Friday, 23 May 2014

The Fat Pig Deli - Tapas Review

Tapas is one of my favourite types of food, it appeals to the magpie (and glutton) within me as I love trying a little bit from each plate. It's one of the reasons I hate it when Mrs Clonc orders the same as me when we go out to eat, it just means I can't try a little bit from her plate. So what follows is a 'discussion' and either I change what I was planning on ordering or she does. Also following the Master Chef finals week where the finalists were jetted off to Barcelona, I was hankering for some tapas. Low and behold our prayers were answered when we heard that The Fat Pig Deli in Pontcanna has launched their tapas menu only the week before. So a call was put in, a table was booked and the fact that this was last weekend in that glorious sunshine was just an added bonus.
The Fat Pig Deli situated on Romilly Crescent in Pontcanna, Cardiff is the epitome of a neighbourhood restaurant. A lovely little set up serving breakfast and lunch during the day and now tapas on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is seating outside which was put to good use as the weather was great. Inside is rustic and eclectic with a relaxed atmosphere. We were greeted very warmly by Barry the proprietor but who would also be looking after us tonight. Mrs Clonc and I found a table with enough space for the push chair as baby Clonc had accompanied us, although he did not know it as he was fast asleep! 
The menu is concise with lots of gems on it but before we started with the food we were asked for our drinks order. Sherry was mentioned and I said to Barry that I had never tried sherry, what proceeded was a crash course in sherry. Barry brought over three glasses and three bottles; the first a Fino, very dry and crisp then a Manzanilla which was a little smoother than the first but still dry then finally the utterly gorgeous Pedro Ximenez, this was a dark and deliciously sweet drink with flavours of dates and molasses. The first two we were told were best suited to have with tapas or as an aperitif and the last more with desserts or to finish a meal.  We settled on the Manzanilla to begin with. What the above demonstrates is the passion people have and in this case how passionate Barry is about what he does. This makes all the difference and lets you know that you are going to have a great meal and makes you want to go back again. That aside from the fact that he is obviously very skilled in 'front of house' service.
On to the food! Like I said the menu has a lot of gems on it (see photo below) and we ended up ordering half the menu, literally! The stand out dishes for us were the Gambas al a plancha - large shell on king prawns, they were succulent and spicy and I could of eaten them all evening, both types of patatas but especially the bravas which was very good and the calamari, crispy squid served with an aioli, what's not to like! A finger bowl would of been good to get rid of the messy hands but other than that the food in general was delicious, the atmosphere chilled and the service was excellent.
To finish and out of the blue we were given a glass of Pedro Ximenez, bliss and very welcomed.
In total we had seven tapas dishes; the pan catalana, both types of patatas, calamari, ensalada, gambas and the chicken dish. The bill came to £42.35 including a glass of white wine, a Limonata and a bottle of beer.
The verdict is that the chilled atmosphere, delicious food and great service make you want to go back again and again. That combined with the weather we had last weekend really did make us feel that a little bit of Spain was right here in the Fat Pig Deli. 
I'm well aware the weather this weekend is very different but I offer you two facts 1. we live in the UK and 2. drink more sherry and you'll feel warm in no time.
A special thank you goes out to baby Clonc who slept throughout the meal!

The Fat Pig Deli, 4 Romily Crescent, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9NR
T: 02029 235 675

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Welsh Cake Ice Cream with a Caramel sauce

That's right Welsh cake ice cream. I was planning on making a crumble a couple of weeks back and thought I had such great results with the coffee and amaretto ice cream I made for the Banana tart tatin (see the blog archive) I thought I'd have a go at making another flavour ice cream and for some bizarre reason Welsh cake flavour popped into my head. My first attempt went down really well with the guests we had staying that weekend but something one of them said stuck with me, "this should be a dessert in its own right" and you know what, I agree. There is something about the simplicity of this dessert that means the flavour of the Welsh cake is not lost.
This recipe is very straight forward and the pay off is well worth the little effort it takes to make. It tastes brilliant with subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg wrapped in a deliciously smooth and creamy ice cream with glorious chunks of welsh cake in it waiting to be discovered. The caramel sauce adds another layer of indulgence and really sets the whole dish off. And if you have never tried a Welsh cake before you're in for a real treat.
Make as a delicious yet simple dessert that can be pre prepared if you are having people over or to be honest when ever you want. Try it!

Welsh Cake Ice Cream - easily makes enough for 10 portions
  • 600ml double cream
  • 200ml of condensed milk
  • 4-5 Welsh cakes - crumbled but not too much you want to keep some sense of texture
  • ground cinnamon - 1 heaped teaspoon
  • ground nutmeg- 1 heaped teaspoon
Caramel Sauce - makes plenty
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 25g of unsalted butter
  • 70ml of double cream
Start with the ice cream, simply whisk the double cream and condensed milk together until you get soft peaks. Fold in the crumbled up Welsh cakes, ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into an air tight and pop in the freezer over night ideally or make first thing in the morning if you plan on serving it in the evening. 
For the caramel sauce, place the sugar in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat. The sugar will start to dissolve and turn a lovely dark brown (but not too much as you will have burnt the sugar!). Once all the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and then the double cream. You should end up with a golden coloured sauce, allow to cool slightly and your good to serve.
As you can see from the photo I've served this dessert up rather simply but when it tastes this good you don't need anything else! 
The ice cream keeps really well and the sauce can be made in advance.
Please do try making it and let me know how you get on via the comments section or email me at
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Until next time folks.