Now down to the main event, we set up a tea room and offer a cup of tea/coffee or cold drink (no NOT hot chocolate) and a piece of cake or a cream tea for £2.00 a portion. After a number of trials it has been decided to offer a choice of Victoria Sponges (Traditional/Coffee/Chocolate), Lemon Drizzle (almost compulsory) and Carrot Cake and Fruit Cake together with a Cream Tea of Scone, Jam and Cream. This is the most we can cope with in the general madness. I didn't make any of the cakes this year but very fine they were. By a general popular consensus it has been decided that I make the best scones so I will confirm this post to just that
THE SCONE. Now before we even start there seem to be the debate as to what the darn things are called. It seems to be a toss up between the "skon" and the "scone" or even the "scoon". However I think this is merely a smokescreen sent up as a distraction from those who can't make the said items. I maintain that this simple item is the crossing point between Cooking as Art and Cooking as Science. Scones is Science. The fewer the ingredients in an item the more precise the methodology and application has to be , see, as I said, science. The recipe I use comes from Mary Berry (the Ultimate Cake Book, now republished as Mary Berry's Baking Bible).
8oz Self Raising Flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1oz caster sugar
1. Get the butter out of the fridge so that it softens.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 220° C and lightly grease 2 baking trays.
3. SIFT the flour and the baking powder into a LARGE bowl, then add the butter and rub in the butter. As you rub in, LIFT the mixture HIGH above the bowl and let it fall back in gently. The SIFT, LARGE, LIFT and HIGH help to get as much air into the mixture so your scones are light as a feather and open textured. We are making scones NOT stones. Stir in the sugar gently with a FORK
4. You then get your rolling pin and taking it with, you you go to the farthest point in the house from the kitchen, you put the rolling pin down and return to the kitchen. You don't need a rolling pin for scones.
5. Break the egg into a measuring jug, then make up to 5 fl oz (150ml) with the milk and whisk lightly together. Using a FORK, stir the egg and milk into the flour mixture.- you may not need it all- the temperature and humidity can affect the amount of liquid required (see science again). Mix to a soft but not sticky dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface, knead lightly with your fingertips and pat the dough gently until it is about ½ in thick.
6. Cut into rounds with a STRAIGHT sided cutter using a firm up and down action. Do not TWIST the cutter. Brush the tops of the scones with a little extra milk or any remaining milk and egg. Put the scones on the baking trays and IMMEDIATELY put them in the oven for about 12 minutes or until they are pale and golden brown. Lift on to a wire rack and cool. Eat as soon as possible.
Now all the words in Higher Case/Capitals are what, I believe make my scones the best. It may sound arrogant to say this but I just thought I was making scones, but the public of S.E.London has spoken and I have been praised an embarrassing amount over this. I also refer you to my earlier post "A Tale of Tea Sittings". Sad innit.
Meanwhile back to the Fayre. Hectic it was, we sold out and had to close early. In all £383.26 was made and together with the Hamper money. we made the most money. SO the team was Janet C, Janet Y, Lucy, Maria, me and Ray who just kept the plates coming from the washing up. And you know the really great thing, we can do it all again next year!