Every month or so, travel schedules permitting, we here in the Vancouver throw ourselves a potluck to try out the latest and greatest cookbooks from our publishers. Who doesn’t like a gourmet lunch!?
Having pledged to make scones from Kamran Siddiqi’s book Hand Made Baking, I assembled my ingredients. Kamran suggests that these cream scones are best eaten the day they are made and, never one to argue with freshly baked goods, I woke up bright and early on Thursday morning to get culinary. In retrospect, I can see that this was the first of many errors I made.
Mistakes I Made:
Mistake #1: Staying out until 1am the night previous to watch Captain America: Civil War, then waking up at 6am to bake.
Mistake #2: Doing very little baking in my oven until this point, thus never drawing my attention to the fact that my oven runs hot.
Mistake #3: Thinking that the baking time allotted by the book allowed me long enough to shower while the scones were in the (overly hot) oven.
You can probably predict what all this is driving toward.
A Blow-by-Blow Account of my Mishaps:
Still soggy from my shower, I open my oven to retrieve my scones. Smoke escapes like a malevolent hell-cloud from the mouth of Hades. My fire alarm begins to wail the song of its people. Half dressed, I drop the scone tray onto the top of the stove and rush to the beeping monstrosity on my ceiling.
Aha! A battery compartment! While frantically waving a tea towel, I attempt to muscle open the device to remove the batteries. Foiled! Turned out those are BACK-UP batteries and the system is hard-wired into the ceiling. The alarm is now dangling from its wires from my attempt to silence it; I think this has made it angry as it refuses to shut up. Trying a different tack, I throw open my windows and doors to help the smoke clear. Any neighbours lucky enough to be on the street at 6:30am get a great view of a mostly undressed, once-clean-now-sweaty-with-panic woman brandishing a tea towel. It is not my best look.
After what feels like surely hours of frantic flapping and texting Ali to lament my situation, the alarm stops. Silence settles on my apartment like the first snow of winter. With a sigh of relief, I descend from my perch to go and assess the source of all this calamity, the scones. I get maybe four feet away from my tormentor when it lets out a single, desultory beep. I freeze for a moment and then begin walking again toward the kitchen. Beep. Every thirty seconds, a menacing chirp is issued, if only to let me know that I haven’t won, that it is still toying with me. I will never be free.
The scones look delicious and gourmet from the top. Their bottoms are as black as the heart of the person who designed my smoke alarm. Having no time to try the recipe again, I pack them into a container, close up the windows of my reeking apartment, and glare at the now eerily quiet alarm as I leave for work.
Turns out that hard black scone bottoms are very easy to cut off. It’s actually quite fun to fire them into the garbage like I am an Olympic discus thrower. Butter is the ultimate saviour, with all of the attendees slathering their scones and commenting on how delicious they are.
The potluck was a success: surprisingly vegetarian and wholly delicious. However, I think that next time, I might opt for a no-bake contribution.
—Dani “Sir Flapsalot” Farmer