Category Archives: Thoughts

Nearly perfect scones


During our trip to London, we took a day trip to the cliffs of Dover and Canterbury. After the 2 hour drive and wandering the cliffs, we were quite hungry when we arrived in Canterbury. In fact, we saw very little of the town in our effort to have a nice lunch.

I had found a tea shop not far from the center for town before our trip, Tiny Tim’s. It was built in 1600s and like every bit like a quintessential tea shop.

I took advantage of the afternoon cream tea with two enormous scones, clotted cream, and jam. If anyone has a recipe for clotted cream, please share! I’m hooked!

In the meantime, I offer you this recipe which Mr. F says is as good as any we had in England.


Adapted from Recipes for the Nation’s Favorite Food

330 g flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

40 g sugar

5 tbsp butter, cubed

175 ml milk

To a large bowl, add for, baking powder, salt, sugar, and butter. Chill bowl for at least 10-15 min.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Rub butter into flour mixture until only pea-sized lumps remain. Gradually add milk, kneading gently.

Roll or shine mixture on lightly floured surface till about 1 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch circles using a pastry cutter or drinking glass. Don’t twist while cutting it your scones will rise unevenly.

Lightly knead scraps and cut out remaining scones till dough is used up.

Bake for 12-15 min until golden and risen nicely. Cool on wire rack.

Best served strawberry or raspberry jam.



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Outrageous Fortune: Growing Up at Leeds Castle by Anthony Russell

51w58jivQ3LI’m not sure where my fondness for the British aristocracy comes from. Maybe it’s just from too much of reading fairy tales.

But many elements of Anthony Russell memoir feel like a fairy tale. He grew up in the famous Leeds Castle, which had been purchased and restored by his formidable grandmother, Lady Baillie. There were ceremonies for releasing baby ducks. There was a formal, rigid daily structure called the Castle Way, which in some ways reminds me of my own grandmother’s house. Every time I read this memoir (this being the 3rd), I am stuck by the overwhelming desire to make toast by the fire side and trot off to England to spend my Christmas.

Russell does acknowledge repeatedly that his upbringing was privileged and called that “dangerous” as it little prepared him for life outside the castle. His shyness, which was ignored by the adults at the Castle, made boarding schools a challenge. Nevertheless, he reflects positively on the experience overall. The ends in 2009, when he return to the castle which is now a museum. Talking with a former member of the staff, they reminisce fondly on the way life used to be.

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A Room with a View

We are just returned from a lovely vacation in Florence. I miss Vacationland a lot. But at least I have a lot of inspiration for my artwork and my cooking.

As you can expect, every meal we had was great. Now I’d like to make a hazelnut cake and an almond cake called torta delizia alle mandorle. Pappa al pomodoro and ribollita. Fegatini (chicken liver pate) and various other crostini.

Instead, I have been unpacking for several hours and our heating won’t turn on. Hopefully this week I’ll be able to send something your way. Enjoy the pictures in the meantime.

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Recent failures

With the heat and many weekend plans, I haven’t been using the kitchen much. 

We ate salad for dinner every night last week. I attempted a gluten free pie, which reduced any desire to bake anything.

This weekend, we celebrate Mr. Fictional Kitchen’s birthday and I have high hopes that the menu will produce some stories to share. There will be carnitas tacos, tomato corn salad, possibly broccoli slaw, and the triffle you have seen on this site earlier.

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A soup of my own invention

This post is coming a bit late considering that the weather has finally changed and it is now hot as blazes. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to have a summer at all (which would have been fine by me). However, if you find yourself somewhere cold, this soup is just the ticket.

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Ropa vieja 

Honestly, before a few months ago, I had never heard of flap steak. but it was cheap and that was a good enough reason for me to try it. I assumed I would have to stew it for ages, like most cheap cuts. However, flap steak has quickly risen to my top favorite steak because it is super versatile. It can both be cooked fast (in a pan or on the grill) or slow (in a stew).

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Getting ready for Easter

17862795_10209500613295808_5785488272482727336_nPasqualina is something my mother would make basically only once a year and I have always loved. Spinach is among my top three favorite vegetables, along with broccoli and zucchini. But those also happen to be my sister’s top three least favorite vegetables. So any chance to have spinach was good with me. I know, strange child.

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Filed under Eggs, Italian, Savory Tarts & Quiches, Thoughts, Vegetable