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Pembrokeshire laverbread cakes recipe

Pembrokeshire laverbread cakes recipe

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  • Starters

These laverbread cakes are a fine way to eat this traditional Welsh wild food as a starter. Welsh laverbread or "bara lawr" has nothing to do with bread and has the consistency of a purée.

40 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 450g prepared fresh laverbread
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 200g rolled oats
  • 50g toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:12min ›Ready in:27min

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the laverbread, lemon juice, oats and pine nuts (if using) then using your hands, form into cakes. Season well.
  2. Warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat then add the laverbread cakes and fry for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.


If you are short on time, feel free to substitute the freshly prepared laverbread with tinned.

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'Like any good Welshman, laverbread is part of my heritage'

I t all began because I was homesick. I was working as a sustainability consultant in Swindon, and I was really missing Pembrokeshire. All my best memories are of the beach – surfing, fishing, parties and barbecues with friends – and I wanted that back. I went part-time and began to spend three days a week in Wales, developing ideas for menus and products.

Like any good Welshman, laverbread (cooked seaweed) is part of my heritage – I've been eating the stuff since childhood, mostly at breakfast, either stirred into scrambled eggs or in a traditional Welsh fry-up with bacon and cockles, though it's also our secret ingredient in all sorts of stews, soups and even cakes. Sure, laverbread may look a bit sloppy and unappetising, but it's got fantastic flavour and adds real depth to a dish, plus it's got all sorts of nutritional and health benefits. In 2010, I tested the water selling seaweed flatbread wraps from a table outside a farm shop near Fishguard. The feedback was incredible, and before long I was doing farmers' markets and local festivals.

The whole street-food thing was taking off, and I was shocked to find myself shortlisted for the British Street Food Finals in 2011, up against the seasoned traders of London. My brother is a boat-builder, so I roped him in to build the first "beach shack" for the event, and we hit the road with a van full of seafood and seaweeds. I was even more shocked to win – the prize was a concession in the athletes' village at the London Olympics. It was an incredible experience, and the wraps went down a storm.

We've since branched out into branded products, and our flagship beach shack has found a semi-permanent home this year at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire, where laver was traditionally harvested in the 19th century. All our seaweed is still collected by friends or myself, though when we're really busy I do have to buy some in from a supplier in Swansea. And we still make everything in my mum's kitchen, though I'm not sure how much longer she'll let me do that.

Pembrokeshire laverbread cakes recipe - Recipes

These recipes and serving suggestions give a taste of how laver can be used. With adaptations and new culinary ideas, this seaweed can bring excitement to a wide range of dishes.

A vegetarian dish that won the Golden Focaccia Award from Prospect Books

Heat oven to 150C, 350F, gas mk 4.

Roll out pastry and line 1 large or 2 medium flan cases, or make 40 - 50 ‘mince pie’ size.

Mix eggs, cheese, milk and laverbread in a bowl (or liquidiser) until well blended. Add leeks and herbs and mix in well. Season generously, then fill the flan cases three quarters full and bake in oven on a heated tray for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on thickness, until the mixture is set and the flan golden on top. Serve hot, warm or cold.

This can be varied by adding other vegetables as artichokes, courgettes, sun dried tomato etc to expand the colours and flavours. Diced cooked bacon or ham, strips of prosciutto or Carmarthen ham, diced smoked salmon, flaked cooked salmon, cod or other fresh or smoked fish are among many possible variations on the theme.

4 tuna steaks about 130g each

Put all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to mix well. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days. Shake again before use. Can be served warm or cold.

Heat pan or grillomat until smoking. Very lightly oil and brush fish with oil. Sear for 30 - 60 seconds, depending on thickness of fish, turn over, season lightly with sea salt and pepper, and cook for a further 30 seconds, then remove and put on a warm plate. Spoon or drizzle the salsa around or over the fish. The salsa may be pre-warmed in a pan if desired.
Other fish as cod, bass, monkfish, swordfish, mackerel etc may be served in place of tuna.
This salsa can be zipped up by the addition of 50ml Manzanilla sherry, or even vodka
The salsa goes very well with rice dishes as a seafood pilaff, or a biryani.

