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EpicureanPiranha | June 27th, 2010 - 17:53

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If you’ve ever come close to asking this sort of question in the past, chances are the only scones you’ve ever tasted were either mass-produced, stale, or were home-made but the dough had been over manipulated. Personally, I feel the mass-produced packaged varieties have so many additives that it’s frightening, and are so bland and stodgy that they don’t deserve to be called scones!  When you know that home-baked scones are at their best if eaten within a few hours of being baked, you have to wonder what’s in the packaged discs that keep for weeks! As for those miserable dry little pucks that have been sitting around all day in a coffee shop, waiting to be zapped in a microwave oven before appearing on an unsuspecting customer’s plate, well, there should be a law against such practices!

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When prepared the right way, scones are tender and light, not stodgy!

Rich lemon scones

These rich, tender, buttery, lemony scones are perfect served for breakfast with lots of fresh butter and jam ♥

Walk into a warm kitchen filled with the aroma of fresh scones baking in the oven, that have been prepared with lightness of hand and fresh ingredients, and I guarantee that when they come out of the oven you won’t be able to resist and will fall in love at first bite!

Rich lemon scones

Rich Lemon Scones are tender, buttery, and a beautiful pale yellow colour.

Naturally, fresh butter is a must with a warm scone! Then, depending on whether they’re savoury or sweet, or perhaps, even made with fresh flowers such as lavender, you can serve them with just about anything from fresh fruit, honey, or jams, to soups and salads, to main courses. Savoury scones flavoured with all sorts of herbs or spices are a delicious accompaniment to a saucy meat or fish stew, for example.

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Rich lemon buttermilk scones

You’ll need measuring spoons and cups, and these two inexpensive gadgets help make baking a snap – a pastry cutter (bottom left of image) to cut butter into flour, and a zester (on the lemon) to easily remove lemon or lime zest.

Home-made scones contain very few ingredients. Traditionally, these are flour, leavening agent, salt, a little sugar or honey to sweeten, butter, and a liquid to bind the dough. Most recipes will also contain an egg. These ingredients make a plain scone, but there are endless variations.

The method for preparing scones couldn’t be simpler! The fat is cut into the dry ingredients, then the liquid is added and the dough is mixed until just combined. It’s then turned onto a floured surface, gathered to hold its shape, patted into a round about 2 cm [3/4 inch] high and marked into wedges before baking.  Baked in a very hot oven, they only take 15 to 18 minutes, depending on the height of, and moisture in your dough, and the temperature of your oven.  Don’t pat them any thinner than this, otherwise they won’t rise properly. If you cut the dough into individual shapes with a cookie cutter, you can make them a little thicker – they’ll need a few extra minutes to cook.

Fresh lavender & lemon scones 2

Once the dry ingredients are well combined, the cold butter is cut into the flower using a pastry cutter, two knives, or even using your fingers to rub it in.

As for equipment, you’ll need a large bowl, a measuring cup and spoons [although if you have a good eye, you don't even need these!], and a baking sheet of some sort [any type will do]. I use a large fork to mix the dry ingredients together. To cut the butter into the flour I like to use a pastry cutter, available for as little as $5 dollars, but you can use two knives, or even rub the butter into the flour with your hands. The advantage of the pastry cutter is it’s a real snap and only takes a minute to produce a texture of fine crumbs. 

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  • For lovely, extra tender scones, be careful not to over-manipulate the dough, and use either buttermilk or freshly made soured milk* [juice of half a lemon, topped up with skimmed milk (0% fat) or any other milk and left to stand for 5 minutes]. If your recipe does not contain baking soda, substitute 1/5 to 1/4 of the baking powder with baking soda. The baking soda will neutralise the acids in the recipe, such as found in buttermilk and fruit juices for example. It will also make the baked goods more tender and provide a little bit of the leavening. Make sure to mix the leavening agents with the remaining dry ingredients thoroughly before adding any liquid [use a fork and lifting, circular motions], or you will end up with large holes in your scone!
Fresh lavender & lemon scones

For light, tender scones, be careful not to over-mix and over manipulate the dough!

  • If you want to cut the dough using a cookie cutter§, flour your hands well, then gather the dough into a rectangular shape on a floured surface. Fold it over, press lightly to flatten, give it a half turn and fold again – repeat no more than twice, patting gently to flatten each time, and to the right thickness on the last turn. There’s no need for a perfectly smooth top! Avoid over-manipulating the dough or it will be compact!
Fresh lavender & lemon scones

You can cut the dough into shapes using a cookie cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper – no sticking & no pans to clean!

