Last Sunday, Steve cooked Sunday Lunch for his Mum and a couple of our friends. It was great! Not only was the food wonderful – roasted Devon Ruby rib roast, roasted potatoes in beef dripping, Yorkshire pudding, carrots & runner beans and mushroom gravy; but I didn’t do ANY of the cooking. I did ask ‘Do you want me to peel the potatoes?’ and ‘Shall I make the beef stock?’ and ‘Is there anything I can do?’. ‘No . . . no . . . nothing’ was the reply. I did set the table and open the wine bottle. I didn’t take many pictures of the food because I was on Company Manners, but here’s one of the roast when it came out of the oven.
Steve just brushed it with olive oil, sprinkled on salt and freshly ground pepper, wrapped it in aluminium foil (NB: The spelling aluminium is the international standard in the sciences, ie The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The American spelling, aluminum, is nonetheless used by many American scientists. Sir Humphry Davy, the element’s discoverer (British), first proposed the name alumium, and then later aluminum.
Gee, I dunno . . . Aluminum kinda has a nice ring to it . . . .
The name aluminium was finally adopted to conform with the -ium ending of metallic elements. The IUPAC adopted aluminium as the standard international name for the element in 1990, but three years later recognized aluminum as an acceptable variant. Hence their periodic table includes both, although IUPAC officially prefers the use of aluminium in its internal publications.) and roasted it at 240°C/450°F for about 25 minutes, then reduced the heat to 190°C/375°F for about another 90 minutes.
PS My parents (American) grew up between the wars and always referred to the stuff as “tin foil”, as do I sometimes. Actual tin foil was superseded by cheaper and more durable aluminum foil after World War II, and aluminum foil was sometimes confused with “tin foil” because of its similarity to the former material. And don’t even get me started on Reynolds Wrap, another generic term for aluminum foil, after Reynolds Metals, the erstwhile leading manufacturer of aluminum foil in North America. Now owned by Alcoa, who have preserved the Reynolds consumer brand.
Last Sunday, sometime before all of this talk about tin/aluminium/aluminum foil, I got up bright and early to make dessert, an old-fashioned American favorite – strawberry shortcake. What Americans call biscuits, Brits call scones. And what Brits call biscuits, Americans call cookies. Slightly confused? Good! This recipe is from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 – 1½ cups/240 – 360 ml heavy (double) cream
- 6 tablespoons/90 grams butter, melted
- 1 cup/240 ml whipping (double) cream
- Confectioner’s/icing sugar, to taste
- Bourbon vanilla extract, to taste
- 1 pint/500 grams fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Caster sugar, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F/200°C. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork to blend and lighten. Slowly add 1 cup/240 ml of the cream to the mixture, stirring constantly. Gather the dough together; when it holds together and feels tender, it is ready to knead. But if it seems shaggy and pieces are dry and falling away, then slowly add enough additional cream to make the dough hold together. Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 1 minute. Roll out about ½ inch thick and cut into 3 inch rounds. Dip each into the melted butter so that all sides are coated. Place the biscuits about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Let cool to room temperature.
Make the Chantilly cream by adding some powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla extract to the cream and whipping until it is firm, yet squodgy. Chill. Macerate the strawberries by sprinkling and gently tossing them with sugar. Leave at room temperature while lunch is being cooked and eaten.
To assemble the shortcake, halve a biscuit. Cover the bottom half with berries, add generous spoonfuls of cream and top with the biscuit top. Sift on some powdered sugar. That’s all there is to it!