Platinum jubilee scones with a Glebe connection
By Marisa Romano
This year marks the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, a remarkable anniversary celebrated year-round in all 15 Commonwealth realms (countries that recognize her as head of state) and applauded in much of the rest of the world.
I, too, a subject of the crown, have hailed the event and attended the celebratory party at Earnscliffe on Sussex Drive, the Victorian Gothic residence of the British high commissioner and once home of the first prime minister of Canada. I came home from the lovely event with a gift: the recipe for the special jubilee scones served at the party that, as it turns out, have a Glebe connection.
Despite the debatable relevance of kings and queens in today’s societies, there are currently still 26 monarchies around the globe. Queen Elizabeth rules over the largest kingdom, is the longest reigning monarch in British history and the second longest reigning monarch of all time. Her tenure is surpassed only by the French King Louis XIV who remained on the throne for more than 72 years, a record that is now being seriously challenged. During her time on the throne, Her Majesty has fended off a number of controversies and accumulated a remarkable resume (royal.uk/70-facts-mark-queens-platinum-jubilee), testimony to her noteworthy lifetime commitment to the Crown.
Here in Ottawa, more than 2,500 jubilee party guests eagerly lined up outside Earnscliffe. Once past the display of memorable British cars and the inevitable security check at the gate, they were welcomed into the lush garden of the residence by a live band – who doesn’t like British music? – and then into the private historic home by its current tenants, the cheerful British High Commissioner Susannah Goshko and her husband Matt – it was a nice surprise and a generous gift after the wait. And since a party is not a party without food and drinks, we all tasted British flavours. On the menu: mini meat pies and scones with sips of Fentiman naturally fermented botanical soft drinks.
“The meat for the pies is sourced from the Glebe Meat Market,” disclosed Jarrah Thomas-Reynolds, chef of the British High Commission, when I met him in the residence’s kitchen. He had traded the traditional white chef’s coat for a uniform sporting the Union Jack. He could not be missed in the garden checking on the refreshments. This was Thomas-Reynolds’ first big event since he landed the job at Earnscliffe by wowing his interviewers with a three-course meal just before COVID struck. For the jubilee affair, he had just prepared 2,200 scones and 2,150 meat pies; you would not have guessed by looking at the tidy kitchen!
A Glebe “offspring,” Thomas-Reynolds graduated from Glebe Collegiate and worked at Glebe Metro. After high school, he completed the culinary program at Algonquin College, started his career by working in several Ottawa establishments and then opened his own catering business specializing in dietary needs. That experience turned out to be an asset in his current job with the preparation of formal dinners including guests with food restrictions.
When I asked if he could share his scone recipe with Glebe Report readers, Thomas-Reynolds did not hesitate; he handed me a hand-written note pinned to the fridge. The note had a list of ingredients and summary directions, and then we chatted about his take on the recipe.
Marisa Romano is a foodie with a sense of adventure who appreciates interesting and nutritious foods.
Platinum Jubilee scones
by Jarrah Thomas-Reynolds
(Hint: may be better to cut these amounts if your party is smaller than the one Thomas-Reynolds cooked for!)
12 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
6 tbsp + 2 tsp baking powder
3 cups butter, cold, cubed
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups milk
- Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
- Mix in the butter until it resembles a coarse, crumbly meal.
- Mix eggs and milk and add to the flour mix a little at a time.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Roll out the dough to a thickness of ¾ to 1 inch (2 to 2.5 centimeters).
- Cut into small circles and transfer to a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 400/425° F for 15-20 minutes.
Thomas-Reynolds topped the lightly sweetened scones with a swirl of butter whipped with a drop of cherry syrup and crowned them with a sprinkle of sumac powder. “I like to mix cultures,” he explained, so he married the creamy taste of cherry butter with the citrus fruitiness of sumac, a hint of Canada in a quintessentially British cream tea.