Saturday 14 April 2007
CASUAL CREAM TEA
Since Sam from Becks & Posh announced that she would be running Fish & Quips, an English food event, in time for the much ignored St George's Day I have been thinking of things to make. After running through a number of options I think I have finally decided but, in the meantime, I decided to go for a precursor to the main event. When I was a lot younger I used to love baking scones, this wouldn't be very interesting apart from the fact that I didn't much like eating them. I used to make them and then tuck into a crumpet or a piece of toast while everyone else enjoyed my scones then, one day, it all changed and I realised what I had been missing, I also realised that the only time I really like having strawberry jam is on scones and that even though I don't actually like strawberries anything else just seems a bit wrong. So today, in preparation for an afternoon of excitement watching the Grand National, I decided to make myself a cream tea. This is usually seen as being pretty posh so here is my slightly more relaxed version, the essentials are the same but the tea is made the way I drink it at home.
I went back to the old faithful scone recipe from Delia, bought fresh clotted cream, Duchy's Originals strawberry jam, and got baking. The scones were as good as only freshly made scones can be, the clotted cream was rich and yellow with that gorgeous crust on top, and the jam was superb. And to wash it down I made my perfect mug of builders' tea, for those of you not versed in this wonderful tradition here are the basics:
1) put a teabag into a mug
2) boil the kettle
3) fill the mug with water
4) leave the tea to brew for a minute before squashing the bag around a bit with your teaspoon. The point (in my mind) is to extract as much flavour as possible from the teabag without letting it start to taste stewed as stewed tea is horrendous.
5) fish out the teabag
6) add sugar if you take it, I take one teaspoon
7) add a good slosh of milk
I know plenty of people who hate tea made like this as they find it way too strong but I love it and even though I don't drink tea very much it is always taken like this. Finally, sit down and tuck into your scone and drink your tea and try not to be too disheartened that your one bet of the year was leading all through the last fences but still managed to not even place.