My 30 (or more!) days challenges

Breakfast – Day 52

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I know, I know, this is already my third breakfast post featuring English afternoon tea elements: scones, clotted cream and jam. But this time I’ve progressed even further – I made all of them myself from scratch!

I’ve already mentioned how to make the strawberry jam here – and I’m sticking to the same recipe, it always turns out good: fresh and a little bit tart, just as I like it.

The clotted cream takes the longest to make, so I’ll put it before the scones. In fact I had to start the day before yesterday! So what I basically did was take some high-fat cream (mine was 33% and pasteurised, although unpasteurised would have been preferable – but it’s too hard to find, so pasturised is ok too, just make sure it is not ultra-pasteurised), pour it in a shallow baking dish, making sure that the cream layer is between 1 and 3 inches high and put it into the oven at 80 degrees Celsius for the whole night (it usually takes 8-12 hours to clot, check for the lumpy yellow crust which has to form on top of the cream). Once it was ready, I took it out, careful not to break the yellow crust, cooled it down for 15 minutes and put it away in the fridge for another 8 hours – this is a must, as that’s when the clotting process finishes. And finally I just skimmed the thick layer of clotted cream from the surface, leaving some liquid buttermilk behind.

No need to throw away the buttermilk as it is to be used for the scones! It is now finally their turn, and I am making them right this morning, as they are best fresh and warm. So to make about 10 scones, I mix 250 g sieved plain flour with 45 g sugar and 12 g baking powder, then I rub in 75 g cold diced butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Next I add an egg, 70 ml buttermilk (or plain milk would do too) and 30 g sultanas and make soft sticky dough (I’m not working it too much, otherwise the scones would turn too dense and hard), which I then roll flat until it’s one inch thick and cut out circles using a standard water glass, as I don’t have a cutter (the key here is not to twist the glass or the cutter, but rather just press it). And finally I put my scones on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, brush them on the top with a mixture of egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk (make sure it’s only the top and not the sides, otherwise the egg mixture would prevent the scones from rising) and bake them in the preheated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 12-14 minutes.

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Breakfast – Day 39

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I know I have posted scones with cream and jam already on Day 32. But today I’ve made a small modification to this breakfast.

Obviously, neither scones nor cream are very healthy to start with. But adding highly-processed sugar-packed jam from the supermarket makes the whole thing even less so. So I thought, why not make the jam myself, given that there are plenty of sweet fragrant fresh strawberries everywhere this time of the year! The jam is very easy to make, I just mix a cup of strawberries with one teaspoon honey in a microwaveable bowl and microwave the mixture for about 20 minutes, taking it out every 1.5-2 minutes to stir. It turns out delicious and not very sweet, just as I like!

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Breakfast – Day 37

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When I moved in to my current flat, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t have a balcony, but it wasn’t an issue, as, I thought, the London weather wouldn’t allow me to use the balcony too much anyway!

Today the weather is absolutely splendid, and I realised that I could actually create a mock balcony if I open my three bay windows. And I’m indulging in an unbelievably huge breakfast: croissant, pain au chocolat, muesli with blueberries, assorted fruits, hard-boiled egg, yoghurt, jam, Nutella, orange juice, coffee – I definitely feel as if I’m at a luxury resort! Life is good 🙂 IMG_8801

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Breakfast – Day 32

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I still have to consume my pot of clotted cream, and the most traditional English way of doing so is having cream tea, or basically tea and scones with cream and berry jam. All normal people do it in the afternoon, but I am going to have my scones for breakfast.

I am not going to lie saying that I’m baking the scones myself – I am not, just got some all butter sultana scones at the supermarket.

Apparently, in Cornwall the jam is spread on the scone first, with a dollop of clotted cream on top of it. In Devon it is done the other way round. I am trying both ways, and I can’t tell which one I like better, both are great! And of course, I am taking my tea with milk!

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Breakfast – Day 18

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It’s the second day in Brussels, and I’m having breakfast at the Thon hotel (that’s where I’m staying). As you can see, I decided to try pretty much everything! And everything tastes great!

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Breakfast – Day 17

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I’m in Brussels this weekend, so I’m having a breakfast out. The place, Tout Bon, is very similar to Le Pain Quotidien, and I’ve already posted the breakfast I had there, but never mind. Here I have a croissant and some bread with various spreads.

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Breakfast – Day 7

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I love eating out, but for me this concept has always included lunch and dinner only. Somehow I could never understand why anyone would want to go out for breakfast – I guess, this is because I have always hated breakfasts and treated them merely as means to fill the tummy and not feel hungry and sick, rather than properly enjoying them.

One thing that I’m now learning through this challenge is that breakfasts can be truly enjoyable and indulgent. So on this rainy Saturday morning I’m having a delicious breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, the Belgian bakery-café. What I have here is a pain au chocolat, a variety of breads with organic jams and dark chocolate spread, orange juice and Belgian-style hot chocolate. Lovely!

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