high tea with homemade everything

Well, mostly everything. On Thursday, I spent the day looking at what neighbourliness is all about, in a very interesting neighbourhood of Melbourne (apparently, 8000 people live in the CBD) with some people from an organisation called Urban Seed. Check it out, they’re really cool.

After that, and oh my golly gosh it was a BEAUTIFUL day, me and some friends went to check out my friend’s new flat and garden, and to make scones. Beautiful scones. Homemade with spelt flour, because my friend is allergic to gluten (spelt is a type of grain that has much less gluten than wheat, so it’s ok for allergies, because they can become immune, sort of, but not good for intolerants, who can’t.)

We had the scones with homemade jam – three types. Raspberry, youngberry and strawberry aniseed. Did you know that there are different types of blackberry? I didn’t until Thursday. Youngberry is one type, and silvanberry is another.

So. The scones. We used Stephanie Alexander’s recipe, from The Cook’s Companion (I would love to own this book. For now, I can just drool.) We only changed the self-raising flour for spelt flour, so we had to add extra baking powder.

Stephanie Alexander’s scones

Speaking of Stephanie Alexander and scones, her sister told her that when you hear your front gate squeak, you should be able to have a batch of scones coming out of the oven by the time they get to the front door. I’d be happy just to be able to put them in the oven in that time!

500g spelt flour (plain or self raising will be fine)

9tsp baking powder (you will only need two if you’re using self raising flour)

100g butter

200ml buttermilk, cream or milk

Preheat oven to 220ºC. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Rub in the butter, although you can put the whole lot in a food processor if you have one. When it resembles breadcrumbs, make a well in the middle and add the milk all at once; stir in with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat down until about 3cm tall. Cut out using a medium cookie cutter (metal is best) and place close together on a buttered baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Eat warm with homemade jam and whipped cream.

an exchange between two people who are worlds apart and yet strangely similar, who are both seekers and night wanderers…

‘Why are you in bare feet?’ the policeman asked, looking at the young girl – young woman, he corrected himself, in scruffy shorts and a hooded jumper, inconceivably in the middle of a well-lit city road in the wee hours of a middle-of-the-week morning;

‘I like to feel the rhythm of the street’ she replied ‘the lifeblood of the city under my heels, that heartbeat through which we are somehow all connected.’


It’s what you call flowers that hang over fences and reach over footpaths, begging you to take them home. (When I say you, I mean me. And when I mean me, I mean, I got the term from Brigid Lowry).

So you take a walk, refreshing yourself after work, perhaps; or maybe you can’t sleep; you want to lose weight; you like chasing butterflies… any or all of the above, or perhaps a new reason, one you thought up all on your own. There are as many reasons to take a walk as there are people; as many as there are walking paths, footpaths, roads, landmarks, trees, flowers, stars in the sky.

You see a flower hanging over the footpath. Maybe it’s so far over that you will run into it unless you duck or bob or weave. Maybe it’s just peeking over shyly, like you were at the club on Saturday night, wishing that cute boy would come over and ask you to dance. Maybe it’s on the nature strip, in a bed in a public garden, maybe it’s right in front of your feet.

Say hello. Whisper sweet nothings into its petals. Stroke its leaves and inhale its sweet fragrance. Take it home and place it in a glass, or a bud vase, or a kitsch retro teapot. Make friends with it and let it into your heart. When it dies, say goodbye and thank you for the ride, for making your day one with a flower in it.