When it comes to baking, I’m a sucker for simplicity: the sight of a minimalist recipe with few ingredients and round proportions is just as enticing as the aroma of scones in the oven. For the reason of simplicity alone, I’ve bookmarked a half-dozen scone recipes, such as this cream scone recipe by the Amateur Gourmet. While these blueberry scones are not on that list, I had been meaning to adapt a King Arthur recipe for awhile, and the original recipe was actually less fussy than I thought it would be. These scones may not withstand comparison to a rebirth of their King Arthur predecessors — it’s likely I’ll never know — but no matter, as they are light, tender, and moist, such that each bite melts lushly into oblivion. To my delight, the plump, ripe blueberries generously yielded themselves in runny explosions to the greater cause: I knew they had it in them, those self-sacrificing bundles of joy. But perhaps dried fruit (blueberries or other) would yield better results, scones with more integrity. I liked these best toasted with coffee and a good magazine. A friend recently recounted to me her memorable virgin encounter with blueberry granola pancakes, and a recipe for scones studded with almond granola just caught my eye, so I might have to try adding some next time. A friendly reminder to be generous with your sprinklings of sugar: a sweet crunchy surface makes all the difference.
[This is the second in a series of posts on tea time buffets in Hong Kong.]
“Chocolate afternoon tea” at the Mandarin Oriental — hell yes.
Sorry for not coming up with a remotely creative title.
Being abroad is no excuse for not celebrating Thanksgiving. Like most Americans, I instinctively associate this holiday with two things: family and a buttload of food. Many buttloads, actually. Being the upstanding cultural ambassadors that we are, my ETA cohort and I thus set forth last Thursday to recreate to the best of our abilities the gloriously gluttonous feast that is practically synonymous with the fourth sing kei sei (Thursday) of every sap yut yuet (November).
We decided to host a potluck dinner with some ~50 people (many of them students experiencing Thanksgiving for the first time). Thankfully, I was not responsible for hosting/organizing the event, leaving me free to focus on my two cents of a contribution to the food extravaganza. I had some Chinese sausages lying around and figured they would be great in some cheesy scallion scones. Oh, genius am I.
I figured a combination of Cheddar and cream cheese would lend the scones some pleasant creaminess and tang, and I loosely followed this recipe from Farmgirl Fare. Since I’m a novice with bread, I had no idea how sticky the dough should have been (esp considering the cream cheese). I ended up with a mixture that did not really resemble what I think of as bread dough, but it pulled relatively cleanly from the sides of my mixing bowl, and I figured that would do. The cheesiness went well with the combination of onion-y scallions and sweet sausages, and though a few scones ended up more well done than I would have liked, I really enjoyed the trio of flavors. I wish I could’ve eaten more. Using about 4 cups of flour, I ended up with something like 45 small, loosely heart-shaped scones.
A moment of sheer narcissism:
Here are some of the other dishes made by my partners-in-crime:
A’s jam tart (lemon-lime on the left, black currant on the right):
Prepping some greenery:
At a special request by yours truly, blueberry pie! Without question, my favorite fruit pie
An ad hoc brown sugar pastry made using leftover pie dough, for pre-dinner nibbling:
W’s sweet potato bake with brown sugar and marshmellows, or, death by sugar OD:
Gots to have the mash:
More of G’s pies:
A’s cornbread with bacon:
G’s beloved, hot out of the oven:
G’s crusty pecan pie. I am generally not a fan of pecan pies, as the gooey, nauseatingly sweet innards don’t really appeal to me, but this one was money. Crunching through the top crust layer, I found a pleasantly sweet, almost cake-like interior, which eventually gave way to a dense, rich, buttery finish…pure deliciousness.
Meatloaf and mashed potato ‘cake’:
The dessert table (from top left, homemade whipped cream, jam tart, spiced bread loves, pumpkin pies, and egg custards hiding inside the box):
Good and plentiful food would be nothing without good people to share it with, and thankfully, those were also in abundance that night. While prepping and helping out was time-consuming and mildly stressful, the event was well worth the effort. Alas, I enjoyed whittling the night away with individuals whom I’ve come to see as dear, and at the same time, felt extremely fortunate for my large, eccentric family back home. Happy belated Thanksgiving all!