Category Archives: Breakfast, brunch and tea time

Pumpkin Scones

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I love Fall! The colours, the air, the food… the fact that I can wear my boots and hats again… I complain for the first couple of days “Boohoo, the Summer is gone” but then the magic of Autumn kicks in and I forget all about the beach and picnics at the park.

This October however, the weather hasn’t been great. We seem to live under a constant grey cloud that every once in a while drips all over the place. I mean, look at this photo of Autumn taken 3 years ago, in my garden:

My garden today...
My garden today…

That is what I think about when I think of Autumn: all those lovely colours, and the sunlight that falls golden on the trees and the grass. This year, we seem to be living in Victorian London: a grey, wet, dark place where all colours go to die… dramatic, me? Never! ūüėČ

Enough of complaining about the weather! while waiting for bluer skies I decided to go back to baking. I had a tin of pumpkin pure which had been languishing at the back of my cupboard for 3 weeks now, so I decided to put it to a good use, before Autumn was over.

I decided to make these scones which are soft, spicy and have a lovely orange colour. They are a bit flatter than regular ones, and the dough is a bit more wet than the usual scone dough (because of the pumpkin pure), that means it is stickier and needs gentle handling, but they are worth the bit of extra effort.

Ingredients (8 scones):

120 grs plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

30 grs butter

pinch of salt

80 grs pumpkin pure

50 ml milk (or buttermilk or yoghurt)

1/2 cup maple syrup (if you prefer you can replace it with 20 grs sugar, and add a bit more milk, almost 80ml).

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

a pinch nutmeg

Half a cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze:

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice.

DSC07506How to:

Note: A key to good scones is to make sure that your oven is preheated at 220 C, if you place scones in a cold oven they won’t¬†rise, and they’ll turn out tough and flat.

1.- In a bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder (and the sugar, if you are using instead of maple syrup). Add the butter to the flour and rub together until you obtain something that resembles a grainy, sort of sandy mixture:

DSC074642.- Then add the walnuts to the mixture of flour.

3.- In another bowl mix the maple syrup (if using), pumpkin pure, milk and spices.

DSC074664.- Use a cornet to help yourself form a dough. It will be sticky, if it is too wet, add some more flour, but try to keep the dough on the wet side of things, that will make softer scones.

5.- Tilt the dough into a floured surface and roll out to 2 cm. thick:

DSC074726.- Use a 5 cm plain, round pastry cutter to stamp out as many rounds as possible and lay them in a baking tray covered with baking parchment:

DSC074737.- Knead the trimmings again and cut out more rounds.

8.- Place in the oven for 20 minutes. If they are not ready after 20 minutes, bring the oven down to 160 C (to avoid burning) and cook for further 10 minutes.

9.- Let them cool. Meanwhile prepare the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the orange juice. Pour the glaze over the scones and let it dry.

Hope you like them! Happy Autumn!

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Argentinean sweet fried cakes

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Still fighting the Sunday blues on a Tuesday? Try this Argentine remedy for rainy days and Sundays that seem to go on forever…

“Tortafritas” are the Argentinean treat of choice for rainy days. They go great with mate¬†and their warm sweetness keeps the blues away.

During a rainy weekend someone in my family was always bound to go…. “Shall we make tortafritas?” Because you make them, you don’t buy them (thankfully they are easy to make). If you are lucky, like I was, your Grandma will make them for you.

They are sweet, completely soft on the inside, and with crunchy sugar on the outside; eat them as soon as you finish making them, so they are warm and sweet, and you’ll never EVER forget this recipe.

They are super easy to make and they cook fast, their only two drawbacks ( I may as well mention them) are that a) you will never call them “healthy” or “low-cal”, so just don’t make 100 and b) they are fried and in a city as humid as London, the smell of frying tends to linger. As long as you are aware and you don’t care, go ahead, they are really worth it ūüôā

Ingredients ( makes 8 big ones, like the ones in the photo or 16 smaller ones):

125 g plain flour

125 g raising flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 and a half spoonfuls of melted lard.

150 ml tepid water

1 cup of sugar (to coat/sprinkle on top. Beware: not icing sugar!)

Oil, to cook them in.

How to:

1.- In a bowl place the two types of flour and the salt and mix together. Make a well in the middle.

2.-  Add the water and melted lard to the well and mix with your hands. You will have a sticky dough at first, but knead it a bit and it will soon stop sticking to the bowl.

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3.- Once you have a dough that is not too sticky, form a roll and divide it into 8 portions. Then shape each of the portions into a ball. They will be the size of a golf ball. The tortafritas will plump and spread a bit during cooking, so if you’d rather have tortafritas the size of cookies, make two balls out of each portion of dough.

Let the little dough balls rest for 20 minutes covered with a clean tea towel or cling film.

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4.- Place a pan in the fire with oil, while it heats up, let’s finish shaping the tortafritas. Take one ball at a time, and flatten it with a rolling-pin till they are 2-3 mm thick, then, using a knife, make two incisions in each piece.

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5.-¬† To test the oil, place a small bit of dough in it, if it starts bubbling and sizzling away, then the oil is ready to be used, otherwise you’ll need to wait for a few minutes or bring the heat up. Once the oil is ready, place one or two tortafritas at a time. Cook on one side and then turn to even the colour.

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6.- As you take the tortafritas out of the oil, place them for a few seconds on some kitchen roll to absorb excess of oil and then place them in the sugar on both sides till they are covered in it.

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To add some different flavours to the mix:

Add cinnamon to the sugar and get cinnamon tortafritas

Add orange zest to the sugar and get citrucy flavoured tortafritas

Add some vanilla essence to the mix to get vanilla tortafritas.

Eat warm and be happy!!

Namaste and Bon Appétit!

Paula