thirteenfridays: May 2022

Only one Friday 13th this year that also happens to fall on international hummus day!

We decided to celebrate the date with a simple hummus based meal consisting of a 13 ingredient hummus (Chickpeas, Tahini, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Water, Salt, Pepper, Sumac & four seed mix topping: Sunflower, Sesame, Pumpkin, Golden Linseed, Sumac). Served with a 13 ingredient salad (Little gem, Rocket, 13 Asparagus spears, 13 Purple sprouting broccoli spears, Cress, Spinach, Jack in the hedge, Pennywort, 13 pieces of Haloumi, 13 baby plum tomatoes, Wild garlic flowers, 13 Olives, Chive flowers), 13 crudités of carrot & 13 of cucumber and 13 slices of Bara Menyn sourdough bread.

For dessert we found a recipe for dessert hummus, using peanut butter and almond milk instead of tahini and lemon and with no garlic of course! Although the hummus recipe didn’t use 13 ingredients itself, we served it with a selection of 13 things – 13 ginger biscuits, 13 Strawberries, 13 Blueberries, 13 slices each of Pineapple, Apple, Banana, Pear, Melon & Fig. 13 chocolate buttons 13 walnuts, 13 Almonds and 13 Hazelnuts

thirteenfridays: August 2021 – A Sinister Special

Celebrating the end of the Covid19 restrictions with our first 13 themed meal in over a year we found that it is also International Left Handers day! (Sinister is Latin for left!)

Lefties have apparently had a really tough time over the years –
For thousands of years, the Devil has been associated with the left hand in various ways and is normally portrayed as being left-handed in pictures and other images. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the “left-hand side” being associated with evil.

Resolving to create our celebration meal using our left hand, we found mention of a town in West Virginia called Left Hand and were inspired to draw on some traditional foods from WV.

We made a traditional cornbread sliced into 13 to accompany a couple of simple summer salads, both with 13 ingredients of course!

13 ingredient Corn and Cucumber Salad – Corn, Cucumber, Mini Cucumber, Capers, Chives, Coriander, Parsley, Basil, Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar, Caster Sugar, Salt, Pepper

13 ingredient Tomato and Mozzarella Salad – Mozzarella, 6 types of Tomato, Cucumber, Mini Cucumber, Basil, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper

Our dessert was inspired by a Blackberry cake recipe on the Sweet State of Mine blog with slight adjustments to make it 13 ingredients and egg free. The blackberries are just coming to a nice ripeness here in west Wales. Uncertain of how many we might need we gathered 169 (13×13) of them in the morning in preparation for the cake! Our 13 ingredients Flour, Butter, Sugar, Milk, Blackberries (13 in each layer and 13 on top!), Baking powder, Vinegar, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Coffee. Slicing a round cake into 13 is always a source of amusement too! (Hint: divide the circumference by 13!)

Blackberries too have an association with the devil, folklore suggests the evil one gets in them after a certain date!

To round off the meal we enjoyed a Left Hand cocktail! Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth & Campari with a dash of Chocolate Bitters and a cherry to garnish.

thirteenfridays: March 2020

With the current difficulties surrounding us all with the anti Covid19 virus measures we created a simpe thirteenfridays meal for complicated times!

A 13 ingredient soup (Onion; Garlic; Carrot; Celery; Swede; Potato; Lentils; Tomato puree; Vegetable stock; Olive oil; Butter; Pepper; Pumpkin seeds) with 13 chunks of Bara Menyn sourdough bread, salad and 13 tomatoes on the vine.

Our thirteenfridays comrades, Kirsty and Sam, were isolated in their own home but made a batch of 13 ingredient brownies. We hooked up on FaceTime to enjoy our respective dishes together but apart, Absent but not Forgotten…

13 ingredient chocolate brownies with 13 fruits (Unsalted butter; Dark chocolate; Plain flour; Cocoa; Large egg; Golden caster sugar; Brown sugar; Self raising flour; Baking powder; Salt; Icing sugar; Honey; Egg white)

thirteenfridays: Afon

Absent but not Forgotten were very pleased to be invited to create a work for the opening event at the Afon microfestival in Abercych on September Friday 13th.

