We are half way through the summer and even though it should all be sunshine and picnics, the weather in the UK has had other ideas. So what do you do when it’s raining outside? You dust off your best china, bake some scones and have afternoon tea in your lounge of course! How quintessentially British of me. And did I mention that its Afternoon Tea week?
I’ve been a fan of Spode’s Italian Blue range of China for a long time. I was bought up on chintz and Chinoiserie (just ask my mother), so I can appreciate a good tea cup and saucer like the best of us. Especially one in a classic design like Spode’s Italian Blue range. I swear I must have been Italian in a previous life, as this range has my little vintage heart.
Spode is one of those iconic British brands which I’ve been a fan of of for a long time. Founded in 1770, this Italian blue collection was inspired by classical Italian architecture back in the 16th century when wealthy British aristocrats and those with new money would take off for months at a time to tour as much of the known world as possible. They’d bring back with them magnificent tales, and lots of sketches and paintings, which directly inspired Spode’s company founder Josiah Spode.
And now it’s in my kitchen cupboard looking pretty, and coming out for rainy days (and most days) like today.
Some of my favourite pieces from the collection include the huge 200th anniversary platter which I’m excited to host a big soiree just to use it and the Italian blue jug which also doubles up nicely as a vase.
I’m also slightly in love with the plastic sandwich platter which at £8.50 is a bargain and is even useful just to bring tea in bed in the mornings.
Now back to the scones. I’ll be honest, I’m not the domestic goddess you might think I am. We actually have a compartment of our oven which has never been used. But, I do love baking (and eating cake) . So in case you fancy making some fruit scones, I’ve attached my simple fools proof guide. And both my husband and toddler will agree that they were rather very tasty.
Fruit Scone Ingredients
350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
85g butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
squeeze of lemon juice
beaten egg to glaze
Jam of your choice and clotted cream, to serve (I chose raspberry, naturally)
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix with your hands.
Next I added the butter, and rubbed it in until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet on a tray in the oven.
Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and sultanas and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round tin about 4cm deep.
Take a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. You may need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four.
Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream.
SPODE Products used in this post ….
Blue Italian Tea Pot £102.50
Blue Italian Cake slice £15
Blue Italian Cream Jug £34.50
Blue Italian Buffet plate £21.00
Blue Italian 5 piece bowl set £100.50
Blue Italian Jug £42.50
And that’s it! I’d love to know what you think of my little afternoon set up, and if you try my Scone recipe, do let me know what you think? And… most importantly, are you a cream first then jam? Or jam then cream? It’s one of those things we can never agree on in this house.
[AD] This post is part of a collaboration with SPODE. All styling, images, thoughts and opinions are my own.