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Alex Smith

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Fictional Scones with Jam and Cream

devilskein teacupIce cubes, bought, not made. It used to be that all I kept in my fridge were these ice blocks and frozen bread (it was only there because I didn’t eat it). I never thought the day would come when I would have a favourite scone recipe. Who to blame? The scones. Because they are perfect and delicious. Especially with honey or cherry jam and thick cream, lots and lots of it … sorry my heart.
I had untold trouble trying to make scones like scones I actually wanted to eat and not murderous lop-sided, jaw-breaking bread balls.

Anyway, those many disasters are all past history, here is my secret weapon:

250g cake flour (double sieved!)
3 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
125g butter (kept in freezer and then grated – this is the key)
200ml milk (full cream!)
1 free-range egg
Pre-heat oven to 220 c.
Double sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl. Grate frozen butter into the mixture, gently tossing it through until you get big crumbles.
Whisk egg into the milk and tip into the dry ingredients. Combine quickly and LIGHTLY. The mixture must be bitty and rough.Dollop spoons into silicone baking cups on a flat baking tray. Brush with egg (oh so you need another one beaten). BAKE IMMEDIATELY. For 12-15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.
Eat them with lashings of jam or honey and cream.

If baking scones bores you, but you enjoy them with tea, in terms of local scone offerings I’d rate the best scones in Cape Town as coming from 1) Kirstenbosch 2) Mount Nelson 3) Groot Constantia and 4) The Hillcrest Berry orchard. I haven’t found other scones worth eating. Please let me know if there are any. And in case I ever am in other towns around the globe, if you happen to be reading this in some other realm and feel inclined, please tell me where I should go to get the very best scones and tea where you are…

And why on earth scones, now and here? Well they feature quite prominently in ‘Devilskein & Dearlove’, served always with tea, naturally. The artwork above is an early draft of the UK Cover, by utterly brilliant artist, illustrator and writer, Ed Boxall.

‘I baked us scones,’ said Erin.
‘You’re late,’ said Devilskein, grumpily, from within. ‘It’s ten past six.’
The door was open, so Erin followed the poodle into the flat. Devilskein closed the front door behind them and all sounds of the life in the street below vanished.
Kelwyn was left lingering at the far end of the passage. His stomach grumbled; those scones really had smelled good.
‘Sorry, I’m late,’ said Erin, looking about her, wondering what lay beyond the six coloured doors.
‘To the kitchen, child.’ Devilskein shooed her out of the murky vestibule. ‘And just because you have scones, don’t expect obsequious niceties. If they taste awful, I won’t eat them out of kindness; don’t expect any of that.’

Devilskein&Dearlove is due to be published by Random House Umuzi in SA and Arachne press in the UK in July 2014. It is a ‘Secret Garden’ for the 21st century, set in Long Street Cape Town. Perfect for precocious readers from the age of 12 and up!


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Paige</a>
    May 11th, 2014 @16:30 #

    Congrats Alex, this looks too cool! Looking forward to it.


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