29 April 2021

Fresh Strawberry Scones

Fresh Strawberry Scones / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fresh strawberry scones popped into my head when I realized it was nearly May, the official, or traditional, start of Strawberry Season in the UK.

It will soon be time for tea in the garden, and these will be on the menu often. I'm dreaming of afternoon tea parties when we're able to do that once again.

Don't use frozen strawberries for this as there is too much liquid, and don't put any sugar on the fresh berries as that will draw out the juices.

If your strawberries seem especially juicy, place the diced berries between two layers of paper towels for about 20 minutes to prevent soggy scones.

Fresh Strawberry Scones (this photo, my watercolor sketch of two strawberries) / www.delightfulrepast.com

If you're one of those people who like a glaze on their scones, you're on your own for that because I am one of those people who don't!

You may or may not want to put a bit of strawberry jam on your Fresh Strawberry Scones—for me, that would be "gilding the lily," as Jacques Pepin would say—but a little Clotted Cream is always in order!

Fresh Strawberry Scones / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Fresh Strawberry Scones


(Makes 16 scones)

1 to 1 1/2 cups (5.75 to 8.625 ounces/163 to 245 grams) diced fresh strawberries (1/4-inch dice)
Finely grated zest of a medium orange
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, coarsely shredded or cut into little cubes
1 large egg (medium, if you're in the UK)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Pay attention to step 3 if you don't want to be one of those people who wastes an egg for the egg wash.

1 Wash and dice the strawberries. Zest the orange. Preheat oven to 500F/260C/Gas10.

2 In 1-cup glass measuring cup stir together milk and cider vinegar; let stand to thicken a bit for 5 minutes or so as you proceed. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle a bit of flour lightly in two 6-inch circles.

Tip: My OXO Good Grips bench scraper has a 6-inch ruler on the edge of its stainless steel blade, making it a perfect multi-use tool for making scones.

3 In medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With your fingers, rub the butter (shredded with the Microplane extra coarse grater) into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal or fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the orange zest and diced strawberries to coat and separate. Add the egg to the soured milk and whisk together; remove 1 tablespoon of the mixture to use as an egg wash. Add the vanilla extract to the measuring cup.

Tip: It’s best to keep ingredients cool. If it’s a hot day, or your hot little hands are making the butter melt, pop your mixing bowl in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.

4 With a large fork stir the wet mixture, a little at a time, into the dry mixture and gently mix until just combined. You may not need to use all of it (or you might need to add a bit more milk); use just enough to make a soft, but not wet or sticky, dough. Do the final mixing with your hand; the dough should not be sticking to your hand or the bowl. Do not knead; there's no need to knead!

5 Divide the dough into two roughly equal smooth balls (no need to weigh, but I love my food scale and know that each half weighs a pound!) and place them on the floured circles and gently pat the dough, dusting with flour as needed, into two 6- to 6.25-inch (15 to 16 cm) rounds. Take a moment to make sure your discs are smooth and flat, almost 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick, and have smooth, straight edges. With a bench scraper or long sharp knife, cut each round into 8 wedges. Pull the wedges out and space them an inch or two apart.

Tip: Again, if it’s a hot day, or the heat of your hands has softened the dough, pop your baking sheet in the fridge to cool the discs off before cutting them into wedges.

6 With silicone pastry brush, brush tops only with the reserved tablespoon of milk-egg mixture. Place in oven, and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400F/205C/Gas6. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Serve with Clotted Cream (or Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method) and Strawberry Jam.

Note: If you are one who prefers your tea in a mug, I recommend a mug with a lid and stainless steel infuser. Makes using loose leaf tea just as easy and convenient as using tea bags.




Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

15 April 2021

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chicken Noodle Soup is the favorite of one of my friends, so when she became ill last month that's what I made for her. It's my go-to soup to deliver to sick friends or to enjoy myself when perfectly well. You'll find the recipe below. 

But speaking of illness, let me tell you about my new thermometer. I love it so much I'm telling you about it and giving one away, which makes sense in the middle of all this this that's been going on for more than a year now.

At my very first inkling of the pandemic I began checking my first aid kit and making sure I had everything we would need to care for ourselves at home. The one item I was not happy with was my thermometer.

Over the years I've tried a number of digital oral thermometers. Without exception, they've made me wish I still had an old-fashioned mercury thermometer. My first complaint is the probe covers. They never work well. "Just insert the thermometer and peel back the strip." No! I always rip up a couple of them trying that then give up on peeling back the paper strip and just use it that way. Not pleasant.

If you have a child, you know how difficult it can be to place the thermometer correctly under the tongue and then get the little squirmer to keep his or her mouth closed for 30 seconds. I feel sorry for those having two sick kids at once and dealing with that and the pesky probe covers. No thanks.

