Tea and scones

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Cream tea for two

We couldn’t do a blog about British cooking and not feature the classic scone, it would be like our beloved Queen without her Corgi’s (just wrong).

Ever the English staple teatime treat these yummy light delights are loved up and down the country and even cause a number of debates. Controversies arise over how to pronounce Scone and if you should have the cream before the jam or the jam before the cream.  Personally I don’t care which way the cream or jam goes on as long as I get my scone with plenty of steaming hot tea.

Scones can be savoury or sweet, plain or fruity what’s not too love? And you know the best thing is that it’s super easy to whip up a batch of fresh scones.

Now personally I’d love to have gone the whole nine yards and set out a delightful afternoon tea, this seemed a little much just for Amber and me, instead I went for a simple yet classic cream tea.  Although I am still tempted by an afternoon tea so keep you’re peepers open.

The origins of the humble cream tea have being widely disputed as to whether it all began in Cornwall or Devon.  And in 2010 a Devonshire farm launched a campaign to win European protection for the term ‘Devon cream tea.’ Obviously this angered the Cornish cream tea lovers.

Who knew such a little tea time treat could cause so many problems?

In fact the actual origins of the cream tea is disputed, historians do however believe that in the 11th Century there was a tradition for eating bread with cream and jam at Tavistock Abbey in Devon.

The perfect scone needs to gently raise, a fluffy centre, crisp golden topping with an equal scattering of plump sultana’s.

There really is something very English about sitting down to a serving of tea and scones.  In America it’s a popular misconception that ‘cream tea’ means to drink tea with cream rather than milk but boy could they not be further from the truth.

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You will need…

  • 225g/8oz self raising flour

  • pinch of salt

  • 55g/2oz butter

  • 25g/1oz caster sugar

  • 150ml/5fl oz milk

  • 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze (alternatively use a little milk)

  • 50g sultana’s

1)Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet

2) Mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and then the milk to get a soft dough. Your hands may get a little sticky at this point.

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3)  Put the dough onto a floured surface and knead very lightly. Roll out to 2cm and cut into little cirlcles. Pop onto a baking tray.

4)Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden.

5) If you don’t eat them all straight away, allow them to cool. Serve with jam,cream and lots of tea.

 

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Good ol’ American Apple Pie

_MG_4851I know, I know – it’s a bit cliché for the American to make apple pie, but why not find out from this American food expert? I’m going to teach you how to make the most scrumptious apple pie delight. You’re really going to want to sink your teeth into this dessert.

But first, what’s the hype about apple pie? Back in the day, the medieval days, everything was baked in a pie. This means meat, veggies and just about anything else you can think of. With the only ovens being clay pots heated by burning flames, food was easily burnt to a crisp, and quick. The medieval cooks found that putting meat or anything else in a pastry crust kept food protected it from their fiery cooking pit. The pasty acted like a cooking dish. A pie crust wasn’t home to delicious fruits quite yet, but instead a protective source for anything edible.

So where does everyone get the idea that apple pie is an American creation? Blame it on the pilgrims. They would fill a pastry crust with the red delicious things hanging from the trees (apples) to fill the stomachs of hungry settlers. But these pies weren’t the flaky sugary goodness that we’re used to today. Most pie crusts were made from thick course flour making them tough and not too tasty to consume. I’d assume that’s why someone decided to toss in a bit of sugar for a tastier pie.

Now I have a confession to make. I’m so sorry bloggers, but I don’t enjoy an afternoon of sunshine, sweet tea and a warm piece of pie. The sunshine and tea hit the spot for me, but a slice of pie has never been a tasty treat that I enjoy. I’m more of a savoury treat type of girl. But when Brigid suggested we do some apple desserts, apple pie was a must for our American section. And after spending the hour slaving away on rolling out the pie crust, peeling and cutting apples and then shaping strips of pastry to make a fancy lattice top, I had to give my creation a taste. And half a pie later, I realised that I now understand why Americans call themselves pie lovers – I’ve converted folks. My taste buds have changed and I am proud to say I’m a pie lover. Follow these simple instructions to continue your obsession with these sugary treats or become a lover of pie,  just like I did!

_MG_4850_MG_4835Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • Two tablespoons flour
  • A dash of salt
  • One egg
  • One tablespoon of water
  • Around six or seven apples – depending on how large of a baking dish you have
  • Pastry crust
  • Cooking spray
  1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F or 220 degrees C.
  2.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon into a bowl. Be sure to save a sprinkle of this mixture for your final topping.
  3. With your large amount of cinnamon sugar, add in your flour and salt.
  4.  Roll out your pastry and push it evenly in the pie pan. Make sure to have a thick enough coating on all sides to ensure you have no holes in your pie and allow some to extend over the side of your pie dish.
  5.  Coat the bottom of your pastry with your sugary flour mixture._MG_4841
  6.  Peel and cut your apples. Some don’t like to peel apples, but I’d prefer a soft apple pie rather than a chewy one with all those apple skins still intact. Layer your chopped apples to the top of your pie crust. Then sprinkle the remaining flour cinnamon sugar mix on top of your apples._MG_4843_MG_4844
  7. You can do this step as you like, but for a lattice top – cut strips out of your remaining pastry and cross them across the top of your pie. Connect the edges of the dough from the excess bottom to the top lattice to create the finished pie. If you decide to use one solid piece of pastry, make sure to cut a slit in the top to allow your pie to breathe._MG_4846
  8. Whisk together the egg and a bit of water in a separate bowl. Use a brush or back of a spoon to get that egg mixture across the top of your pie and sprinkle on that extra cinnamon sugar you saved.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  10. Remove, let cool and eat.

