Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wedding watch, with scones

I have lots of stories and recipes to share from our weekend away in the country - rolling hills, log fires, giant parsnips, farmers' markets, a dog called Tuppence and so much more - but first there is the little matter of a wedding, a royally good excuse to indulge in some of my favourite things.

The idea first occurred when we were sitting with our friend Sophie in a café in Leura and they'd run out of scones. Within seconds the word 'scones' had morphed in my mind into a full-blown marriage watching menu of favourites - English muffins, Pimms, Gin and Tonics, cider, sausages, baked beans, bread and butter pudding, scones of course (a little drinks and desserts heavy but it is a celebration after all.) I knew it was naff but I was excited nonetheless. As it happens, there were a few opportunities to practice my scones and more than one afternoon tea before the big event so, of course, the minute we crossed the home threshold, I headed straight for the kitchen.

When I think about afternoon tea I seem to channel the influence of my rather distant British ancestry. At around 3pm, I feel there should be hot, strong tea, freshly baked scones with cream and some sort of jam or marmalade and possibly a slice of a nice ginger cake or something similar as well. I think we may be starting early on the big day....

Scones with Jam and Cream
Adapted from Stephanie Alexander's The Cooks Companion

500g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
100g butter
300ml milk, soured with a squeeze of lemon
extra plain milk to glaze
your favourite jam
1 cup cream

Heat oven to 220C then grease and flour a baking tray.

Put the flour, baking powder and chopped butter in bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Another more hands-on method is to grate the cold butter into the flour mixture and then rub into the flour with your fingertips. This is my rustic, farm kitchen approach, mainly because - are you ready for it? - we don't own a food processor. Yup, it's all good arm muscle action for me, which to be honest with you I kind of like - you feel more connected to the process of baking when you are elbow deep in flour.

After your dry mix is looking suitably crumbly, add the milk, mix together quickly to form a dough and pat into a round or rectangle about 3cm thick on a floured breadboard. It might be quite sticky at this point but don't worry, just generously coat with flour and knock it all together. Cut into rounds or squares and put close together on the prepared tray.

Brush tops with a little milk and then bake for about 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Cover and store in the fridge until needed. Remove scones from the oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.

Serve the scones whilst still warm with lashings of jam and cream and nice hot cup of tea, or perhaps some Pimms, depending on the occasion. I think the royal union may call for at least one or two genteel cups of Pimms, don't you?


No comments:

Post a Comment