Continuing our ritual of making and sharing food to celebrate the date we baked a couple of batches of the 13 ingredient black pepper cookie cakes that we had made for our thirteenfridays picnic by the river Teifi in June 2018.  These were offered to Afon visitors along with a postcard celebrating our outing to the river and listing the 13 ingredients.  (recipe below)


13 Ingredient Black pepper cookie cakes
(makes about 40-50 small cookie cakes)

6oz Butter
8oz Sugar
1 beaten egg
3oz SR wheat flour
3oz Gluten Free or almond flour
3oz Cocoa powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Vanilla Essence
1/2 tsp Almond Essence
3/4 tsp Black pepper
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Clove
1/2 tsp Cardamon

Cream butter, spices and sugar together until smooth, beat in the egg & essences then seive in the dry ingredients and mix into a stiff dough.  (I add the cocoa first and get that mixed in before adding the flour so that you can ensure you get all the chocolate in case it gets too dry to take all the flour. You can add a little water, milk, coffee, brandy to help get the flour mixed in).

The dough should be stiff and relatively dry so you can roll into 1″ diameter balls and flatten into greased bun tins or baking sheet.  I like to use mini muffin tin, this makes nice bitesize cookie cakes, they are quite rich.

Bake at 190 for 12 min.

The cookie cakes were very well received by visitors who also got to watch the short video from the river presented alongside the dark chocolatey offerings.

thirteenfridays: Friday 13th July 2018

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

Invite 013

Our final event for the project brought together a group of friends to enjoy a feast of 13 in the garden.  We decided that trying to get exactly 13 guests to commit and actually all turn up was a stress we could avoid so decided not to try and invited more.  Slowly over the week before the event, our guests dropped out, one decided to bring another, our numbers were uncertain but no problem.  By mid afternoon on the day we did of course end up with 13 of us!


04aWe had a fantastic feast of 13 with a range of our favourite dishes from the picnics as well as a few more for the day and a couple of contributions from our guests.

Our collection of Polaroid photographs from the picnics went on to be exhibited in Bara Menyn, Bakehouse in Cardigan.


thirteenfridays: Pembrey






Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

This week was our 13th picnic out and about and we headed to Pembrey where there are reports of a number of different ghostly phenomena including ghost ships seen off the coast and ghosts of the “hatchet men” seen in the nearby woods .  These were the wreckers who enticed ships onto the rocks, murdered the crews and robbed their cargoes.  There are more stories of WWII soldiers, cursed airmen, cavaliers and even a poltergeist who grabs your ankles and piles up your camping equipment!

The popular TV show “Most Haunted” visited the area some years ago, highlighting these and many other stories spending the night investigating the beach, the woods and the disused military bunkers.

We took this photograph of the woods which shows a luminous green flare!

Finding shade in the picnic area near Cefn Sidan beach our picnic fest this week included special birthday treats for Kathryn, a bottle of champagne with strawberry liqueur and extra strawberry cakes!
We had a 13 ingredient salmon and asparagus pie (Egg, Flour, Butter, Cream Cheese, Chives, Parsley, Lemon Zest, Capers, Salmon, Asparagus, Spinach, Salt, Black Pepper); 13 ingredient tabouleh (Bulgar wheat, Vegetable Stock, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Flat Leaf Parsley, Mint, Red wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Soy Sauce,Salt, Pepper); 13 ingredient fennel and courgette salad (Bulb Fennel, Courgette, Red onion, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Za’atar – Sumac, Thyme, Oregano, Nutmeg, Cumin, Black Pepper, Sesame seeds, Salt)  02
Our desserts were a four tiered 13 ingredient birthday cake from Kirsten (Butter, sugar, Flour, Baking powder, Margarine, Eggs, Milk, Cream, Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Chocolate buttons) and 13 Strawberry and thyme mini cupcakes with Fragoli wild strawberry icing.




thirteenfridays: St Dogmael’s

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.  This week we headed off in search on the trail of a historic haunting at St Dogmael’s Abbey in Pembrokeshire.

According to author Brian John in his ‘Pembrokeshire Ghost Stories‘ book after the Abbey fell, an inscribed stone was used as a bridge over a small brook in the abbey grounds.  ‘While it was very handy during the day, it had a fearsome reputation at night.  Many people saw a mysterious ghostly figure (referred to simply as “the white lady”) gliding over it at the witching hour of midnight.’.It was this reputation, it is suggested, that prevented the stone being lifted and broken up to be used as building material in the following years when the abbey ruins became a convenient source of stone for local buildings.  Laid facing down the inscriptions on the ‘Sagranus Stone’, as it is called, are very well preserved and the stone can be seen in the nearby parish church of St Thomas.  Read more about the stone here.

