Since moving to Molfetta, a few people have asked me if I’m feeling homesick. The truth is, not really: having bounced back and forth from the UK and France a fair bit, I have adjusted quite well to my new town. While other Year Abroad students lament the absence of Cadbury’s chocolate and PG Tips, I get along quite all right on Milka and espresso.
However, yesterday I had a bit of a craving and formed a plan to make scones. I wanted to give something back to the Italians, to reciprocate the offering of delicious meals and tiramisù. I wanted to embody British baking prowess and whip up something warm and buttery to hand out, emanating chocolate vapours like the domestic goddess that I am. I am sorry to say that I will not be letting anyone anywhere near the ‘scones’ that I produced.
The quest began at half past four, when the supermarkets finally open in the afternoon. The one nearest where I live is rather small with a counter-intuitive layout consisting of dead-end aisles and pasta-box obstructions. It smells a bit funky, namely of cheese. After a quick scan, I ascertained that they did not sell flour and nor could I see any sugar. I trotted out, shopping bag in hand, not to be defeated. Off I went to the second nearest supermarket, belonging to the same chain as the first but a little bigger. It was, disappointingly, more stressful than the first one. It took me a good twenty minutes to pick up the simple list of ingredients because the aisles were narrow, the layout curved round like a C-shaped labyrinth and again, trolleys of grapes and cardboard boxes were strategically placed in front of everything I needed. As I scoured high and low for foil, I was plagued with the claustrophobic need to get out as quickly as possible. Eventually I found my goods and scarpered. Note to self: never trust a supermarket that has broccoli as its logo.
The task of baking the scones was not easy. First, the mini-oven I was supposed to use didn’t work (or I didn’t manage to switch it on properly) so I had to heat the main one. I found some weighing scales and a measuring jug, so my measurements should have been right. The mixture was a bit sticky but I stuck half a bar of chocolate in for extra taste and cut out rounds with an espresso cup. Resourceful. I blame the unfamiliar oven for the next part. My scones barely browned but hardened anyway. They look anaemic and uneven. They pale in comparison to the hearty scone I’d imagined.
Ah well. I now have a better appreciation of the organisation of Sainsbury’s. In Leeds, when I felt the urge to bake something, I could nip out and buy whatever I needed relatively easily (apart from soft light brown sugar – the elusive triple adjective sugar of gods). Perhaps here in Italy, without this immediate access to ingredients, I will manage to cut down on how much cake I eat. My track record for cookie scoffing in Harold Terrace was rather impressive.