Hottest day of the year today in London. Too hot to eat much, but I have a run tomorrow and I will need some energy. What nicer way to pack in some carbs and calories than with a homemade cream tea.
This week I made some gooseberry and strawberry jam, using gooseberries from the garden (and strawberries from the shop!). It’s not set brilliantly but has a good flavour. That’s the main thing really isn’t it? And – it is a beautiful colour.
Jam done. Next essential for a cream tea – scones. Nigella’s recipe for buttermilk scones is the best one I’ve found. The scones have a fantastic rise and buttery flavour. They also freeze really well. Once defrosted they can be warmed slightly in the oven and hey presto – all set for another cream tea!
Of course for a proper cream tea you need cream. And for a Cornish cream tea you need clotted cream – from Cornwall. Truly authentic Cornish clotted cream from Rodda’s.
Clotted cream has a long history. It is made mainly in the south west of England, Devon and Cornwall, and there is evidence that the monks of Tavistock Abbey (Devon) were making it in the early 14th century. It has a very high fat content – minimum of 55%, but Rodda’s is 63.5%! Because clotted cream is made by gently heating cream it was considered a good way of preserving it, and safer to eat because it didn’t sour. Clotted cream has a sort of ‘crust’ of butterfat, produced as part of the heating and cooling process. Cornish cream has a slight yellowish tinge due to the high carotene content of the grass in Cornwall.
Traditional cream teas are a big tourist attraction in Devon and Cornwall today, as well as many other parts of the country of course. People have quite heated discussions about the way to eat a cream tea – the Devon way, or the Cornish way? The Devon way is to put the cream on the scone first, followed by the jam. But in Cornwall it is served the other way around – dollop of jam first, then a dollop of cream!
Whichever way you like it, jam first or cream first, a cream tea is pretty yummy!
Early night tonight, as I have to be up bright and early on Sunday to travel to Lingfield for my next run – race report as soon as I can!