Dinner of Poppy Seeds and Lemon

The mention of "dinner", "poppy seeds", and "lemon" in the title might lead on to believe that I made some pasta or rice dish accompanied by a sauce of poppy seeds with lemon juice and zest. Or a salad with lemon poppyseed dressing. None of those was on the menu. In this case, dinner was breakfast.

Lemon poppy seed scones, to be exact.

These were made with a combination of all-purpose flour and King Arthur's cake flour blend, baking powder, the zest of two lemons, 40g of Dutch blue poppy seeds, an egg, cream, salt, and sugar.

At times, I tend to use bread flour instead of the KA cake flour blend for my scones. That will be my next experiment for a new version of these lemon poppy seed scones.

Close up using manual focus on macro lensAnd another version will be using all-purpose flour as the only flour. Whoever said you shouldn't play with food clearly did not know how to have fun.


THE WEEKEND KITCHEN::The Sweet and The Savory

This weekend brought about vanilla bean scones baked with both spiced vanilla bean sugar and vanilla bean paste. Flecks of vanilla beans dotted the scones, resembling one intense, but tasty, "connect the dots" artpiece.

It also brought about a rustic cake - a remake from the first cake recipe I developed in Berlin this past summer. As per my notes in my journal, I reduced the amount of flour, eggs, and butter. I also used lime zest and juice instead of the lemon zest and juice. The result? A delicious Rustic Yogurt Lime Cake.

The "Rustic" part is due to the fact that I had no mixers available to me in our rental apartment - either stand or hand. I even had to go out and buy a whisk and wooden spoons. Despite those limitations and more, I managed to develop quite a few recipes which I am now finally revisiting and retesting.

After the cake, dinner was next to be made. I went for a European dish known as djuveč in Croatian. Of course, my version is exactly that...one of many versions. I cook the rice on the stovetop while some versions bake it. I add beer which gives the whole dish a nice hoppy flavour. Green bell peppers are my choice as it provides a contrast to the red tomatoes. I also like to top this rice dish with Greek feta and warm up some flour tortillas or naan bread.

Lastly, came the čevapčiće. It was already dark when we got around to grilling these last night, but I managed to take a photo as the seasoned sausage-like ground meat was on the grill.

My favorite from this weekend? The cake...



KITCHEN NOTES: Recipe Development::Orange Chocolate Scones

The last Saturday morning of September greeted us with a pleasant yet unfamiliar sound. The sound of rain. I love when it rains. Mostly because we rarely get any rain, but it's a soothing sound that makes me happy nonetheless.

I look forward to lazy weekend mornings. Mornings that the children spend in bed cozily snuggled up in the duvets. Mornings when the middle child still manages to wake up before her siblings with her usual "When can we eat?" inquiry, followed by her insistent "I want to eat now!". Mornings when the oldest is not being rushed out the door to get to her bus or the younger two running to the minivan three days a week to get to preschool on time.

For Cinnamon, my middle child, this will be her last year going to school part-time, as she goes to kindergarten every day next year.

Sage still has one more year of preschool but I fear that the time will pass by quicker than I'd like. For now, I'll try to cherish these fleeting moments as long as possible, remembering to capture as many of them with my camera before it's too late.

Saffi giving Sagey a piggyback ride

So, on weekend mornings, I like to make something special for the kids. This particular Saturday morning the plan was to make Cranberry Orange scones. I used to eat those all the time at that chain coffee place I've successfully avoided for close to a year as I quickly got bored with their pastries and coffee. Cinnamon also liked those scones, but Saffron mostly preferred the lemon pound cake or the vanilla scones.

I was all set to measure out the cranberries and soak them in Grand Marnier when Saffron showed up in the kitchen asking what I was making. She didn't seem pleased with my answer and, honestly, I thought she was just being pouty. What's a mom to do in such a case? Well, change course. Leave out the cranberries and replace them with chocolate.

Chopped chocolate, orange, cream with cinnamon (to brush before baking)

So, that's exatly what I did. After several unsuccessful attempts this summer, I finally reached my goal of a cakey scone. Just the way I like it.


Orange Chocolate Scones

this batch made 16 scones



125 grams all-purpose flour

100 grams cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt (I used Pink Himalayan)

60 grams granulated sugar

100 grams unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

2 large eggs

60 ml heavy cream

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

zest from one medium orange

1 tablespoon orange juice, freshly pressed

50 grams bittersweet chocolate (I used El Rey 73.5%), chopped

FOR TOPPING: 30 ml heavy cream mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon



Heat oven to 425°F. Line one rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

While measuring out the ingredients, place cubed butter in freezer.

Combine flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Remove butter from freezer and gently rub the pieces into the flour mixture until roughly combined. There is no need for the butter to be completely incorporated (I've left a few larger pieces). Set aside while preparing the wet ingredients.

Whisk together eggs, cream, Grand Marnier, orange zest, and orange juice. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Using a spoon, quickly bring together the wet and dry ingredients until they form a sticky ball of dough. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Turn out the mixture onto a well-floured surface and gently, but briefly, knead the dough. Flatten into a rectangular shape and cut into 16 equal portions. (You can also form the dough into an 8" circle and cut into 8 large scones). Brush with the cream/cinnamon mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


THE NOTES (as jotted down in my journal):

Although I had intended on baking cranberries into this scone recipe, the vision of the children picking them out and casting them alongside their plates changed my mind to something I knew they would enjoy on this rainy Saturday morning - chocolate. I could tell that Sagey thoroughly enjoyed the scones.

My previous attempts at writing scone recipes ended up with a cookie-like texture. Still good, but not the cakey version I was envisioning. The first scones I baked were Lemon Poppy Scones. That was back in early August in Berlin. The next day, I tried again and made Vanilla Scones. Then there were Lemon Buttermilk Scones, Cinnamon Spice Scones, and a recipe for Pumpkin Scones that I have not yet made (I'm planning on using real pumpkin, not canned, for these).

What the previous scone recipes all lacked was more fat and moisture. Actually, the Lemon Buttermilk Scones had no butter at all. By increasing the amount of butter, adding an extra egg, and replacing some of the all-purpose flour with cake flour, I was able to attain a tender, cakey scone.

Changes I would try for next time:

Surprisingly, I had no notes for this recipe other than jotting down "Yum!".

* For another recipe... replace chocolate with dried cranberries soaked in Grand Marnier.