The secret to making sumptuous scones

I love scones. I would go so far as to say they are my favourite morsel of all in the traditional afternoon tea spread. Yes the finger sandwiches are nice, and the mini tarts, eclairs and macarons often an impressive display of the pâtisser’s skill and finesse. But if the afternoon tea doesn’t have a scone, in my book it is not an afternoon tea at all. The appeal of the scone is partly in its simplicity. I can find the opera cake with multiple different types of ganache and the various mini tartlets that feature in hotel afternoon teas sometimes all a bit much. But a scone consists only

Imperial measures are culture war bait

The idea of reintroducing imperial measures in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee has one quality that will have commended it to No. 10’s wizard wheezes department. It seems to have driven remoaning liberal elite types pleasingly bananas. It’s the perfect culture war bait, because it plays into the stereotype: if you are unshakeably complacent in your conviction that Brexit, and the government which advanced it as a project, are pandering to empty symbols of trad patriotism and little Englander nostalgia, you’ll shriek with a sort of delighted horror at the news. Here is confirmation of everything you imagined. These backward-looking clowns, with their Union flags and their saudade for wars they never fought in and imperial power that had vanished a generation before they were born! Their Enid Blyton worldview, their privet-hedge parochialism! Is this really what

Royal drinks for raising a glass to Her Majesty

History suggests the Royal Family have always been enthusiastic drinkers. The most obvious example is Henry VIII, a monarch who proved to be excessive in everything he did, and spent an estimated £6m a year on booze. And in more recent centuries you’ll discover an ongoing Royal appreciation. Queen Victoria for example was an eminent imbiber of alcohol, her preferred poison being an unusual mix of whisky and red wine. Together. In the same glass. She was particularly partial to Vin Mariani, a drink made by Angelo Mariani by steeping cocoa leaves in French red wine for six months. Alleged to be the original recipe for Coca-Cola, each fluid ounce