Being out here in Hong Kong I often get a little bit homesick for the people and places of England. Many discussions among us ex-pats are about the things we miss from home and when these conversations start, they don’t take long to turn to food.
I miss proper crusty bread and the smell of the bread aisle at the supermarket. I constantly miss real Cheese, all types. Every now and then I get an overwhelming craving for real fish and chips. I smell something deep fried and find myself yearning for that crispy batter gently nuzzled around perfect white fish, crispy chips, turning slightly soggy in lashings of salt and vinegar, mushy peas. When I’m back in England my 84 year old Grandma and I head out for a fish and chip lunch. Our treat. Large, she says, we don’t want to waste our time with that small size. Then there are sausages, the quest to find a real sausage in Hong Kong continues. Once every few months one of us will return home giddy with excitement; we’ve found something we suspect might be a real sausage. Nervously we pop them under the grill, with excited eyes we lay out the bread (hideous sliced stuff), the butter and the ketchup. With baited breathe we bite into the long awaited sausage sandwich….. but no, it’s not a real sausage. Another imposter. Again we are disappointed. Sausages are always the first thing to be eaten when I get off the plane back to England. My Mum is always ready, with sausages from the local butcher. The first mouthful is heavenly.
The other day a bout of this homesickness struck.Right now it’s snowy back in England, all I saw when I looked on-line were pictures of snow men, frosty walks and friends wrapped up and rosy cheeked in winter woolies, it made me feel a very long way from home. I wanted to make something homey, that I could bite into and feel right at home. I turned to scones. Normally I’d have my scones still a little warm, sliced in half and laden with jam and heapings of clotted cream (always in that order). There was only one problem, a distinct absence of clotted cream in Hong Kong. These scones are the answer, the apple and cinnamon renders cream unnecessary, they’re wonderful to eat just as they are or, if you must, with a little bit of butter.
Apple and Cinnamon Scones
(recipe adapted from BBC food)
225g Self Raising Flour
pinch of salt
55g butter (plus an additional tbsp for cooking the apples)
25g caster sugar
150ml of milk
2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1Tbsp brown sugar
– First prepare your apples. You need them to be peeled, cored and finely chopped. In a large pan, heat a tablespoon of butter. Add in your apple, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir until all the apple is coated in the sugar and spice. Cook for a few minutes until the apple starts to soften. You still want it to remain in small pieces – don’t let it turn into apple sauce! Remove it from the heat and leave to cool.
– Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet
– Mix the flour and salt and rub in the butter with your finger tips.
– Stir in the sugar, then add the milk slowly, stirring until you have a soft dough. Add in your prepared apples and mix until evenly distributed.
– Shape your scones. I thought the apple taste needed a rustic look, so I shaped them into rough circles with my hands. You could roll out the dough and use a cutter if you prefer a neater shape.
– Place on a greased baking sheet. Lightly dust with a little more cinnamon and brown sugar. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until risen and golden.
What food do you miss when you’re a long way from home?