books · novels · romance · the antique love

Release of The Antique Love…and my 100th blog post!

Happy birthday, blog!  Happy release day, The Antique Love!

the antique love, helena fairfax, romance novel, setting london

Today sees publication of both my hundredth blog post and my second novel, The Antique Love.  I don’t know which one of these two I’m more excited about!  (Well, yes I do.  Actually it’s The Antique Love….but shush, don’t let the blog know it came in second!)

helena fairfax, the antique love, antiques, mrs beeton
Selection of vintage kitchen items. Horsley and Henderson Saltaire

I’ve been racking my brains for the past few days trying to think how to celebrate these two milestones, and then I thought, what do you talk about most on this blog?  And the answer came pretty quickly.  Tea and cake.  Yep, pretty much every time I have a guest, tea and cake will feature somewhere.

So, since my blog is one hundred, my book is about antiques, and I’m quite old (!), I thought I’d turn to one of Britain’s oldest cookery books to tell me how to make a traditional English scone, and celebrate by having high tea!

In 1861 Mrs Beeton published her famous Book of household Management, and it became an instant bestseller.  I always thought Isabella Beeton was quite old, but in fact she was only 24 when the book was published, and she died at the age of 28.  Here’s to you then, Mrs Beeton, and thank you for your recipe.

A scone, in case you’ve never had one, is a small, round, white cake, which you cut in half and spread with butter.  If you want to start a heated discussion in England, ask a helena fairfax, the antique love, mrs beetongroup of people how to pronounce “scone”.  Personally, I say scone rhymes with “gone”.  There are very many other (totally misguided) people who say scone rhymes with “bone” – but they are wrong.  And I am right, because this is my blog :)

Now that’s enough chatter, and here’s Mrs Beeton’s famous recipe:

PLAIN SCONES

  • butter for greasing
  • 225 g / 8 oz self-raising flour
  • large pinch salt
  • 25-50 g / 1-2 oz butter or margarine
  • 125-150 ml / 4-5 fl oz milk
  • flour for kneading
  • milk or beaten egg to glaze (optional)

Grease a baking sheet.  Set the oven at 220 deg C / 425 deg F / gas 7.  Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.  Rub in the butter or margarine, then mix to a soft dough with the milk, using a round-bladed knife.  Knead very lightly on a floured surface until smooth.

Roll or pat out the dough to about 1cm / half inch thick and cut into rounds, using a 6cm / 2 and a half inch cutter.  Re-roll the trimings and re-cut.

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the tops with milk or beaten egg, if liked.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Leave to cool.

It’s a deceptively simple recipe.  Note Mrs Beeton says to knead very lightly.  It’s easy to turn out dry, overbaked and overworked scones if you’re not careful.

These scones are very plain, and are improved massively by cutting in half, spreading with butter and jam (jelly) and adding a good dollop of very thick cream.  Delicious!  Make a big pot of tea, add a jug of milk, and these are all the ingredients you need for a traditional English cream tea.

If you try Mrs Beeton’s recipe, please come back and let me know.  And if you read The Antique Love, please let me know if you enjoyed it! (Available as an ebook from Amazon US, Amazon UK, B&N, my publishers Muse, and all sorts of other e-tailers!)

What’s your favourite cake recipe?  Do you like tea, or do you prefer coffee?  Or neither?  And most importantly, how do you say “scone”?  I’d love to hear from you!

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30 thoughts on “Release of The Antique Love…and my 100th blog post!

  1. Good morning, Helena, and massive congratulations on both anniversaries.

    I say scone to rhyme with gone in my Scottish accent, but there’s a place in Scotland called Scone which rhymes with scoon – rather an historic and important place.

    I love scones and might make some this weekend when there’s family over.

    Good luck with sales. Anne Stenhouse (fellow MuseItUp author and antique – well, I’ve got my bus pass!).

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    1. Hi Anne, thanks so much for your comment! I had no idea the Scottish place Scone was pronounced “scoon”. You’ve saved me from some Sassenach ignorance next time I’m north of the border. Thanks for coming, and wish I could be there to enjoy the scones! :) Have a great weekend!

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  2. Congratulations on the release Helena! With regards to scone I am inconsistent in how I pronounce it. Perhaps this is because I am a confused Midlander who is sandwiched between a North/South divide!

