Thursday, September 30, 2010

October 2010: Menu for Little Bee

"Afternoon the Evening"

Scones (this recipe is very wordy, but my Mom always uses it and assures me it's good!)

4 cups self raising flour OR 4 cups of plain (all purpose) flour with 6 teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
100 grams (4 oz) room temp butter
enough buttermilk or milk to make a dough

All flours are different and flour will take more liquid on a dry day than on a humid or rainy day, so add a cup of milk to start, then add it in small amounts until you have a dough you're happy with.

Sift the flour (and baking powder if you're using it), salt and sugar into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it's crumbly like breadcrumbs. Add the milk and mix.

The one thing that will mean success or failure is the way you mix your scones. Over-mixing (and over-kneading) will kill them. You need what used to be called "a light hand" when making scones. That means that when you add the milk, you mix - I use a butter knife to mix - only until the flour and milk are just combined. Then stop.

METHOD (continued)
Take the mixed dough from the bowl and place it onto a clean floured bench. Knead the dough very gently, maybe only four or five times, until the dough is smooth. Over-kneading will ruin the scones. When the outside of the dough ball is floured and smooth, pat it down with you hand to about 4 or 5 cm ( 1½ - 2 inches) in height. Cut with a wine glass and place the scones , almost touching, on a baking sheet. Place in a pre-heated hot oven to cook until golden.

Another factor that helps scones rise is oven temperature. Baked goods have two kinds of lift - the lift they get from the raising agent you use (baking powder, yeast, bicarb etc) and also "oven lift" which comes from the hot temperature when the dough first goes into the oven. What you are aiming for is a hot oven for the first five minutes, then turn it down. So, set your oven to it's highest - mine is 250C (480F) - while you're mixing your scones. Put the scones into the high heat oven for five minutes, then turn it down to about 200C (390F) and cook until the scones are golden on top - about 15 - 20 minutes

Clotted Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

1. Using a whisk attachment on the mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Remove from mixer, and hand whisk in the sour cream and confectioners' sugar until just combined. Store in refrigerator.

Best Cucumber Sandwiches

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • dash Worcestershire
  • 1 loaf sliced, firm-textured bread
  • dash of paprika
For the "best cucumber sandwiches", things get fancy quick. Score the sides of the cucumber with a fork. Just run a fork over the sides, slightly puncturing the skin. I'm sure the cucumber is now able to soak up the goodness of the vinegar bath that shortly awaits it, but also they just look nice. Slice the cucumbers to your desired thickness. In a bowl pour in the vinegar and the water. Place the cucumber slices in the bowl and let them sit for 30 minutes. If desired, cut two extra slices to put over your eyes while you wait

In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cream cheese, garlic powder, onion salt, and the Worcestershire. Mix well.

Drain the cucumber slices by placing them between two paper towels.

Put the spread on the slices of bread. Place the cucumber slices on the bread. Slice in whatever superfluous way you'd like. Top with a dash of paprika. Again, use thumb and forefinger to handle delicately. Brew some tea. Call your friend Jeeves.

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