My glorious Citizens – today, the Dragoon of Dragons – YOUR TFD! – will be leading you to one of My favorite places on the planet – the Land of Castles, home of the Red Dragon of the British Isles and the ancestral home to King Arthur Himself! Yes, I speak of Cymru, Cambria – WALES, a place where My soul finds peace amongst the male choirs singing ‘Men of Harlech‘ as much as the wilds of Snowdonia in the North! I love this proud region and its people – and their signature dish, the Welsh Giant Oggie!
Be advised that the Welsh Giant Oggie is in veritable fact the actual ORIGIN of the infamous Cornish Pasty, preceding it by 600 years or so – but I shine the veritable light of Knowledge from within and shall enlighten you on this delectable treat and its history forthwith – as well as sharing the Hong Kong secret that elevates My Welsh Giant Oggie above all others! If you love Cornish Pasties – I’m delighted to introduce TFD Nation to their larger and more succulent Welsh counterpart – with My own twist! 🙂
Despite all of My pure and limpid love for Wales, the Welsh Gaelic language continues to chafe and abuse my tongue in truly unnatural ways (all of them banned by the Geneva Convention) – here are but a few minor examples.
- ‘Hwntw’ is what people from north Wales call those from the southern regions. It is also said that ‘hwntw’ comes from “tu hwnt”, which translates from Welsh to English as “beyond” or “over there”. Bangor University’s Dr Webb-Davies also explained the origin of this nickname. He said: “Hwntw is a term used for people from south Wales usually by people from north Wales. “It’s the counterpart to ‘gog’ for people from north Wales, deriving from ‘gogledd’ meaning ‘north’.
- Hwntw derives from ‘hwnt’ which means ‘yonder, over there’. “Hwntw is first attested in the 18th century and the ‘-w’ ending may derive from the word ‘gwr’ meaning ‘man’ ie ‘man from yonder’.”
- Here is how to say “Anyone who says Welsh is easy to learn and pronounce – WRONG!” in Welsh Gaelic – and I GUARANTEE you’re mispronouncing every single word – proper Welsh pronunciation demands a tongue as limber as a greased, triple-jointed contortionist!:
- “Mae unrhyw un sy’n dweud Cymraeg yn hawdd i’w ddysgu a’i ynganu – ANGHYWIR!”
- One of the longest place names in the world is in Wales – God help you all, for it is truly something only a native of Wales can properly say…deep breath:
…the list goes on, but enough about the language – let’s discuss the etymology around the unique name of the Welsh Giant Oggie!
Much to the eternal pain of most Welsh, the famous chant of “Oggie, Oggie, Oggie – Oy, Oy, Oy!” used at every Welsh rugby match that is also the name of their delectable hand pie – in fact comes from England, even though it is a symbol of Wales today! The Welsh invented what we call the Oggie, but it was the Cornish who gave it the name it is known by.
The infamous Oggie Oggie Oggie chant, and its variations, are often heard at sporting events, political rallies and around numerous Scout and Guide campfires, primarily in Britain, Ireland and some Commonwealth nations. One group will shout ‘Oggy’ (it is written in this context as ‘Oggy’, as the chant originated in Cornwall, where it is spelled that way) three times, while another will respond with ‘Oi’ three times.
The usual form of the chant consists of two groups, one shouting the word “Oggy!” and the other group shouting the word “Oi!” Often a single individual will shout “Oggy” and everyone else will shout the reply, “Oi!”. The words are shouted according to the following pattern.
Oggy Oggy Oggy!
Oi Oi Oi!
Oggy Oggy Oggy!
Oi Oi Oi!
Oggy Oggy Oggy!
Oi Oi Oi!
It’s so much a part of Welsh culture now that in 2003, Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones shouted it out patriotically during her BAFTA Award acceptance speech – she recreated it on the Graham Norton show here!
One theory for the origin of the chant stems from Devonport in the county of Devon. “Oggy” is a slang term for a Cornish pasty or the Devonian variant, derived from its Cornish and Devonian name, “hoggan”, and was used by local Devon and Cornish sailors at the Devonport Dockyard in reference to pasty sellers who once stood outside the gates.
