Welcome to my friend Amy’s place. Newly separated and having gone from an historic manse to one room with a kitchen and bath, she has triumphed over any kind of needless transitional nonsense. It is a place filled with fresh flowers, bright colors and all of her Granfmother’s china! That is all she needs to pull off one of her high teas.
Above is Amy’s own picture of what she had arranged for me today. I am her 4th sitting since she came to reside here.
The simplicity was the key. Just beautifully sliced strawberries with blueberries. A lovely cream scone – moist. Unsalted butter is a must. An elderberry jam not needed on this voyage. And sandwiches with red pepper/peach jelly and cream cheese and cucumber and ham or any combination of the aforementioned with interesting breads.
The tea was to die for and put up by TAZO: “OM.” It is a blend of green and black teas and natural flavours of cucumber and peach. She was kind enough to give me some together with a scone for the road.
Other parts to this cozy room – just a couple –
Here is her charming day bed she has fitted out with an assortment of custom pillows and covers. You can see the corner of the tea table lower right of photo.
On the wall opposite a lovely small blue upholstered chair next to an antique granite-topped chest adorned with more flowers. To the right of that is her kitchen. All tastefully done with an economy of means but not of effort. So you see, grandmother’s traditions live on in any circumstance if you put your talent and time to it.
From a website called “Smitten Kitchen.”
Dreamy Cream Scones
America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (I used dried cranberries, and chopped them into smaller bits)
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.