Posts filed under ‘Kitchen garden’
I love lazy weekend mornings. Walk the dog, bring the newspaper in from the step, start baking, and then fritter away the rest of the morning reading, sipping coffee, and nibbling.
I’m a big believer in the proverb “necessity is the mother of invention,” especially when it comes to cooking. This recipe came about in the standard way, which is peering into the fridge / pantry / freezer for any usable ingredients. This weekend I found frozen cranberries, flax, and yogurt, and some dried lavender I brought home from France and have been meaning to use more often in baking. It turned out to be an amazing combination, and the scent of lavender added an extra element of relaxation to my blissed-out weekend routine.
Cranberry scones with lavender sugar
Makes 8 scones
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (ground flax)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup plain yogurt
Lavender sugar topping (optional, but if you have lavender it’s delicious):
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 teaspoon demerara sugar (large crystal sugar – adds a nice crunch)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the scones, combine flours, baking soda, sugar, flax, and nutmeg. Drizzle oil over top of flour mixture and stir to combine. Add cranberries and yogurt and stir until just mixed together (the scones will be tough if you overmix the dough, so be very gentle – it’s better to undermix and have a bit of loose flour at the end). Shape the dough into a loose ball and place in a greased glass pie plate. Press the dough down gently so it fills the pie plate evenly. Use a knife to score the dough into 8 slices before you put it in the oven: this helps the scones cook evenly and makes them easier to serve when they’re done.
Lavender sugar: If you have a mortar and pestle, use it to crush the lavender and regular sugar together (otherwise just combine them) and sprinkle over the scones. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.
Bake scones in a 375F oven for 30 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown on top (be careful not to overbake). Serve with fruit, yogurt, and coffee for a beautiful breakfast.
Variation: I often use a similar version of this recipe to make cheese scones. Swap out the cranberries for cheddar cheese, decrease the sugar to 1 tablespoon, omit the nutmeg, and add 1 teaspoon of a savory herb like thyme or sage.
Arugula and Asian greens like pac choi and mizuna stand up to slugs better than most of the leafy greens I’ve tried growing in the past. I am trying kale again as I’d love to be able to grow my own since I eat it almost every day. I’ve never had much luck with kale as the garden critters like it as much as I do, but here’s hoping the new year will bring fresh success.
One of my most successful gardening endeavours this year is happening indoors. I’ve grown several pots of basil from seed on the window sill of my studio this summer and the plants are doing so well in their few inches of sun.
It’s such a satisfying thing to grow a plant from a seed. The ritual of tending to plants brings me endless peace, and basil brings an extra reward. When I water the plants in the morning I brush up against the leaves and experience the earthy summer smell of basil – it’s an amazing signal to my brain to wake up and enjoy the day.
It’s that time of year again. Green tomatoes on the windowsill time. Do you have them lined up on your windows, too?
At lunch today I did what I often do, which is to walk from my corporate office job down to the beautiful beach. I sat down on a bench on the seawall, and after about 10 minutes I was too hot. I got up and walked a few minutes further and settled myself against a piece of driftwood on the beach proper, near the water. Much better. My sandwich and I were quite happy to have such a wonderful problem.
It is downright chilly in the morning and the night now that mid-September has arrived, and I think this is the last hurrah for my tomato plants. I’ve done all right this year – a steady harvest of two or three cherry tomatoes every day for the last month, and I have another tomato plant with larger fruit that occasionally produces a tomato worth slicing.
I am beginning to wonder about the green tomatoes hanging on the plants. The minute I see a tinge of yellow, they are whisked inside where they can finish ripening in the warm, sunny window of my studio and not draw away any energy from the other tomatoes on the plant that still need more time. This is working well so far, but I am a little sad watching new tomato nubbins just beginning to form. I don’t think they’re going to have the chance to meet my sandwich or go to the beach.
Do not think that you can just throw a pile of freshly picked plums into a plate pressed with pastry along with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon and imagine that a perfect pie will emerge on the other side. It will look beautiful, yes, and it will smell divine. But it will be SOUR! Your dinner guests – in laws, no less – will take a bite and then look at you with an expression that your husband helpfully calls “bitter beer face.” Your dreams of domestic bliss will be shot down once again.
Instead, use a recipe that calls for lots and lots of sugar. Or pour honey on top of each slice of the failed pie, along with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, to help drown out the taste.
Luckily I have about 10 pounds of these beautiful golden plums sliced up and packed away in my freezer thanks to the fruit-laden tree just outside the front door of my parents’ new place on Vancouver Island. I will try the pie again. You are all invited.