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com
ThermoWorks Wand
non-contact digital forehead thermometer
Giveaway

So 13 months into the pandemic I decided it was time to upgrade to a non-contact digital forehead thermometer. I had been looking at various ones for several months, then I realized that ThermoWorks made one (actually, two—this one, Wand, and a Bluetooth version, Wand Blue, which you techie people can read about for yourselves). Knowing what quality products they make, I had to have their ThermoWorks Wand.

Love it! Turn it on, hold it about an inch from center of forehead, press and hold the Start button until you hear a beep, about 1 second, read the temperature, then turn it off or let it turn itself off in 60 seconds. I had fun playing with it, then took out the batteries for storage until such time as one of us gets sick. 

But back to the soup. I made it with ingredients on hand, which meant boneless skinless chicken breasts. You can also use bone-in skin-on chicken breasts or thighs. And, of course, you can increase the amount of ginger, crushed red pepper, and turmeric—all thought to have health benefits—to suit your own taste.

Tell me your favorite thing to eat when you're sick. Or well. And, if you (or a gift recipient) are in the US, enter the giveaway below. Stay safe and well.

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Chicken Noodle Soup


(Makes about 3 1/2 quarts)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) boneless skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) peeled and diced carrots
1 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) diced celery
Some of the celery leaves, chopped
1 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) diced red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 cups (40 fluid ounces/1.18 liters) water
4 cups (32 fluid ounces/946 milliliter) lower-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups (8 ounces/227 grams) mini farfalle

1 In large pot (I use a 5.5-quart Dutch/French oven), heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook the chicken until done, salting and peppering* lightly. Remove to a plate to cool.

* I measure out the salt and pepper into two tiny prep bowls and use them throughout the recipe.

2 Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and cook the onion, carrots, celery, and red bell pepper, adding a bit of the salt and pepper, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped celery leaves, thyme, marjoram, ginger, crushed red pepper, and turmeric.

3 Stir in chicken broth, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken and remaining salt and pepper (or to taste), and continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Stir in mini farfalle, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.


ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway - Chicken Noodle Soup / www.delightfulrepast.com

ThermoWorks Wand Giveaway


This giveaway is open to readers in the US* who are 18 years of age or older. To enter, leave a comment below (one entry per person). Tell me why you want a Wand. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. If your name is drawn and I have no way to contact you, you will be disqualified. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday April 28.

* If you are outside the US but would like to have this sent to someone you know in the US (you would have to send them a gift card separately on your own), go ahead and enter!

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday April 29. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Saturday May 1, a new winner will be selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Disclosure: ThermoWorks provided a Wand for review purposes and one for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

01 April 2021

Persimmon Oat Cookies

Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com


Persimmon Oat Cookies hit the menu in springtime because I had the foresight in autumn to puree and freeze my surplus of ripe Hachiya persimmons. I can't resist buying some every week while they're in season and end up freezing a nice little stockpile of half-pint jars to bring out whenever I like.

Oatmeal cookies are just about my favorite because I love the chewy texture and the fact that they're a bit more nutritious than most. The persimmons are just an added bonus in both flavor and nutrition. A cookie you really can have for breakfast!


Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com
Of course, I couldn't put up a painting of a jar of puree,
so here's one I did of the fruit when it was in season.

I packed up a dozen of them and trotted them down to a neighbor as a little thank-you. You see, there was an incident just the day before. I opened my door to see if a package had been delivered and a neighbor cat tried to sneak in. I did my usual maneuver where I partially close the door behind me and go out and pet the cat.

Of course, you know what happened next. The door slammed shut behind me, and there I was, home alone, locked out, no mask, no keys, no phone. It would be anywhere from 2 1/2 to 4 hours before my husband would be coming home. I'll skip all the amusing details and just say that the guy three doors down really looked after me, brought me a chair, etc. 

Sitting on the door mat for 2 1/2 hours would not have been too comfy. Still, I was glad it wasn't 4 hours. Good thing the neighbor cat who started all the ruckus stuck around to keep me company the whole time!

Another persimmon recipe: Steamed Persimmon Pudding - Instant Pot or Not.

Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Persimmon Oat Cookies


(Makes 3 1/2 dozen)

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 cups (10.5 ounces/300 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) chopped pecans
3/4 packed cup (3.75 ounces/106 grams) raisins
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cool room temperature
1 1/4 cup (8.75 ounces/248 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
2 large eggs (medium in UK)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (6.625 ounces/188 grams) persimmon puree

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In small bowl, stir a tablespoon of flour mixture into the raisins, separating the clumps. Stir the floured raisins, along with the oats and nuts, into the flour mixture.

2 In large bowl with electric hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Use a wooden spoon if you need to; mixture must be smooth and well creamed. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then the persimmon puree. Stir in the flour-oat mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to a few days. (Very cold dough will need to sit at room temperature for a bit to become more scoopable.)

3 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Drop #40 scoops* (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. With a glass (I use a 2 1/4-inch diameter flat-bottomed 1/3-cup from my stainless steel measuring cup sets), press each scoop into a 2 1/4-inch round. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, or until brown around the edges but still a little soft in the center.

