Saturday, 25 August 2007

Cinnamon and Sultana Drop Scones

Saturday 11.30am

Saturday morning, all quiet, up late but nothing pressing to do. Nicola is bunged up with the flu so is in bed with Harry Potter. Breakfast calls for something comforting but quick and simple - Drop Scones or Pikelets as they call them here, there is nothing more comforting than something your mum used to make. "Sultana drop scones" says I. "Cinnamon and sultana" says a voice that I cannot place but as the cat cannot speak yet, I think must belong to the two eyes peering at me from a gap in the duvet. Well it is a classic english tea time combination - sugar, Cinnamon and butter, evoking memories of childrens teas with nanny and a moth-eaten but well loved teddybear in the nursery. Not my memories of course - I was brought up on Arctic Roll, Jammy Dodgers and Angel delight, and no nanny either, and my teddy got thrown out when my sister lost her's ( I still have the mental scars ) - this was the sixties not the thirties, but here goes anyway. Drop scones are just thick pancakes really so I start with one egg and half a pint of milk. Add self raising flour a spoonfull at a time and whisk until you get a thick batter that slides lazily off your whisk. Let it rest for a bit. I like a contrast between the scone part and the flavouring so I keep the sultanas seperate and add them during cooking. In a small bowl melt some butter, stir in the sultanas and a good bit of ground Cinnamon. A little bit of butter in a nonstick frying pan, hot but not smoking, drop in a tablespoonfull of batter for each scone and wait. Drop a few sultanas on, and then once the bubbles come to the surface turn them. Once they puff up they are ready but go carefully because the sultanas will burn. Serve warm with butter and sprinkled with crunchy sugar - next time I will add sugar to the batter, the taste was a bit flat and powdery without it, hence the sprinkling - but thats cookery for you.

All done by the way to the sounds of Jack Johnson, Portishead, and Led Zeppelin.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Thursday 1.45pm

Some days are still, quiet, slow. Just waiting. Like today. There is a feeling of spring in the air, but it is still winter. The only sounds are distant birds and faint rustlings in the trees. There are things to do but nothing feels urgent, even cooking on a day like this would be a slow simmering, bubbling away peacefully in the background. A patient, forgiving dish like a stew that will keep no matter how late you are. On days like this it feels good to be alone or with someone you really love so the silence does not intrude awkwardly. Sitting here I have no boundaries, my skin feels dissolved so that I am just part of everything around me, to the distant trees and beyond. If I was a wild animal I would be enjoying the sun, thankfull that I had got through the worst of the winter alive. It is the same feeling I often get when travelling. On trains and planes everything is decided and out of my hands, all I need to do is sit. Things may happen, circumstances will change, but my worrying will have no effect, best just sit and enjoy now. I think Edward Thomas felt this way as well when his train stopped unexpectedly at a small rural station. His poem Adlestrop evokes the feeling beautifully.


Yes, I remember Adlestrop -
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop - only the name.

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917)

Picture is by Nicola of the view when the bus broke down on the way back from a quilting trip to Auckland.
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