Heat oven to gas mk 6, 200C, 400F

Season the laverbread then put a quarter into each gratin dish, spread out and top each with cockles. Cover with breadcrumb mix. Cook in oven for about 10 minutes until golden and crisp on top, or heat in microwave and brown under a hot grill.

Instead of cockles try mussels, clams or scallops fresh cod or haddock, sliced thinly on the laverbread flaked smoked mackerel or tinned tuna. Grated cheese as Welsh cheddar can be added to the breadcrumbs for a richer dish.

A traditional savoury cheese croquette, given a sea savour with laver.

Mix together all the ingredients and the egg yolks to form a thick paste. Form into balls and roll out into finger-sized shapes and lightly flour. Whip the egg whites until flowing, not stiff. Coat the ‘sausages’ with flour, and then roll in egg white, finally dusting with breadcrumbs. Heat some oil in a frying pan and cook until golden and crisp

Heat the chicken stock, add the spring onions and the laver, and simmer for a minute. Stir well and add the eggs, and season, then drop in the crabmeat and mix well. Top with chopped coriander, drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

Other flaked fish may be added in place of crab, or other shellfish as prawns, cooked mussels and cockles.

Top with the scallop pieces, and put under grill for 1 - 2 minutes. Remover from grill and spread a small amount of anchovy on the scallops, then top with a small spoon of laver, then cover with the chilli mayonnaise, return under the grill and cook for a few minutes until the top is golden. Serve scallop shells on seaweed-covered plates if possible, or a salad garnish, with a quarter of lime on each.

Mix the cream and goat’s cheese well to a smooth spreading mixture. Season with black pepper. Put one pancake onto a 25cm plate, and spread a quarter of the cream evenly over. Top with a quarter of the smoked salmon and spread with a little laverbread, then top with a little rocket. Put another pancake on top and repeat until four layers have been made. Refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours, then cut into wedges like a cake and serve with a dressed salad with some of the laverbread salsa as above. Any smoked fish or cooked flaked fish may be used in this dish. It can be dressed up with a topping of the cheese decorated with prawns.

‘Moor mutton and hot laver sauce’ appreciated by George Borrow in 1854 in ‘Wild Wales’

Heat a pan or grillomat until smoking. Lightly oil lamb and cook for 2 minutes without moving around. Turn over and season with sea salt and milled pepper, cook for 1 - 2 minutes, depending on thickness of steak and how well it is to be cooked. Remove and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring in any caramelised bits. Add the stock and cook through well, reducing slightly. Add the orange juice and laver and heat well, swirling pan to mix sauce. Check seasoning and add the butter, swirling to emulsify. Pour onto heated plates and serve the steaks on the sauce, topped with a half teaspoon of laver.

Cook the onions in oil until soft. Remove half and cook the rest until crisp and golden. Remove and keep warm. Return first onions to the pan and add garam massala and cook gently for 1 - 2 minutes, taking care not to burn. Add the lentils, then the vegetable stock, and cook until getting thicker. Add the tomato and laver and cook for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Test for seasoning, add the coriander, top with the golden onions and serve as a dish itself or to accompany a curry.

Laverbread is very good added to lamb, chicken or vegetable curries in place of spinach.

Mix the laver and the oatmeal together, seasoning lightly. Using two dessertspoons form into egg shapes and flatten slightly. Cook the bacon in a pan and keep warm, then fry the laver and oatmeal cakes in the fat for a few minutes either side until just crisp. Serve with the bacon and other breakfast ingredients.

Alternatively laver can just be heated in a pan and served as a vegetable purée with breakfast.

Lightly beat the eggs, adding milk and seasoning. Heat a non-stick pan with the butter and before it colours add the egg. On a medium heat stir continually with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once it begins to thicken add the laver, continue mixing until it starts to set. Remove from heat and continue mixing thoroughly, adding the Tabasco and snipped chives. It should be a thick, flowing mixture. Spoon onto the hot, buttered toast and serve.

