Saturday, August 4, 2012

I am really enjoying the Olympics.  Zeus and I spend way too much time in front of the television, but we just can't stop. The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, in southwest Greece. The Games were part of a religious festival. The Greek Olympics, thought to have begun in 776 BC, inspired the modern Olympic Games (begun in 1896) The Games were held in honor of Zeus, king of the gods,  and my Zeus obviously feels the connection! 
I have never been to London, so  I find the aerial views, the "royals" in the stands, the tour about town on the double decker bus, all very interesting.  History is a fascinating subject.

As I sat listening to a discussion on traditional English Afternoon Tea, I was horrified to hear that it costs an average of 40 British pounds per person you know what that is in our dollars? Right now, The English pound (1.00) is worth $1.56,  so afternoon tea in London will run about $62.00!  I certainly hope the cucumber sandwiches and tiny cakes are amazing....and I don't want to see a tea bag from Lipton anywhere near my cup!

Buckingham Palace
I realize that  it is an experience, not just a cup of tea.....but really? $62.00? And don't get me started on the etiquette that is expected.Now mind you, I am all for good manners and traditions are absolutely necessary in a civilized world, but some of them are  over the top! I will say this, if by some chance Elizabeth invites me to Buckingham for tea, I will be on my best  behavior.
Now let's discuss clotted cream.  Does that name bother anyone else, or is it just me?  I've had clotted cream and it is  actually very good. It was British Clotted Cream but I had it in Italy.  Yes, I did enjoy it, but I would have loved it if it had been called anything but "clotted"!
Alton Brown has a recipe for making your own, but you can buy clotted cream at Whole Foods. Alton's recipe is simple and straight forward, but does require up to 8 hours of draining and clotting time.

Alton's Clotted Cream

2 cups pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) cream
Set a coffee filter basket, lined with a filter, in a strainer, over a bowl. Pour the cream almost to the top of the filter. Refrigerate for 2 hours. The whey will sink to the bottom passing through the filter leaving a ring of clotted cream. Scrape this down with a rubber spatula and repeat every couple of hours until the mass reaches the consistency of soft cream cheese.

So, are you ready to make the scones for your clotted cream? There are millions of recipes out there, full of all sorts of things, so your best bet is to do a little research and find a scone that sounds good to you.
Here is my favorite scone. I prefer it with just butter.

Strawberry Rosemary Scones


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water (1 to 2)

1. For the scones: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick, 10-inch circle. Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart-shaped pieces of dough and put on the prepared baking sheet. Gently knead together any leftover pieces of dough and roll out to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into more heart shapes and add to the baking sheet. Using an index finger or a small, round measuring spoon, gently make an indentation in the center of each pastry heart. Spoon a heaped 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Transfer the cooked scones onto a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.
3. For the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually add the water until the mixture is thin enough to spread. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the scones. Let the glaze set for about 30 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight plastic container for 2 days.
4. Cook's Note: The dough can also be made by hand by stirring together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough.


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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

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Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

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oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

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Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker