High Fives & Cheering

My sister-in-law, Helena, is a real whizz in the kitchen.  Makes just about everything from scratch & uses fresh, local, often homegrown ingredients to start with.  I was excited about a two-week food fest pretty much the day I bought my plane ticket.  Day 1 got off to a cracking start with a simple lunch gathered around the large oak kitchen table, shortly after I had arrived from what seemed like an endless plane ride across the pond & a {very} quick dash down the M3 motorway in Mark’s lovely new Range Rover.

Mark had snagged a few nibbles for the road trip – blueberry oatmeal cookies & chocolate chip cookies (I was staggered & a little spooked, if I am honest, to discover that I preferred the blueberry & oatmeal cookies hands down over the chocolate ones.  NEVER have I chosen oatmeal cookies over anything chocolate before) & a bottle of chocolate milk.  Our communal zeal for chocolate milk began in Perth, Australia when it was so hot the flies wouldn’t fly & switching on the fan was akin to using a hair dryer that didn’t possess a cool setting.  Much to Mummy’s dismay, Mark has now indoctrinated Charlie (who turned 2 the week after I arrived) into the joys of chocolate milk & they can be found, every Saturday, both giggling like children in the dairy aisle at the local supermarket buying a large bottle to share.  Charlie has the most delicious giggle.

After the hugs, high-fives & cheering were completed with Charlie, we scurried to the kitchen where Helena demonstrated her considerable skills at making scones from scratch while also holding the adorable 9-week-old Emma in one arm.

These 15-Minute Cheese & Herb Scones, I swear she made in less than 5, despite only having one arm operationally available.  This has to be one of the simplest recipes ever.  And very yummy.  You will need a scale if you want them to turn out as good as Helena’s.  Weighing is good.  I thoroughly recommend it for all baking.  Holding a baby at the same time, however, is optional.

15-Minute Cheese & Herb Scones (adapted from Quick & Easy Soups)

  • 9 oz white flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs (or whatever your favorite mix is)
  • 2 oz grated Cheddar cheese
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 fluid oz milk

Turn the oven on: 230 C / 450 F.

Sling the dry ingredients, along with the cheese, into a bowl.  Pour in the oil & milk & quickly mix to a smooth dough.

Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface.

Roll out to a circle 1/4 inch thick & then cut into 8 wedges with a pizza cutter.

Place on a baking sheet, brush tops with milk & sling them in the oven.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.  Magically they will rise into golden brown triangles of cheesy yumminess.

 These scones would go well with just about any soup that you love.  Especially with a good slathering of butter atop them.  We had them with Helena’s {adulterated} Pumpkin & Apple Soup.  Adulterated because Helena decided to spice it up a bit with a dash of chili sauce.  Well it was a rather cold, blustery November day.

Here I need to confess that I have failed you.  Alas, in the busy-ness of a household with 2 children under 2 I never got around to purloining the soup recipe from Helena.  I will.  In the meantime you can see what it looks like.  Not that Pumpkin Soup would ever really look much different than what you already imagine.  I mean, pumpkin is orange, after all.  And you can imagine the smooth, buttery, not-too-sweet flavor with just enough of a dash of chili to give it a hint of heat.

{Adulterated} Pumpkin & Apple Soup

UPDATE!  Now showcasing her ability to type one-handed (while trapped on the couch with that beautiful baby girl) Helena sent the recipe over.  (Thanks H!  Miss you!)

Pumpkin & Apple Soup (adapted from Quick & Easy Soups)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 lb pumpkin, de-seeded, peeled and diced
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium eating apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 pints water
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • A few drops chili sauce (or Tabasco if you prefer)
  • half cup of heavy cream

Heat the oil in large pan and fry the onion until golden.

Add all those yummy vegetables, the garlic & the apple and cook for a further 2 mins.

Add the water, brown sugar, coriander, chili sauce.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Liquidize in a blender or use a hand-blender in the saucepan until smooth.

Stir in cream to finish.  You know, a dash of cream just adds that special je ne sais quoi  to the whole luxurious soupy affair.

Butter a scone & dip it right in.

Cold-outside-warm-inside heaven.

(Note from H: “It’s bloody cold still.  Highest today in Bristol was –4.”   More soup required.)

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  • Mark - The adulteration, if I recall correctly, was a two-stage process. First Helena’s grand idea to add chilli and then a second adulteration by me unbeknownst (there’s a good english word) to Helena, involving lots of tasting (so important), seasoning (more tasting) and a final lightening with cream. Yum.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - LOVE pumpkin! Can’t wait to try both recipes. Thanks for sharing them.ReplyCancel

  • cb - Yum indeed M. I do now recall your second (much appreciated) adulteration :-) Great Team effort!ReplyCancel

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