After my rant on the chronic abuse of the word “perfect” by the BHG team, I had to tune into the beginning of Friday’s show to see whether they’d make a liar of me. They didn’t. Scant minutes into the intro the “perfect” count was up to 3. Vindicated, I wasn’t about to hang around, but then Fast Ed’s segment came on…
Well, he took the prize again – the prize dick prize, that is. His offering this week was perfect “traditional” scones “in just 2 minutes”. Here’s a challenge for you, Ed. Do your dough mix in 2 minutes with the camera running continuously, no cuts. Scones are fast, but no one does them that fast.
Fast Ed is always promising dishes that take only a few minutes – and the editing does give the illusion that this is the case – but anyone who knows their way around the kitchen knows what toss he talks with his timing claims.
OK, what about his scones? As usual, he promised “the best scones you’ve ever tasted” (or words to that effect) – a big call, Ed old cock. Mothers, aunts and grans who turn out scones as good as they get are an Aussie archetype, and while the country cook generations are fading out, many of us have carried on the scone tradition with treasured family recipes. So, let’s see what ya got big boy…
What he had was a scone dough that would have earned him a flogging with a wooden spoon in a 60s Home Economics class.
To the standard 3 cups of S-R flour and 1 cup of buttermilk he added one and a half tablespoons of baking powder – yes, tablespoons. PLUS 1 tablespoon bicarb soda. Shit, what’s he making here – scones or balloons? That’s enough gas to float a batch of scones off into the next suburb. But it gets more bizarre still.
He adds a cup of icing sugar! OK, so we’re going for sweetness and light. Then he adds a whole teaspoon of salt! Sweet and salty and light then? Nooo. Cos here comes citrus peel, orange zest and a whole teaspoon of vanilla essence! WTF??
He flattens out the dough, cuts small scones and places them on a baking tray, well isolated from each other. “It’s important to space them apart like that because they’ll spread as they bake and merge into each other,” he explains.
Then we cut to him taking them out of the oven. Close up on the scones, which have not spread at all and despite all that baking powder and carb soda have not risen! They look like fat biscuits.
“Now, there are some old-fashioned cooks out there who are saying ‘they don’t look the same as my scones’…” says Big-head Fast Ed with a smug leer. “And you’re right, they’re not the same – they’re much better. Try them and I promise you’ll never go back to the old-fashioned way.”
So, tell me Fast, how can your scones be “traditional” and new-fashioned at the same time? And why do you always have to introduce some ego-driven hierarchy of quality into your recipes – why must you claim that your bizarre scone mix is “better” than the “old-fashioned” version. Different, sure, but better?
As one who travelled to Devon while hitchhiking around England just to sample a genuine Devonshire tea with scones and clotted cream (o mama), I think I know what commitment to a good traditional scone is all about. And I say your scones are shite and you’re full of wind. And if I’m making that judgement without even trying your fat biscuits, so what? – you haven’t tried my Aunty Meg’s real scones, either.