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I went home the other weekend. Even though I have lived in England for two-thirds of my life I still and always will refer to the valleys and coastline of Swansea, Wales as my home. The local football team has recently been promoted to (and survived the rigours of) the most prestigious football league in the world and as a result the media spotlight shines over the city.

Walking through the tube stations of London my eyes are drawn to the posters of The Gower peninsula. It seems that the Welsh tourist board is keen to cash in on the increased numbers of travelling football fans to the local area and so plasters pictures of what I feel is the area’s greatest asset; Worms Head.

And so the 2minicooks family set off on a warm July day. We came, we ate, we walked and played. A well deserved break for all those involved. I really am so fond of this small city hidden in the valleys.

It’s not all sun, sea and sandcastles, however…

Apparently every cloud has a silver lining. What a wonderful sentiment, but for this old  idiom to ring true then one must be able to see the edge of the cloud. I remember weeks in Wales when the rain didn’t stop. Rhod Gilbert, the Welsh comedian compares the tale of Noah’s Ark with its 40 days and nights of vertical wetness as the best summer that Wales ever had. Swansea is the wettest city in the UK according to some.

It’s a good job then that the wonderful market is Wales’ largest indoor market. Although we weren’t able to visit Swansea market on our recent trip I remember as a child the stench of fish, cheese and so forth… The sort of aromas that to a child’s dew-drop nose cause fake retching and pleas to grandma to visit Toys R Us instead. Nowadays these smells do a lot to remind me of some of my favourite things: food, Swansea and memories.

You can not go to Swansea without trying some of the local ice cream. I know every town within a gnat’s crotchet of a lapping shoreline likes to think that its icecream is the bees-knees but we really are spoilt for choice in Swansea. Generations of Calzaghe’s, Macronelli’s and so forth have settled in the towns of Wales creating some of the finest gelatos outside of Italy. If you ever get to try the variety at Verdis or the one and only flavour at Joe’s you will have led a good life.

However, I did manage to pick up a few things from a local café (and Asda) to bring back to London to make me feel that little closer to home after a bad day 🙂 And what better cure for a day peeled straight from Jabba the Hutt’s armpit than a bottle of Tomos Watkin’s Magic Lagyr (lager in English). It really is a treat and never been found by me outside of the Swansea area. And from this very café we sampled the local delicacy of cockles with a mushroom pesto and I couldn’t wait to get home and create a little snack based on this wonderful dish…

OK, so, first of all create the Pesto (Find the recipe here) and set aside. Any small mushrooms will do for this but I used button ones as they were cheap in a local supermarket. I used a little technique to ensure even coverage of the pesto but when Freesia came home from work she felt my approach was too amateur and looked terrible in photos… So you have the abridged version.


  • button mashrooms
  • pesto
  • olive oil
  • breadcrumbs
  • eggs
  • salt, pepper.


Find an old, clean tub with an appropriate lid and pour some breadcrumbs into it (1 inch depth should do). Next, wash the mushrooms carefully and dry with some kitchen roll. Rub the little fungus in the pesto, dip in the egg wash and place in the breadcrumb tub. Repeat about 4 times and seal the tub.

You don’t want to place too many in the tub as there won’t be mushroom for the much-room (heehee) to move. OK, put some music on (preferably something with a beat that makes you want to shake your money maker… For me it’s Springsteen, for Freesia it’s Coldplay… Safe to say that her music makes it take a bit longer (or seem like it’s taking longer anyway)… Repeat the song and then the process until you have completed your desired amount. You can also dip the mushrooms in the egg again and reapply the breadcrumbs for a more even coating.

Pour some sunflower oil into a pot, heat and carefully drop the mushrooms in. cook until golden brown (the time it takes for Springsteen to get through Glory Days or by the time Coldplay have tuned their triangle or restrung their drums is usually sufficient). Hope you enjoy them and you get to visit Swansea sometime, Tim.-

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