Tin-miners’ wives or pasty sellers supposedly shouted “Oggy Oggy Oggy” – the response from any hungry miner or laborer would be “Oi!, Oi!, Oi!”. The chant is also the chorus of a folk song and has always been heard at Cornish rugby matches, so this seems to be another possible origin story.
The Oxford English Dictionary (2004) entry for ‘Oggy’ states: “Oggy, noun. West Country regional (orig. Cornwall) and Navy slang. A Cornish pasty. Probably an alteration of Cornish hoggan pastry, pie (18th century), perhaps cognate with Welsh chwiogen muffin, simnel cake (1562), of unknown origin.”
Members of the Royal Navy claim to have used the chant, or a version of it, since the Second World War. The chant formed the traditional end to the ‘Tiddy Oggy Song’, the unofficial anthem of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and The Devonport marines who are still associated with the song ‘Oggie Man’ which they generally sing at public displays.
It was then adopted at a few British football grounds at some point during the postwar period, and was certainly in common use by the 1960s most notably at Home Park amongst the supporters of Plymouth Argyle.
It is also often used at sideshows on rides such as the Heartbreaker and the Waltzers, where the rides controller says “oggie, oggie, oggie” and the people on the ride shout ‘oi, oi, oi” to get the ride to speed up or get more spins etc. ‘Oggy Oggy Oggy’ has long been a major chant within Scouting and Guiding, especially within the UK. “An Oggy” as it is termed within Troops and Units is usually used at Scouting events and as a way of expressing thanks to those within and outside Scouting.
The chant was also used by Coventry City football fans during the 1980s and 1990s in appreciation to then goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic who had been nicknamed ‘Oggy’.
However, the chant became unequivocally associated with Wales when in the 1970s the Welsh folk singer and comedian Max Boyce popularized the chant to excite the crowd at his concerts. Boyce is also a big rugby union fan, and through him it then began to be adopted by Welsh rugby union crowds at international matches. Soon it spread to rugby crowds at club and international level and from there to all of Wales and Welsh culture.
The Welsh Giant Oggie received its specfic adverb due – of course – to its large size compared to the more diminutive Cornish pasty. Like its Cornish cousin, it became a favorite of the Welsh coal miners (tin miners in Cornwall) who used the Oggie as a handheld lunch, discarding the edge crust that had become soiled as they held it with their coal dust-stained fingers.
The Giant Oggie is almost always made with Welsh lamb – the finest in the British Isles! – as well as leeks, the indomitable symbol of Wales! Besides lamb, leek is the predominant flavor and vegetable used in a Giant Oggie – the humble leek is so well established as part of Welsh culture that wearing a leek to signify you come from Wales is noted as an ‘ancient tradition’ in William Shakespeare’s Henry V, first performed in the 16th century!
However, why wear a leek? Legends claim that the 7th century king of Gwynedd, Cadwaladr, ordered his men to strap a leek to their armor to help easily distinguish them from the enemy in the heat of battle, a tale that perhaps inspired the Tudor royal household (who were of Welsh origin) to instruct their guards to wear leeks on St David’s Day, cementing the practice.
It is in fact via St. David that the Oggie first appeared – the workers on the Cathedral of St. David were said to have been fed Oggies in the 1200’s – more than *600 YEARS* before the Cornish Pasty was officially codified! The Welsh own the Giant Oggie and it is a delicious addition to their gastronomic heritage and a cornerstone of the great castle that is Welsh cuisine!
As to the Oggie – it MUST (IMHO) be made only with lamb, and only Welsh lamb if you’re lucky enough to have access to it! If not, it has to be free-range, humanely-raised and organic – this is My suggested purveyor! For the crust, I prefer a combination of butter and heritage lard for assured flavor and flakiness – I prefer KerryGold for My butter and this brand of heritage lard. If you can find it, do try and also use so-called ‘leaf lard’ from around the kidneys of the pig – it is the best, but VERY hard to find!
I personally endorse a touch of beer in My Giant Oggie recipe – if you can find it, Welsh Black Beer is My choice, but it’s almost impossible to find outside of Wales or the UK! Though it kills me to do so, there is an English beer that also works well in this recipe and that is available in the United States – and London Porter is it! By the way, all My Welsh recipes may easily be found by clicking here!
