Something for the weekend: a cream tea


There is nothing more satisfying (in our opinion) than homemade cakes displayed proudly on a cake stand. Your kitchen is transformed into a sweet smelling 1920's tea room and you into a smug domestic goddess. Baking is something I have only recently come to enjoy, being more of a slap dash throw it all in together cook, I was always a bit scared by all that measuring. But it really is very simple and the precision makes for more accurate results.

In our house we like nothing more than a cream tea as a treat on special occasions and Easter definitely counts as one of those.
As always with domestic perfection, there are certain rules. A tablecloth is required (preferably an heirloom) a brown Betty teapot complete with hand knitted tea cosy and a cake stand for the scones. Butter, jam and cream should be in separate small pots and tea served in a cup and saucer.

So if you have family coming over the Easter weekend or simply fancy a treat why not give it go. Here is our favourite recipe for scones. Of course it's from Scotland where they are thought to originate from.
You can add dried fruit but we prefer them plain.

Makes about 12

450g/1llb/4 cups self raising flour, or 450g/1lb/4 cups plain flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder

5ml/1 tsp salt

50g/2oz/1/4 cup butter, chilled and diced

15ml/1 tbsp lemon juice

about 400ml/14fl oz/1 2/3 cups milk plus extra to glaze

fruit jam and clotted cream or whipped double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F Gas 8. Sift the flour, baking powder (if using) and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the diced butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine evenly textured breadcrumbs.

2. Whisk the lemon juice into the milk and leave for a minute to thicken slightly, then pour into the flour mixture and mix to form a soft but pliable dough. The wetter the mixture the lighter the scones, but if they are too wet they will spread and loose their shape.

3. Knead the dough lightly to form a ball and roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of at least 2.5cm/1in. Using a 5cm/2in pastry cutter, cut out 12 scones. Place them on a well floured baking sheet .

4. Brush the tops with a little milk and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown. When done remove from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel to keep them warm.

Serve with jam, cream and a generous dollop of domestic satisfaction.

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