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  3. Congratulations Helena. It’s a great day for you and I wish you plenty of success with Antique Love. I always enjoy reading your posts and your interviews, and not just for the cakes and refreshments you have on offer for your guests. I am a cake addict, and have too many favourites to list. This summer, I have enjoyed baking banana loaves. For some reason we seemed to have bought lots of bananas and the children didn’t want to eat them, so I just ‘had’ to use them to bake cakes! Congratulations again!

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    1. Thanks Marie! I had a friend in my office who also used to make banana cake, and bring it in for us. She was very popular! :) I must say your patisseries in France are absolutely awesome. One of my favourite things in France – amongst many!

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  4. Helena, first off, congratulations on your book release! How exciting! And secondly on your 100th blog. I know how much time and energy goes into writing those.

    I love scones! When I go out for tea I like to slather on clotted cream and lemon curd. At home since the only way to get clotted cream is to make it and that takes too long, I use Mascarpone cheese.

    Enjoy your day of celebrations. Happy for you.

    Susan Bernhardt
    The Ginseng Conspiracy
    http://www.susanbernhardt.com

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  5. I’m with you. It definitely rhymes with ‘gone’. Congrats to you on your 100th blog and the new release. I’m going away today, but when I get back, I’ll try your scone recipe. I always suspected you weren’t supposed to overwork the dough.

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  6. Hi Helena, and a double congratulations to you! Here in NY, scone rhymes with bone. And they’re not round and white, but sort of triangular and flavored with blueberries or cranberries or even chocolate chips! My favorite is orange-cranberry with Devonshire cream. Yum!

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    1. Hi Heather, thanks for your great comment! Next time I go to NY I will definitely try some scones – and pronounce them correctly! We also flavour ours in England sometimes. Mainly with sultanas, or sometimes cheese for a savoury scone. I’ve never had blueberry or orange-cranberry, though. That sounds heavenly! Thanks for the suggestion!

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  7. Congrats on your release, Helena! Wishing you HUGE sales and much success. I love making scones and will certainly try out your recipe. Yummy. Congrats on 100 blog posts. Well done!

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    1. Thanks very much, Nancy. And thanks for your skilled editing with The Antique Love. Especially the times when you rescued my hero’s speech, when I let the occasional Britishisms slip in! I still laugh about those!

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    1. Oh that’s great, Susan, thanks for letting me know! It’s a long time since I baked scones myself, and I seem to remember they turned out a bit dry. I think I overbaked them :( I’m gald yours turned out well!

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  8. Congratulations, Helena – love the sound of your new novel! Haven’t made scones for years but I do love gingerbread. Like Anne, I’m also Scottish so pronounce scone to rhyme with gone.

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    1. Thanks very much Ros – lovely to hear from you! I do love gingerbread too, and parkin, and looking forward to baking some for bonfire night. Another one for the scone/gone camp :) Thanks for coming by!

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  9. Helena, congrats! Apologies for the late arrival. I posted at MIU that I’ve had email issues. So excited for you and I always love cake. Now, actually I like my cake with coffee rather than tea, but hey. As long as it’s cake, I’d even drink the tea. :) Now, SI’ve always pronounced the word with a long “o” sound. “Scone” rhymes (to me) with “phone” for the vowel sound. Again congrats and best wishes for many sales.

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  10. Popping in here very late, but I wanted to add my congratulations to your release day! How exciting and what a lovely way to celebrate. Of course being in the US, I pronounce scone like phone. I never heard it rhyming with gone or scoon. How interesting. Our differences are what makes life so rich. Kind of like rich cake. I can’t say I have actually ever tasted a scone, but my DH makes a delicious zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting. Zucchini are like yellow summer squash (and you can sub them for the zukes too.) When the zukes get away from you and grow as big as a baseball bat in our garden, he grinds them up for cake! And let me tell you we have a LOT of cake. My favorite tea is an orange spice tea known here as Constant Comment..Earl Grey is a close second. Hugs and best wishes!!

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    1. Hi JQ, good to see you, and thanks for your wonderful comment! You’re right, our differences do make life rich. I LOVE zucchini cake. In England we call it courgette cake, and we call frosting icing! You would never think the same language could be so different :) And you would never think a garden vegetable could make such a delicious cake. Think I may do some more baking this weekend. Thanks for your good wishes, and for giving me the idea!

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