Friday, 2 October 2009

Heirloom recipe 3: Anglesey eggs

This is one of my favourite autumn and winter warmers, discovered in Jane Grigson's English Food, which I must have bought shortly after leaving university in the very late 70s. But it's not English, it's Welsh: Wyau Ynys Mon, or Anglesey eggs. Ynys Mon used to be known as mam Cymru, mother of Wales, such was the quantity of grain grown on the island. The dish is a deeply comforting mixture of leeks, potatoes, eggs and cheese sauce, so it's nice and frugal too. Leeks are now turning up in my veggie box and the nip in the air means it's time for the first Anglesey eggs of the season.
Wyau Ynys Mon - quantities here are for four people (what follows is half these quantities)
adapted from a Jane Grigson recipe
1 and a half lb potatoes
6 medium leeks
3oz butter
1 tbs plain flour
1/2 pint hot milk
4oz strong cheese - this time, I used Lincolnshire Poacher and Wrekin White
1 tsp whole grain mustard
8 shelled hard-boiled eggs
Boil the potatoes then mash them, or better still, pass them through a ricer. Chop the leeks finely, give them a quick wash then cook them very slowly with 1oz of the butter. Take off the heat when the crunch has gone.
While the veggies are cooking, make a white sauce. Let this simmer slowly for at least 10 mins, adding the mustard once the sauce has come together and thickened.
While the sauce is doing its thing, get the eggs on to boil. Mix together the leeks and the mash and add the remaining butter. I bunged in the remains of a bottle of pouring cream that was lurking in the fridge. Check the seasoning.
When the eggs are done and shelled, halve them and nestle them into the leeky potato mixture. Take the sauce off the heat and add 3oz of the cheese. Stir thoughtfully to amalgamate. Then pour the cheese sauce over the eggs and pop into an oven at gas mark 6 until golden brown - around 20 mins.
I normally serve this on its own, but a salad of leaves and toms would be great too.
My parents lived on Anglesey for many years - here's my dad on Newborough beach over Christmas in 2005, still active at 89. Dad died last year: still missed.


mangocheeks said...

Hi Fran,
I saw the words Anglesey eggs and the little welsh person in me came over to have a nosy. I grew up in Wales and had never come across these ever. Perhaps because they are a North Wales speciality, or more specifically Anglesey. So Thank you for bringing it to my attention.It does look very comforting, especially as the weather is now turning.

Also, that is a lovely photograph of your father. Family always leave us with memories.

fran39 said...

Mango - I'd forgotten your welsh roots! Do give this a try; it's that kind of warm blanket food that heats from within.

Michele said...

Yum! What a neat recipe. It loos really delicious!

vincent said...


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fran39 said...

Michelle - hope you give it a try! It tastes even better than it looks.
Vincent - thank you so much! I'll nip over to Petitchef and join up.

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