Thursday, April 26, 2012

Scones - English recipe

Even though I've lived in the United States for many, many years, I've rarely used self-rising flour. I tried it in K.C. when I first arrived in the country, but found the finished recipe too salty, and haven't used it since. Now, I've tried it again, and found self-rising flour works beautifully for scones (see recipe below.)

As readers of my blog know, I have to convert my English recipes from Imperial Measurement (lbs. oz.) to metric measurements, and finally to cups. I get into most difficulties when the recipe calls for a "gill" of milk..." A gill is basically a quarter of an English pint, which is smaller than an American pint - hence my problems. Following is my favorite recipe for scones. I usually double the quantity of dough, and fill half with dried blueberries and half cranberries. Split and serve with butter (or better yet clotted cream) and jam.

8 oz. SR flour (2 cups)
1/2  teas. salt
1-1/2 oz butter (about 1/3 cup)
1 oz sugar (about 1 rounded tablespoon)
1 egg and about half cup of milk (keep a little of this mixture to brush the tops of the scones)
1/8 cup dried blueberries, dried cranberries, or other mixed dried fruit.

Mix flour and salt in a basin. Cut the butter into the flour and then rub until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and the fruit to the flour mixture, then the beaten egg and milk. Add just enough for the dough to be pliable, not not wet. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 60 seconds. Roll out to approximately 1/2" thickness and cut into rounds or triangles. Brush the tops with the excess liquid and bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven (425-450 degrees F.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Snakes used as a Deterrent

It’s that time of the year when birds seem to find those nooks and crannies in our home most desirable. Year after year they return, swooping under the eaves dropping the inevitable mess that we have to sweep up, and wash down, under the watchful eye of mother bird. Sometimes, if we get too close, she may physically attack us. Once built, only a heartless individual would stop a bird from laying her eggs, or allowing those eggs to hatch. A better plan would be to dissuade her from the beginning. I’ve found a strategically placed snake (plastic) works like a dream, and then mother bird flies off to find more suitable accommodations.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grandma’s Easy Fruit Cake

For those people who love fruitcake, the following recipe is easy, full of goodness, and by the way…my favorite recipe. It uses the unusual "boiling method." I have not as yet converted the recipe to cup measurements.
12 oz. of mixed dried fruit
4 oz. of sugar
4 oz. butter or margarine
1/2 cup water
1 egg
8 oz. Self-rising flour or all-purpose flour with 3 level teaspoons of baking powder.
(**I sometimes add a level teaspoon of all-spice for a change or add a shot of sherry!)
Place fruit, sugar, margarine or butter in a saucepan with the water, and simmer slowly for about 20 minutes. When the mixture is cool, add the beaten egg, and stir in the flour – mixing well.
Turn the mixture into a lined (can use the wrapper from the butter) into 6” or 7” pan, and bake in a moderately hot oven 300-325 degrees for about 1.5 hours until well risen and brown.

Note: As an added feature…place split almonds on the cake mixture before baking, and brush with beaten egg white.
Good luck!

Friday, April 6, 2012

English Easter Eggs

I've often been asked, "What's so special about an English Easter egg..." Well, where do I start? In my opinion, they are the best in the world. They are filled with everything from chocolate buttons, maltesers, flakes, chunchies, and individual chocolates, in every variety. Some of the best known manufacturers are Cadbury, Rowntree and Thorntons, but all are delicious depending on your personal preference.

The English Teacup in Aurora, Colorado, has a particularly wide selection of eggs this year. For more information and other products: