Happy Monday, readers!
It's been a long time since I posted anything, apologies for that. Life has caught up with me and I've found myself snapping pictures of baked goodies, planning blog posts in my scrambled brain but never actually getting a chance to sit and type. Finally, on a chilly Monday morning while the little one still dreams on, I can load up some pictures, do a little Picasa magic with them and post them up.
I originally wanted to post up the long-awaited Peppermint Tart recipe (still to come!) and a wonderful Family Chocolate Cake recipe (you'll just have to wait) but I had such a lovely morning yesterday, involving scones, strawberries, tea and roses, I decided to blog about it while it was still fresh in my mind.
When my husband and I lived in Canada, he used to come home with bunches of roses for me fairly often - about once a week. When we moved into our house in Cape Town, South Africa a few years ago, he told me that he could no longer afford to buy roses regularly, but promised to plant me my own rose garden. Well, my husband is not the impulsive type like me, and took time to research tea hybrid roses, and scented ones at that. My garden still needs a lot of work and TLC, but today we're the proud owners of our own Mr. Lincoln, Casanova, Double Delight, Bushveld Sunrise, Just Joey, and other roses I've forgotten the names of!
Anyway, my dear husband decided to surprise me with an impromptu show of love by presenting me with a beautiful Duftwolke rose. 'Duftwolke' apparently means 'fragrant cloud', which is a very apt description for the velvety tomato red rose which emanates a strong sweet fragrance. Touched as I was, I decided to reciprocate by making my husband scones, which he loves so much but rarely gets to enjoy them.
I served the scones and tea on fine china, to add to the special sentiment.
A little note about scones:
You may have seen scones sold in packets at your local supermarket. They're perfect in their regularity, soft, even, smooth-topped. This recipe will NOT produce those kind of scones. To be, the shop bought variety is very much like shop bought bread - it looks lovely but when you eat it, it has that irritating habit of sticking to the roof of your mouth. It tastes 'mass produced'. Home made scones may look irregular, even a little misshapen here and there, but you can really taste the love that goes into making it, as with anything home made. It has a little crust so you're left with the delightful sensation of biting into a thin crust before getting to the warm, soft inner scone.
When my brothers and sister and I were younger, we would love waking up to the smell of baking scones on a Sunday morning. We knew that it meant Mum was baking up a treat for us, and that when we trudged downstairs in our pyjamas we'd be welcomed with a batch of freshly baked scones, tea, and a big smile. My Mum always worked, but still had the time to be a full time housewife as well, I don't know how she did it. Anyway, here's the recipe. Make them with tender loving care.
adapted from a recipe from Joy of Baking
2 cups (500ml) self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
75g butter, cold, and cut into cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 3 tsp vanilla essence)
1/2 cup cold milk
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
- In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking poeder, sugar).
- Add the butter, and work it through by crumbling it with your fingers, working lightly and gently until the mixture resemble breadcrumbs. Don't let the butter melt and try to keep your hands cold (run them under a cold tap before working with the mixture, taking care that you dry them well.)
- Add the liquid ingredients together. Make a well in the centre of the flour/butter mixture and pour the egg, milk and vanilla mixture in. The vanilla neutralises the soapy taste of the baking powder.
- Combining all ingredients with your hands, form a ball of dough, adding a little more flour if necessary. DO NOT KNEAD.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press it down lightly to about a 2cm thickness. Do not use a rolling pin. Cut out rounds with a cutter, measuring about 7cm in diameter. Use all of the dough.
- Arrange onto a lined baking tray, and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 15-18 minutes, turn the tray if necessary to bake scones evenly (I had to do this with my gas oven). Try brushing a little melted butter over the scones about 2 minutes before you take them out of the oven.
- Once cooled, slice in half and fill as you please.
I served my scones with butter (not margarine), strawberry jam, whipped cream with a strawberry on top. If you make home made jam, this is the time to get it out. Alas, I have not yet made jam myself. Someone once took the liberty to tell me, after I hosted a breakfast at my house, that they get 'angry' with people that buy jam from the shop - needless to say, this was said with a very pointed look at me. I guess there's no pleasing some people!
If you can get your hands on Devonshire clotted cream, go the extra mile and buy it for this purpose. It is the perfect accompaniment to these scones. For South Africans, some branches of Woolworths do sell it, but check if they have stock as my local Woolies was sold out.
And yes. Tea really does taste better in fine bone china.
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