The Weekend Dish – Scones

Well, it has finally arrived. The opening day of the Summer Olympics is today.

Buckingham Palace

In honor of the host city, London, I felt scones would be a proper food tribute. 

The scone is a simple but delicious quick bread. It is traditionally served with clotted cream and jam. The basic recipe is versatile and can be modified by adding nuts, chocolate chips, zests, and fresh or dried fruits. My favorite addition is dried tart cherries.

They can be served with tea or they are also an excellent accompaniment to coffee. A few years ago, I found this recipe while trying to have a full-fledged tea party with my youngest daughter and since then our family has enjoyed them many times. This time I used our grandmothers’ dishes as an extra special place setting, figuring they don’t get out of the china hutch enough.

Recipe for Cream Scones

If you want to make them lighter you can use half and half or milk.

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C) and place rack in middle of oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (66g) granulated white sugar
2 tsp (10g) baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup (76g) chilled, unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp (5g) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (125ml) heavy whipping cream
Egg mixture for brushing tops: (brushing the tops with mixture helps with browning the tops)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp heavy cream

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a small bowl combine the egg, vanilla and whipping cream. Add this mixture to the flour mixture stirring until just combined. Do not over mix this mixture. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a circle that is 7 inches (18cm) round and about 1 1/2 inches (3.75cm) thick. Cut this circle into 8 triangular sections. Alternatively, you can cut the the dough into rounds with a cookie cutter. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Brush the tops with the egg mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Variations:

-Add 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
-Add 1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
-Add 2 tsp lemon zest and 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
-Add 1 Tbsp poppy seeds and use 1 tsp almond extract instead of vanilla extract and       sprinkle top of scones with sliced almonds after brushing with egg mixture.

I must say the only variation I have tried is the cherries and we love it so much that I haven’t tried the others.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do and if you would like to follow the Olympics here is the official website. Perhaps while nibbling a fresh from the oven scone . . .

~Sue

Recipe courtesy of  joyofbaking.com

The Streets of Europe

A year ago, I was wandering Europe captivated by the streets. Yes, the streets themselves caught my eye. Their cobblestones and narrow corridors leading to hidden places or large squares and cathedrals. I imagined all the activity that has taken place on these streets in the hundreds of years they have been in existence.

Paris

From Paris to London

London

They all have their own character. Partly due to the architecture and automobiles but also because each city and country has its own unique essence. Which is evident in the streets.

Rome

In Rome, there are countless motorcycles and scooters. The streets of Zurich are lined with buildings adorned with shutters of angled patterned wood.

Zurich

Chester, England near the border with Wales is a bustling medieval town.

Chester

Nice

The old city of Nice’s narrow streets are lined with shops and cafes.

Florence

Every city had the green cross sign advertising the location of the pharmacies in town dotted throughout.

Dijon

At night they are just as intriguing. Especially when the streets are damp from a recent rain; adding a beautiful reflective quality.

I am sure it was spending so much time walking on these streets exploring the different neighborhoods which piqued my interest. It seemed around every corner was another street compelling me to capture its essence for that moment!

~Sue