My preferred brand of demiglace (which assures a rich, flavorful gravy!) is this one whilst My preferred brand of mint sauce (NOT mint jelly!) for this particular recipe is here. However, whilst all of My ingredients to date are highly-traditional – My secret weapon is anything but! The title of this post does say “…via Hong Kong” – and I do not disappoint! Both China and Wales are Dragon nations, after all!
Yes, My secret weapon is Chinese leek flower sauce! Made from leek flowers, a whisper of ginger, a touch of pear fruit and lemon and then lightly-fermented, it is a PERFECT crowning touch of flavor that is totally simpatico with the classic ingredients, but also adds umami, even more leek flavor and a mysteriously savory flavor that no one (unless they are Chinese from Beijing or Guangzhou province) will recognize. You can buy it from here or make your own if you are lucky enough to have leek flowers via the translated recipe here.
Even My Welsh friends are in favor of this heresy – trust Me, it’s nothing but delicious plus Wales and China DO have connections! You can buy My preferred brand of Chinese leek flower sauce from here – trust Me, you’ll start using it in all KINDS of different recipes once you have tried its delicious glory firsthand, Citizens! An innovation I heartily endorse in this particular recipe is the use of mashed potatoes to make sure the filling doesn’t leak out as you eat it by hand – but be careful, it is HOT coming straight out of the oven!
Nation, I hope you extract as much enjoyment out of this recipe as I did creating it for all of you! 😀
Battle on – the GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Welsh Giant Oggie Via Hong Kong – Cawr Cymreig Oggie Trwy Hong Kong
- Shortcrust pastry:
- 450g plain / all purpose flour
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 125g chilled butter, diced
- 125g chilled heirloom lard, diced (if unavailable, replace with butter)
- 6 Tbsp. very cold water
- beaten egg or whole milk, to glaze
- 1 oz. butter, preferably KerryGold salted
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 7 oz. leeks, properly cleaned and finely sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to season
- 13 oz. lean lamb, finely diced
- 7 oz. potato, peeled and finely diced
- 2 Tbsp. lamb (preferred) or vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp. beef demiglace or meat gravy
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. homemade (preferred) or store-bought Chinese Leek Flower sauce (outrageously optional TFD addition – but delicious!)
- 2 Tbsp. Welsh Black beer or – if you absolutely have no other choice – English Porter
- 1 large sprig thyme
- 1 small sprig rosemary
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. Duerr’s Traditional English Mint Sauce
- mashed potatoes to thicken the filling
- Make the pastry:
- Sift the flour and a pinch of salt together into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the chilled water evenly over the surface and start bringing the dough together.
- Add a little more water if the mixture is too dry. Gather the dough together, then lightly knead on a floured surface for a few seconds until smooth. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Make the filling:
- Put 25g butter in small pan and add onion, leek, salt and pepper and fry gently over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the lamb, fry gently for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the diced potato, beer, herbs, leek flower sauce (if using), demiglace and stock – turn up the heat sufficiently to obtain a good simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mint sauce and stir well to incorporate. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, remove herb sprigs and combine with enough mashed potatoes until barely thick – adjust seasonings if needed.
- Divide the pastry into eight pieces, then roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a 22cm round. Spoon an equal amount of the filling onto the center of each pastry round.
- Cover half of each pasty circle with the filling. Moisten pastry edges and fold pastry over the filling. Use your fingers to crimp the pasty all along to try to eliminate any leakage when pasty is cooking. Brush with milk or beaten egg before placing in the oven.
- Cook in a pre-heated oven at 230 C / Gas 7 for 10 minutes and then turn down to 190 C / Gas 5 for another 20 to 25 minutes. Oggie should be hard and golden brown.
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such a fun post—cheers for it! i’ve heard the “oggy/oggie oi/oy” chants on occasion before, and never associated them with a pasty. now i know! 🙂
the only thing better than a standard (assuming good quality) pasty is a giant pasty with levelled-up taste…and the only thing better than that is said giant pasty with a big glass of “rattler” cider (ok, it is cornish, but it’s really nice). i’m sure a welsh brew will go down a treat as well, only i’ve not had the pleasure of sampling them as widely.
Totally agree on the cider – and thanks as always for taking the time to comment!