Photo By Llywelyn2000 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, from Wikimedia Commons

After wandering the abbey ruins (and not seeing any white ladies) and being unable to identify the brook’s location, we decided the most appropriate picnic site was in the old abbey church crypt.  The now exposed crypt was once underneath the floor of the presbytery, with a small stairway leading down into the space; the remains of the arches and columns are still visible around the edges. Somebody had been there before us and made symbolic markings on the floor…it reflected the original layout illustrated on the information board in the abbey…a midsummer ritual perhaps; all a bit Dennis Wheatley…

0100As we laid out our picnic feast in the late evening, the sky above us filled with swirling mass of corvids, we held our breath momentarily as they whirled around worried that they might take a fancy to the feast below.

Thankfully they settled in the trees beyond the abbey and we went on to enjoy our picnic of – 13 ingredient four cheese quiche (Flour, Butter, Eggs, Cheddar, Feta, Parmesan, Mozzarella Cheese, Salt, Pepper, Black Olives, Sundried Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Red Pepper); 13 Ingredient broccoli salad (Broccoli, Halloumi, Garlic, Spring Onions, Lentils, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds, Olive Oil, Black Pepper, Lettuce, Rocket); 0213 Ingredient grilled pineapple with marscapone (Pineapple, Butter, Soft Brown Sugar, Muscovado Sugar, Lemon Juice, Piri Piri Sauce, Black Pepper, Marscapone, Creme Fraiche, Vanilla Essence, Icing Sugar, Raspberries, Mint Leaves);  13 Pecan Nut Cookies.03


thirteenfridays: Newtown



Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

For our 11th week we decided to revisit Newtown in Powys where we had spent some time back in 2013 making work for the Be Our Guest exhibition at Oriel Davies. As well as making a piece for the exhibition called Who is this who is coming? we interviewed a number of people who had experienced uncanny and ghostly phenomena at the gallery as well as in Newtown at large.

We were delighted to make the acquaintance of Rory Evans at that time who very generously shared a great many ghost stories about the region with us. We spent the day visiting some of the locations Rory had spoken about hoping to get a glimpse of the many spectral residents of the town.

We started with gallery itself where lots of spooky occurrences have been reported from books flying off shelves to mysterious telephone calls. Rory thought the culprit may be Sarah Briscoe, a descendant of the Pryce family of Newtown who donated the clock tower (known as ‘Sarah’) to the town and died in 1901.

B06014D0-9E71-4777-83A9-CF51E73A7362We then headed into town to have a look at the haunted pubs that Rory mentioned, The Sportsman, The Victoria Vaults, The Buck and The Black Boy.

Next we drove to The Vastre, a road heading out of town towards the village of Kerry. Rory had told us some particularly unsettling stories, firstly a woman dressed in Victorian attire has been seen, apparently extremely tall she seems actually to be hovering above the ground. Also the tale of a motorist who encountered a terrifying medusa like red-headed woman appearing in the back of his car after the temperature dropped to below freezing on a warm summer’s day.

We also visited the area of Bryn Bank hill fort where Rory had told us Charles I had been taken during his visit to the town during the civil war.

We’d hoped to drop in to see Maesmawr Hall, now a hotel in Caersws on the way home. We’d previous heard tales from both Rory and our friend Rhowan about ghostly goings-on at the location, but the hotel was bustling with a Prom event happening that day, so we decided to save our visit for another day.

0102We picnicked in the dappled shade of the trees on the bank of the river Severn near the Oriel Davies gallery.  We had 13 smoky spiced mini bean burgers with 13 ingredients (Kidney Beans, Onion, Garlic, Carrot, Tomato puree, Chipotle smoked chili, Cumin, Oats, Soy Sauce, Pepper, Oil, Lime Juice, Salt); a 13 ingredient rice salad (Rice, Red Pepper, Green Pepper, Pickled Jalapeno; Garlic, Coriander; Sweetcorn, Cumin seed, Lime Juice; Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Salt, 13 slices of Avocado) a 13 ingredient sweet potato salad(Sweet Potato, Onion, Garlic, Tomatoes, Coriander, Chilli, Salt, Black Pepper, Spring Onion, Caraway Seeds, Black Onion Seeds, Mustard Seeds); 13 arancini with 13 ingredients (Eggs, Parmesan, Parsley, Black Pepper, Oregano, Salt, Sundried Tomatoes, Olives, Mozerella, Stock, Rice, Breadcrumbs)

Our desserts this week were a 13 ingredient apricot and raspberry tart (Flour, Butter, Eggs, Caster Sugar, Ground Almonds Almond Essence, Apricots, Raspberries, Apricot Jam, Salt, Water, Flaked Almonds, Icing Sugar) and 13 aztec chocolate mini cupcakes with 13 ingredients (SR Flour, Egg, Granulated Sugar, Butter, Cocoa powder, Chili powder, Milk, Kahlua, Icing Sugar, Cinnamon, Salt, Water, Vanilla Essence).


thirteenfridays: Kenfig


Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.


