It has been a scrumptious weekend so far, I am happy to report, even though the weather is still decidedly unseasonal for August! A dear friend got married yesterday, and it was a beautiful day…the bride was elegant and very Kate Middelton, the bridesmaids carried sunflowers, and we had hog roast and Pimms in a marquee at the ancestral home of the Petre family, Ingatestone Hall. As well as being a very happy occasion, and seeing lots of friends from school, and suddenly realising we have been friends for half our lifetimes, it was also memorable for the weather. We arrived early for the service as the trains do not often run to that village, and emerged into pouring rain. As we got to the church, the sun shone, and happily stayed out for the bride and groom to emerge into a flutter of confetti…of which there would have been more, but the breeze had blown up, and scattered most of it back at the confetti throwers! As we got to Ingatestone Hall, we had hail! Hail in August! I felt so sorry for the waiting staff, who were standing out in the courtyard to meet us with glasses of Pimms. Needless to say one and all hurried inside!
There were more beautiful touches…a jazz band playing throughout the evening, and after dinner, an old fashioned ice cream cart which also served candy floss and popcorn! It was also a memorable day because the sister of the groom, who had been going to be a bridesmaid, gave birth to her first child, and their parents very first grandchild! A little girl arrived while we were in church singing the final hymn of the service! The father of the bride gave a funny and touching speech, and some time round midnight, a little band of us walked through the dark country lanes back to the railway station, and from there home to bed for a welcome cup of tea.
We woke up a little sleepy-eyed today to a grey day which has been full of showers. We did get out for a little walk in a brief respite, and when we got back I was seized by the urge to bake. I think it was partly that I have been reading another in the Laura Childs Tea Shop Mystery series, and partly because of seeing my latest craft project all finished (little tea cups that I have turned into candles. The cups and saucers are pale cream with a spray of roses on them, and I have filled them with pale pink wax to turn them into candles). Where it is so Autumny I wanted to scent the flat with baking and had some locally grown Bramley Apples, so I have made an Apple Scone Ring. This is a recipe that I first made at school, in cookery lessons (which had the uninspiring name of Food Technology!). I have tinkered with it a little over the years, and it is now like this:
Apple Scone Ring
On an autumn-feeling rain speckled Sunday, preheat the oven to 160 oC. Don’t even stop to put on a pinny, but weigh out 8oz of self raising flour, and sift it into a bowl with 1tsp baking powder. Rub in 2oz of butter or margarine, and stir in a tsp of cinnamon and 2oz caster sugar. Grate in a medium cooking apple, skin and all, but avoid the core and pips as much as you can. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough, and add a tiny bit more flour if it is too sticky. About 1/4 pint of milk should do it. Lightly pat out to a round about 1/4 inch thick on a baking tray. Brush the surface with milk and scatter with a little more sugar, either caster or soft brown. Perhaps add a little more cinnamon. Score into 6-8 wedges, and bake for 20-5 minutes. Err on the side of caution as it goes from golden to burnt in the blink of an eye.
When they are cooked, you should be able to smell apple and cinnamon wafting through the rooms. You can cut the scone almost as soon as it comes out of the oven, although it is a more comfortable eating temperature after 5 minutes or so. These are not delicate afternoon tea scones, more rustic high tea scones. I never split them or add cream and jam, but if I was going to, a cream flavoured with a little ginger would probably go very nicely indeed.