  • You can use many different types of flour, but limit this to no more than a third of the quantity asked for in your recipe and use plain flour for the rest, or the scones will be too heavy.
  • Flavouring & sweetening: Substituting brown or raw sugar for white sugar will produce a darker colour. If you want to use honey or maple syrup, make sure to reduce other liquids accordingly – you’ll have to experiment unless you use a recipe that contains these. You can add your favourite herbs and or spices to give them a different flavour, reduce or increase the sugar a little – or omit it altogether for savoury scones, and add all sorts of dried fruits, nuts, vegetables, fish, seafood, or meats to create an endless variety of flavours and textures. You can also use fresh or dried flowers as I’ve done in the recipe below. If you add ingredients that are a little wet, you’ll need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe. If you’re new to baking, the best thing is to find a recipe for what you want, or a recipe that uses similar ingredients; for example, a recipe using dried berries will use different proportions, and may use different ingredients, than one using fresh berries – and substitute one or two ingredients such as the spices and type of fruit.

And that’s it! Simple and quick to make. You can even prepare all the dry ingredients and cut in the butter the night before, then refrigerate overnight so that in the morning all you have to do is add the liquid, mix, and bake! ♥

Not only will these scones be scrumptious, they’ll save you lots of money too! So what are you waiting for?! Go on, give these a try and impress someone you love or care for!

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My Rich Lemon Scones  are guaranteed to convert any “scone hater” into a “scone lover”!    I know, I’ve converted two already!!! 

These are so different from the mass-produced variety, that they’re a revelation to anyone who has never had a freshly baked scone before, especially scones prepared with a little care.

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Rich lemon buttermilk scones

Once the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, the butter is cut into the dough until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

250 g (2 1/4 c) plain [all-purpose] flour
125 ml (1/2) c granulated sugar
12.5 ml (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) baking soda
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
♦———————————–♦ Combine in medium bowl & mix well.

125 ml (1/2 c) cold butter
♦———————————–♦

1 large egg, lightly beaten
158 ml [2/3 c] buttermilk
zest of 2 lemons
♦———————————–♦

 

  • Preheat the oven to 220C (425F).
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly oil it with vegetable oil.
  • Cut butter into pieces, add to dry ingredients, and cut it in until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Combine beaten egg and buttermilk – stir well to combine.
  • Add milk mixture  and lemon zest to dry ingredients, and mix lightly until just combined.
  • Gather and turn onto a well-floured surface. Flour your hands well.
Rich lemon scones

The simplest, and traditional, way to shape scones is in a small round that you score into wedges with a knife before baking. This also requires the least manipulation of the dough, for the most tender scones!

  • Gather and press gently into a ball, fold and repeat once or twice at most  if needed [don't worry if the top isn't perfectly smooth] then shape into two 15 cm[6 in] circles about 2 cm [3/4 in] high. Mark into wedges and dust tops with a little flour. Carefully transfer to baking sheet.
  • Bake 14 to 16 minutes until golden.
Rich lemon scones

When baked as a round, the scones will be even more moist! Just break apart into wedges to serve.

  • Remove from baking sheet after a few minutes and serve immediately, first breaking a round in half, then into individual wedges [don't use a knife to do this].

A few serving ideas:

Rich lemon scones

Serve these Rich Lemon Scones with small pats of butter cut into pretty shapes and some organic preserves for an elegant treat ♥

  • Always serve warm with butter, clotted cream, crème fraiche, or sour cream.
  • Delicious served with fresh berries and a selection of jams.
  • Serve with crème fraiche, lemon curd, fresh berries, and a glass of sparkling wine for a romantic “Petit déjeuner a deux” ["breakfast for two"].
  • Serve as part of a brunch menu.

Enjoy!

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  1. korenainthekitchen says:

    Hi Marie – these look amazing! I love the idea of baking the scones as a round and cutting them in wedges after. Also, I really enjoyed your Scones & Cream Teas post – my good friend and I have been planning/dreaming about going on a “tea tour” of England, so your recommendations will come in handy ;)

    • Hi Korena

      Thanks so much for stopping by and registering on my webzine! I’m so pleased you enjoyed my article on Scones & Cream Teas. I lived for 15 years in England and have to admit I miss it at times! Really lovely to meet you ~

      Wishing you a delicious week ahead,

      ~ marie, the EpicureanPiranha

  2. I am so with you on lightness and melt-in-your-mouth qualities being the most important aspect of a warm from the oven scone. This is a fabulous recipe! We love eating this while watching rugby on tv in the autumn! Perfect afternoon treat. These are simply perfect!

  3. dubonnet says:

    just like momma used to make!!

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