This weekend marks the first Murrabit Market of 2017- held on the first Saturday of every month, you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy to take home with you. Here is one of our very first posts we wrote back in 2016.
Whenever we have a family afternoon tea, my mum makes them. Whenever we have people over for afternoon tea, my mum makes them. When my boyfriend of five years went overseas for three months, she made them for me. My mum doesn’t claim to be an amazing baker, but I will admit that she nails these every f*cking time. Scones. Not the Canadian scone (pronounced sc-oh-n) but the proper English pronunciation of ‘scon’ (no bossy ‘e’ here).
Dad even rates my mum’s as better than his own mum’s. That’s a big call. It’s rare that anyone has the balls to rate anything higher than what Nana June makes. She’s a CWA queen who whips up pasties, sausage rolls, cookies, Christmas puddings, lamb shank soup and scones. Don’t ever dare say that someone else’s are better than hers. So when my dad says that mum’s scones are the bomb, you better take notice.
Having had such high expectations set from such a young age, I rarely am able to find a scone that can measure up to what my mother consistently is able to produce. Who am I kidding, once your dad has it ingrained into you that a great scone never has to be split by a knife (you should be able to do it by hand), I never have been able to devour one that matches such lofty expectations.
I did have mixed feelings when I visited the February Murrabit Market, both for the scones and the stalls that were on offer. Held the first Saturday of every month (as well as Easter Saturday and the Saturday before Christmas) this market is somewhat of an institution for local Mallee residents. My first visit was nearly two years ago, after I had first moved to the region. I was a little overwhelmed as to what was on offer- lace tablecloths, clothing, lots of hardware, plants, crappy toys, more clothing, more hardware (old and new), more plants and more clothing. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more fresh produce considering we are located in somewhat of a farming community. So it was to my absolute delight that my visit this time round showcased a lot more of what the local area has to offer. Admittedly there weren’t as many stalls (I didn’t mind this but I’m sure the stall holders and Murrabit market committee aren’t overly rapt with it?). However, it was fantastic to see the increased amount of local produce stall holders. I was able to buy vegetables grown from an old lady’s garden, bulk nuts and seeds from suppliers from Shepparton (and Reservoir oddly enough- near my old Melbourne stomping ground) and fruit from a local grower. This was more like it.
Once all my produce had been purchased, it was time to retreat to the Murrabit Community Hall. Regardless of what you had planned on buying from the market, make sure you allow yourself some time and some spare change to come here. Sandwiches, cake plates, coffee, tea and cappuccinos are all available to purchase. And more importantly, so are scones.
I have high expectations of my scones. Blame my mother. I could be eating them from the Ritz Hotel’s Afternoon High Tea sitting in London and probably still not be satisfied. So it was with excitement and trepidation that I ordered a Devonshire Tea (complete with tea made in a huge metal kettle and served in a brown glass mug, 80s style). Two scones split into two, covered generously with berry jam and whipped cream (I feel you can never have too much whipped cream). I’ll be honest, I’m going to be mindful that these have been prepared earlier and kept in the fridge with their toppings. So whilst they aren’t quite as good as my mum’s fresh out of the oven, they are still pretty good considering the bulk numbers which the volunteers need to produce to ensure that the market-goers are able to get their scone fix. So whilst not up to my lofty standards, they are still worth waiting in line for.
It was only when I moved to Swan Hill that I realised that there was an alternative to the application of toppings on a scone. I have always been, and always will be, a jam first, then cream second, kind of girl. But what I didn’t realise was that there are people out there who do the cream first, jam second. Yeah I know, I couldn’t believe it either.
Regardless of what you order you like to top your scones with, here are two recipes to have a go at next time you have some left over cream to get rid of.
The scones my mum makes- courtesy of the Women’s Weekly Original Cookbook (first published in 1970).
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Approx. ¾ cup milk and water mixture
Sift flour and salt into basin, stir in sugar, rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Pour nearly all the liquid in at once and mix to a soft dough. (Flours vary in the way they absorb ligquid; if mixture is not soft enough, add remaining liquid.) Place on floured surface and knead lightly. Pat dough out to approximately 2cm in thickness, and, using a 5cm cutter, cut into rounds. Place on to a greased oven tray or into a lightly greased 28cm x 18cm lamington tin, glaze scones with a little milk. Bake in a very hot oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with jam THEN whipped cream.
Not a fan of rubbing butter into flour (let’s be honest, who is?)? Never made scones before (let’s be honest, most people in my age bracket haven’t)? I’ll be the first to admit it’s not an overly traditional recipe, however if you want a baking activity to do with your kids (or simply a fail-safe scone recipe for yourself) give these a go. I saw them in action when visiting the Bundoora Children’s Farm on an excursion when I taught in Melbourne. Grade 1/2s successfully made them. You’re welcome.
3 cups of self-raising flour
1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade
Mix all ingredients in a bowl together to form a dough. Knead gently on a floured board/bench then roll out to about an inch thick. Using a scone cutter, cut scones and place on a lightly floured baking tray. Lightly brush with milk or water. Bake in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes (until lightly browned on top and sound hollow when tapped on the base). Serve with jam THEN whipped cream.
Murrabit Market- held the first Saturday of every month, as well as Easter Saturday and the Saturday before Christmas. Open 8:30am-1:00pm