This can be topped with smoked salmon, other smoked fish or shellfish, fresh prawns heated in a little butter, or other fresh fish or shellfish. Also top with prosciutto, Bayonne, Serrano or Carmarthen ham, thinly sliced.

In a large pan fry the shallots in oil until just colouring. Add the rice and cook for a minute then add wine and cook until it evaporated. Add a quarter of the stock and cook, stirring frequently until the juices have almost evaporated. Add further stock a quarter at a time, until the rice is almost cooked (nearly 20 minutes), yet retaining a nutty texture.

Season well and add the laver and the cream, mixing in well. Add the parsley and cheese and heat through. Cover with a cloth and leave for five minutes before serving. This will go well with fish and meat dishes. Or it can be served as a starter topped with some fresh shellfish as scallops, oysters, mussels, clams all very lightly cooked.

On mini bouches, toast, biscuits

For delicious snacks add laverbread to: Welsh rarebit, mashed potato, a filling for jacket potatoes, or a topping for a pizza.

Add a small quantity of laverbread with homemade or quality mayonnaise, organic yoghurt or crème fraiche and serve with goujons of fresh fish, fish cakes, vegetable crudités, potato croquettes or chips.

Laverbread Cakes

For the laverbread cakes you can use fresh laver seaweed or dried, which is more commonly known as nori (the Japanese equivalent) in the shops. These small, fried, savoury cakes are great with just eggs or the full breakfast fry-up. The liquid left over after draining the seaweed puree is both healthy and delicious and could be used as a stock or used with a sachet of miso, or miso paste, to make a delicious broth.


  • 15g dried nori, roughly torn
  • 280 ml cold water
  • 50g fine oatmeal, plus extra for coating
  • 15g unsalted butter, softened
  • good pinch salt
  • vegetable or corn oil for shallow frying


Step 1

Put the water into a small saucepan and add the dried nori. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until the nori has turned into a puree. Place the puree into a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain. This should yield about 125g of pureed seaweed.

Step 2

Meanwhile, put the oatmeal into a small bowl with the butter and salt and mix the ingredients together.

Step 3

Turn the mix out onto a clean surface. Dip one hand into some cool water and pat the mixture down gently with your hand until it is about ½ cm thick. Using a 6 cm diameter biscuit cutter cut out 8 circular cakes and dip each cake in the extra oatmeal.

Step 4

Put some oil into a non-stick frying pan over a low-medium heat . Add the cakes and fry for about 5 minutes, turning once until the oatmeal on the outside has browned a little.

How to Make Laverbread

Laverbread is not a bread. It is a thick paste made from laver seaweed that was traditionally spread on bread or toast. It has a very savoury, umami taste and, in its heyday, was exported – mainly from Wales – all across Britain. It’s a vital source of iodine, hence the pre-war expression “Eat up your laverbread or you’ll get Derbyshire neck” referring to the swelling on the neck (goitre) associated with hypothyroidism caused by extreme iodine deficiency. You can harvest your own on the British shoreline from the first few months of the year on.

One of the things that puts a lot of people off making laverbread today, is that old recipes call for boiling the laver for up to 8 hours to tenderise it. However, I have an incredibly simple way to make it, that also reduces the smell of it cooking, but you do require one vital piece of equipment – a slow cooker!

6 litres of laver seaweed
150ml applecider vinegar or lemon juice
Optional seasonings: Salt, pepper, chilli powder or soy sauce

Wash the laverbread very well in cold running water through a colander. Ensure there is no sand or grit left behind. The squeeze out the excess water in your hands. Fill the crock pot of your slow cooker and add 150ml of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. This helps to break down and tenderise the laver. Put the lid on, switch it onto the high setting, and leave for 8 hours.

I just fill mine in the evening and go to bed! In the morning – instant laverbread! All you will need to do now is make sure that any on the top or sides has become a paste. If in doubt, a quick whizz in the blender or with a stick blender will make sure the consistency is right.

Season to your taste. I sometimes make a chili version or a soy version. It freezes extremely well in freezerbags.

Use to add flavour to cooking as you would use tomato paste or garlic paste. Add to sauces and gravies, or use with oatmeal to make laverballs or lavercakes.

