Before I ever enjoyed and salivated over the food described in a Freya North or a Jane Green novel, there was Enid Blyton. Her descriptions of simple and hearty food like a glistening pink ham would have me drooling as I read whilst tucking into a not-so-satisfying luncheon meat sandwich (luncheon meat was a big thing in the 1980s).
In the books, food would be piled high on tables that would also groan under the weight. So. Much. Food. Yet whether the children were adventuring, solving mysteries, escaping to a secret island, holding midnight feasts or playing a match of lacrosse, the food would always disappear. Then they would continue with their adventures and school life. It was thrilling, wizard, super! (I have to say, these are much better adjectives than the current 'sick'.)
A few weeks ago we featured a quiz to discern which Malory Towers character you were most like. So, of course, I dug out some of my books from my son's bedroom (yes, to my utter joy he has been reading and enjoying them) and had a sneaky re-read myself.
Darrell, Sally, Alicia, Belinda, Irene, Mary-Lou. I loved them all. Especially Darrell. I loved their plays, their midnight feasts, their sports matches. Not so keen on the practical jokes, but then I wasn't a massive fan of Alicia (though obviously I still loved her.)
One of the best bits would be after the school lacrosse match was played. You would feel exhausted, like you'd just competed yourself, so what better way to recover than by mentally feasting on the gorgeous food the school provided afterwards for match tea. A smashing tea of sandwiches, jammy buns and fruit cake, no less.
Now jammy buns. They sound delicious, but what are they? Well, according to Jane Brocket's rather beautiful Cherry Cake & Ginger Beer recipe book, they are Devonshire splits, but minus the cream. Personally, I'm going with the jam and the cream. You can never have too much of a good thing.
Mixing bowl, saucepan, hands for kneading or a mixer with a dough hook attachment, baking sheet.
25g unsalted butter
500g strong white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 flat dessert spoon caster sugar
10g dried yeast (or 1 and a half 7g packets)
Double cream, whipped
- Measure the milk and butter into a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted.
- Allow to cool so it is lukewarm.
- In a mixing bowl add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast.
- Pour over the lukewarm milk. You might not need all of it so take it slow.
- Mix. It will be slightly sticky.
- Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 - 10 minutes. It'll become smooth.
- Turn back into the bowl and cover the bowl in clingfilm. Place somewhere warm and leave for one hour. It should double in size.
- Knock the dough back to deflate and cut into 20 pieces.
- Roll into balls and place on a greased baking sheet, well apart from each other.
- Cover again with clingfilm (only loosely) and allow to rise again for about 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees or 180 fan.
- Scatter some flour over the buns then place in oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly then serve with lashings of whipped double cream and some simply wizard jam.