Hearty New Orleans Jambalaya

 

_MG_5179I’m going to give you three good reasons why you should venture out of your ‘pasta-every-night’ rut tonight to make New Orleans Jambalaya.

  1. You can say that you casually ‘threw’ something together for dinner, but all these tossed in ingredients turn into a scrumptious meal.
  1. You can add any meat you like – literally any and as much meat as you’d like. You go carnivores!
  1. And finally, you have an excuse to clean out the spice cupboard because this dish allows you the choice to make it mild, medium or extra hot. Bring on the Cajun.

Convinced yet?

Don’t be scared. Jambalaya starts with a few basic ingredients – rice, meat (chicken, shrimp and sausage are the usual three in the New Orleans style jambalaya), and veggies such as onions, peppers and tomatoes. This is a dish that is perfect to feed a hungry bunch, like your entire family and friends. Jambalaya comes in one size portion – large! With its bold flavour and freedom to choose which meats and veggies you like best, it’s soon to be one of your favourite meals to make.

For my dish, I chose white rice, a slew of veggies and chicken and sausage for the two meats. I missed putting in the prawns and felt that I didn’t do my meal justice for this Louisiana favourite. I’m sorry America!

Seafood is always a good choice to give a new texture and taste to your meal. If you find yourself seeking the full jambalaya experience, don’t leave out the basic three meats – chicken, sausage and prawns.

Making jambalaya isn’t a task for the quick cook. The meats and veggies need to cook first, then add in the rice a bit of chicken stock. Some like to cook the rice with the veggies and meat, but I cook the rice separately to save time. This dish will take about an hour to make with constant chopping and stirring. But grabbing a friend to help you, like my trusty cooking sidekick B will make the cooking process fun. By the end of the hour you’ll be glad you joined in on this tasty experience. Grab your pans and start cooking up your favourite meats! This meal is going to soon be on your “Yes, I’m definitely making that again” list!

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What you’ll need:

  • Rice (brown or white)
  • Chicken
  • Shrimp or prawns
  • Sausage
  • Onions (white and green)
  • Bell Peppers (any colour)
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato Puree
  • Chicken Stock
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cajun spices

Steps to make:

  1. Cook up the meat in a saucepan on the stovetop. Add in the butter or spray to keep your meat from sticking.
  2. Sauté your veggies. I tossed all of mine in at once but you can do them gradually if you like one cooked more than the others.IMG_5173
  3. Cook the rice until tender.IMG_5176
  4. Once all your veggies, meats are cooked through and the rice is ready, put the three together in the same pan. Better make it large one! Immediately add in the chicken stock and a dash of water to mix the stock with.
  5. Add in your spices to your liking, give it good stir and serve.

Here’s the link to our jambalaya and Lincolnshire Rarebit video.

Lincolnshire Rarebit

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Last week I brought you one of my favourite Sunday desserts so this week I though why not follow the Sunday theme.   This is a dish that brings back memories of cold Sunday nights rushing through my homework for the next day (because of course I always left it to the last minute).

After a heavy Sunday lunch you definitely don’t want a big meal later, you want something that’s light but at the same time just a little bit indulgent as it is Sunday after all.  I think we’ve probably already covered how much I like cheese so it won’t come as any surprise to see a recipe for Lincolnshire rarebit which is a slight adaptation of the traditional Welsh rarebit.

There’s just something special about a good Welsh rarebit that gives it an edge over a plain old cheese on toast it could be the addition of good ale, the heat of the mustard or the tangy after taste of Worcestershire sauce.

I hear you cry out what makes this cheesy delight a Lincolnshire rarebit? Well I will tell you now. Although I am not originally from Lincoln it has become a home to me in the last four years and in this time I have come to appreciate the amazing food this lovely region holds.   It’s because of this that I decided to use the rich Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and the deep malty tastes of Bateman’s XXXB pale ale.

Considering there’s little evidence to say that this melted cheese goodness does actually originate in Wales then we might as well pay homage to the delights of Lincoln.

In England we often serve chutney’s with our cheeses and I saw it as a perfect opportunity to use up the apples I had left over from last week.

Now I’m not sure I’m the best person to describe what chutney is, Amber pulled a face when I called it a savoury jam with fruit in… yup I clearly have a way with words.

 

What you’ll need….

For the chutney

For the rarebit

 

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1) For the ‘savoury jam’ heat a large frying pan until hot. Pop in the brown sugar and sultana’s and heat until the sugar is just melting. Add the vinegar and cook until totally dissolved and starting to caramelise.

2)Stir in the apples,tomatoes and onions and cook for ten minutes. The fruits will become soft and tender.

Decant into a sterilised jar. Restrain yourself from tucking right in becuase you will burn your tounge and it will hurt!

3) Whilst the chutney cools pre-heat the grill and slice your bread.

4)  Pop the cheese and beer in a small pan and heat until the cheese bubbles, then add in the mustard,tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.

Stir in the flour and cook until just thickened.

5) Toast slightly then spoon on the cheesy goodness. Grill for 2-3 minutes .

SERVE with plenty of chutney !!!

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A and B’s Savoury Selections

B and I really love making videos. Today’s video features us creating some American New Orleans Jambalaya with chicken, sausage, onion and a whole ‘lotta rice.

B makes delightful Lincolnshire Rarebit with Apple Chutney. That’s a classic British dish that I absolutely loved. Don’t worry, I took notes so I’ll be able to duplicate her delectable cheese on toast!

Keep your eyes peeled for some interesting chopping techniques.

This was filmed using my GoPro camcorder and the song is Gotye’s “In Your Light”.

Enjoy bloggers!

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