Monday, May 24, 2010

Scones from London

Our rafting friends found some wonderful scones in Knightsbridge in London while touring Europe. Scones would be easy to duplicate on a rafting and camping trip! Get that dutch oven ready for a very special treat!
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1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of unsalted butter(cubed very cold)
1/4 cup of fine sugar
1/4 cup of currants(optional)
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon of cream of tarter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
small amount of milk (only if batter becomes too thick)

Mix all ingredients together with your hands, but don't mix too much or it will make the dough tough.*

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut small circles using a small glass turned upside down. Place on a silpat, parchment paper or seasoned dutch oven. (Just remember to use a seasoned dutch oven & you can forgo the parchment paper or silpat)

Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.

Place in pre-heated oven 450 for 8 to 10 minutes

Serve immediately with warm butter, cream and any jams that strikes your fancy.
This recipe serves four. Not to be saved, but enjoyed immediately with your favorite tea, coffee or fruit juice!

* Our Secret Chef says, "Don't over work the dough! Mix once and then roll-out; otherwise, you will end up with hockey pucks instead of tender, flaky scones! There is such a joy in baking these wonderful morsels of schoonbrood!"

... a little history about the scones:

Scones origins go back to Scotland where the Scots formed them into small round flat breads called "schoonbrood." The first mention of this word was in 1513 and was likely originated from the Middle Dutch. The Scottish would cut the flat breads into triangular wedges reflecting the current shape today. Today, the flat breads are called bannock and the cut out triangles are called scones.

Scones are popular in United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United States. Most are made with wheat, barley and/or oatmeal. They are usually served with tea, Devonshire cream and jams.

Note: We think our friends will be surprised to see this on their group rafting trip this year!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Riviera Swiss Chard

Traveling in Europe, our rafting friends attempted to cram both travel and food in a two week tour of London, Paris & Rome. Both women have been on many trips together in the outdoors enjoying skiing, rafting, and hiking. This was their first time traveling in the civilized confines of tourism. Many memories of their time together have them coming back for more as they plan another camping and rafting trip with us next month! Enjoy their recipe... it may be on the WET menu soon!

Call me a francophile, or just a strong lover of simple Whole Foods. Over the years, I have explored and tried Provencal cuisine and have also tried many recipes using a few twists of items I have added, or omitted. It is not fancy food as so many may think, but simple and clean, and utilizing what is in season.

Here is one of my favorite side dishes that can accompany fowl, meat or fish. Make this on your next dinner party or camping trip. It will surely be a hit!

Riviera Swiss Chard
Serves four

I bunch of Swiss chard
3 Tblsp of unsalted butter or 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
1 tsp of honey
1 Tblsp of finely chopped rosemary
1/3 cup of golden raisins roughly chopped, or left whole, depending on preference
2 Tblsp of roasted pinenuts
A pinch of Fleur de sel, or salt, and cracked pepper to taste.

Note: Swiss chard sometimes has a bitter taste unless you have a fresh resource such as a Farmer's Market. You can take the bitterness away by putting lemon juice on it during cooking.

Prepare all ingredients before hand, as this dish cooks in minutes.

Remove the stems from the leaves and the thick part of the vein which runs down the leaves. then roughly chop. ( remenber this is a rustic dish)

In a large frying pan preferably cast iron, melt the butter or olive oil until the pan begins to smoke. Add the Swiss chard immediately with rosemary and stir well to coat all the leaves. Cooking time is quick so it should only take a minute or two. Add the raisins, and the roasted pinenuts, and serve immediately.

Read their story on the California Whitewater Rafting WET River Trips blog on their adventures in London, England.

Thank you for the lovely swiss chard photo!