English Spice & Everything Nice: Easy tea-time treats!

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Can you believe it’s December? How time has flown by- perhaps just for me! I’m in utter shock that we’re almost closing another chapter and embarking on a new year very, very soon. I’ve been taking much more time lately to just sit back and relax- which is quite difficult in a city that has too much to do and not enough time.

Following my Tea Parlour escapades,  I have been feeling very peckish for some English treats. As much of a fan I am of French labels and the classic parisian appeal, there is something quite indulging about everything English and traditional. One of my favourite brands, Cath Kidston engulfs just that. With everything painted English so beautifully the brand goes by the law of modern vintage. You can’t help but need a cup of Earl Grey and a scone with Jam & Clotted Cream to go with whatever you intend to purchase.

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Looking at all the floral patterns and cosy home furnishings I had been left to feel so nostalgic over my baking, leaving all my kitchen goodies in Tripoli and having a near-to empty kitchen canvas to start painting on again has been a tricky one to handle. Every time an idea sparks, I realise my Piper is half way around the world, or my sugar-paste modelling kit tucked away many miles out of reach. To the point of frustration, I headed out to try and find some reasonable bits and bobs that don’t cost too much and are easy to handle to try and ease away my bakingless cause of stress!

Whilst I ranted away to my friends about how inconvenient it was to not have my functioning kitchen in my reach, an idea was touched upon, when I was questioned: Do you really need all those expensive pieces to make something nice? Are you really heavily reliant on them or is it just a pretty excuse?

This had me reeling over it for a few days. Lets be real here, you don’t need a Kenwood Chef or a KitchenAid, a blow torch nor your top of the range god knows what to make something. Good old days where hand whisks and kneading with your bare hands were sufficient- why not try to live in the shoes of a chef in the days before Kitchen mixers were born. Thus, a challenge was born.

What’s easy, english, tastes great and can be made real quick?

– Traditional English Scones

– Traditional Victoria Sponge

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Out came the berries in the fridge, nothing suits more than fresh raspberries and blueberries. Heavy cream, whisked (yes, I cheated with a normal handheld whisk!) and Raspberry Jam to accompany the Victoria Sponge. The Recipe is probably the easiest the cake you can make. Ever!

In a mixing bowl throw in all together in the following order:

Victoria Sponge

150 g flour

150g sugar

150g butter

3 eggs

1 full teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

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Beat for a good 10 mins at least- until the mixture is very light, in colour and texture- divide over 2 tins and bake at 180 degrees for 30-35 mins.

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Whilst the Cake is in the oven, I started on my scones. I use an egg-free dough for these as it’s just quicker and much easier to make.

All you need is:

English Scones

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

100g butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup milk (and a little extra if needed)

Knead the dough gently not to over do it and cut to around 2cm thick circles (or hearts!) of a scone size. Lay on a baking tray and sprinkle some flour on top. My husband likes his scones with raisins, so I divided the mixture and incorporated raisins into one half. This mixture will make around 12-15 scones.

The scones need 200 degrees for around 20-25 mins in the oven. You don’t want to overcook them or when they cool they become too hard to eat. Allow them to turn slightly golden and take them out of the oven. There you have it!

Now, your cake will be cooked and your cream whipped ready to stick your two layers of Victoria Sponge together. I cut some berries and added them with the Jam and Cream then pilled a few more on top, dusted some icing sugar for extra sweetness (and presentation!).

I also tend to trim the edges of my cakes to reveal the paleness of the inside of the sponge. This is optional!

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Happy Baking!

 

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