This week we visited Kenfig in the borough of Bridgend.  Our decision to visit was guided by finding this article by artist Kristian Evans and reading about other hauntings and spooky goings on in  the area.  According to local folklore there are many phenomena to encounter in the area – ghostly music at the Prince of Wales inn; phantom funerals at nearby Porthcawl and Maudlam;  phantom lights and the unearthly sounds of cyhyrraeth at Sker and Tusker – as Kritian suggests “Kenfig is plagued by ghosts. Things have reached epidemic proportions.”. 

The dunes at Kenfig cover a wide area and an ancient village, the top of the castle keep can be seen poking out of the sand, perhaps the evocative idea of a lost village accounts for some of the stories in the area.  Read more about the history of Kenfig and the abandoned village here.


Now a national nature reserve, we picnicked near the visitor centre with fewer dishes this week as it was just two of us.  We enjoyed a 13 ingredient potato and fennel salad (Potatoes, Fennel, Onion, Garlic, Hard Boiled Eggs, Parsley, Dijon Mustard, Chive Flowers, White Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Sugar, Black Pepper); 13 stuffed baby peppers with 13 ingredients (Peppers, Rice, Cheddar Cheese, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, Onions, Black Pepper, Oregano, Thyme); A 13 ingredient courgette caponata (Celery, Red Onion, Courgette, Garlic, Baby Plum Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Capers, Black Olives, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper) all served with slices of Bara Menyn bread and a green salad with nasturtium flowers.02

For our dessert this week we had 13 mini lemon meringue pies, so lemony, so good…03


thirteenfridays: Carmarthen


Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.
IMG_7940This week, to find out more about the ghostly sightings and stories of Carmarthen, we preceded our picnic with a Wednesday evening “Creepy Carmarthen” tour courtesy of Nick Brunger.  Starting outside the guildhall, the towns court, we heard about the history of Carmarthen as a near lawless place akin to the ‘Wild West’, with many a highwayman and vagabond facing justice in the court before their final destination at the gallows in the castle.Walking from Guildhall sq up st Mary’s st we stopped outside the Andrew Price hair salon where Nick regaled us with the story of a contemporary haunting and an experiment in psychic communication. Using cards showing letters of the alphabet the spooky experiment revealed the name of the little girl who haunts the premises as Alice.The tour’s final destination is also the castle, which became the town police station and gaol. Over the years it has been the site of many spooky encounters, even as we gathered in the entrance room and listened to Nick telling the grisly history of the building a door to the upper floor’s old police barracks opened inexplicably.

The most frequent encounters, however, take place in the old gaol cells, where people have reported hearing sobbing, felt a hand on their shoulder and a presence in the room…our group crowded into the small, unlit, dank room to hear of these encounters but nothing was stirring in there that evening…

Having thoroughly enjoyed the tour we struggled to find a suitable location for a picnic in the castle grounds, the opening hours being affected by maintenance work.  So instead our picnic destination was decided by unrelated stories of strange movements and encounters with an apparition of a soldier in the chapel of the former Bishop’s palace, now Carmarthenshire county museum in Abergwili.

01For our picnic we had a 13 ingredient Pesto Pasta salad (Pine nuts, Pasta, Water, Pesto, Basil, Spinach, Tomatoes, Salt, pepper, Feta, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Olive oil ); A 13 ingredient Beetroot & Lentil salad (Puy lentils, Beetroot, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Fennel, Garlic, Flat Leaf Parsley, Kalamon Olives, Red Wine Vinegar; Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper); A 13 ingredient Cheese and Potato pie (Flour, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Water, Potatoes, Cheddar, Milk, Mozzarella, Mustard, Nutmeg, Oregano, Thyme); 13 mini Sosmix Sausages; A green salad with 13 baby plum tomatoes.02

Following the savouries we enjoyed a 13 ingredient Rhubarb and Almond tart (Plain flour, Salt, water, Rhubarb, Butter, Caster sugar, Ground almonds, Egg, Brown sugar, Cocoa, Baking powder, Flaked almonds, Icing sugar) and 13 Strawberry and Cream sponges..03