Jam and Cream

Sunday, 9 September, 2012

In a world of microwaved scones, fizzy cream and pretend jam, Thelma and I found an oasis of Nannaness and even though it isn’t a pub and even though it wasn’t Thursday, we felt we should share.

Thelma had heard about Jam and Cream and as it was a lovely day for a drive and Brad Pitt was otherwise engaged, we decided to investigate, all very Miss Marple.

The washing line in the front window, displaying freshly laundered Nanna type ‘smalls’ semaphored its intention loud and clear – this was a cafe of “old fashioned family values”.

I have to say it is an odd spot for a Nanna Cafe, in a service road, next to the discount shoe shop and round the corner from a couple of shuttered asian takeways but there it was, a piece of nostalia in Heidleberg Heights.  Any how in we went, tables were decoupaged with 1950s dress patterns, doilies were stencilled on the floor and the cash register is a reminder of the days before digital, and ever decimal currency.

Jam and Cream is run by a group of women who obviously enjoy and have a passion for a gentler, analogue time but most importantantly for quality food that Nanna not only would approve of but be slightly jealous that she had been out baked.  Have to say that my Nanna was not the best cook, she made excellent lamingtons and a mean roast but her pastry  could be used for roof tiling.

At Jam and Cream, the menu is purely 1950s home baking; there are sausage rolls, pinwheel sandwiches, sponge cake, slices and scones of every hue.  As Thelma noted, they are practicing the art of Experimental Sconing.  The Savoury scones had names like: Alfred, Clifford, Gilbert, Basil and Montgomery that reflect days and baking gone by.  The sweet scones were more ambitious, they started with Plain Jane (Traditional with jam and cream), but included Bertha (a Mars Bar scone), May (lemon & poppy seed served with lemon curd & cream) and ones with coconut, ginger and white chocolate, but not at the same time.  And the best thing about these scones, they are baked to order, yes, not pre done and ‘nuked’ or sitting on a counter going stale but rather baked to order.

What we had: Thelma went for the Plain Jane, your traditional plain scone with raspberry jam and cream and naturally a pot of tea (house blend) ($13), they were excellent exactly as a scone should be and the accompanying jam and cream was delicious and plentiful.  I had the pinwheel sandwiches ($9.50) and they were a grown up version of the fairy bread pinwheels I remember as a child; fillings include; squashed egg and ham.  Note for the whippersnappers: fairy bread pinwheels were available.  As we felt we had room for a little something else, and with the good  grace of the cook, we spilt a serve of scones and I had a May scone, with lemon curd and Thelma, in typical fashion went the truly exotic and had  a Beryl, one with cherry, coconut, served with chocolate ganache and cream, apparently delicious but mighty messy.

The tea was plentiful, proper tea pots, with tea leaves and at least three cups per pot and naturally it was served in proper cups and saucers, the good ones that Nanna would have kept for best.  Actually the cup in the photo had strong childhood resonances for Thelma as cups like this belonged to her Nanna.

And that is  the other interesting thing, for  Women of a Certain Age, Jam and Cream provides nostalgia, similar to the couple sitting behind us, singing along with the 1950s music, this was their courting music.  For the stylish yet eclectic young women sitting next to us, this was retro and for the Mother with the young girl and boy this was an illustration of ‘old fashioned family values’.

Just a final point I need to make: icing sugar has no place on scones, in fact icing sugar has no place in anything other than icing.  It drives me nuts,  why dust anything with icing sugar that doesn’t represent the Swiss Alps because all it manages to do is coat the bosooms in fine white powder, make everything slightly sticky and make you look like you have been snorting coke (not cola!).  I also have an issue with the affectation of dusting with paprika, one question -why? Here ends my rant, but be warned, this is my quest, the end to food dusting.

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