Local Welsh Butter Croissant

The ideal croissant must be crisp and flaky on the outside – achieved with a double if not treble layer of egg wash; have well-defined, honey comb layers which are created by triple lamination and have a soft, airy buttery interior. I use a local, slightly salted welsh butter in all my croissant and pastries – the quality, flavour and consistency really does sing through and pay in great results. Practice and technique is the key to good croissant – be sure to keep your dough and your butter chilled before and between ‘folds’ so that the layering remains true and to trim your dough sheet between laminations. Croissants freeze really well too – either proved and unbaked or baked lightly. Either way, bake from frozen at around 180°C for about twenty minutes.


520g strong flour

300g full fat milk, cold

35g soft brown sugar

10g salt

25g fresh yeast

250g butter - for laminating, chilled.

Flour to roll out.

Egg wash.

Kit: rolling pin, plastic sandwich bag, triangle template, pizza cutter or sharp knife, lined baking sheet.

Ideally, prepare the dough the night before and store it in the refrigerator so that it is really chilled by the time you come to make your croissant. Alternatively, prepare the dough at least two hours before hand, place in a plastic container with a lid and chill.

Method: To mix the croissant dough by hand, rub the butter into the flour in a bowl. Separately mix the milk, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl and add to the flour mixture. Bring together into a crumbly dough. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for ten to fifteen minutes.

If you are using an electric mixer, process with a dough hook on low speed for three to four minutes, then increase the speed to high and mix together for another 2 minutes.

Keep wrapped and cool in the fridge whilst you prepare the butter.

Liberally flour your butter blocks and place in a medium sized plastic bag, food grade. Use a rolling pin to gently pound the butter into a 10cm x 18cm rectangle, about 1cm thick.

Take your dough and roll out into a rectangle, 30 x 18cm and place the butter in the centre of the dough. Fold the dough over the top, squeezing the edges together to completely enclose the butter. Carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle 65 x 18cm. Fold the rectangle from one long end by one third. Fold the other long end over the top so that the dough is layered in three levels. These folds are similar to the folding of a letter to place in an envelope and are known as a letter fold.

Put the dough into a plastic bag or cover well with cling film and chill 20 minutes to allow the gluten to relax and the butter in the layers to set. Repeat this folding and resting process twice more, each time rotating the dough 90 degrees so that as you roll it out you are stretching it in the opposite direction to the previous fold.

Once the dough has been rolled and folded three times, and had a final rest in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes (alternatively, pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours and remove when ready to use – the dough will take about thirty minutes at room temperature before it is good to roll but this is a handy way to manage your time), it is ready to be pinned out and shaped into croissants .

Form your croissant as instructed in the workshop and glaze with an egg wash. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for two hours.

Heat oven to 200°C. Egg wash your croissant for a second time and load into the oven. Reduce the heat to 190°C and bake for 15 minutes. If necessary, turn the tray and bake for a further 5 minutes, until deeply bronzed. Cool on a wire rack.

 For further information on bakery and cookery workshops run by Vic North Bakes, please visit our website or call on 01239 682002

Andy’s Pan roasted rump of Welsh Lamb with


4 Welsh Lamb Rumps

Salt & pepper

1 block of unsalted butter melted

Tblsp of white wine vinegar

3 egg yolks

Cooked Asparagus to garnish

Cooked new season potatoes

Olive oil & butter to glaze

Fresh mint

Sprinkle of sugar


1.Trim lamb rumps & season, Heat a tblsp of oil in a pan and flash roast the rumps colouring well on all sides.

2.Place in a pre-heated oven about 220 degrees centigrade for 8-10 minutes depending on preference & size of rump.

3.In a bowl over a bain marie place in your egg yolks & whisk with wine vinegar. Whisk until the mixture has warmed and created a foamy emulsion.

4.This is the tricky bit! Carefully trickle in the melted butter in a slow but constant stream, whisking all the while. Stop at once if the mixture starts to split or granulate & remove from heat. Whisk in a tsp of warm water until mixture returns to a glossy emulsion, return to heat and continue.

5.Once all the butter has emulsified into the mixture remove from heat, season add chopped mint and stand. Taste & adjust seasoning a sprinkle of sugar maybe required at this point.

