Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Scones


I have been thinking about scones for about a week or so now. I've only ever made them once and I'm determined to get them right - light and fluffy. Last time (about 15 years ago), they were like small pebbles. A co-worker suggested adding lemonade. I have also been told cream (not milk) by my dear friend Danni. I trust her, she is a fabulous cook and a creative being. So, the decision. Plain? Fruit? Pumpkin? Cheese?

I think I'll start with the Country Women's Assocation (CWA) recipe and go from there. In it's 53rd edition and first published in 1936, I think they have got something right. The first branch started up in 1924 at Nungarin, Western Australia, located 300 kms north-east of Perth with a small population of around 300. There are now State branches and regional groups. Their aims are virtuous, "to improve the well being of all people, especially those in country areas by promoting courtesy, cooperation, community effort, ethical standards and the wise use of resources" [CWA Cookery Book and Household Hints, 2009]. Not only do they have recipes, however, there are many tips and hints on keeping the home fires burning, from cleaning smoky ceilings with warm water and soda to making a feather pillow from freshly plucked poultry. Makes me realise how easy we have it now.

Back to the job at hand. Scones. I've just read the recipe and it calls for milk powder and water. Well, I guess out in the small country towns that's what you used (probably still do). I'm going to research further, and what better search engine than Google. Type in 'Scones' and you get 14,000,000 results. Wow, this may be more complicated than I thought. Ahh, the Internet, making life so simply complex.
I'm tempted by Donna Hay's recipe but she uses sugar and I don't want them sweet. Another day.
I click on the link to The AGE 'how-to-bake-the-perfect-scone' and from there, go to raspberri cupcakes version of the CWA scone. Now, I have the CWA cookbook sitting on my bench and it is quite a different recipe, so I'm going with the 'tweaked' version. It involves cream and milk - NO butter.


20 minutes later....
OMG OMG OMG, I have just eaten the BEST scone ever! Why, oh why did I wait so long. Not only did they rise, they are the lightest, fluffiest pieces of heaven. So easy, no fuss (apart from quite a bit of flour thrown around. I am going to teach this to my little man. Ok, I'm off there are still 9 more on the tray and they need to be eaten, they must be eaten.....yum!

Tips:
Don't overwork the dough, pat it, no kneading!
Work fairly quickly.
Eat quickly too, with loads of jam and cream!
(p.s I added sugar and vanilla to my cream.)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Baby it's cold outside

Winter has hit with a big icy chill, bucket-loads of heavy, heavy rain and wind whipped straight up from the Arctic ice. It is the wind I dislike intensely but I get out in it anyway, embrace the enemy, my foe. What other options do I have? To be cold and bitter? Well, bitterly cold at the least.

What I do love about winter is food! Hearty casseroles, slow cooked, stirred lovingly & tasted at regular intervals, seasoned 'just right' and then indulged in. Usually with piles of creamy mashed potato, French style. Butter is no issue. In fact, I do like to include most dairy products in my mash - cream, milk, cheese, even yoghurt if need be...
I also love moist cakes. An afternoon cinnamon tea cake, or an almond & orange cake, eaten warm with fresh cream and orange flower syrup. The evening generally calls for a chocolate pudding, soft and delicate with a bit of sweet crunch on the outside, slathered in dark chocolate sauce, ice cream and cream. Dairy intolerance? Thank goodness NO!
I was reading a copy of Delicious at work when a fellow co-worker commented "fantasising again are you Dani?". I was taken aback and gushed, "this is reality, REALITY I am living here". I am memorising these recipes and going to cook them all. Yes indeed, so righteous about my food. I take it seriously. I know that many people don't get enough, and that many over consume themselves to death. What a strange world we live in.

So, tonight was all about leftovers. I'd made a hearty bacon-bone and red lentil soup during the week, just enough left for one big steaming bowl. The son and heir was happy with noodles, yes from a packet. Bad mother, bad. I had planned on a beef bourguignon, but as I type it's still in the oven, cooking slowly and luxuriously. It's going to taste amazing tomorrow. Dessert was the fail-safe chocolate pudding that I'd made for the kids yesterday, making sure to leave some for leftovers. Glass of red in hand, I am sated and can settle in for the evening 'cos baby it's COLD outside.