Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tea Cups and Scone Rings

It has been a scrumptious weekend so far, I am happy to report, even though the weather is still decidedly unseasonal for August! A dear friend got married yesterday, and it was a beautiful day...the bride was elegant and very Kate Middelton, the bridesmaids carried sunflowers, and we had hog roast and Pimms in a marquee at the ancestral home of the Petre family, Ingatestone Hall. As well as being a very happy occasion, and seeing lots of friends from school, and suddenly realising we have been friends for half our lifetimes, it was also memorable for the weather. We arrived early for the service as the trains do not often run to that village, and emerged into pouring rain. As we got to the church, the sun shone, and happily stayed out for the bride and groom to emerge into a flutter of confetti...of which there would have been more, but the breeze had blown up, and scattered most of it back at the confetti throwers! As we got to Ingatestone Hall, we had hail! Hail in August! I felt so sorry for the waiting staff, who were standing out in the courtyard to meet us with glasses of Pimms. Needless to say one and all hurried inside!

There were more beautiful touches...a jazz band playing throughout the evening, and after dinner, an old fashioned ice cream cart which also served candy floss and popcorn! It was also a memorable day because the sister of the groom, who had been going to be a bridesmaid, gave birth to her first child, and their parents very first grandchild! A little girl arrived while we were in church singing the final hymn of the service! The father of the bride gave a funny and touching speech, and some time round midnight, a little band of us walked through the dark country lanes back to the railway station, and from there home to bed for a welcome cup of tea.

We woke up a little sleepy-eyed today to a grey day which has been full of showers. We did get out for a little walk in a brief respite, and when we got back I was seized by the urge to bake. I think it was partly that I have been reading another in the Laura Childs Tea Shop Mystery series, and partly because of seeing my latest craft project all finished (little tea cups that I have turned into candles. The cups and saucers are pale cream with a spray of roses on them, and I have filled them with pale pink wax to turn them into candles). Where it is so Autumny I wanted to scent the flat with baking and had some locally grown Bramley Apples, so I have made an Apple Scone Ring. This is a recipe that I first made at school, in cookery lessons (which had the uninspiring name of Food Technology!). I have tinkered with it a little over the years, and it is now like this:

Apple Scone Ring

On an autumn-feeling rain speckled Sunday, preheat the oven to 160 oC. Don't even stop to put on a pinny, but weigh out 8oz of self raising flour, and sift it into a bowl with 1tsp baking powder. Rub in 2oz of butter or margarine, and stir in a tsp of cinnamon and 2oz caster sugar. Grate in a medium cooking apple, skin and all, but avoid the core and pips as much as you can. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough, and add a tiny bit more flour if it is too sticky. About 1/4 pint of milk should do it. Lightly pat out to a round about 1/4 inch thick on a baking tray. Brush the surface with milk and scatter with a little more sugar, either caster or soft brown. Perhaps add a little more cinnamon. Score into 6-8 wedges, and bake for 20-5 minutes. Err on the side of caution as it goes from golden to burnt in the blink of an eye.

When they are cooked, you should be able to smell apple and cinnamon wafting through the rooms. You can cut the scone almost as soon as it comes out of the oven, although it is a more comfortable eating temperature after 5 minutes or so. These are not delicate afternoon tea scones, more rustic high tea scones. I never split them or add cream and jam, but if I was going to, a cream flavoured with a little ginger would probably go very nicely indeed.



Nita in South Carolina said...

Oh my, that sounds delicious! Unfortunately, it's still over 90 degrees here, so it seems too hot to bake. But my daughter and I will make it when the weather is little cooler.

Ann said...

Funnily enough, it was your scone recipe that led me to your blog a few years ago - I was searching for a scone ring recipe, up popped your blog in the Google search results and I have read your blog ever since! Your blog has also led me to loads of other blogs that I now have to read regularly so thank you!

Dinahsoar said...

The wedding adventures sounds like fun. The idea of taking a train is so appealing. Much more romantic than getting in the car and driving oneself.

As for fall cooking, me too...cinnamon jam coffee cake, bing cherry with walnuts and coconut buns/muffins and pear cobbler. And many cups of hot tea to wash it all down. I'm going to have to watch out or else I shall find the scale creeping up.

Your tea cups candles will make lovely gifts. Tea cups with roses and pale pink candles are two of my favorite things--put together is even better.

I've considered melting a ready made candle in an old tin--over hot water--that I can toss to make tea cup candles. I thought I might even be able to reuse the wick and the wick holder from the candle. Usually though I just use a tea lite candle in one of my pretty tea cups.

Dinahsoar said...

I thought of an easy candle gift you might enjoy. It's not original, I saw it online.

You take a clear jar--I like the small wide mouth mason jars or Bonne Maman jars--and add a thick layer of very coarse salt. (I use ice cream salt. Epson salt works too.)

Then you add a white tea lite candle (it has it's own holder).

When lit is looks like a candle in the snow.

Placed in a pretty clear cello bag with some wintry embellishments (I like to punch out snowflakes from white card and add glitter--the chunky clear kind) and ribbon/ties it would make a sweet gift.

Greenery would be a nice embellishment...holly with berries, or even fresh rosemary sprigs, maybe some red ribbon. The possibilities are endless and such creative fun.

One last really cute thing I saw in a magazine was a 'snowman in a jar'. The jar had the coarse salt, and a tiny scarf (you could crochet it or cut from felt) tiny twigs for the arms, an orange painted end of toothpick for a nose,...and I don't recall what was used for the eyes/mouth/buttons. The jar was labled-- "snowman in a jar "--I think. The jar wasn't large, salt shaker size.

It was purely whimisical but I loved it..meant to make it, never got around to it. Maybe this will be the year I make it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lovely day. Oh to have rain showers to clear the dust would be heaven. Here in Sacramento, California it's hot with no rain until October. The wedding sounds wonderful with the jazz band and ice cream. Love your blog!