6.Remove Lamb from oven & rest for a good 10 mins, in a warm place.

7.Heat garnish & carve lamb ready to plate, serve sauce separately to the side generously!

Andy’s oak roasted Welsh duck salad with Gower Asparagus


4 duck Supremes trimmed

1 tblsp of coarse salt

1 tblsp of sugar

Oak wood chips

Mixed salad of wild leaves & herbs

Extra virgin Olive oil

Dijon mustard

Lemon juice

Coarse ground black pepper


1.In a non reactive (not metal) mix the salt & sugar together & duck breasts & coat all over to form a crust leave for about 20 mins at room temperature. Rinse lightly & pat dry.

2.In an old pan with tight fitting lid put a parcel of foil onto the base of the pan, put a generous sprinkle of wood chips onto foil scrunch up loosely. Place lid on pan put over a medium heat until it starts to smoke, remove pan of heat carefully.

3.Sit the duck supremes onto the foil so that they are not in contact with the base of the pan, put lid on tightly and place pan back on heat. Smoke over gentle heat for 10-15 mins.

4.Check cooking of the duck, It should need about 7-8 minutes in a moderate oven to finish then rest ready for carving.

5.In a small bowl mix together some olive oil (approx. 100ml) with a tsp of Dijon Mustard & add a squeeze of lemon Juice. Leave stand.

6.Meanwhile lightly cook asparagus spears in boiling salted water until tender, drain & refresh under cold water, drain again and pat dry.

7.Assemble salad & toss lightly with asparagus in dressing season and plate, carve duck & serve.

Fish stew with garlic saffron and chilli

This dish is a regular vehicle for tidying the remains of whatever fish was on Saturday’s menu. It is as time sensitive as any souffle as I don’t like overcooked fish – hate traditional bouillabaise type jobs as the fish is almost always cooked to death in order to make the liquor better – but can be put together fairly swiftly from the sort of things that are always in my kitchen

This stew is meant to be warm and spicy rather than vindaloo. The method is based on bourride in that it is thickened with garlic mayonnaise but the result is sharper and more citric.

The fish used can of course vary according to what suits and is available. I tend to boil scraped new potatoes in the liquor and serve these in the stew. No vegetables though, just a salad with the cheese course that always follows

For 4

150gr halibut fillet

150gr red mullet fillet

100gr white scallop meat

50gr cooked prawns or shrimps

2 shallots – peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon chopped celery

1 clove garlic

¼ average sized red pepper

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

5gr saffron threads

1 birdseye chilli - chopped

the grated zest of half an orange

500ml chicken stock

1 clove garlic – peeled and chopped

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

50ml sunflower oil

50ml olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

First make the garlic mayonnaise in the usual way by whisking in the oils to the lemon, mustard, egg yolks and garlic.

Sweat the shallots, pepper and celery in a tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add the saffron, chilli and orange then the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few moments. Add the fish in the order in which it takes to cook – in this case the halibut followed by the red mullet and then at the last moment the scallop and shrimp.

Take the pan from direct heat and drain all the liquid into a blender along with the bits and pieces of vegetable and orange. Liquidise along with the mayonnaise – add the mayonnaise a spoonful at a time and stop when the soup begins to thicken, pour the liquor back onto the fish and warm through before serving.

Serve with warm crusty bread....

Monkfish with mustard and cucumber sauce

For 4

1 small cucumber

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

125ml fish stock or white wine

1 tablespoon crème fraîche

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

50gr unsalted butter

25ml olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 monkfish tails – about 200gr each

salt and pepper

Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Mix it with 1 teaspoonful of salt and press for an hour – placing a small plate or lid on the cucumber and placing a jar of jam on top will do the job nicely

In a separate bowl mix together the sugar, vinegar and black pepper. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cucumber then toss the slices in this sweet and sour mixture

Make the sauce by heating the stock, mustard and crème fraîche together then either whisking in the butter piece by piece or blending it in a liquidiser. Season with a few drops of lemon juice.

Paint the monkfish fillets with olive oil and fry in a dry hot pan. Add a knob of butter or few more drops of olive oil and continue to fry until done. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the cooked fish.

Place the fish onto warmed plates along with the cucumber and sauce

Bob’s your uncle

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