Recipe Post: Triple Chocolate Scones

So here we have another tried and tested recipe from the National Trust’s Book of Scones.  Now readers, I followed the recipe to the letter and whilst they looked ok, they were pretty dry and needed more chocolate.  Despite smelling divine during the mixing process this didn’t translate through to the bake.  On reflection, I’m probably going to stick with the more traditional fruit based scone.  If you get better results, do let me know 🙂

 

 

 

What you need for approx 10 large scones:

500g self-raising flour
70g cocoa powder
1 heaped tsp baking powder
70g soft brown sugar
140g butter, cubed
115g white chocolate drops
115g milk chocolate drops
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
Approx 200ml milk

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter and rub in using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add 75g of each of the chocolate drops and stir in.
  • Make a well in the middle of the mixture, add the eggs and vanilla.
  • Gradually add the milk to make a damp dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 4cm thick.
  • Stamp out the scones using an 8cm cutter and place on the baking tray.  Brush the tops with milk.
  • Bake for approx 16-18 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining white and chocolate drops and drizzle over the scones.  This was a disaster, the chocolate would just not drizzle nicely!

I wasn’t sure what the best thing to serve chocolate scones with is – maybe clotted or whipped cream or smothered in custard so you can’t taste how dry they are 🙂 and next time I still need to roll the dough out thicker and more evenly – some of them were a little on the slim side!

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Recipe Post: Blueberry and Lemon Scones

Hey…I’m back with a novice baker baking blog on this fine Sunday! My lovely daughter bought me the National Trust Book of Scones for Christmas and this is my first tried and tested recipe from that book.

This blueberry and lemon scone recipe is a favourite of Hanbury Hall and Gardens in Worcestershire.  I visited here back in April 2015 but can’t recall if I sampled their scones.

So…is it scone to rhyme with cone, or scone to rhyme with gone?  I tend to sway to cone myself 🙂

 

What you need for approx 10 large scones:

500g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
125 butter (diced)
Zest of 1 lemon
100g blueberries
150ml milk

To decorate, if required
100g icing sugar
Lemon juice

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Sift the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter.
  • With your fingertips rub together until it looks like breadcrumbs.  I tried using the dough hook on my freestanding mixer but it didn’t work so I had to use the old-fashioned method!
  • Add the lemon zest and blueberries, stir in.
  • Add the milk a little at a time to make a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll out to approx 3cm thick.
  • Stamp out your scones using a 7cm cutter and place on baking tray.  I brushed on a little milk here.
  • Bake for approx 12 – 18 minutes until golden brown.  Mine took the full 18.
  • Cool on a wire tray.
  • If required, make some lemon icing by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice and drizzle over the cooled scones.
  • Serve with a cuppa 🙂

These lightly-scented lemon scones are really delicious.  I wasn’t sure whether to serve them with butter and jam etc as you normally would a scone but I decided to go without.  Wise decision as they weren’t dry and didn’t need the butter/jam added.  Next time I need to roll the dough out thicker and more evenly – some of them were a little on the slim side!

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Visiting ‘The Loveliest Place in the World’

Whilst visiting friends in Cornwall recently I decided to take the long way round home back to the M5 and visit Greenway; the holiday home of Agatha Christie near the village of Galmpton in Devon.

IMG_0849As it’s a smallish property compared to other National Trust sites, if arriving by car you’re required to book a car parking spot before your visit so I’d booked the 11:30am – 3pm slot, giving us plenty of time to travel from Launceston in Cornwall.

 

On our arrival the path leads you from the back of the house around to the front and the stunning views across the Dart river.

greenwayOnce inside the house visitors are given access to the Morning Room, Drawing Room, Dining Room, Kitchen and of course the Library on the ground floor and Agatha’s bedroom, Fax Room and Sitting Room on the first floor.

inside greenwayIt didn’t take us long to wander around the house, some of the rooms are quite small and there were quite a few people visiting. My favourite room was the first floor Sitting Room; there were some very cleverly hidden drawers containing newspaper clippings and pill boxes (in above image) which were really quite lovely.

However, it did feel as though it could have been anyone’s home with a few books and photos strategically placed and I was expecting to see more of “this book was written here etc”.