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Pembrokeshire laverbread cakes recipe - Recipes

We head to the Pembrokeshire where we meet with Jonathan the founder of Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company. Jonathan takes us to the shore to collect laver seaweed and teaches us how to cook it into a Welsh Breakfast in a burger at his food truck called Cafe Mor. Jonathan started the Cafe Mor food truck as a way to bring a modern twist to Welsh seaweed products. In addition to selling laver seaweed, laverbrea,d and other seaweeds, Jonathan has a truck full of interesting dishes that incorporate foraged seaweed. Jonathan's latest product is a seaweed infused rum. Be sure to check out the food truck and spend at day at the Pembrokeshire beach. This was the best burger of our lives!

Laverbread burger directions:
Frying pan and an adventurous appetite needed

laverbread burger ingredients

Use already boiled laverbread or wash the laver in cold water by shaking it and squeezing it until you have cleaned it of salt and grit, you may have to change the water several times.

Boil the laver in a covered pot or crockpot for 8 hours until you can make a paste of it. if you have Jonathan's Welshman's Cavier, boil in water for 10 minutes. You now have laverbread!

Now form the laverbread patty mix by combining the laverbread and oatmeal until well combined. Add more water if the oats are too dry or squeeze out water if too wet. The patties should be easy to form. Set aside for 20 minutes.

In a frying pan, fry up 2-4 strips of fatty bacon depending on your appetite. If there is not enough fat, add butter in the pan.

Form the laverbread mix into patties. The thinner they are the crispier the patty will be.

Fry the patties, eggs, and burger bun in the bacon fat/butter until they are cooked to your liking. Add an option slice of cheese on the egg to melt it.

Combine to form a burger and enjoy with a nice Welsh beer as you take in the view of the beach (or dream of it)!

Laverbread burger recipe:
Makes 2 bacon laverbread burgers
Prep Time: depends on if you are starting from raw laver seaweed (8 hrs of boiling), dried laver seaweed (10 minutes of boiling), or wet laverbread (0 minutes).
Total time post laverbread: 40 minutes

​This recipe is made from a simple by weight ratio of 3:2:1 flour to butter to sugar. You can scale up or down quite easily as long as you maintain the ratio :) The below ingredients are for 8 medium sized cookies and all measurements are a rough estimate, we urge you to use a kitchen scale!

10g of Dried Laverbread ( Welshman's Caviar ) or 3 Tbsps of Wet Laverbread, or Laverbread boiled down from a seaweed foraging adventure.


Laver is a fine seaweed collected for consumption along the Welsh coastline. Welsh laverbread or ‘bara lawr’ has nothing to do with bread and is rather like a purée and is most commonly enjoyed with shellfish or on hot buttered toast. To make laverbread, the seaweed is boiled for several hours, then pureed or minced. This results in a gelatinous paste that can then be sold as it is, or rolled in oatmeal. Sometimes it is coated with oatmeal prior to frying.

If you have too much laverbread to use immediately, it freezes very well. Simply wrap in greaseproof paper and freeze in an airtight container. When you’re ready to use them all you need to do is just defrost before cooking.

Recipe For Welsh Laverbread

You’ll need:
Serves: 4

  • 600g fresh laver seaweed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bread
  • butter, to taste

What next?
Wash and rinse the seaweed in clean water several times. Over a low heat, or in a slow cooker, simmer the seaweed for 6 hours until it turns into a dark pulp.

  1. Combine the laverbread, olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning and stir through. Toast the bread then butter to taste. Spoon the laverbread onto the hot toast and serve immediately.

If you are short of time tinned laverbread is available but may not be as flavourful.

Welsh Breakfast

Laverbread will often be served in a Welsh breakfast with another Welsh delicacy, Welsh cockles. Both delicacies are traditionally served with thick Welsh bacon and should also include Welsh sausages, mushrooms and eggs. When you visiting Wales you really should make sure you do not miss the chance to try a true Welsh breakfast.


