Mix & Match Birthday Breakfast...
For my dad's birthday I was kind of stuck on what to make him.
The problem is, he's just about as food-obsessed as I am, so it's really difficult to pinpoint a favourite: oliebollen, raisin buns, Indian sweets, Chinese, anything with dates or figs, Dutch pastries and cookies... the list is endless.
In the end I settled on a recipe for fruit scones from my trusty little book of 'Good Old-Fashioned Teatime Treats' -even selecting a recipe from the book proved to be an extensive project- and homemade ricotta from Smitten Kitchen.
The scones were insanely easy and I made them on the morning of my dad's birthday (I mean, if you're having birthday scones, they might as well be fresh and warm, right?).
I made the ricotta that morning too, because the recipe said an hour of draining would give a tender ricotta.
Making the mix was simple, but the cheese really could have used more time to drain. We had to get it ready for breakfast so my mum came to help with the emergency by hand-squeezing the cloth to try and make it more solid. It was a horribly messy process, but it was a life-saver.
I was wary of how the cheese would turn out because it wasn't as firm as I have known ricotta to be.
But oh man it was so scrumptious... I've never thought of ricotta as being really flavourful, but I loved the creamy, lemony taste this recipe creates.
I had spoonfuls of it at breakfast and then at any possible opportunity for days after: sandwiches, on an apple (not my best idea... but it was worth a shot. In my defence, it was inspired by pear and chevre), and I made a brilliant discovery: homemade ricotta with peanut butter. (If you already discovered this amazing combination, sorry. But hey, great minds think alike ;) )
The scones too were a success. I had started feeling horrid while they were baking because the dough was gooey an non-rollable and they weren't looking golden and they had baked for long enough already.
But they were warm and crumbly and so perfect for toppings. That's what I love about a lot of British pastries: they're not too sweet. Of course, I'm a sucker for streusel-coated giant American muffins, but they're sugar-loaded cakes. A lot of British treats are more gentle, allowing them to be paired with both nutella and ricotta depending on your mood.
Hence the 'Mix & Match Menu'. I love this kind of doodling stuff- it's part of the fun of food and it's totally the kind of thing I want in my café.
Note: You may need more draining time, based on what consistency you want. Mine was more runny at first, but it still tasted good.
Click here for the recipe.
From Good Old Fashioned Teatime Treats, by Jane Pettigrew
Note: Don't worry if your dough seems sticky (or maybe it was just mine...). I just dolloped mine and flattened them.