in food, photography

Afternoon Tea and Scones

After living in London for six months, I finally appreciate scones. Not the dry crumbly triangles that americans pass for scones. But real scones. Which are actually more like biscuits. Not the english kind. The american kind. Let me start over.

The staple of a proper afternoon tea is a good scone with fresh clotted cream and jam. It’s always the simple things that get overlooked and underrated. But when I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade clotted cream, the craving came to me. And when I gave my Irish husband the pick of my next culinary experiment, he was instantly drawn to the scones. A match made in heaven.

All credit goes to the view from the great island and fifteen spatulas for the recipes but here are anecdotes from my experience.

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Extreme Makeover: KitchenAid Edition

At one time, I found the bright sunny yellow color of my KitchenAid standing mixer cute. I thought it was quirky, spunky, wacky, whimsical. Perhaps that was just a rationalization I told myself so I could get the 30% off that goes along with a discontinued color. I manufactured love for this color for quite a few years. But in my newfound DIY spirit, I took on the KitchenAid Makeover Project.

Cute isn’t exactly what I’m going for in the new house. Which is going to be done in TWO WEEKS! Classic, sophisticated, clean. Those are the words to describe the new kitchen. So the KitchenAid needed a makeover. I roughly followed the directions from Dwell Beautiful. And here follows my interpretation with the quite remarkable result!

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Carrara Marble Stain Test

This post is for the naysayers. For all of the people that gasped and asked “Are you sure???” when I told them I was getting carrara marble countertops in my kitchen. This post is my resounding “YES I AM SURE”. Every home decor blogger has an obligatory carrara marble post. I’ve read many of them and here is the bottom line. Yes, carrara marble is difficult to care for. It is porous. You have to seal it at least once a year and even then, you will get stains and marks no matter what you do. BUT, it’s gorgeous and it’s a great countertop to work on, especially if you bake.

Many people say that if you are a perfectionist, don’t get this countertop. If you are happy with the imperfections that will develop over time (what is referred to as patina), then get it. I had my heart set on carrara from the beginning and nothing was going to change my mind. So I wanted to prepare myself for the future which is why I decided to perform this stain test with this sample that I got from a local fabricator.

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Thousand Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie? The problem is there’s not just one kind of chocolate chip cookies. There aren’t even three kinds of chocolate chip cookies. There are probably thousands of different kinds that can range from chewy to crispy to salty to sweet. Some are nutty, some gooey, some cakey, some doughy, and the list goes on. The trouble is finding the right one.

I have tried several chocolate chip cookie recipes. One of the favorites I constantly go back to is David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Another one that I have had some success with is this Smitten Kitchen recipe. The point is that there are many and today I chose to attempt an extremely involved recipe. This particular recipe was from Butter and Brioche, a blog that I admire greatly both for the recipes and the beautiful styling of the photos.

The result was a crispy, thin, chocolately, and salty cookie. This cookie was on the rich side due to the heavy serving of both bittersweet and milk chocolate chunks. But as long as you have a big, cold, glass of milk, it hits the spot. I can also say that I have never before put an egg wash on a chocolate chip cookie, but it totally works in creating a crispy glaze over the top of the cookie. You can find this recipe here, but see below for my results.

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Finding Your Perfect Slab

There are few things in our new house that I am more excited about than our countertops. From the very inception of our new home, the vision was driven by picture perfect kitchens on pinterest which centered, of course, around a show-stopping countertop.

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I was originally disappointed by our builder’s selection of countertops but decided on classic carrara marble. Yes, I know that they can be fussy. And so, to balance that out, we decided to use a more durable dark granite around the cooktop because we know it will be impossible to keep that area clean. Again, our builder had a small selection and so we settled on something called Impala Black for our kitchen surround.

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