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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

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British Cuisine

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  • #16
    The tea hoarder

    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    And the tea. Ummm. Yes, Earl Grey is a great choice. I prefer with milk (I know, some would frown on that in polite circles) but surely the finest would be Lapsang Souchong with its smoke dried leaves. Paradise. Too good for everyday use. Yes, with milk. But surely the secret of all tea is that it must be fresh. And this is where the supermarkets are mistaken: they encourage us to buy tea in bulk with continuous special offers. We need 20 bags but we end up with 160 and they're stale long before we've used them up.
    Yes, 99% of most types of tea need to be fresh, unless of course its Chinese Pu-Er tea ... in which , the more aged (fermented actually), the better its fragrance & taste.

    Some people even go to the extent of hoarding it, keeping it for years and then (try to) sell their stash for a handsome profit.

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    • #17
      As good as they get!

      Originally posted by GregD View Post
      Here are a couple of pictures of some scones I cooked today, after being inspired by Alan's search for the perfect scone.
      Wow Greg! First attempt? I don't believe it. They look perfect. What fruit did you use? Raisin or sultanta? Colour perfect. Nice division line between top and bottom ...... lovely!

      How about sharing the recipe here for us to try?
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #18
        It was really my first attempt Alan! Thanks for the praise

        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
        Wow Greg! First attempt? I don't believe it. They look perfect. What fruit did you use? Raisin or sultanta? Colour perfect. Nice division line between top and bottom ...... lovely!

        How about sharing the recipe here for us to try?
        Thank you very much Alan. Coming from a sconassieur like yourself it is praise indeed!

        Here is the recipe I used as a guide:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/scones_1285

        There are other scone recipes on the BBC website too. I noticed one suggested adding ground almonds. I considered adding citrus peel - perhaps one day.

        I doubled the quantities because I was cooking them for a large number of people (plus I wanted to stash a few extra for me!)

        What fruit did I use? It just had to be sultanas. Very light in colour and a fruitier flavour than raisins, which I find have a darker, deeper flavour and tend too be chewier. I always prefer sultanas over raisins in cakes.

        I guessed how many sultanas to add after the other ingredients were already mixed - I didn't weigh them out. I think I'll add a few more next time, even though the feedback comments were universally favourable.

        The golden brown colour of the scones came from a liberal brushing of free-range egg with no milk added - re-dipping the brush into the beaten egg for each scone.

        Finally, in order to get the proper 'separation' between top and bottom that Alan mentions - which was generally quite successful in my batch - it's important to 'flour' the cutter each time before cutting out each scone from the rolled-out dough. This helps to let the scone slide out uniformly on to the baking tray, avoiding compressing the edges when trying to manually free them, which seems to prevent the proper separating of the layers. I didn't think of this until after mine were cooked, so although there was good splitting generally, some scones were a bit lop-sided. The solution above seems simple, although I think lightly kneading the dough could be crucial too.

        I'll be cooking more this week I hope, and I'll post the photos here if anyone would like to see them.

        {Moderator's comment: Cannot wait for the pix!}

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        • #19
          Scones - the second attempt

          I've finally got round to posting the photos of my second attempt at making the traditional English scone. I cooked them on Christmas Eve and my family and I ate them on Boxing Day, 26th December.

          I changed the recipe slightly from my first attempt. I used organic butter instead of margarine, full cream milk instead of semi-skimmed. And finally - I forgot the sultanas! AAGGH! After I'd made the scones and placed them on the baking tray to cook, I realised I'd left out the sultanas. I thought it was a disaster, but then I remembered my sister had wanted to have them with clotted cream and strawberry jam (controversial - see Alan's original scone thesis above). I thought with all that gunk on top of them the lack of fruit would not matter so much (your views Alan?).

          As it turned out they tasted really good, and we managed fine without the fruit as the cream/jam did make up for the omission.





          As you can see, the separation is not quite as good as my first attempt. Also I made them with a bigger cutter which has made them seem flatter. I think a good thickness is required and will maintain a closer width-to-depth ratio in future. What I will say though, is that the flavour was excellent - but I still prefer sultanas IN not OUT!

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          • #20
            My Scone Saturday ....

            GregD. Every now and then I come back here to look at your scones. I've decided to make them this weekend. I've picked up some saltanas, organic free range eggs, whole milk etc. I pulled a recipe from the BBC website that was created by James Martin. I'm not sure who James is but it looks like he's part of a show called Saturday Kitchen Best Bites. I'm an avid cook and my wife is an amazing bread maker. I'm hoping she will help me out because I'm not much of a baker.

            Many describe their favourite scone as being flakey. I don't know if they're describing the texture correctly, or they actually are flakey and that's how they like their scones. I would describe my perfect scone as being cakey. The best scone I've ever eaten was made by a group of school children. The texture was dense yet light and fell apart and melted in your mouth after only a few chews.

            More details later.

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            • #21
              A Saturday scone surprise success!

              So, it being Saturday, and having a bit of time on my hands, I popped over to my favorite forum, and there it was, a thread on Scones...thus after a few minutes of reading, off I went to the store to get some of the required ingredients, and back into the kitchen I went! After some 15 minutes of prep and combining, (and forgetting to add the currents!!), into the oven they went, and some 17 minutes later, near perfection! Some Irish butter, a coffee, and jazz on the radio, satiated and happy we were.