Note: My favorite kitchen timer of all time!

4 Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container. I use these Pyrex 11-cup rectangular storage dishes with lids as cookie jars, among other

things. One holds half a batch of these cookies.
 
* If you don't have one of these #40 scoops, you need to get one now! How do people make cookies without it!

To freeze dough: Drop scoops of dough on foil-lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly, as directed above. Freeze, then wrap.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

18 March 2021

Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method

Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method - An Afternoon Tea Essential / www.delightfulrepast.com

As I pointed out in my
Clotted Cream Tutorial, clotted cream, which doesn't sound that appealing to the uninitiated, is the delectable accompaniment to scones that elevates that simple bake to an Occasion. And, of course, it has other delicious applications.

While I couldn't be happier with my Clotted Cream - Oven Method, I have friends whose oven either does not have that low of a temperature setting or does not hold a very steady temperature or will time out before 12 hours is up. I even have friends in studio apartments without an oven. So I wanted to come up with a good and easy stovetop method.

As with the oven method, this does not require your standing at the stove for hours on end. Once you get it going, you can pretty much just go about your business. This must not be stirred or jostled, so it benefits from benign neglect once you have your just-barely-a-simmer temperature established.

Do you love clotted cream as much as I do?


Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method - An Afternoon Tea Essential / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Clotted Cream – Stovetop Method


(Makes about 1 cup)

1 pint (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) heavy whipping cream


1 Fill base of double boiler with water to about 1.5 inches (in mine, that means 1 quart). Bring to barely a simmer. Place double boiler insert over the water. It must not touch the simmering water.

Tip: If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl over a large saucepan.

2 Pour 2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) of heavy whipping cream into top of double boiler. The cream should not be more than 1 inch deep. Leave the lid off. Check by ear every once in a while to make sure the water is barely simmering. If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should register somewhere in the 185F/85C to 200F/94C range.

3 Gently heat the cream at barely a simmer, uncovered, never stirring, for 4 hours. Being careful to not slosh the cream around, remove the top pan from the base and set it on a wire rack to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Then cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

4 Lift up a "corner" of the chilled clotted cream and pour off the liquid* underneath into a 1-cup glass measure; use it in your next batch of scones, pancakes, or whatever you happen to be making. Scoop up layer of clotted cream into jar or serving dish. Keeps for several days, covered and refrigerated. Or you can freeze it

* When you pour off that liquid, you don't have to get every last drop out. Usually the underside of the clotted cream layer is quite wet and might actually drip as you spoon it into a container. The contents of the container can seem quite wet, but it all melds together in the refrigerator.

Note: These cute little 4-ounce freezer-safe canning/storage jars with plastic caps are perfect for clotted cream. One recipe makes two jars. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

04 March 2021

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com


Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert is a little something I invented one day when I wanted to eat a dessert but didn't want to go to the trouble of making one. You know what I'm talking about?

I mean I was soooo tired that the easiest of my easiest desserts sounded like waaaayyyy too much trouble. So I thought about the ingredients I had on hand and came up with this. The batter is simply my Yorkshire Pudding batter (minus the savory elements).

For those of you who may not know, toad-in-the-hole is a traditional British dish of sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter. And now I've turned it into a dessert.

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com


Precise times are included in the instructions because, just as a souffle is best served immediately, this dessert is at its best when served fresh out of the oven. Tastes fine later, but you'll want everyone at the table to see it before it, like a souffle, falls.

I make it in a Pyrex dish, so it's especially important to rest the batter for at least the full hour. The rest gives it a better rise, and it also ensures you won't be cracking your glass baking dish by pouring cold batter into a hot dish.

Hope you'll give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert


(Serves 4 to 6)

The Batter

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

The Apples

3 large baking apples (I used Pink Lady apples weighing about 6.5 ounces each)*
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

* If your apples are smaller, use four; the idea is to have apple quarters making a pretty solid layer.

1 An hour and a half before serving time, make batter. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon (to "sift"). Whisk in eggs and water; when smooth, whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Cover and let stand for an hour. Generously butter (using about a tablespoon) the bottom of an 8x8x2-inch baking dish.

An hour and a quarter before serving time, preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7 for 15 minutes while proceeding with recipe. Peel, quarter, and cut away the cores of 3 large cooking apples and arrange them in the buttered baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle it over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes. Melt the butter; set aside 1 tablespoon of it to cool. Remove apples from the oven. Quickly heat the 2 tablespoons of melted butter in the microwave and pour it over the apples.

Whisk the cooled tablespoon of melted butter into the batter. Pour the batter over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350F/180C/Gas4 and continue baking for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately. The ideal accompaniment is Custard Sauce, but vanilla ice cream or whipped cream will do in a pinch.

Tip:  Do not open the oven door to take a peek for at least the first 30 minutes. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean
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