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Mashed Potatoes

Lleyn Peninsula, Gwynedd

The Diamond potato peeler, Llanfyllin

The Diamond potato peeler, Llanfyllin

This meal was generally served at mid-day.

Mynytho, Lleyn.

Stwnsh is an alternative name for the same dish in other areas in north Wales; sweded, peas or carrots would be mashed with the potatoes and consequently given the name stwnsh rwdan (swede), stwnsh pys (peas) or stwnsh moron (carrots).

A specially carved wooden tool was used to mash the vegetables and was known as mopren, pwnner, stwnsher or mutrwr tatws in different parts of the country.

The Recipe

You will need

  • potatoes
  • swede, dried peas or carrots
  • salt

Method

  1. Peel and wash the vegetables, as required, and cut into coarse pieces.  (Allow the peas to soak overnight.)
  2. Par-boil the swede, peas or carrots in salt water before adding the potatoes. 
  3. Continue boiling for a further fifteen minutes until cooked. 
  4. Drain and mash until smooth.
  5. Serve with fried bacon.

Comments(2)

Clare S
23 January 2021, 02:43
My Welsh mother often gave us stwnsh rwdan when I was a child living in Bournemouth - I loved the peppery taste of the potatoes and swede. She grew up in Y Felinheli, Gwynedd and we returned every summer to visit Nain. I still make it today.
Geraldine
22 August 2018, 21:19
My late grandmother born pre 1900, later myself and older family members too, plus almost all neighbours made this with the addition of cooked dried peas. None of the ingredients were leftovers but were cooked fresh. It was then left to cool, then fried. We had it every Boxing Day with cold turkey and homemade pickles. We called it ' fryup' but I think that it might have been a very old, recipe. That was in Aberdare by the way.
When I came to live in Swansea, no one I know, even very elderly people, had ever heard of it and assumed that it's bubble and squeak using leftover veg. They'd never heard of caraway seed cake, homemade ginger cake or homemade mint sauce or homemade parsley sauce with home boiled ham, either. No one made egg custard tart with nutmeg sprinkled on it.
It wasn't connected to poverty, in Aberdare either. All relatives, neighbours etc had good jobs. Many grew fruit and vegetables in their gardens and allottments.None of the female members of the family worked so pehaps they had more time to cook. People with non working older family members here in Swansea didn't recognise the recipes either, though. Maybe there were some of course but I didn't hear of them.
What has always puzzled me is the difference between the two areas. Herbs and spices - used far less. No one had ever made bread, in their families. ( Swansea). Pea and ham soup using dried peas - no. Baked apples - no. Stuffed breast of lamb, cawl too - no. Whinberry/ whimberry, apple, rhubarb, gooseberry, blackberry etc etc plate tarts - no. Making parsley stuffing - no.
It was a surprising difference 35 years ago when I came to live here. Now, I doubt if much of that way of cooking exists at all, here and probably not much in Aberdare, now, either. 50-60 years has brought extreme changes to a Welsh cooking culture that had probably existed for centuries. It's changed from being able to make pastry, iced Christmas cakes, Welshcakes and pancakes, without even having to think about it, to buying everything in supermarkets. Same with tremendous, sewing, gardening ( especially veg) knitting skills - almost gone.
Did all that home cooking take a long time, by the way ? No.
It would be good to see more emphasis at government, level, about how some things from the past are worth still doing. Wales doesn't need to be categorised as a takeaway or a burger and fries nation.







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