying pan, heat the sunflower oil and fry the onions until soft.

5. Mix the bread with the onions, Quorn mince, raisins, almonds, jam, chutney, lemon juice, herbs, curry powder and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Add the reserved milk to the mince mixture and lightly brown the mince.

7. Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

8. Using oven gloves, remove the Bobotie from the oven.

9. Make an egg custard, by beating the eggs and remaining 125ml milk together. Pour egg custard mixture over the Bobotie.

10. Place the bay leaves on top of the custard and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the custard mixture has set.

11. Serve with rice, salad, bread rolls and a selection of chutneys, chilli pastes and sambals for your guests to customise their Bobotie.

Sticky Prawn Couscous Bowl

As an athlete, I’m always conscious of what I put in my body [Michael has represented GB at the Special Olympics and was the first person with Down’s syndrome from Wales to run the London Marathon]. I am always trying new recipes with fresh vegetables, protein, herbs and nuts. It’s important that I keep my energy levels up when I do long runs.  

Ingredients

300g large, raw, shell-on king prawns, from sustainable sources
6 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 heaped tbsp mango chutney
Couscous, cooked according to packet instructions
1 lime

Method

1. Pull the tails and legs off the prawns and peel off the shells, leaving the heads on for bonus flavour.

2. Run the tip of your knife down their backs and pull out the vein. Put a large non-stick frying pan on
a medium heat.

3. Peel and very finely slice the garlic. Fry with 1 tbsp of olive oil until crisp. Scoop out and set aside, leaving the garlicky oil behind.

4. Stir the curry powder into the oil, then add the prawns. Fry for 4 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through, tossing regularly.

5. Stir in the mango chutney for 30 seconds, taste, season with sea salt and black pepper.

6. Scatter over the crispy garlic and finely grate over half the lime zest.

7. Serve with couscous and lime wedges, for squeezing over.

Do you have any recipes of your own you wish to share? Get in touch and tell us more. Big Issue exists to give homeless and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy of the magazine or get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

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