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Posts Tagged ‘Mothering Sunday’

A Cream Tea is a special treat, much anticipated and usually taken at a leisurely pace when on holiday in the UK.  Some cream teas have stayed long in my memory: a seaview cafe at Lyme Regis in Dorset, the Lee Abbey Tea Cottage in Somerset…   I particularly recall a sunny afternoon birthday Cream Tea we booked for my father taken on board the Pride of Lee, whilst leisurely drifting along the River Lea on the borders of Essex and Hertfordshire. What exactly is a Cream Tea?  Usually it comprises sweet scones with thick cream and strawberry (or another flavour) jam (sometimes butter too – choose all or some) plus tea to drink, apparently the idea could date back as far as the 11th Century.  I knew this was exactly what I wanted to include as part of the Mothering Sunday Afternoon Tea I prepared this year.  The cakes were made in advance, leaving enough time to finish the ‘baguette bite’ sandwiches and make the scones on the Sunday afternoon.

On this occasion I chose to make plain scones, which are actually very slightly sweet, using Delia Smith’s recipe for Devonshire Scones from the original version of her Book of Cakes.  It was a simple fairly standard recipe, as far as I could see, but without the added instructions to egg-wash the top of the scones for a golden brown shiny finish.  I am sure this could be done if wished, but it was an extra job on a busy afternoon I was glad not to have to do (especially as my guests were about to knock on the door).  Scones just have to be made fresh on the day they are eaten: they are not the same the following day. However, a tip from my grandmother, slightly sour milk can be used for scones. This does work, but I usually don’t have time to make them when the milk is off! Speed and a light touch are essential: a heavy handed approach leads to solid scones. Some cooks even recommend that the dough is cut with a knife rather than using cutters.  On this page there is first this basic recipe for a plain scone with just a little sugar for sweetness, but eventually other sweet variations will appear here, including scones with fruit (raisins/sultanas or cherries), treacle scones, for example.  There will eventually be a separate post – Basic Recipe: Savoury Scones for those containing cheese and other savoury ingredients.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Devonshire Scones
(Makes 10-12 scones)

8ozs/225g self-raising flour, sieved
1½ozs/40g butter, at room temperature
¼pint/150ml milk (slightly soured is fine)
1½level tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
To serve:
40zs/100ml clotted cream
or
¼pint/150ml whipped double
Jam – usually strawberry, raspberry or blackcurrant

1.  Preheat oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas 7.  Grease a baking tin.

2.  Sieve the flour into a bowl and quickly rub in the butter using fingertips.  Stir in the sugar and the pinch of salt.

3.  Using a knife mix in the milk a little at a time.  When combined gently bring the mixture together with floured hands into a soft dough.  If it is a little dry then add a drop more milk.

4.  Gently shape on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands until about ¾-1inch/2cm-2.5cm thick.  There are mixed views over whether using a rolling pin is a good idea: Delia Smith uses a lightly floured one but I was always taught to use my hands.

5.  Cut rounds with a 1½-2inch/4-5cm fluted pastry cutter (but without twisting to avoid misshapen scones).  Once as many as possible have been cut then gently bring the dough together and cut again.  Try to roll out as little as possible to avoid toughening the scones.  Alternatively, the squares can be cut with a sharp knife.

6.  Place the scones on the greased baking tin and dust each with a little flour.  Bake near the top of the oven for 12-15 minutes.  When done the will be risen and golden brown.

7.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool and eat soon – slightly warm is lovely.  Serve spread with butter and/or cream and/or jam – all three if you wish.

Alternative recipes for sweet scones (untried):
Treacle Scones – Delia Smith’s Book of Cakes
Wheatmeal Date Scones – Delia Smith’s Book of Cakes
Scones with dried fruit: sultanas/raisins/cranberries/dates/apricots/figs …
Quick & Easy Fluffy Scones (like the idea of yoghurt in the mix) Normal in London (E17)
Fruited Scones – sozzled (fruit soaked in liqueur) – Good Food Channel
Fresh Strawberry (or other fruit) scones via Arugulove
Lavender Scones – All recipes
Rose Petal Scones (with Rosewater)  – Good Food Channel
Ginger Beer Scones via Dan Lepard: Guardian
Lemonade Scones – Fig Jam & Lime Cordial
Lemonade Scones – Good Food Channel
Oat and Maple Syrup Scones – Smitten Kitchen via Cake, Crumbs and Ccoking
Vanilla Almond scones via Dan Lepard: Guardian
Chocolate Scones via Chocolate Log Blog
Apple Scones via Lavender & Lovage
Cherry Scones – CWS Family Fare
Ginger Scones – CWS Family Fare
Honey Scones – CWS Family Fare

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Happy Easter!

