Monday, September 6, 2010

The destruction of good intentions (among other things)

As I blithely drove towards Timaru on Friday night, I had no inkling of what was to happen to Christchurch in my absence. My main reason for going to Timaru was so my clever Daddy could fix the brakes on my car, but while I was there, I hoped to cook Mum and Dad dinner on Saturday night (if they would let me get away with it) and also planned to produce some chelsea buns for Fathers' Day on Sunday.

The events of early Saturday morning, however, put paid to my intended cooking, and we headed up to Christchurch as soon as we could, myself to check on my house and cat, my parents to help Nana clean up at her place. Astonishingly, Dad, like the legend he is, still found time to fix my car before we left. Thanks Dad!

As it turned out, I was one of the lucky ones: there was no damage to my house, just a few bits of toppled furniture and fallen plants. Within an hour of returning home, I had the place cleaned up, the cat calmed down, and was snuggled up on the couch - uncomfortably aware that as I sat, warm and safe in my cozy little flat, hundreds of fellow Cantabs were seeking shelter in school halls and similar, their own homes unfit for habitation.

I spent a large part of my Sunday out walking. Distracted by the carnage in my neighbourhood, it was late evening before I considered the possibility of carrying out just one of my original intentions for the weekend.

My neighbour Vera usually looks after Moby whenever I go away. I often bake her some cheese scones (p32) - always using the Edmonds recipe - as a thank-you. This weekend I had even more to thank her for, as she'd been kind enough to check the earthquake damage to my house and report back to me, waiting anxiously but impotently in Timaru.

I'd intended to make the scones this afternoon, and take them over around afternoon tea time. This didn't eventuate, as I ended up unexpectedly going into work - not a disappointment, as I preferred making myself useful to kicking my heels around the house. It did mean, however, that I wasn't able to make the scones until this evening.

Luckily, they're pretty quick to make. I've been using this recipe for years - it's easily my most-used recipe in the Edmonds book, and I always get good results from it. I have heard that other people don't necessarily have much luck with this recipe though, so maybe I just have a knack with scones.

Basically, I follow the recipe, but always use canola spread instead of butter, and I make sure I rub the spread in very thoroughly with my fingertips instead of cutting it through with a knife as per the recipe. I also find that I don't need the full 1 1/2 cups of milk - 1 cup is enough if you mix it carefully. Also, I usually mix the dough with my hands - I have no idea if it improves the scone, it's just a habit of mine.

The recipe indicates twelve scones from this recipe, but I find they come out very small if I make that many. I form my dough into a square and cut it into nine - usually very inconsistent in size since I seem incapable of cutting evenly-sized scones.

Anyway, my scones - the big ones from the centre and the piddly little corner ones - went into the oven, brushed with milk and topped with extra grated cheese. 10 minutes later I had a batch of lovely puffy golden scones. Though the batch was for Vera, I couldn't give them away without a little quality control testing, so I selected one of the corner ones to try.

Light, fluffy, and hot from the oven, the scone I tried was so good I was tempted to keep more of them for myself, but of course I didn't. I popped over to Vera's with plate in hand; unsurprisingly, the scones were well received. Vera was particularly pleased to have the scones: she'd been unable to get any bread at the supermarket today, what with limited supply and people frantically stocking up on essentials. Scones would make a pleasant substitute for the time being.

After a pleasant chat with Vera, I returned home, feeling pleased that the earthquake hadn't swept away all my plans for the weekend - I managed to complete one of my intended recipes, at least!


  1. The scones look great. I, too, like the Edmonds scone recipe. I've used it a surprising number of times here in Japan, actually! It's one of the few things that works fairly well over here.

    Glad to see some semblance of normality returning to life in CHCH, even if it's as simple as a batch of scones!

  2. I would have preferred the Chelsea buns Drat the earthquake!


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