Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Ultimate Plain Scones

I am often asked by my friends how to make the perfect scones. None of my friends seems to be happy with the results of their homemade scones.  What are they expecting of scones, and what type of scones do they call perfect?

In their standards, the perfect scones should be fluffy and moist as if they are sponge cakes.  Unfortunately, they are fundamentally misunderstanding what real British scones are like!

Scones are not supposed to be fluffy and moist cakes, but flaky quick breads originated in Scotland.

Having said that, however, I also dreamt of having a cream tea with a fluffy and moist cake-alike scone or two, with lots of clotted cream and jam on top, and in fact, like my friends I have been secretly experimenting to improve my scone recipe for many years.

After multiple trials, eventually I have created a recipe that I think can answer my friends' questions! 

I have tested my newly improved scone recipe several times before disclosing it in my blogs, and every trial I have had satisfactory results.  Thus, I am now fully confident in sharing the recipe with my friends and the readers of my blogs.

I can't think of any other ways to make better cake-alike scones.  That's why I call it - ultimate plain scones!

Ingredients for 11 - 12 scones
160g bread flour
160g Japanese wheat flour (Hakuriki Ko Violet Nisshin)*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
60g salted butter, chilled and cubed (half inch)
150ml milk (plus some for glazing)
1 egg

* You can buy Hakuriki Ko Violet Nisshin or other Japanese brand Hakuriki Ko at Japanese food stores.  If there is no Japanese food store in your area, you may replace the bread flour and Hakurikiko with 320g of self-rising flour.  In that case, you do not need to add baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 420F and when the oven is preheated place a non-stick cookie sheet in it.

Sieve the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Add the butter to the bowl and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, rub it into the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly.

Combine the milk and egg in a half litre measuring cup and beat lightly. Add the mixture into the flour.

With a palette, mix the flour until almost fully incorporated, then using your hand, knead to a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or silicon mat and press it out with you palm to about one inch thick. Using 2 inch cookie cutter, cut out the scones.  Repeat until you can cut out as many scones as you can.

Take out the cookie sheet from the oven, then quickly place the scones on it.  Glaze the top of each scone with milk and bake in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes or until they rise well and become golden brown.

Let the scones cool down a bit on a wire rack and serve them warm with butter, whipped cream and jam (ah, and of course, don't forget to make a cup of tea!)

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appeti!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jalapeno Salmon Burger

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were invited to a house warming BBQ by one of his colleagues.

Among the guests, there was one semi-vegetarian (fish OK!) guest and she was grilling a jalapeno salmon patty that she bought at Whole Foods Market and brought with her.

It looked so delicious and I was sooooo... curious about the taste, so I asked her what it tasted like.

The following day, rather than rushing down to the nearest Whole Foods Market branch, I bought a fillet of Sockeye salmon at a local store and made some similar patties based on her description.  They were so delicious!

Last week, this time we organised a BBQ lunch and invited some of my husband's colleagues including this semi-vegetarian lady.  I made some salmon patties of my recipe and served her one to hear her opinion.

She was amazed and really loved it.  Moreover, she asked me to disclose the recipe in this blog.

So, here's the recipe of my hot (spicy) and delicious salmon patties.

Ingredients for 4 patties
12oz fillet of Sockeye salmon
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tbs finely chopped pickled jalapeno
1 tbs finely chopped parsley
2/3 cup Panko (Japanese style breadcrumbs)
1 egg
1oz cream cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
vigorous amount of black pepper
MSG to taste (optional)

(Tartar sauce)
2/3 cup real mayonnaise
2 tbs grated onion
1.5 tbs finely chopped garkins
1 tbs finely chopped capers
1/2 lemon juice
dash Tabasco
MSG to taste (opitional)

Olive oil to fry if you are using a frying pan
4 burger buns

Skin and remove all bones from the salmon, then chop finely.  (I do not recommend to use a food processor as the small chunks of salmon make the taste of the patty even better!)

In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped salmon and other ingredients and mix well by hand.

Form the salmon mixture into 4 patties, place on parchment paper, cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes or so to set the patties.

In the meantime, to make the tartar sauce, add all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix well.  Set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and fry both sides of salmon patties until they become golden brown. Alternatively, cook on the BBQ grill.

Serve the patties with the warm buns and tartar sauce.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!