Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sconey Island: Orange and Currant Scones

Orange and Currant Scones

Sometimes life can feel a lot like Coney Island, an endless circus. You go from one act to the other jumping through hoops, breathing fire, taming lions, perhaps even handling large smelly mammals. And even though all these acts may not be arbitrary and meaningless, as you swing from one trapeze to the other, you think, perhaps a pause is required. Even though you may be in mid-air and in mid-flight, and there is nothing to catch you but a flimsy piece of netting, you know that letting go of that bar and getting out of that circus will essentially do you a world of good.

In this post-modern, technologically advanced, self-reliant world it is easy to forget that we are actually humans, not machines. So amidst busy schedules, due papers, mounting exams, film shoots and stressful jobs, four girlfriends were able to take some time out of their own personal circus and get together for lunch. Life gets crazy, but being able to take time out with some of the most important people in your life is a requisite to being able to surmount the mediocrity that so easily entangles us. That’s why I value the time I spend with these girls so much. With conflicting schedules and busy working hours it’s not too often that you can get the four of us together at the same time. However when we do mange to get our schedules to coincide, it’s superb.

This is possibly something that only females may identify with, but when a group of girls get together, it is completely and utterly possible to speak all at once and still understand each other. Multiple conversations could be taking place and several opinions are aired; nevertheless everyone understands each other and everyone is on the same page. Anecdotes containing an endless number of tangents concerning what people were wearing, what he said, what she said and a lot of, “and oh by the way”; a labyrinth of thoughts, gestures and narratives weaved into one story of what happened to me today, and yet we follow the story to the very end. Organised chaos; I guess that’s what you could call it. So you can imagine the cacophony of chatter and fits of laughter that was emanating from our table in this small Thai restaurant in Sydney’s northern suburbs.

One friend E, who works in the dementia ward of an aged-care facility, while putting herself through college, was telling us about her week. She was apparently punched in the mouth by one of the patients. The perpetrator, a deceptively sweet elderly lady, probably named Ethyl, accused E of stealing her dentures and abducting her husband and so decided to give E an uppercut to her face. Being the compassionate girlfriends that we were, we ended up in heaving fits of uncontrolled laughter, until we were virtually falling off our seats. If you knew E, and if you have seen the patients at the facility you would be laughing too.

Then another friend P shares her boy troubles and we all listen and empathise. And then as all girlfriends do, we proceed to go around the table and put in our two cents worth of advice. The advice is promptly heeded and then A, goes on to point out in a very subtle yet obvious way her latest acquisition, a cute little denim jacket, which we then also proceed to go around the table and tell her how great it looks. We ask her how much the denim jacket was and she says something approximating; “$50, it was on sale” only we know that this, in girl shop-talk really means more around the $59.99 mark. Girls know when it comes to the price of clothes, you round down.

Orange and Currant Scone Dough Orange and Currant Scones

It is the candidness and sincerity of our friendship I dare not become apathetic with. Relationships that create a sense of family and belonging are rare these days and I plan to keep these girls until we become old and senile, like Ethyl. When it comes to having great relationships there also comes a great cost. You might have to sacrifice your time, your feelings and many times your ego. So what has friendship got to do with scones, well nothing really. But I would like to dedicate these scones to all friendships around the world, for better for worse. Your soufflé may have failed to rise and your custard curdled, but with friends and scones like these, who cares.

Bake some scones, brew a pot of tea and get to know someone better.

Orange and Currant Scones
(makes 15 scones)

Orange and Currant Scones

1¾ cups plain all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, diced
½ cup dried currants
½ cup rosey red orange juice
¼ full cream yoghurt
3 tbsp honey
1 egg
1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 200˚C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.
Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles pea sized lumps.
Stir in currants. Then make a well in the centre of the bowl.
Mix together orange juice, yoghurt and honey in a separate measuring cup and then pour all at once into the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to approximately 3cm (30mm) in thickness.
Using a cutter, cut out as many portions of dough as possible. Re-roll leftover dough and cut out more portions until all of the dough has been used up.
Place scones on a prepared baking sheet at least 5cm apart.
Whisk together egg and 1 tbsp milk and use this to brush the tops of the scones.
Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool.

Buttered Orange and Currant Scones

Serve with your favourite condiment- cream (clotted or thickened), butter, jam or just whatever you fancy.

If the scones are plain, I like them with cream and strawberry jam, if they are fruity like these, I prefer them with a thick slab of butter. But whatever way you like them, make sure you enjoy it with a friend.


Anonymous said...

Time spent laughing with friends and perfect scones ...any thing life dishes can be dealt with!
Gorgeous scones! Love that Sconey Island!

Alpineberry Mary said...

Food always tastes better in the company of friends.

Anonymous said...

Those scones look delicious. Nothing's better than a fat crumbly hot and currant sounds lovely.

Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful post - I have the same problem with my own girlfriends in that it's almost impossible to get our schedules to align, but when it does it's fantastic :)

And those scones do look simply superb! Damn, wish I was having those for breakfast instead of store-bought cereal :(

Anonymous said...

i love girlie get together... especially over yummy things like these. the scones look so warm and inviting!

Anonymous said...

This is such a lovely post and what delicious scones at that!

Your friends sounds exactly just like me and my friends. We often try and snatch a couple of wee hours to catch up sometimes over lunch too. Everyone speed talking and speed eating just so we could cover everything and everybody! Just like you said, everyone talking at the same time but we all understand each other and have a great laugh.

I also plan to keep them until we're all senile!

Unknown said...

Yeah, toast to friendship too~ =) Great scones you have here.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Jenjen! I completely agree with everything you said, especially with the scones being like friends. I'm seeing the analogy! It makes me love scones even more, if that's possible.

Karen Baking Soda said...

Thanks for visiting! This post was spot on, over here my friends and I call it synchronic talking and yes I think it is a female thing to do. Multi-tasking, men, well... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Jenjen - such a lovely post and I like the orange hue in your scones, so pretty :)

wheresmymind said...

Guys try to talk over each other...we might be all talking at the same time, but probably only listening to about 25% of what is said! lol

Lynda said...

Beautiful post (and beautiful scones)!

Anonymous said...

you know what the real best part of a trip to Coney Island is?
shoot the freak!
its not very girly, or in keeping with your lovely post, but it is my favorite thing (after eating a nathan's hotdog, natch)

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely post JenJen! Time spent with friends, with talk and food are the best!

shaz said...

that looks wonderful. thanks for sharing jenjen, and also for dropping by my blog. :) have a great day.

Liz :) said...

WOW!!! Looks fantastic!!! :) Do you have to knead these scones? Or mixing is sufficient?

Jen said...

Thanks everyone for your lovely feedback. It's nice to see that everyone could relate to the friendship thing. Its nice to have friends like that.

BTW Liz, the scones do not require a alot of kneading. Just mix until the dough is well incorpoarated.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenjen,
came upon this website for the first time today. Its lovely and your pictures are fantastic. Am looking forward to trying some of your cookie recipes. Tried ur currant scone recipe today - used cranberries instead but all else was same as ur original recipe. But came out REALLY bitter, so was quite disappointed. The texture was wonderful though - crumbly, flaky and moist. I think I would decrease the amount of baking powder, omit the salt and add some raw cane sugar for added sweetness.