May 31st, 2015. It was a blustery day in London, complete with torrential downpours and delayed public transport. But there was no late 176 bus that could keep this girl from exploring the city on my last day as a student there. That day, I spent hours wandering around the city I called home for five months and reflected on the once in a lifetime experience I was fortunate enough to enjoy. I lived about 45 minutes south of the city, in a small town called Camberwell, but attended classes at King’s College in Central London.
It would be impossible to sum up everything that I learned while studying there. I can say without a smidgen of a doubt that there is nowhere else in this world I would rather be than London. Some people call this phenomenon “post study abroad depression,” but I’m under the impression that my calling is over there across the Pond sitting in the window of my favorite coffee shop, Timberyard.
There are so many reasons to love London, including the fact that afternoon tea is literally an every day thing there. Here, in America, afternoon tea is either a ceremony little girls conduct with their stuffed animals or an outing saved for a special occasion. In London, you can’t walk a block without seeing a tea room, the best of which being the Jubilee Tea Room at Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly Circus. F&M’s tea is world renowned, its store a haven for tea lovers and foodies alike. On the top floor of this luxury department store lies the Jubilee Tea Room, a wonderland of Tiffany blue walls and china patterns, with a pianist playing classical music in the corner. For me, heaven.
Before eating there, I wondered why the afternoon tea was £49/$75 per person. After eating there, I wonder how I can get away with paying that little to eat unlimited tea sandwiches and melt-in-your-mouth scones. I’m not kidding. You can sit in the Jubilee Tea Room for hours and they will just keep bringing out little piles of their pillowy, creamy scones for as long as you like. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever encountered, honestly.
So this past Thursday, I came home from that P.E. of Russia and Eurasia midterm and really felt like baking something to counter the long day of classes. My roommates, who also studied abroad in London and Florence, respectively, had been blowing up my phone all day about how much they wanted scones. I should probably tell you, as an aside, that a recurring conversation within our household regards our utmost desire to return to Europe and live the fabulous lives we were meant to lead. So naturally, when they say they want scones what they really mean is that they’d like to take an Uber to LAX, hop on to the last British Airways flight of the day, and land in London just in time for some nice piping hot scones for brekkie. Barring winning the lottery, there’s a solid 100% chance that this isn’t happening anytime soon for us, so I decided to surf Pinterest to find an amazing scone recipe to make.
Low and behold, what do I find, but a copycat Fortnum and Mason scone recipe (see link below)! Elation would not even begin to describe the level of excitement I experienced! “Tomorrow,” I thought, “I will bake these scones and the world will be restored to its natural order.” Lucky for me, I was also tasked with bringing dessert to the Back to the Future party I would be attending on Friday night, so making scones was the perfect plan.
I had to work on Friday as well, so I was in a bit of a rush while making these scones. Thus, the horrible photography you are about to witness. But despite the hurry, I think they turned out pretty well!
Two things that I need to change next time I make these delectable morsels:
- I did not want to buy self-rising flour because it isn’t useful for anything else besides scones and biscuits, so I attempted to make my own using a recipe I found on Google involving baking powder and salt. I don’t really think it worked as a substitute, so next time I will definitely use self-rising flour.
- The recipe calls for 3/4 cup buttermilk, but I added extra and they were still a bit dry. Definitely amend the recipe to stir in at least one cup, if not more.
The end result tasted absolutely nothing like the F&M scones I revere and love so much, but my scones tasted wonderful, especially with a slather of honey butter. I love that they bring back such great memories of such an amazing experience, but mostly I hope that I can taste the real deal again soon.
Until next week,