Cream Tea to a Better Me
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t “try” to do things. You simply “must” do things.” This Ray Bradbury quote has been haunting me for the past few weeks, as I admittedly over-think where to place my creative weird next.
2012 wore me down; I took on too many projects, trusted too many to provide direction for me and totally lost my way as I tried to discover a balance between being a great mother and being an ambitious career woman. The time has come to redefine priorities, rediscover that genuine passion and chill the f@#k out in the meantime. I need music, I need inspiration, I need a cup of tea.
British culture is something to truly admire: the rich history, BBC’s original programming, pub life, the accents (fun, seductive, mostly understood), Tom Hardy and the great appreciation for tea time. Brilliant, really. In North America we load ourselves up with caffeine to rush through the day, even “coffee breaks” always seem to involve an agenda. In Britain a cup of freshly poured tea means a moment of peace and reflection, something I could clearly use more of in my life these days.
Years ago, about 6 months deep into our first pregnancy, Brett and I traveled over to the UK for one more just couple adventure. While we were there, I couldn’t get over how often I (the visibly pregnant lady) would be offered “a cup of tea, dear?”. At home, in Canada, there was a strict stigma about consuming fish, alcohol and ANY caffeine while pregnant, so I asked a nurse working at a London hospital what her thoughts were about tea breaks during pregnancy. “Well, I suppose you should limit yourself to no more than 5 cups a day.” she responded with a gentle smirk. 5 cups!! And that’s restricting yourself! Ha! Bless the British.
During that trip I enjoyed my first taste of traditional Cream Tea in a little tea shop somewhere near the London Eye. Not exactly as it sounds, your black tea offers a splash of milk and is served with a freshly baked (ideally warm) scone topped by a healthy dollop of clotted cream and jam. High in calories, certainly, but when a pause is required to just be with your thoughts for a moment, a warm cup of tea with a creamy, buttery scone can be a great motivator.
Classic Scone Recipe
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Prepare about 8 scones in about 15 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour , plus more for dusting (can substitute with all-purpose flour if you add an extra teaspoon of baking powder to it)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup butter , cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp caster sugar (granulated sugar chopped into smaller grains with food processor)
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- beaten egg (egg wash)
- jam and clotted cream, to serve
- Heat oven to 425°F. Sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder and mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
- Warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 secs, you want it warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment.
- Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour onto your work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a large oval about 1/2″ deep.
- Take a 2″ wide cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, cutting out as many scones as you can. Press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out a few more.
- Place the cut out scones on non-stick cookie sheet, about 2″ apart. Brush the tops with beaten egg.
- Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream. If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a 300°F pre-heated oven for a few mins to refresh.
A blog post and a snack and I’m already starting to feel much better about what 2013 will bring. Lesson learned: when feeling down, put on the kettle, stop thinking and enjoy London’s calling. xoAdd to favorites