Tonight was yet another where it reached 9:30 before I realized that a handful of raisins and an apple wasn’t supper, and headed for the kitchen. I dumped a yam in a pot with some sugar, but remembered that the fruit in my room hadn’t ripened yet, so I should probably make breakfast, too. Since I only bought flour and baking powder on Saturday and have no conventional measuring tools, baking is more like an extension of organic chemistry lab right now but, since the experiment with the apple doodad worked out palatably, I decided to try for something scone-ish. It turned out to be really, really good, so I thought I’d share. Feel free to laugh at the method of preparation.

Borough Biscuits

Turn the oven to 220ºC. In a slightly damp mixing bowl (cleaned because you don’t know where it’s been, but you didn’t have any towels to dry it) combine:

1 3/4 or 2 cups flour*
2 small pinches crushed sea salt
round about two pinches of baking powder
a few spoons of dark brown sugar (about a quarter of a cup, max)
a dash of nutmeg

Mix it all together with your fingers, making sure to break up the sugar clumps. And try to make sure not too much sticks to the damp. Cut in about 2 Tbl of salted cold butter to slightly smaller than peas and mix again. Then add the wet stuff:

1 egg
a good dollop of double cream (whatever the measurement is for the end bit of a ladle I can’t claim to know)
enough water to make a good dough

Mash it all together with a fork until everything is wet, adding the water as necessary. Now flour your hands and your flatmate’s baking sheet and separate the dough into six lumps. Shape the lumps into small rounds and flatten a bit. Place them at least an inch apart on the tray and stick in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes while you do the dishes and put everything away. By the time you’ve made tea, they’re lightly brown  and oh so savory. Goes really well with Yorkshire Gold ’round midnight. Mmmm.

*a cup being one of those cheap plastic cups from the local supermarket. I think it might translate as closer to 3/4 cup, but I can’t test it. Sorry ’bout that.

Also, I’m addled for sure, but now that I have the flat pretty much to myself, I sing whenever I’m in the kitchen. Most people do this in the shower, or the car, and usually in their own language, but there’s not much else to do in the kitchen either. Except to think. As noted, I’m an idiot, but I came up with this while my hands were busy:

Skritch scratch Jimminy Thatch
the harp is on the moor.
The mockingbird is in the trees,
the piper on the shore.

Quick, back to Mr. Black,
the raven’s in the hall,
the shepherd boy stands at the gate
the swallow’s in the wall.

Trip, tap, and doff your cap
the lark begins to sing
the morning light is drawing near
the little birds take wing.

Pick pack and watch your back
the eagle’s eyes are gold
the forest grows two mighty trees
the morning mist is cold.

crick crack down Hunter’s Track
the thrush is trilling loud
the harper’s silent on the moors
the noon without a cloud.

rip, wrap for Mr. Black
a crow the raven joins
the owl is waking in the loft
the magpie nests on coins.

Click clack no looking back
the hawk is at the door
the sheep have hidden in the yard
the mouse beneath the floor

Skritch scratch, Jimminy Thatch,
you’ve played the day away
the shepherd boy sleeps in the fields
and night has come to stay.

Honestly, this poem is not quite as nice as it sounds, and I’m not sure whether it should be have hidden or are running in the penultimate stanza. Perhaps I’ll add in another stanza either before or after. Edit: I’ve interpolated two stanzas right before that, and it may sound a bit better now, although it lacks the magic of the kitchen. Now in the last line changed to and, too. Second Edit: trick track down Mr. Black changed to crick crack down Hunter’s Track. Sorry, but the kitchen witch compels me.

In other news, JRR Tolkien has a story being published for the first time in just 10 days! Guess where I’m going to be on the 30th/1st? That’s right, sleeping in the air ducts of Waterstones so I can drop down from on high to spirit away the first copy. Fortunately that’s a few weeks before my first exam, although if he retold the entire tale of Sigurd and Gudrun, I may have to put it off until I’m back in the States. Dang, that’ll be awhile.

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