Tag Archives: scone

A Rest from Scones

Time, I think, for a change of gear.

We went to Harlow Carr on Tuesday, the Yorkshire coast on Wednesday and Lincolnshire today. On Thursday I went to see my Dad. I’ve eaten scones, sandwiches and afternoon tea, plus a vegan sausage roll. I’ve ticked off another pier and another non-pier. And I have been to three garden centres

As I sit here typing I’m trying to digest two slices of Mrs Botham’s excellent Date & Walnut Spelt Cake. I would have been happy with one slice but Julia likes to ensure I’m well fed. I looked in the mirror last night and can confirm that she is succeeding in her endeavour.

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Scones at Bettys – Devon Style or Cornish Style?

Devon Style – Cream first, then jam on top. Cornish Style – Jam first, then cream on top.

A few days without cake, some exercise and a meal or two consisting of vegetable soup may be in order.

Tonight’s healthy tea was veggie burgers (pumpkin, spinach and quinoa from Tesco’s freezer) with potatoes and organic baked beans.

I thought I’d try something healthy but the beans cost more and had less flavour than the normal budget beans. Back to budget beans, I think.

I did the shopping in Corby last night, on my way back from Peterborough. If you know about Corby you won’t be surprised to learn I bought tinned haggis in addition to veggie burgers and organic beans. Actually you might be surprised – I was. Until last night I didn’t even know it existed.

Sorry for the repeat photos – I wanted to go further back but WP is stopping me.

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

 

The Scone Chronicles – Number Nine

We went to Harlow Carr garden today – the northern garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It was a lovely spring day and the gardens were quite crowded as every pensioner in Yorkshire seemed to be having a trip out.

I’ll cover the gardens in more detail later. For now I will talk about the first scone of our day.

The queue for scones at Bettys Tea House (which is a shed in the garden rather than the posh cafe at the entrance) contained around 30 people when we joined it. Well, when Julia joined it. I have a bad knee – I can’t queue.

(Note – Bettys was originally Betty’s but they have now become Bettys. The increasingly cavalier disregard for apostrophes seems to be mirrored by a general decline in standards and I wonder if the two may be linked.)

Despite the decline in standards and the deficiency in apostophes the staff were absolutely top class. They were quick and accurate and kept smiling as they coped with a constant queue, which averaged 20 people long for at least half an hour. My research method was to count the queue three times while I was sitting there. I can be scientifically rigorous when the occasion demands.

They served Julia with two cups of tea and two scones in boxes (with the jam and cream already applied), and only took £10 off her.

The tea was excellent, despite being a teabag in a vending cup. It probably tasted better because I was drinking it outside on a sunny spring day as a robin sang from a neighbouring tree.

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

The boxed scones were convenient, though they were still rather chilly from storage. They were also, and I’m sorry I can’t come up with another description, a bit tight in texture. Fresh home made scones have a nice open, crumbly texture. Well, mostly. I have had one or two disasters in my time. Commercial scones tend to be closer in texture and come with neat, even air holes.

So, staff, tea and surroundings – excellent. Scones were good, but not as good as the rest of the meal. I felt they weren’t quite as good as some of the other scones we’ve had this year, either. They must be doing something right because they have been going for 100 years this year.

Bettys - 100 years this year

Bettys – 100 years this year

This is not a criticism of the scones, just an observation. You can’t serve thousands of scones without making some compromises.

A Limerick (2)

It has just been brought to my attention in the previous post, by John, of John’s Postcards that a large number of people mispronounce the word scone. It’s not their fault. They have clearly been badly counselled at some time in the past and have failed to correct the error. It doesn’t make them bad people, just misguided, and I decided to write a limerick for them too.

A Mainer, who is quite well known,

noted winter had been knocked from its throne.

She’d grown tired of muffins

and decided that nothing

could compare to a Great British scone.

It’s wrong, and I probably shouldn’t encourage them in their heresy, but in the end I like scones for the way they taste, not how they sound.

 

A Limerick

It grew from a comment Laurie made on my post about scones/muffins. I woke up just after six this morning and wrote a couple of drafts then finished it this evening. It’s not perfect but it will do to spread a little light cheeriness and fill my need for a post a day.

 

A Mainer, who was seldom wrong,

noted winter was nearly all gone.

She’d grown tired of muffins

and decided that nothing

could compare to a Great British scone.

The Scone Chronicles – Number 7 – Done as a Haibun

As usual, there is a queue at the cafe in Sainsbury’s at Arnold. The woman behind the counter is working hard but the system is against her. So is the customer she is serving, who can’t make his mind up.

I have two scones – one cheese, one fruit. Julia sticks with a single cheese scone. We select them, then we wait in line. They are small, neat and hexagonal.

Eventually I go to find a table because my knee is playing up.

