I thought it was about time I got back into the retro cooking and what better occasion than an afternoon tea with some really great friends from high school. Most of these girls were travelling from various country Victorian towns to meet the baby for the first time. Actually it felt a little like a baby shower, but with the baby on show already.
As is my usual practice of a Saturday morning when Miss two is at swimming with her Dad, I firstly made my regular loaf of bread, then did a few other minor cooking tasks including getting something ready for dinner. I had decided to leave the scones until the last minute so they were nice and warm when the girls arrived. I recently heard or read somewhere – can’t for the life of me remember where – that you should have time to get a batch of scones ready from the time you hear the squeak of your front gate to when the guests walk in the door. Well I don’t have a front gate and all my friends know to just walk right in, especially when I have a breastfeeding baby around as more often than not I’m stuck on the couch, so I can’t claim to be able to whip them up quite so efficiently but they were much easier than I had imagined.
My mum always claimed not to have the knack with scones and that they always turned out like rock cakes. I think this is what had turned me off. Nonetheless I decided to take the plunge. Finding the right recipe was a bit of a quandary to start with, I found several variations in my many cookbooks, but had no idea which one to go with. In the end I consulted a family friend and scone guru and went with her recipe. This included the use of lemonade and the strict instructions to mix the ingredients together with a KNIFE and not to over work the dough when kneading.
At this point in the process I became a little stressed and tried to knead the dough without actually touching it – note to self, this is impossible. In the end I managed to bring the dough together nicely and cut the scones, laid them on the tray and then stood back to admired my own handy work, praying silently that they would rise.
Into the oven they went and 15 minutes later, voila. Not too bad hey, though not as uniform as would be required to enter into a country show (my secret ambition). I later found out that you shouldn’t twist the cutter when cutting the scones as that makes them rise a little wonky. Looks like I’ll have to make another batch to perfect the cutting -what a shame.
This recipe is from a family friend who makes the very best scones that I know of. My first go at these was so successful my head swelled to untold proportions. A must, in my opinion is serving them with whipped or double cream and good quality (ie homemade if possible) raspberry jam.
3 cups self raising flour
1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade (or soda plus 1 tablespoon caster sugar)
Add wet ingredients all together to the flour. Mix with a knife until just combined. Put dough on floured work surface and knead gently, don’t over work. Cook at 220 degrees for 12-15 mins.
These were served beautifully warm with lots of cream and jam and accompanied by some especially pleasing compliments from my friends – can you see my head expanding as I write this? They were pretty bloody good though and not at all resembling rock cakes. I did follow the one piece of advice given by my mum though, make them small that way you get to have more jam and cream (and butter if you’re anything like her).
After such success on the retro cooking front I’m keen to try something else from my list. I originally thought it was time to attempt a Pavlova, but I really want to top it with strawberries or some other summer fruit so I think I’ll have to wait for the warmer weather for this one. Perhaps it’s time for a sponge cake instead. I would also like to put some savoury dishes on my list – any suggestions. My only thought at this point is steak and kidney pie, but am open to other ideas.