New cookbook celebrates local, seasonal and sustainable Welsh produce

The recent pandemic has changed many habits and during lockdown cooking came to the fore as a popular way of relaxing during a worrying time. Many people also realised the importance of supporting local independent shops, which became “an essential haven” according to Nerys Howell, a food industry specialist and author of a new bilingual cookbook.

Bwyd Cymru yn ei Dymor / Welsh Food by Season is full of both traditional and modern recipes that have been created by Nerys Howell. Nerys has appeared on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru as well as being a contributor to S4C’s Prynhawn Da and a regular at Welsh food festivals. The book is a celebration of local, sustainable Welsh produce and aims to encourage people to eat seasonally.

Nerys says:

“Eating a diet full of local produce is important for our bodies, for our communities and the world in general. To make this happen we need to change how we perceive food. Instead of choosing what’s convenient we must think what is at its best at particular times of the year. Apples are available from August to January, strawberries and tomatoes from May to September, and there are plenty of cabbages, onions and potatoes throughout the year. The taste of produce eaten in their season is so much better!”

Nerys Howell owns Cardiff-based food company Howel Food Consultancy and has years of experience of working in the food, drink and hospitality industry. Nerys says:

“After returning to Wales over twenty years ago I quickly realised that as a nation we were not the best for beating the drum about our fantastic produce and it has been my mission since then to share our secret. I feel passionate about the quality and choice of our produce here in Wales and I’m keen to spread the word!”

Photographer Phil Boorman’s wonderful images are a brilliant illustrative accompaniment to Nerys’ tasty and nutritious recipes. The recipes are suitable for beginners and experienced cooks alike and offer ideas that will provide pleasure, enjoyment and of course good food.

The foreword has been written by farmer and television presenter Gareth Wyn Jones. Gareth says:

“As a farmer, I’m so pleased that Nerys has concentrated on local, seasonal and sustainable food in her new book. The meals in this brilliant book are a celebration of the choice of food and quality available to us in Wales. By supporting local produce we get an unique taste of an area, whether it be butter, cheese, meat or wine. I hope this book stimulates your pleasure in food and cooking and encourages us to buy locally and seasonally, and to grow food in a sustainable, healthy and environmentally-friendly way.”

Nerys hopes the cookbook will also contribute to solving the wider challenges we face:

“I hope Welsh Food by Season will contribute towards further discussions about the future of the food chain in Wales, the importance of a healthy diet and the requirements of the future of our environment.”