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Archive for July, 2009

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A week ago, a dear friend from my study abroad semester emailed me asking if I could post the recipe for these blueberry scones I had made and gifted her last summer in New York. So I set out the ingredients this morning, substituting dried cranberries for the blueberries because (correct me if I’m wrong?) I don’t think you get blueberries in Bombay and strawberry season is over.

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Uday, our live-in domestic help (he’s 26) peered over my shoulder. He’s a really bright kid and always curious about what I’m making and he likes to stand behind me as I take pictures so he can observe how I handle the camera. Despite my aversion to the cook (who was at my mom-in-law’s this morning) and the idea having staff members at all, I really don’t mind Uday. He laughs at my Hindi (for a while he spoke to me in Gujarati, thinking I would understand it better, which I did but I then I got confused because I didn’t know he knew Gujarati…) and is not terribly annoying, like the cook.

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Anyway, today, as I was starting, Uday asked, in Hindi, “What are you making?”
I said, “Scones!” and pointed to the picture in my cookbook.
“Ah, biscuit,” he nodded.
“Ha, biscuit,” I replied. These scones, which are especially lovely when eaten warm, do, in fact taste like biscuits. I think it’s because they barely have any sugar- just two tbsp. I can’t remember what I did last summer, but today I followed the recipe and found that I could barely taste the sugar; the sweetest pieces were those with the crunchy top crumb, on which I sprinkled brown sugar. If you like your scones almost biscuit-like, then follow the recipe exactly. But if you wouldn’t mind them sweeter, then double the sugar to 4 Tbsp. Otherwise, this recipe is absolutely perfect. My dough was neither too sticky nor too dry, and the ready scones were fragrantly soft. -Another thing, though: I would use fresh berries, preferably blueberries. My cranberries taste just fine but fresh berries are juicy and dried berries are, well, shriveled.

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After Uday and I peeled the scones from the pan, I told him to put the plate of them on the dining room table. We both stood admiring¬† them for a few minutes. Then he asked, “You’re not going to take a picture?” “Ha, ha” (yes, yes) I replied, and went to get my camera.

Blueberry (Cranberry) Scones
adapted from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea

Makes 12-15 scones

3 1/3 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 handful wholewheat flour or corn flour (optional, I used wholewheat)
2 verp heaped Tbsp. baking powder
2 (or 4 if you want your scones to be somewhat sweet) heaped Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
grated zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange
110 g (or scant 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
2 handful blueberries (or dried cranberries but I recommend fresh berries)
2 eggs
about 1 1/4 cup whole, 2% or soy milk
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C or 400 degrees F and grease baking tray with butter.

Sift the plain flour into a bowl and add the whole wheat/corn meal if using.

Mix in the baking powder, sugar and salt and then add the butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.

Mix in lemon/orange zest and then add tue blueberries and mix well.

Beat one of the eggs in a measuring cup and then add enough milk till you have 1 1/4 cups.

Make a well in the middle of the flour (still in the bowl) and pour the liquid inside. Using a fork, work the dry ingredients into the wet; then finish mixing by hand but be careful not to overwork the dough- just lightly bring everything together. The dough should be firm but softish and not at all sticky. If it is too dry, add a little more milk and if it is too wet, add some flour.

On a lightly floured surface, pat (I patted) or roll the dough into a solid shape, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a 2 inch cutter (I used my 1/2 cup for the cookie cutter, just turning it upside down and pressing it into the dough), cut the dough into rounds and place them on the greased baking tray so they almost tough.

Beat the remaining egg and use to glaze the tops of the scones.

Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.

The scones might stick together so take them gently apart when they have cooled a little.

Serve warm with cream (I ate mine plain).

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hi, from here

Hello, it’s been a while. What’s been happening here? The rains started and my mood has improved considerably. I know everyone in Massachusetts and New York is sick of their “monsoon.” I guess I would be too if I still lived there; I remember how I hated going down to the subway in the rain (or snow), where all that wetness would quickly steam into humidity. My mom told me none of the flowers she planted are growing because at the most they’ve received a few hours of sunlight. But after ten months of facing Bombay’s obnoxiously enthusiastic sun, the recent spurt of washed gray skies and steady showers have made me so happy. I feel calmer now when I look outside, and contrary to my feelings of being trapped indoors that came when it rained in America, here I feel like it’s finally temperate enough to step out. Hrishikesh and I have been walking when it’s not raining and though it usually starts midway through our walk, after the first five minutes,¬† we forget about our clammy clothes and instead enjoy the cold water as we climb up a hill. (Climbing down is another matter; I’m terrified of slipping and take baby steps while imprinting H.’s arm with my fingers.)

We’ve been traveling a bit: last weekend we were in Pune, where I spent two hours at the Landmark Bookstore stocking up on all the titles I can never find at Crossword in Bombay. We ate at a mediocre restaurant, Sen5es (Senses?), that’s supposed to be one of the nicest places in Pune. We skipped our usual Pizzeria meal since we had made both pizza and pasta from scratch the week before. The weekend before that we were in Alibaug, where for once, it was cooler than Bombay. We read and watched episodes of 30 Rock and Arrested Development on my laptop. One of the caretakers makes excellent food and one night we had his egg curry, which was a few boiled eggs partially cut and cooked in a red coconut soup. I think we went to Mahabaleshwar the weekend before that.

In the past few weeks, we’ve made: spinach with sesame sauce, mango sushi, roasted marinated eggplant sushi, amazing Tandoori cauliflower, mango salsa, Mexican beans, cold Chinese noodles, pumpkin ravioli, oven-dried tomato ravioli, mushroom ragout, lasagna with fresh spinach pasta, yellow daal, a tofu dressing (you can do amazing things with a mixer), homemade peanut butter (the ones in Rajat had hydrogenated oil and we had three pounds of roasted peanuts sitting in our cupboard), lemon, vanilla and cocoa cupcakes and paninis. Obviously, I’ve been lazy about blogging.

In my next post, I’ll tell you about the scones.

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