Saturday, October 11, 2008

Look, Ma, no eggs! Or scones won't break my bones

A tree in Cham lake park provides a hiding place in summer and autumn but will be bare in winter and early spring.

Fall colours are mellow and warm.

He says scouns and I say skons. But then he's German - he might as well say skonnes. Eek.

Well, anyway, after a work trip to California and meeting a couple of friends in Seattle, he came home with a book about their special little hotel, a boutique hotel - a boutel, you might be tempted to say - which they gave him (the book, not the hotel).

(right) A leafy arbor above Lorzen river in Cham, Switzerland.

(above) The Millhouse near Carew Castle, Wales.

In it is an irresistible recipe by their chef in residence. Our not-so-recent trip to Cardiff to attend a friend's lovely wedding included a few forays into the Welsh countryside and sampling some afternoon milky tea with freshly baked scones. So it was partly nostalgia (and a nod to scones with my friend Xeus at The Teapot Cafe in SS2 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia) that made me bake those beckoning tea treats.

No-Egg Flaky Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs sugar
5 tbs unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup currants or dried cranberries
whipping cream for brushing the scones and to serve

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (195-200 degrees C).
Mix with a whisk in a big bowl the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
Cut in butter with a butter knife in each hand until mix looks like coarse crumbs.
Pour in cream and fold in everything until just incorporated. Do NOT overmix.
If mixture seems a little dry, add a little more cream.
Fold currants or cranberries into batter.
Press the dough in 3 or 4 batches on lightly floured board 1 1/4-inch (3cm) thick. Cut into triangles. All in all about 8-16 scones, depending on size (enough for 4 hungry mouths).
Place scones on ungreased cookie parchment. Brush tops with a bit of cream.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
Serve while still warm with whipped cream, clotted cream or homemade marmalade - and you'll feel like you're floating on heaven's best cushion.

Nestled in the boutique hotel book is also a recipe for grapefruit and orange marmalade. Here's the recipe reproduced (in my own words) in honour of FatBoyBakes:

Grapefruit-Orange Marmalade

500-600g of oranges including one pink grapefruit
400-500g of sugar or raw sugar (depending on how sweet your tooth is)

Wash and dry the fruit with a clean towel. Cut the oranges into 8 wedges and cut 1mm slices from those. Cut the grapefruit into wedges and then into 8mm chunks.
The membranes and seeds (don't discard them when you cut the fruit) of the citrus fruit contain pectin, so you don't need anything other than sugar.
Then you boil the living daylights out of the mixture on low heat for about 2 hours or till it looks thick enough for your liking, giving it a stir once every 10 minutes or so. Then carefully ladle into clean dry jars with metal covers leaving 1cm headroom. Cover and leave to cool.
I feel better storing the jars in the fridge after that, but apparently you don't have to. Makes about 650ml of marmie (3 smallish jars).

If you don't like your marmie so bitter, first take off (and reserve) the peel with a potato peeler and then discard HALF of the white covering underneath. I suggest cutting the orange peel finer than the grapefruit peel 'coz the orange peel takes forever to get soft.

(left) Marmie with slices of bread
(above) Lavash done Alexa-style with herb leaves
(above right) Lavash done thick and muscly - for strong jaws. ^_^


Kak Teh said...

Argus, aawww! You were with Xeus at Teapot! I love that place.

anyway, one story about scones. I brought back some from domestic science class and i was in tears because they turned out not as expected! But my father, bless his soul, ate them all so that I wouldn't feel bad. That's what fathers are for, eh?

My Food Safari said...

Argus, scones with cream and jam.. yummy. Wah, spend more than 2 hours making your own marmalade.. that is to be commended.

Argus Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Argus Lou said...

Dear Kak Teh, is the Teapot Cafe owned by an anglophilic (is there such a word?!) Malay family? Thanks for your scones story. Your dad and mum are the best! You often have touching anecdotes about them.

Dear YS, it's more like foolhardiness making my own marmie when I've could've just paid a few francs for a jar. But then I know there are no additives in it and can make it less sweet. ^_^

Kak Teh said...

Argus, if I am not mistaken, it is owned by Puan Sri Zaleha Arshad - wife of Tan sri Arshad Ayub who was once the Director of UitM. A very enterprising and talented lady. She is the lady behind those batik azalea prints. I came to know her when I interviewed her some years ago; she used to come to London to do summer courses in ceramics. I think she is in her 70's now. I really admire this lady.

Life for Beginners said...

Scones and marmalade! I should have had this for breakfast yesterday ... sometimes one just have cravings, you know? Something perfectly English and proper... :D

Argus Lou said...

Kak Teh, thanks for the info. It's good to know who's behind pleasant enterprises.

Kenny, I can imagine you and your baby having a proper English breakfast, which would be sausages or bacon, eggs and baked beans (hee hee!).

Life for Beginners said...

Heh, for some reason baked beans are never my thing... esp. COLD baked beans... give me some hot scones slathered with marmalade any day! :D

Argus Lou said...

My other half is just like you in that he hates baked beans.
But warm baked beans on buttered toast is actually quite nice - if accompanied by a few cubes of ham. ;-)
(Sigh, so much for aspiring toward vegetarianism.)

Kak Teh said...

two days ago, we had the worst breakfast ever! we wanted to go for a morning walk in the park, take some pictures of autumn. We had breakfast just outside the park. Suffice to say, the chef must have had his cookery training at the Fawlty Towers School of Catering! I have never seen a worst lump of scrambled eggs on my husband's plate, and my order of fried eggs came all greasy and not anything that I can recognise as fried eggs. and no baked beans!! That's out first and last visit.

Argus Lou said...

Poor Kak Teh... if you visit here, I'll make for you creamy scrambled eggs or Spanish omelette, if you like. ^_^ Oh, you had to remind us of Fawlty Towers - nutty series!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

What pretty plates you have! I love them all! I want them all! I've always liked scones (I pronounce it the way you do!) with some clotted cream. To die for!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Lemonygrasskirt. The plates I bought here but they're made in Thailand, so I'm sure you can get them in KL or Bangkok.
On a not-so-lazy Sunday afternoon, you can make scones for your loved ones, ya?

fatboybakes said...

arghhhhh, my comment got lost. DAMN MICROSOFT VISTA!

i said i'm so honored. however, i still cant get myself to boil something for 2 hours over a gas stove... which is why i've never attempted nigella's flourless clementine cake, and banoffee pie, which require boiling clementines and condensed milk for two hours. also, you cant get those two items in malaysia. our "condensed milk" here is just thickened creamer.

Argus Lou said...

Hi, FBB. But your cooking gas is relatively inexpensive and you can just turn on the little middle thing for the two-hour simmering, no? ^_^
Pretend you're making Chinese herbal soup for an old lady. Heh heh.
Isn't Ideal or Susu Cap Junjung (Milkmaid) the real McCoy as opposed to Teapot brand or Gold Key which are palm oil based? I've always wondered if evaporated and condensed are the same thing (other than sugar added for the sweetened condensed one).

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)