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.


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

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.


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.