Meanderings through my Cookbook http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Traditional Simnel Cake for Easter

See Special Occasion Rich Fruit Cake for cake recipe and information on making a Simnel Cake.

A Simnel cake can be made with brandy or rum, as in the basic recipe above, or alternatively pre-soak the fruit in the juice of half a fresh orange.  Simnel Cakes were originally made for their mothers by working children as a gift for Mothering Sunday, the third Sunday in Lent, which falls three weeks before Easter.  Nowadays Simnel Cakes are mostly eaten at Easter.  See Afternoon Tea for Mothering Sunday for more information.  A Simnel Cake traditionally has 11 marzipan balls around the edge – one for each Disciple or Apostle of Jesus, except for Judas Iscariot!

Read more……

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Inspired by the afternoon tea at Belgique I was treated to some weeks ago by a friend and mentioned previously, I thought I would try something similar for my mother as a Mothering Sunday treat.  Our tea at Belgique came on a tiered cakestand: little filled rolls on the bottom layer, cakes in the middle and chocolate-y nibbles on the top and with individual pots of tea.  (I have a cake stand hidden away somewhere, but was unable to track it down so instead tea was served at table on separate plates – I could have asked mum to bring hers, but it would have spoiled the surprise!)  What did we eat?  I knew that everyone would have had Sunday lunch so I decided not to serve anything too heavy.  I made two types of cake: a Boiled Fruit Cake (recipe to follow) and Whole Orange Cake, baked a batch of Delia Smith’s Devonshire Scones for a cream tea and alongside these cooked some part-baked half size French sticks from the supermarket.  When these were cooled I sliced each stick in half lengthways and added butter, then filled one with mashed tinned salmon and thin cucumber slices (one of mum’s favourites) and the other with sliced roast ham and tomato.  Each stick was cut into six pieces making a dozen large-bite sized ‘sandwiches’ (mini baguette bites) which nestled on a bed of lettuce and was scattered with a little mustard and cress.  For full menu details see further down…

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

A word about Mothering Sunday, which here in the UK we celebrate at a different time to the USA.  Its origins are actually not really about celebrating motherhood.  I am currently reading a very helpful Lent book (spiritual reading for the six and half weeks of Lent: Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday) called Giving it Up by Maggi Dawn.  Today she writes:

‘In 16th-century Britain, the fourth Sunday in Lent was called Refreshment Sunday.  All the Lent rules were relaxed and the church expected people to return to their ‘mother’ church or cathedral for that day’s service.  The day became known as Mothering Sunday, not through association with mothers but because of the journey made to the ‘mother’ church.  In an age when children as young as ten left home to take up work or apprenticeships elsewhere, this was often the only day in the year when whole families would be reunited.  By the 17th-century it had become a public holiday, when servants and apprentices were given the day off so that they could fulfil their duties to the church.  They often stopped to pick flowers along the way and some brought with them a special cake made from fine wheat flour called simila, which has evolved into the simnel cake…  The tradition of keeping Mothering Sunday was strengthened in the 19th-century when those in domestic service were allowed to return to their own communities, as they would not be home for Easter. … Over the past few decades, Mothering Sunday has been recast as Mother’s Day, a move that has grown out of consumerism rather than theology.  Turning Mothering Sunday into Mother’s Day has almost eclipsed the original meaning of the day …’

I do agree with her, but nonetheless it was good to treat my mum – and my dad – and the rest of the family!

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Afternoon Tea for Mothering Sunday

Mini Baguette Bites: Salmon & Cucumber
Mini Baguette Bites: Ham & Tomato
(alternatives: egg mayonnaise & cress, tuna mayonnaise & cucumber – brie & cranberry sauce – cheese & pickle or chutney – cheese & tomato – bacon & tomato relish – avocado & bacon – Mexican Style Chicken & Pepper Salad – Coronation Chicken – mashed avocado & grated carrot …)
Garnish: Lettuce – Mustard & Cress

Cream Tea: Devonshire Scones
with butter, jam (blackcurrant) and whipped double cream

Whole Orange Cake
Boiled Fruit Cake (recipe to follow)
(and some chocolate biscuits …)

Tea to drink

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

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