Quality family time - a lesson in baking cranberry scones with the help of a little boy
Going into the kitchen to cook as a family is a great way to spend quality time together, at least in our case, when we find we haven't had any lately. It's natural to have certain weeks that are more stressful, more time consuming, with worries and problems piling up and time that just won't stretch for everything to get done, and those laid back moments as a family seem to get thrown away in favour of other, more pressing business.
Even weekday dinners are cooked hurriedly, those weeks, one pot everything kind of food, that can stand to cook on it's own over a low heat while you attend to other things. And conversations that you've been meaning to have get set aside for a time when you don't have so much in your mind, for a time when you can focus and really listen and give feedback, when you can really be present in the moment. When your mind can be present in the moment, as well as your body.
Every life has moments like those. Some lives seem to have more than others, granted. Some like to pretend their lives don't have those moments and they like to shout it out loud just how perfect everything is, but it's not real. I can't believe it is real, we all have struggles and worries and stuff doing our head in and some times, hopefully not that often, we simply don't have it in us to just be present. And family life, daily life as a family, gets set aside just a little bit, while we battle those demons. It happens to everyone.
And when it does, it's quite easy to get caught up in that neverending circle, but a quick trip to the kitchen as a family, to cook up something together, is such a great way of getting things right back on track! It's fun, and it brings up great conversation. If there's kids, it's a learning opportunity for them, as well, I have noticed. Basic notions of mathematics, of physics and chemistry always seem to get thrown in whenever my husband is cooking with our son.
There'll be easy to understand explanations of what force and inertia are, energy and weight and mass and all those things - I'm lousy at that! - and there'll be sums and subtractions and divisions, there'll be calculations and trains of thought carried by a kid that takes so much after his dad when it comes to that. But there's always talks about food, and nourishment, and what is good for him and what is not, what one should eat and what one should avoid, there's conversations about the food industry, about waste and how to avoid that, there's long chats on what goes well with what and what he would like to try and combine.
And there's also fun and jokes and playing around, while we cook, and there's experimenting and first times as well, and there's one thing I find of extreme importance, that the kid is learning how to cook, and how to eat. There's so many people who don't cook, these days, who just go out and buy their meals ready made, who are always eating at those junk food joints, people who have no idea how to buy raw ingredients and then cook them! I find that so sad, because I feel like it's a prison of sorts, not to be able to cook your own meals, being dependent on what others have cooked for you, never quite knowing what you're really consuming, never quite knowing what and how you really like your food cooked...
So I do make it a point of having my son learn all he can about food, and knowing how to cook even if just the simplest of meals. He always watches me cook dinner, and has been doing that ever since he was a week old or there abouts. He's gotten used to that, and from a very young age he has been wanting to help around the kitchen when we cook. I find that baking is the best way to get children started, because unlike me, they do like to get their hands in the dough. Bread, cookies, cakes, and these scones. Scones are really quite perfect to bake with a kid, as they cannot be kneaded, so the dough is perfect for a child's lack of strenght when combining the ingredients. Our boy loved getting his hands dirty making these cranberry scones, that's for sure!
So if you want to go ahead and bake some, whether with your child or by yourself, here's the recipe:
- 340 gr flour
- 60 gr sugar
- 30 gr margarine
- 20 gr butter
- 1 egg
- 1 dl milk
- 2 tspoons baking powder
- 1 tspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 scant cup of dried cranberries that have been steeped in rum - or water
Start by sieving the flour and the baking powder into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and combine, gently kneading it all together - do make sure you do not knead it like bread, just amass the whole together until it binds. Pour it on a workbench that has been lightly floured and make a roll out of the dough, as if it was a big sausage. Cut the roll into even pieces and set those on a baking tray covered with baking sheet. Beat the egg yolk and swab the scones with it (add a little water to make it easier) and then just bake them on a pre heated oven until they're blonde. Let cool over a wrack and enjoy them wih whatever you prefer: from clotted cream, to butter, to preserves and jams or marmalades, scones are good guys that go well with just about everything. They're like the most versatile thing ever! They also smell amazing when you get them out of the oven, so it will be hard to not simply bite into one immediately!