It is January (still). Rain is currently streaming down the windows, and our ever optimistic weather forecasters have just named their latest offspring as Henry. Evidently, dear Henry is arriving tomorrow first day of February, armed to the teeth with high winds and more rain. Right now it is still in mid Atlantic. It is “brewing”, they said.
Time to put the kettle on, I think. And as spring seems such a long, long way off, with the promise of summer even further away, my only thought is to try to cheer up what could be a long February.
I thought scones would be a good idea. Now I am no pedant but there is a long standing argument in this country as to how this little word should be pronounced. I think it depends on how deep seated the Scottish ancestry is. Personally I use the long ‘oh’ but others insist on the short ‘o’. I don’t think it makes a damned bit of difference to the taste so what’s the point in arguing over a little thing like an o.
My personal battle has always been how to get scones to rise. I want tall, fluffy scones rather than stunted rocks. I think the answer has been provided by the charming Mary Berry and, like making a fat Victoria sponge, it’s all down to baking powder or raising agent. Self raising flour just doesn’t have enough oomph on its own; it needs a helping spoonful or two.
Mary Berry’s scone recipe was perfect. But of course, I could not leave well alone. I just had to add a certain je ne sais quoi or in this case Keemun tea. Yes, tea! I added tea to the scones. I made a pot of Keemun tea flavoured with calendula and orange blossom and used that instead of milk. The result was WONDERFUL. And I served them with marmalade.
So summer with strawberries, scones and clotted cream may be far away, especially as Henry is about to descend and upset everything. But these scones went some way to blotting out a rather unpleasant weather scene.
8oz self-raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1 oz caster sugar
4fl oz made tea
1 teaspoon orange flower essence
Grease a baking tray and pre-heat oven to 220C
Sift together flour and baking powder. Rub in butter until crumbly then add sugar.
Beat egg and cold tea and essence together and add to dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll out gently and quickly to 3/4″ thick.
Cut out rounds and place on baking tray.
Brush tops with a little milk then bake for 10-15 minutes until risen and golden.
Cool on wire rack.