Thursday, September 21, 2017

Afternoon delight

Last week I received an email from a friend inviting our family to participate in the Great Day Out organised by the British embassy in Yangon on December 7. This will be a good chance to taste the scones for which Britain is famous, as well as to enjoy sandwiches and afternoon tea. Yum!

My friend also asked me to share my fusion recipes based on these famous British foods. I loved the idea!

I really enjoy English afternoon tea and everything that goes along with it: making the house look nice, and dressing up to have a tea party with your best mates. Sitting around eating and chit-chatting sounds so relaxing, but for the host there is always a bit of kitchen drama beforehand. Don’t worry – there are always tricks for making it easier. Email me if you want to know more.

Making scones with my daughter is lots of fun. She loves baking, and scones are easy to make. As usual, though, some of the basic baking ingredients are not always easy to find in Myanmar, so you might need a bit of planning.

Thankfully, I’ve saved a few bags of self-rising flour for just such an emergency. Apparently, it’s currently out of stock at a few supermarkets around town, but you might be able to find it at bakery supply stores.

Don’t be tempted to substitute the lemon juice with lemonade, though, unless you have an imported brand you’re familiar with.

Basic scones

• 3 cups self-rising flour

• 300ml fresh milk

• 100g butter

• 2 tsp baking soda or sodium bicarbonate

• 2 tsp caster sugar

• 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200-220C. Leave the butter at room temperature so it will mix easily with the flour. Mix the milk and lemon juice and set aside.

Add the flour through a sieve into mixing bowl. Form a well in the middle of the flour and add the butter. Using your fingertips, mash the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of fine bread crumbs.

Make another well in the middle, and pour in the lemon juice and milk mixture. Then mix them well until they become doughy. Don’t press too hard.

Transfer the dough onto a kitchen bench that has been lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough gently few times, then pat it lightly with your hands to form a flattened mass about 2-2.5cm high.

Use a cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut the dough into circles roughly 3cm in diameter. It should yield about 20 pieces.

Arrange them on baking tray lined with grease-proof paper, brush them with milk, and shove them in the oven and bake 10 minutes.

To check if they’re ready, push a small skewer or toothpick into the scones and then remove it. If there is no sticky dough on the skewer, the scones are done.

Cool them on a wire rack, then serve with berry jam and cream.

To make vanilla cream, whip 250ml of thickened cream or whipped cream with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until the mixture becomes foamy and creamy.

British people love cucumber sandwiches on hot afternoons. The sandwiches are so refreshing, and they’re an important part of the menu for afternoon tea. They taste great with salt and pepper, but being Burmese, I need something else to go along with them. Some Australian recipes use anchovy butter, so I made my own version using balachaung butter.

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