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Scone of the Week Stays At Home

I’ve mentioned before that my street has been organising various activities to keep people amused during lockdown – we’ve been putting things in our windows and front gardens for people, especially children, to spot during daily exercise. First it was frogs, then scarecrows. Last week we had to put something in our windows from a country we’d visited and add the flag to reveal the identity of the country at the end of the week. This week was all things red, white and blue, for the 75th anniversary of VE Day, culminating with a socially distanced street party today, where we all sat in our front gardens for food, drink and a bit of distant socialising with our neighbours.

Of course you have to have a bit of home baking at a street party so yesterday I made scones (my favourite cheese ones of course) I do like baking, but can’t stand for long periods so I always do the ‘rubbing in” part of making scones or pastry in a food processor to save time. My go to cheese scone recipe is adapted from a Delia Smith one, but I add extra cheese, both to the dough and sprinkled on top of the scones before they go in the oven – I use a mixture of cheddar and parmesan. I was pleased with how they turned out.

I had a couple while they were still warm, with plenty of butter of course and they were lovely – really cheesy with a little bit of a spicy bite (I add English mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the dough). Son and I delivered a few to my Mum. We are both missing our regular Scone of the Week jaunts to local cafes so there was no way she was missing out on these!

I also made some bunting to decorate the front of the house – I just made a template and used it to cut triangles from some old t-shirts (I found a red one, a white one and a blue one). T-shirt fabric doesn’t really fray so I didn’t need to hem them and I just machine stitched them to some tape, a couple of inches apart.

Today I thought I’d make some plain scones to go with our street party feast (to serve with butter and strawberry jam). I also made some little cucumber sandwiches (triangles with the crusts cut off of course). K had bought a jar of Shipphams salmon paste as he thought that was suitably retro so I made some sandwiches with that too, and , after I’d buttered the cheese scones too, our feast was assembled

Out came the teapot and cups and saucers, but we mixed a jug of Pimms and put that in the teapot! We had a great afternoon enjoying our food and drink and chatting with the neighbours. After the more sombre remembrance of those who died in the war in observing two minutes silence this morning, it was lovely to remember the celebrations that marked the end of hostilities in Europe, even if it was at a distance.

Have you taken part in any VE Day commemorations?

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Cake (Not Scone) of the Week

This week we visited the Old School Gallery at Alnmouth. Situated just outside the village centre on the road out towards Foxton, the Gallery has a small cafe area. They had no scones (so not exactly a “Scone of the Week” post} but five different cakes to choose from. I think they may have a bigger menu at busier times of year. Today we were the only customers there at the time of our visit.

We had a wander round to look at the art while our cake and coffee were being prepared and there were some lovely pieces, in a variety styles and media. They included a lot of seascapes and other sea-themed pictures. Many are available as prints and there a few other items too, including ceramics, textiles, cards and gifts.

The Gallery’s Spring Exhibition is currently being prepared ready for opening on 14th Feb so we could see many of the exhibits ready for hanging. My favourite was a huge seascape on canvas – I don’t know who the artist is but it was stunning.

Our home-baked cakes were excellent. I chose the lemon drizzle (one of my favourites) and Mum had the polenta and lime cake. Both were moist, light and full of flavour. For those preferring something with icing, there was coffee cake, chocolate, or victoria sponge. We had very nice Illy brand barista-style coffee to go with it.

The only issue with visiting the Gallery is the access. They have tried by creating a ramp from one of the entrance gates into the building , but then there is a single step inside, quite steep with no handrail. Apart from that it’s quite a nice place to visit.

We couldn’t visit Alnmouth without looking at the sea, so we drove down to the beach. It was a beautiful clear day and the sea looked almost inviting.

The afternoon sun lit up the Aln Estuary and shone on the wet sand.

As we drove away we saw one of the skiffs that are based in Alnmouth. Skiff racing is becoming quite popular around British coasts and as the boats are very traditional in design, this is keeping the old boat-building skills alive. They are quite often to be seen wheeled out of the boathouse by the beach like this and I love to see them.

It has been a week of seeing old friends. On Tuesday I had lunch with two fabulous former colleagues. It was so good to catch up (and far too long since we last got together). Later on I met a dear friend for coffee. She is off to Australia in a couple of weeks and I’m missing her already. Today we saw a lovely couple who live near my Mum for the first time in ages… turns out that this lady reads my blog! I didn’t realise. It was so nice to see them both.

Have you had any reunions recently or been back in contact with people after a long time without? I’d love to hear about it.