Afternoon Tea Arizona Style

Wooha! Finally I’ve managed to get round to making something from the mesquite meal I brought from my crazy trip. Mesquite meal is made from the beans of the mesquite plant that grows in the desert on both sides of the Mexican-US border. In the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument I attended a talk on desert plant use by a ranger who is also part of the Tohono O’odham tribe. Amongst other things, she explained how, for instance, cactus fruit are harvested and then turned into tasty treats such as ‘cactus jam rolls’ (can’t remember the actual name, just the process of boiling down the cactus insides and when they are thick enough, spreading them onto a sort-of burrito and rolling it up a bit like a crepe… I think). Another plant to make tasty stuff with is mesquite of which the rangers sold some bags with some recipes attached on site. I bought one despite my fears the bag of brown powder would get me into trouble at the customs! Luckily, I did not get stopped, so afterwards I was annoyed that I did not buy more, especially as I still owe a fellow ‘foodie’ a birthday present! If you buy this stuff in the UK, a bag costs at least £15 (for a kilo I think and not including postage). I got a small bag in Arizona for around £3. The people that produce it are called Native Seeds who work toward creating biological and culinary diversity in their region, the Greater Southwest. As well as conservation activism stuff, they also have recipes on their site, which may come in handy if you happen to have access to desert produce.

Anyway, today I tried out one of the recipes entitled ‘Lemon Poppy Seed Scones’. As you can guess from the picture, these scones do not resemble your average British scone. They have an earthy healthfood taste and are rather addictive. I did not have all of the ingredients in the house, so I improvised a bit. Luckily, my friend the bee-keeper had just dropped some luscious rape honey for me 🙂 I also did not stick to the American cup measurement, but used normal tea cups instead.

2 generous cups of flour
3/4 cup mesquite meal
3 tsp poppy seeds
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup full fat yoghurt
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup rape honey
1/4 cup oil

The recipe actually calls for a mixture of baking powder and baking soda, lemon yoghurt (I added a bit of extra honey knowing pre-made fruit yoghurts are very sweet) and maple syrup, so if you may want to try this! I baked the scones for about 15 mins at gas mark 6 as I was to lazy to figure out what 425 fahrenheit was. Luckily, I was about right! Unfortunately, I left the first load in a bit too long, because the washing up took a bit longer than expected, so you may want to avoid that – or avoid a large washing up pile! Ah, and you may want to think of some theme drinks/foods to go with the Arizona Afternoon Tea theme, e.g. if you wanted you could have honeybutter to go with the scones – and herbal tea! (Come on, Arizonans, help me out!) And there is, of course, the obligatory Saguaro cactus cookie cutter… which I forgot to use – d’oh! 😉

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