The first two tables are too dirty to clean by wiping with a paper napkin. The third is passable, but dirty underneath. They have at least four staff and I’m not impressed. I think of writing a stiffly worded letter of complaint but it won’t do any good and the insincere reply will annoy me even more.

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A dirty floor – Sainsbury’s, Arnold

The cheese scone feels hard as I slide the knife in. It is not a light and fluffy scone, though I had expected this from the small and regular shape.

There are specks of visible cheese, and it tastes good.

The fruit scone is moist inside, in a doughy way, rather than a good way. It still tastes good but looks strange in the camera viewfinder.

A slightly doughy fruit scone

A slightly doughy fruit scone

At one time we would have ordered the cream tea but we are getting too old for all the sugar and fat.

evening draws on

the rotund blogger

photographs his food

 

 

Of Scones and Mills and Shopping Malls and Burgers, Chips and Things…

We went to Hobbycraft after I posted this morning. Julia went to do whatever she does in there and I sat in the car, thinking and photographing and making notes. Green’s Windmill was working so I took a few photos, then decided to take a video. At that point they stopped the mill. Typical.

There was a lot of clutter in the photo so I’ve decided to say that it is meant to represent the Mill in its modern urban setting. What it actually represents is my reluctance to get out of the car and walk around the car park to find a place where I could get a clear shot.

Julia emerged from the shop with bulging bags and we went for an early lunch at Burger King. It was quite pleasant, though I did cough a bit when they asked me an extra 20 pence for barbecue sauce. We won’t be going to Burger King again for a while.

This is probably a good thing, because we shouldn’t be eating junk food.

I won’t complain but I am going to make a note in my diary to write to them in six months and tell them how much money they lost for the sake of 20 pence.

We then went to the shopping outlet just off the M1 in Derbyshire. It’s gradually declined over the years. If you want cheap young person fashions, expensive coffee, shiny kitchen ware or an overpriced watch this is the place for you. Most of the decent shops have closed (including Thorntons) and the bookshop is very boring. This is modern shopping – a soulless process involving shuffling round like a zombie and dying a little bit in every boring, over-priced shop.

Julia bought a diary for next year, and that was that. Even without the poor pickings at the shops it wasn’t a great trip, as the rain was cold and the sky was difficult to differentiate from the dark grey of the roof slates.

From there we slipped down to Denby Pottery.  Julia had seen some in the shop at the outlet and mentioned we ought to look in at the factory shop one day. It’s not far away and I can take a hint. It is her birthday soon and she’s being no help at all in helping me select a present.

It didn’t help once we got to the factory – the gift shop has been dumbed down since we last went and is hard to tell from the average garden centre hell hole gift shop.

However, we did have a very good scone with butter and jam. It was sweet, light and still slightly warm. You’d have enjoyed it if you’d been there. Top marks for that.

After that we went home. I had a snooze in front of the TV then had a bowl of soup before posting. Once I’ve posted I will take Number Two Son to work.

My life is a real roller coaster ride of fun and frolics.

 

 

 

Cream Teas

I mentioned cream teas a couple of days ago, and was asked to provide more details. It seems that the concept of the cream tea hasn’t travelled to America, which is surprising as it contains a lot of fat and sugar, which are what I consider to be two of the main ingredients in American food. Looking at the Wiki entry for clotted cream it seems it would be classed as butter in the USA, which would really confuse things.

The cream tea as we know it dates back to the 1850s, according to the Cream Tea Society. Other sources cite dates of 1931 and even 1964. The latter date is cited by the OED, and I can’t say they’ve exactly covered themselves in glory in this case. I’m sure I’ve seen references to them in the 1920s and 30s (whilst reading classic crime novels and I will make a note when I next see a reference – I haven’t made one before because I didn’t realise I would ever need the information.

There are even references going back to the 10th century.

My mother, who worked in a farm tea shop at weekends in the dim and distant past, remembered making cream teas well before 1964.

TESCO cream tea

The normal cream tea consists of scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream and tea. There is a traditional Cornish version which uses Cornish splits, but I’ve never actually seen one. In the south west I’ve often had it with plain scones, though in the rest of the country it’s usually a fruit scone.

I’ve also had other jam, and in fact I do like apricot jam with my cream tea.

There’s no such latitude with the cream. Cornish Clotted Cream  is a protected product and can only be made in Cornwall from milk produced in Cornwall.

As for the tea to accompany it, I noted that at TESCO you can pay extra and have it with coffee. I’m not sure why, but my view of coffee is not a positive one. Any beverage that is improved by passing through the digestive tract of a weasel is not really one for me.

That just leaves one area to cover – cream first with jam on top (Devon style) or jam first with cream on top (Cornish style). Debrett’s says jam first and cream on top.

It’s like the milk in first debate – there is no right answer.

Misleading picture

Note that they serve it with jam on top. In reality the jam provided with the cream tea has no chunks of fruit in it, so doesn’t look quite so attractive.