This wasn't the post I had planned for today, but I was so pleased with a scaled down scone recipe that I didn't want to wait to share it, although it may be just another step into what's beginning to feel like a transformation into Victorian life.
My day revolves around seeing to correspondence - even if it's mostly online, practicing various crafting accomplishments, considering the days menus, doing the flowers, and otherwise staying at home. The big questions facing me this evening are does the dining table want bees-waxing (and does it need a cloth on it), should I turn the rugs so at least they fade evenly, and should I get the watercolours out again? (Yes, maybe, no point at this stage, and no). I'm fairly sure I might be living in a modern dress adaptation of Cranford, and who's around to tell me differently?
In no way helping with the what century is this question, when I went to the market the other day I bought a lot of very cheap raspberries (£3 for what turned out to be a kilo and a half, or just over 3llbs as the market still deals in imperial measurements) which I turned into the raspberry fridge jam from the River Cottage book of preserves*.
Jam needs scones, but scones don't keep well and getting flour has been an issue (as I expect they spent a lot of time discussing in Barchester or Carlingford). Fortunately for times like this there's Delia Smith (I don't have a Mrs Beeton, and Eliza Acton is silent on the subject of scone, probably judging that it was something you should already know how to do. Catherine Brown refers to scones as fine soda bread in 'Scottish Cookery' and has plenty to say on the subject, and whilst I thought I had a copy of F. Marian McNeill's 'The Scots Kitchen', I was wrong). I like Delia's scone recipe anyway, its a proper no nonsense basic recipe that's easy to memorise and easy to make outside your own kitchen.
It also lends itself well to being scaled up or down, and I had managed to get a bag of Self Raising flour recently (the only sort going, and though not as fashionable with recipe writers now, really handy if you're going to get through it quite quickly - and I think I am). Scones for one are actually the ideal amount of scones for two, or one person quite prepared to eat 4 smallish scones in a day (which I am).
Take 4 ounces (110g) of self raising flour, a pinch of salt, 3/4 of an ounce (20g) of butter, a scant dessert spoon of sugar, and 2.5 fluid ounces of milk - alternatively just add it a tablespoon full at a time. Heat the oven to 200C (fan oven, a little higher in a conventional oven). The original recipe says spreadable/room temp butter, but it's such a small amount that it doesn't matter if it's straight out the fridge. Rub the butter into the flour/salt/sugar as quickly and lightly as possible, add the milk little by little mixing with a knife until the scone mix comes together. Don't let it get to wet. Lightly dust a work surface.
Because it's such a small amount, and as scones don't like handling much, the easiest thing to do is form the dough into a rough round about 2 cm high and then quarter it with a sharp knife. Stick in the oven and they should be done in 10 minutes - that's just time to wash up and whip some cream. Take them out the oven and put the kettle on. By the time the tea is ready to drink the scones should be just cool enough to eat. The smaller amounts make everything quicker, so it's not even half an hour between thinking a scone would be nice to eating a scone. Today is also the day that I found with fridge jam at least they're better cream before jam.
*1500g raspberries, 750g of jam sugar, mash half the raspberries in a pan and stir in the sugar, add the rest of the raspberries, heat gently until the sugar melts, then bring to the boil. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes, take off the heat, let it settle for a minute or so then pot into sterile jars. Once cooled keep in the fridge and use within 6 months - it's a very soft set jam, really more of a raspberry sauce, great with all sorts of things and not to sweet.