Saturday, 19 February 2011

Starting the day with tea and scones

I woke to the sound of pouring rain this morning but when you live on a boat it actually sounds really nice! You're toasty warm, all snuggled and it feels a bit like you're on the ark and everyone else is buggered cept you! We get a little bit smug in the rain...!

To be honest, we're kinda smug about our way of life pretty much all the time. We are surrounded by beautiful scenery, and if we want, on a Friday when we finish work (we both have demanding full time jobs) we come home and fire up the engine, release the ropes and disappear off the grid until it's time to head back and get ready for work the next morning.

A lot of boaters seem to be almost magnetically drawn towards pubs when they take their boats out but we prefer to go to the middle of nowhere so we can enjoy the peace and quiet. The best moorings have nothing and noone but cows for company!

If the weathers not so good we light the fire instead of having the heating on, we don't bother putting the satellite up - we put some soup or stew in the oven and just read. It's really relaxing and therapeautic.

On hot days (actually, even tepid will do!) we're straight outside. If we're not cruising along the river then we're on the riverbank watching the other boats go by. We barbeque on the bank, and spend a lot of time laughing!

Days out are always a bit of a busmans holiday really as we don't like to be away from the water for long. We go to Northampton where there are fantastic marinas and canals with floating cafes and lovely walks to take, or we go to Little Venice in London. You can walk the tow path between Little Venice and Camden Town (our other favourite place to hang out!) Half way between the two there's a tiny marina but it's perfectly formed! With narrow but neat gettys all the moorings are tightly packed but it loooks beautiful. Boating communities are really friendly - there are normally very practical people working in demanding jobs like us - you get a lot of nurses living on boats, and there's normally a welder, a builder, an office worker.... whatever needs doing theres usually someone with the skills needed!

The photo above is the floating cafe at Little Venice - they do an amazing chicken caesar salad! Om nom!

So this leads me back to my start to the day today.... With Steve out early helping the owner of the marina we live in to crane a very posh dutch barge in, I figured he's going to need something nice when he gets in. He is a bit of a "tea, scones, and rock n roll" kinda boy so I made a batch of fresh scones.

If you fancy a go, this recipe never fails:

You need: 225g self raising flour,25g caster sugar, 50g cold butter, 1 teaspoon baking powder. A bit of milk!

Heat your oven to gas 7, sift flour baking powder and sugar into a medium sized bowl. Add the butter and blend in with your fingertips to a breadcrumb consistency. Add milk very slowly to form a dough. Roll out to about a cm deep on a floured board and use a cutter to cut out small rounds. TIP: don't twist! If you press the cutter straight down and then tap out onto a non stick baking tray it will rise straight up. If you twist it it will contort as it rises!
If you use a small cutter you'll get about 8 mini scones out of this quantity of dough. Sieve a little flour over the top of them before you throw them in the oven for twelve minutes. You can add dried fruit before you add the milk if you want. One big handfull is plenty for this quantity. Dust the top with a little icing sugar and fill with butter/jam/cream! You HAVE to drink tea when you eat scones though, its the law! lol!

Have a good saturday my friends!!

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