My ultimate weakness

10 Oct

Okay, people who know me would burst out laughing when I gush about this being my ultimate weakness when it comes to food. “You have too many weaknesses!”, they would say. Well……… Alright, I do have many. But as far as I know at this moment (till you present something else to me that slips my mind as topping this), this would be at the top of my list of weaknesses.

I don’t know how and why scones have that effect on me (other than its AWESOME DELICIOUSNESS!). In fact, my first memories of eating them came only when I was 17, and I ate them in a cafe my friends and I frequented because of the area, selection of teas, and all the cool glassware that we got to play with to make our teas. They had these scones, which actually really looked like rock cakes, just scraggly rocky-looking mounds baked golden brown, with bits of dried cranberry. Served with butter and strawberry jam, and occasionally when they had it, clotted cream. It was del-ish!! I met with the owner and she shared her recipe with me. From then on I made the same scones over and over at home, my friends and I would have scone-making parties.. Talk about obsession! However, perhaps it was the lack of skill, and  knowing the scones didn’t look or taste quite like the usual ones, my dissatisfaction with the recipe grew as the Family got sick of scones and I stopped making them.

Having warm scones with hot tea to escape the cold rain and blistering winds of Whitby during winter

Still, I would jump at every chance to have scones, so imagine how it was like when I spent over 2 months in the UK last year..! My companion was just as mad about them, so almost everytime we sat in a cafe for a cup of tea, we would have our scones. I still remember the ones I had that freezing wet winter day at Whitby.. Slightly crumbly with a crust, slightly dense with a good bite, but still rather soft in the middle.. Just the way proper English scones should be! With cream, jam, and lovely hot tea.. Oh, glorious.. Ultimate comfort food!

So I started making my own scones again. So many recipes, with so many varied results simply from just how you work each recipe! I tried this Jamie Oliver recipe before, and was not happy, but somehow this time round, it worked a charm. Still, in pursuit of perfection, so will keep trying more recipes till I get it!

I also made my very own VeryBerry jam to go with it! I like making things from scratch, so making my own jam is no exception. You can control the amount of sugar that goes in and pick and choose your favourite flavours (i.e. Berries!), so win-win! Mostly instinct rather than recipe but received great feedback on it, so I’m pretty chuffed! (Jamie Oliver-speak there. Hehe.) I have included my recipe for my jam. Note that I didn’t add any pectin(Jamsetta is what you can find in supermarkets) to it, but you can, just follow the packet instructions. I just let it cook and reduce till the desired consistency, which you can check by putting a few drops on a cold plate, letting it cool completely in the fridge, and nudge with your finger. If it crinkles on the surface, it’s good to go!

P.S. The jam is also awesome atop Julie’s Butter Crackers (Not available in Sydney, so I bring them over from Singapore) or Jacob’s Cream Crackers. Nom nom nom..

Fruit Scones
Recipe from Jamie Magazine, Issue 12

120g mixture of sour cherries/raisins
Orange juice, for soaking
450g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
120g butter
Salt
2 large eggs, preferably free-range
5tbsp milk, plus extra for brushing
Jam and clotted cream, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Soak the cherries and raisins in a bowl with just enough juices to cover them. While they’re soaking, pulse the flour, baking powder and butter in a food processor until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs (don’t be tempted to over-pulse), or rub them together by hand. Transfer to a mixing bowl and make a well in a middle.
2. In another bowl, beat the eggs and milk with a fork. Drain the cherries and raisins in a sieve and add them to the beaten eggs and milk with a good pinch of salt. Pour the beaten eggs, milk, cherries and raisins into the well in the flour mixture and stir well, adding a splash more milk, if necessary, until you have a soft, dry dough.
3. Dust a clean work surface and your rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough until it’s 2cm thick. Using a 7cm round cutter, or the rim of a glass, cut out 10 circles from the dough and place on a non-stick baking sheet. (You may have to roll out your dough again in order to get all 10 rounds out of it, but try not to knead it too much, as you don’t want overwork it.)
4. Dip a pastry brush into some milk and brush the top of each scone. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until risen and brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.
5. To serve, cut each scone in half across the middle. Spoon a dollop of jam onto the bottom halves, followed by a dollop of clotted cream, and put the tops back on. Serve on a large plate in the middle of the table, or on individual plates – and don’t forget a pot of tea!

VeryBerry Jam

500 g of berries (I used 200 g fresh strawberries and 300 g frozen berry mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries – but use whatever mixture you like, just make sure the frozen berries thaw!)
Lemon juice of 1/4 lemon
200 g caster sugar (You can reduce this to perhaps by 50 g, but depends on how sweet you like your jam. This amount should still leave a slight tartness the berries naturally impart)

1. Add sugar to berries in pot, and scrunch up the sugar with the berries to release the juices, leaving some chunks for texture.
2. Stir in the lemon juice, and bring mixture to a simmer, without a lid. Add pectin in at this stage too, if you are using it.
3. Skim off the scummy bits on the top, and stir every once in a while, to ensure the bottom doesn’t overcook.
4. Depending on the strength of the fire, and whether you use pectin or not, it will take anywhere around an hour to be ready. Some people like a thicker, jelly-like jam, while others prefer something runnier. Just remember it will set as it cools, so give enough allowance for it.

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8 Responses to “My ultimate weakness”

  1. Lisa October 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    Those scones look amazing. They’re so golden and flaky.

  2. mademoiselle delicieuse October 11, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Haha, I don’t know you well at all and I already know you have many food weaknesses! And you’ve just reminded me that I miss Jacob’s Cream Crackers.

  3. FFichiban October 12, 2010 at 12:27 am #

    Food in general is my weakness -__- but dayyuummm scones are definitely up there!

  4. the ninja October 12, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    it’s ok, I go weak for scones too and I’m a trained professional

    mmmm scones warm and puffy and perfect for this weather

  5. Simon @ the heart of food October 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    Jam and scones are best mates. Real pukka tukka 😛

    Can’t wait until some of the summer fruits come into season. Would love to make a jam or two then.

  6. Mr. No Fruits In My Dessert Please October 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    I can see you were not kidding. The scones look too good. I’ll trade you a copy of a Marcus cookbook for a couple of scones. Thanks!

  7. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) November 8, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    The scones look amazing!!! I am weak on the knees after looking at them.

  8. betty November 15, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    my ultimate weakness would have to be hot chips shoe string style haha but scones i love too!

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