Devonshire Tea and Mum
The English call them scones ...
I remember living on campus accommodation at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in the late 1980's and searching for leaf tea in the supermarket where only bags could be found. My mum used to send us parcels and make up the weight in Assam tea leaves. As Australian's growing up in the 1960's we were so influenced by our English heritage.
When we arrived in England on our way back from Philadelphia we stayed in Tunbridge Wells with family friends. We woke to the sound of birds in the trees and a gently breeze that moved across the lush green English countryside. It was such a contrast to our recent urban life in West Philly. The next day we all ventured into town for Devonshire tea.It was a quintessential English devonshire tea experience held within an old world wood paneled tea room in town ... Silver teapot filled with leaf tea seeping mindfully in boiling water, and an extra pot with hot water if needed for a top up, and full cream milk in a silver jug. The scones arrived hot from the over with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Clearly it made an impression because I can still travel to that moment instantly in my mind.Growing up Mum had a large cast iron cauldron that she made her jam in – strawberry, fig or marmalade, volumes of it, bottled and labeled and given away to everyone who walked in the door.And her scones were famous not the least because they were delicious with her home made jam and King Island cream but because of the conversations and company that accompanied them.Everyone was welcome in our home no matter what age, region, or culture. The conversations over tea and scones inevitably turned to God (she was a committed and dedicated christian all her life). She was the scripture teacher in the local school, inviting everyone in her class to our home for afternoon tea every week.Mum passed away last week and at her service we distributed to the 350 guests a little booklet with her scone recipe and the story behind them in her words. Here is the Link to Glenda Weldon's Salvation Scones Booklet if you would like to download it.
- 1 ½ cups Self Raising flour
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large tbsp icing sugar
- 1 large teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- ½ cup milk
Preheat oven 250°C. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Make a hole in the middle. Pour in milk and melted butter.With your hands stir and gradually add in the dry ingredients till a soft dough is formed.With floured hands gently form into a ball and flatten till about 2 fingers thick. Cut out the scones with scone cutter (or you can use an upside down glass to cut out the circle shape). Keep making a ball from the left over dough and flatten and cut till all the dough is used.Place on a greased and floured baking tray and bake in a very hot oven till cooked.Serve with jam and whipped cream or King Island Cream.
Mum's Fig Jam
- 1.15 kilos fresh figs
- 1.15 kilos sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup vinegar
Boil sugar and water and vinegar for 10 minutes. Add the figs and boil for 4 hours till it all gels together and becomes "jammy". Pour into sterilised jars when cool.