22 March 2009

English Country Cooking At Its Best

Caroline Conran is a wonderful cookbook writer. She has a wealth of old cookbooks she uses as background for her recipes. She writes lovingly about the Britain she knows and lyrically about her adopted France.

English Country Cooking At Its Best is filled with old-fashioned English cookery that seems fresh and new under Conran’s pen. The book is scattered with great photographs of the English countryside that resemble a set for a Masterpiece Theatre production.

In introducing her recipe for Bramble Scones she writes:
“This is a lovely autumn recipe, particularly useful in the country when you have been out walking and picked a few handfuls of blackberries, but not enough to make jam or jelly.”
Well, I often venture into the garden and return with a scant handful of berries and end up tossing them into a freezer bag for later. I can’t wait for berries to return so I can make a batch of these.

Bramble Scones

3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter, diced
2 oz blackberries, very ripe
2 Tbsp cream
milk and sugar for glazing

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Sieve the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl, rub in the butter with your fingers until it looks like coarse crumbs, then drop in the blackberries.

Mix the cream in with your fingers, adding a little more if necessary to make a light, soft dough. Work lightly – the less handled the better. Roll the dough out lightly 1/2 inch thick and cut into 2 1/2 inch circles. Brush with milk, sprinkle with coarse sugar, place on a buttered and floured baking sheet and bake for 10 –15 minutes.

Eat the scones while they are still warm, buttered. You can use well drained frozen blackberries instead of fresh --they are very good too. They look very rustic (a little uneven) – and wonderfully home-made.

So her husband is a billionaire, big deal, the girl can cook.

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