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Posts Tagged ‘tea’

Today I’m dedicating this post to a very special sauce, something I think pasta must be proud to wear and something I think all cooking fans should be able to make well. Traditionally reserved for special occasions or Sunday best, a good ragù requires love and attention but won’t mind if you enjoy a glass of wine and a good book while you tend to its needs. During my time in Italy I ate some spectacular ragùs and it seems that every cook has their own special twist. One particularly fond memory I have is of sitting in a cozy restaurant in the hilltop town of Urbino on a bitterly cold January day. We sat huddled around a table trying to warm up our frozen hands and tucked into large plates of paparadelle with deeply flavoured wild boar ragù. After that meal I felt revived and full, ready to venture back out into the icy wind. Duck ragù feels doubly special for me since, in my kitchen, duck is reserved for special occasions and is a rare treat. It’s also something I feel a bit afraid of cooking in case a make a mess of things and spoil such lovely meat. My mum objects to eating duck on ‘moral grounds’ ever since she adopted a Mallard as a child; growing up I shared her view until I discovered how tasty they are so now I’m making up for lost time!

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For reasons which are probably familiar to many diabetics using an insulin pump, every six months or so I spend eight days (usually spread over a couple of weeks) skipping meals or in medical terms checking fasting blood sugars. It’s not a great hardship but it’s never something I like doing since it entails fasting for 10 or 12 hours and a lot of finger pricking. The problem is that I spend so much of my time thinking about food and planning meals that to deliberately skip one is like torture. I’m not supposed to eat anything at all which I can just about manage overnight or when missing breakfast but if I have to miss lunch or dinner I struggle. If I start to feel really empty I cheat and eat something small that has no carbs so it (in theory) won’t alter my blood sugars.  (more…)

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Welcome to T and Cake!

Having been a long-time reader of lots of lovely food blogs I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and create my own. This being my welcome post it only seems right to offer you a little cake to go with a nice cup of tea.

Living in Devon I’ve had my fair share of cream teas. I’m pretty sure that every town and every village boasts its own tea shop serving up warm scones crowned with a slick of thick clotted cream and fruity jam. Heaven! Admittedly lashings of cream are not going to do my thighs any favours but after a long walk across the wilds of Dartmoor a little indulgence is just what I need. And, while the traditional cream tea is a thing of beauty, I can’t think of many things that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of chocolate.

I’m a big fan of the chocolate/orange combination and thoroughly recommend serving these with a zesty marmalade. If you can’t find clotted cream try them with extra thick Jersey cream, whipped cream or even a scraping of butter. They are best eaten fresh, warm from the oven but they freeze well too.

Chocolate Scones

Makes 8 scones

  • 225g  self-raising flour*
  • 25g cocoa
  • 40g butter, at room temperature
  • 25g sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped**/chocolate chips
  • 125ml milk, plus a little extra if needed

Heat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7.

Sift the flour and cocoa into a large bowl then rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the sugar, salt and chopped chocolate.

Stir in the milk and bring the mix together into a soft dough. Add a splash more milk if it seems a bit dry.

Roll out the dough to about 2.5 cm (1″) thick and with a 4-5cm (2″) round cutter cut out as many circles as fit. Try to press the cutter straight down without twisting it as this will help the scones rise. Knead the remaining dough back into a ball, roll out and repeat until all the dough is used up.

Place the scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone or just oiled. Try to dust off any loose flour.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes.

*If you only have plain flour (all-purpose)  add 3 tsp of baking powder when you sift the flour and cocoa.

**I find the easiest way to chop chocolate is to cut diagonally from the corner.

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