Cultivation of laver seaweed as food is thought to be very ancient, though the first mention was in William Camden's Britannia in the early 17th century. [2] It is plucked from the rocks and given a preliminary rinse in clear water. The collected laver seaweed is repeatedly washed to remove sand, then boiled until it becomes a stiff, green purée with a smooth consistency. [3] Alternatively, steaming is utilised, which speeds up the process. [4] Once prepared, the seaweed can be preserved for about a week. During the 18th century, the product was packed into a crock and sold as "potted laver".

Laver seaweed cultivation is typically associated with Wales, and it is still gathered off the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire coasts, [5] although similar farming methods are used at the west coast of Scotland.

Laverbread can be eaten cold as a salad with lamb or mutton. A simple preparation is to heat the laverbread and to add butter and the juice of a lemon or Seville orange. Laverbread can be heated and served with boiled bacon.

Laverbread is made from the seaweed Porphyra umbilicalis from the genus Porphyra and family Bangiaceae. The seaweed is commonly found around the west coast of Great Britain and east coast of Ireland along the Irish Sea, where it is also known as sleabhac or slake. [6] [1] It is smooth in texture and forms delicate, sheetlike thalli, often clinging to rocks. [7] Porphyra is classified as red algae it tends to be a brownish colour, but boils down to a dark green pulp when prepared. It is unusual amongst seaweeds because the fronds are only one cell thick. [8] [9] Laver has a high content of dietary minerals, particularly iodine and iron. The high iodine content gives the seaweed a distinctive flavour in common with olives and oysters. [10]

Laverbread (Welsh: bara lafwr or bara lawr) is a traditional Welsh delicacy made from laver seaweed. To make laverbread, the seaweed is boiled for several hours, then minced or pureed. The gelatinous paste that results can then be sold as it is, or rolled in oatmeal it is sometimes coated with oatmeal prior to frying.

Laverbread is traditionally eaten fried with bacon and cockles as part of a Welsh breakfast. It can also be used to make a sauce to accompany lamb, crab, monkfish, etc., and to make laver soup (cawl lafwr). [11] Richard Burton has been quoted as describing laverbread as "Welshman's caviar". [12]

Laver seaweed is often associated with Penclawdd and its cockles, being used traditionally in the Welsh diet and is still eaten widely across Wales in the form of laverbread. In addition to Wales, laverbread is eaten across the Bristol Channel in North Devon, especially the Exmoor coast around Lynmouth, Combe Martin and Ilfracombe. In North Devon it is generally not cooked with oatmeal and is simply referred to as 'laver' (lay-ver).

Laverbread is highly nutritious because of its high proportions of protein, iron, and especially iodine. [13] [14] The dried purple (nori) variation is also the main plant that contains significant amounts of Vitamin B12, [13] which makes it the most suitable source of Vitamin B12 available for vegans. [15]

Cocklecakes with Laverbread

Serving Size : 4. Sieve the flour. Separate the egg. Work the yolk and oil into the flour and beat in the water gradually until you have a thick batter. Whisk and leave aside for 30 minutes. Whisk the egg-white until stiff and stir into the batter. Add the cockles, then salt, parsley and herbs as necessary. Pour oil two fingers deep in a heavy pan and heat. Deep-fry the batter in spoonfuls until the cakes are golden and crisp. Heat up the laverbread with the lemon juice. Serve piping hot, with wedges of lemon.

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  • Images with automobile license plates that are prominent and easily read (pictures with license plates that have been fuzzed out or that otherwise cannot be read are acceptable).

The same guidelines apply to your captions and notes.

What image formats and sizes are supported?

We support JPEG, GIF and PNG images. Files must be no more than 1MB. Both the image height and the image width must be between 60 and 3500 pixels.

Instead of uploading an image, can I just enter a link to an image?

No, all images must be uploaded to Prime Publishing. This ensures your image is always available.

How long does it take to upload an image?

The time varies depending on the speed of your Internet connection and the size of the image file. For a 400KB image, for example, you should expect 2 to 4 minutes over a 56KB modem and under 1 minute for DSL or cable modem.

Where will my image appear?

Generally your image will appear where you uploaded it: in the article image gallery.

Who owns the images I upload?

The rights owner of the image continues to own the image uploading your image to Prime Publishing does not transfer ownership.

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