Lunch in the Barn cafe wasn’t cheap but it was all freshly prepared and with good sized portions I didn’t mind paying that bit extra. My mum had the cream tea which was £5.95 for 2 scones, jam, cream and pot of tea. I do have a love for the proper working teapots that the National Trust supply; ones that don’t spill your tea everywhere 🙂

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Yummy Devon Cream Tea

There’s a lovely gift shop shop selling a vast array of Agatha’s books and gifts alongside the usual range. Here’s what I treated myself to:

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After lunch we followed the path down to the boat house and the plunge pool which was a lovely walk but steep and uneven in places. The boat house is in a stunning position and was apparently the setting for Dead Man’s Folly.

boat houseThere was a very friendly informative volunteer in the boat house who gave us some info ref Agatha’s writing at Greenway. She told us that of course she wrote here and that there are letters in Exeter University from Agatha to her agent advising working on edits, although for some reason the National Trust would have you believe that she didn’t write here, this I don’t understand.

We even managed a couple of games of croquet on the side lawn, where a very helpful volunteer went and got us a new set for us to play with which was great fun. All in all, a lovely few hours spent in the Devon countryside; a must visit for all Agatha fans.

Find out more on Greenway here

Blogging from A-Z April Challenge – N

NN is for National Trust

The National Trust is an organisation in the UK that protects and preserves historical places for all to enjoy. These include historical houses and gardens to beaches and forests. Visitors are generally charged an entry fee which goes towards the upkeep of these fantastic properties; or they can purchase a membership which is great value for money.

I have an annual membership this year thanks to my mum who gave it to me for Christmas and so far I’ve visited 5 properties since they re-opened for the season in February. I’ve even got myself a visitor’s passport so I can log where I’ve been – geeky I know…

Visitors PassportI love National Trust properties and am really intrigued by these places. However, as much as I’m interested in what happened ‘above stairs’, I much prefer hearing the tales from ‘below stairs’; as this is definitely where I would have been had I born in these eras. One place that I visited some time ago – Berrington Hall near Leominster had an excellent guide who did a ‘below stairs’ tour of the kitchen, laundry and dairy. It was ever more fascinating as she led us around giving us descriptions of her daily tasks as though she were in that time; I would do this…it’s my job to do this etc. I do feel that these old houses are brought to life by the volunteers that have the passion and knowledge to be guides and gives us, the visitor, a much more valued and enjoyable experience.

Quite often the properties will have a second hand book shop (yay!), lovely gardens and walks, a gift shop and fabulous tea rooms with scrummy homemade cakes where you can reward yourself after the strenuous walk around the garden 🙂

Some highlights of the places I've visited

Some highlights of the places I’ve visited

Find a place to visit here

Can you recommend a property to visit?

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

Visiting Sense & Sensibility

I have a different type of post for you today, upon setting out it wasn’t book related but it did eventually turn out to be. Please…read on…

On a rare mid-week random day off my daughter and I decided to make full use of our National Trust membership and visit 2 properties local-ish to us. I love all things National Trust, poking around other people’s lives, homes and work places and they always make me feel sentimental to the past; kind of nostalgic and like I was born in the wrong era. All very Miss Marple but I probably would have been more ‘below stairs’ than above.

The first place we visited was Croft Castle and Parkland in Herefordshire.

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Outside Croft Castle

This isn’t one of the larger places I’ve visited and it didn’t take us long to go around the castle itself (don’t go expecting a castle of say Warwick’s proportions, it’s more a large manor house with towers!).

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In the library, of course…

After a quick game of bagatelle in the salon, some dressing up in the children’s play room and a quick walk around the perimeter followed by a sandwich in the courtyard garden we made our way onto the next property.

Berrington Hall is less than 10 minutes away and so far, is one of my favourite trust properties. Upon arrival I was really pleased to find out they had a display of the costumes used in BBC drama adaptations of Sense & Sensibility. Hands up here, I’ve not read the original but in an attempt at redemption I have read the updated re-vamped version by Joanna Trollope (I’ve not even seen the TV versions or movie).

IMG_0184The above left dress is Billie Piper’s costume from Mansfield Park and was my favourite costume of the exhibition

The above right is one of Anne Hathaway’s costumes from Becoming Jane

IMG_0193Above – Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson’s costumes from Sense & Sensibilty

IMG_0181Above – Costumes for Dominic Cooper, Charity Wakefield & David Morrisey – Sense & Sensibility

IMG_0195Kate Winslet’s and Greg Wise’s costumes from Sense & Sensibility

If you are in the area or live close by and are a fan of Jane Austen then it’s a lovely exhibition to see.

There are also guided tours available and I do really recommend the ‘below stairs’ tour. I think that these places are really brought to life by their volunteers and their guides and is no exception here. They also have a second-hand bookshop and do pretty good cake!