              I used a slightly modified recipe from "Cooking with Julia" (Child), substituting Kefir for the buttermilk. Very flakey and moist, another nice bit of Brit cuisine that I like. And yes, we drink a lot of tea at home, mostly English breakfast, bought from a tea shop, thus fairly high turnover, and really tasty!

              Cheers

              George

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              • #22
                First attempt

                Well here's the first attempt at scones. I'm glad to see my post last evening was an influence on George's breakfast. These tasted delicious but I did struggle a bit. I couldn't get the flour to stick to my cut out, so it pressed the edges together which resulted in a little less oven spring than I would have liked. My cut out was also a little larger than I would have liked, so in true American fashion they're too big. I served these with clotted cream and my favorite jam which is sour cherry. I might try one of Nigella Lawson's recipes next time. She doesn't use eggs, and I'm curious to see what kind of consistency that produces.

                This was the first time I've tried clotted cream. Very good indeed. I might have to stir some into my next risotto.

                George and GregD, would you care to share recipes? I'm curious to see variations in consistency as a result of different rising agents as well as eggs / no eggs.

                I hope the picture posts. Never done this before.

                [IMG]C:\Users\laptop\Pictures\2012-06-01 001[/IMG]

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                • #23
                  Baking with Julia (Child) Scones

                  Ingredients
                  3 cups flour
                  1/3 cup sugar
                  2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
                  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                  3/4 teaspoon salt
                  1 1/2 sticks cold unsealed butter, cut into small pieces (6 ounces)
                  1 cup buttermilk (I used Kefir as there is no buttermilk sold in Budapest)
                  1 tablespoon grated orange zest (or lemon)

                  2 tablespoons milk for brushing and cinnamon sugar for dusting

                  Oven 425F
                  Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl
                  Add the cold butter pieces (a few at a time) and with a pastry blender or your fingers work it into the lour mixture till it resembles coarse oatmeal. Don't make it too smooth, the butter chunks add to flakiness.
                  Pour in the buttermilk or Kefir, zest and mix with a fork until just blended into a moist mix. If its a bit dry add a tablespoon of your liquid.
                  Gather it up in a ball and place it on a floured surface, knead briefly (12 turns or so).
                  Flatten into a round disk, so that the dough is about 3/4" to 1" thick. Cut the disk into 8 triangles (like a pie). Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, with the triangle point facing in.
                  Brush the scones with the milk and dust with the cinnamon sugar. Into the oven for 12-17 minutes (till brown as you like)... Let cool slightly and eat...;-)
                  Variations - we ran out of white flour so we added whole wheat, 1 cup white and 2 cups whole wheat. This made them very crumbly, but still very tasty. Very good the next day too...ask me how I know...

                  Cheers

                  George
                  Last edited by Macjager; 03-06-2012, 12:36 PM. Reason: Recipe correction

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                  • #24
                    Scones without eggs?

                    That looks like a recipe I would like to try. I'm glad you're enjoying your scones the next day. I did the same thing this morning. I'm going to have to eat straight fruits and vegetables all week to make up for the way I've treated my body this weekend. We stopped at the local Greek Festival last night and I can't keep myself away from the desserts.

                    Here's the recipe I used, taken from the BBC web site. There was a few more of them, and they did not include eggs.

                    450g/1lb strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
                    5 tsp baking powder
                    pinch salt
                    75g/3oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
                    75g/3oz caster sugar
                    150g/5oz sultanas
                    2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten, plus 2 eggs for glazing
                    250ml/9fl oz milk
                    400g/14oz clotted cream, to serve

                    For the scones, preheat the oven to 220C/450F/Gas 7. Grease a large baking tray.
                    Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, then rub in the butter
                    until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.Stir in the sugar, sultanas and eggs.
                    Stir in the milk with a wooden spoon, a little at a time, to form a smooth dough.
                    Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 2cm/¾in.
                    Dip a 5cm/2in pastry cutter into a little flour and cut out the scones
                    (be careful not to twist the cutter as it will cause the scones to rise unevenly).

                    Beat the two remaining eggs in a bowl and carefully brush the tops of the scones,
                    taking care not to let any run over the edge.Place the scones onto the baking tray
                    and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown.

                    Remove the scones from
                    the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve the warm scones with the strawberry jam and clotted cream.

                    Cheers

                    Don

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                    • #25
                      A royal scone?

                      Sconnoisseurship!

                      A wordsmith as well as designer of my favorite speaker.

                      All this scone talk has me wondering what became of those Lardy Johns and Plum Heavies?

                      Wish I could have been back in England for the parade on the Thames. My day was spent enjoying some favorite classical music to include Handels Water Music.

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                      • #26
                        Scone tips - but not cheese please!

                        Odd that this should be my first post on such a forum, oh well.

                        Any dried fruit is fine for scones, experiment .................. cheese, well forget about that!
                        Milk, use the oldest fullest fat you have in the fridge, the older the better (within reason, i accept no liability here).

                        Always make "too many". They freeze well in sealed containers or those ziploc freezer bags and importantly defrost quite quickly.

                        Use unsalted butter when serving as your scone mix will be perfect already :-)

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