Meryl Swanson confesses she's "a bit weird" about her sifter and her palette knife.
"I just like to use my own, that's all," she said. "They're old, but they do the job."
We're at Reader's Cafe and Larder in East Maitland where Meryl has agreed to take on the challenge of making Muriel Halsted's CWA scones that have been a massive hit online recently.
For those not familiar with the Mercury story, a video of Scone's 92-year-old Muriel making her CWA scones went viral attracting nearly five million views online. Not that it meant much to Muriel who has never owned a computer, but she was glad her nephews in Albury and New York got to see it.
So we asked Meryl if she was up for the challenge to road test the recipe: is it really as simple as it sounds? Just a couple of ingredients? She was ready all right.
It turns out the Federal Member for Paterson has a bit of scone pedigree.
"My mum was a really good scone maker," she says. "People would come around to our house when I was growing up, mum would leave me to entertain them, and then reappear 15 minutes later with freshly baked scones. It was so quick."
So with Readers Cafe owner and local cook and foodie Amorelle Dempster by her side, they're off at 2.46pm - Amorelle going off recipe to make her own version with eggs and gramma. "They last a bit longer which I need for the cafe," she explains.
The CWA ingredients: self-raising flour, cream, lemonade, and a good pinch of salt.
"Sifting is so important - that's why I have my favourite sifter - because you have to sift three times," Meryl says.
With fingers covered in a white gooey mix, we take a quick picture of both cooks, before they place their soon-to-be-scones in the oven - "it has to be hot or it's no good": Amorelle assures her the oven is hot enough - at 3.04, 18 minutes after starting.
"Ten minutes, turn them around, then another 10," Amorelle says.
With a bit of time to kill I ask Amorelle about her scone making history.
"I make them every day for the cafe," she says.
How many has she made over the years?
"About 15 a day, maybe 250 days a year for the past seven years. How many's that?"
Just over 26,000, according to me.
"And then of course there are fund raisers, Tocal Field Days and so on. It's a lot."
The scones are turned.
I ask Meryl if butter is the best accompaniment, without realising that in this area she's a conservative.
"Jam, preferably strawberry, with cream - and the jam goes on first," she insists. "Otherwise the heavier jam just sinks into the cream. Or butter and golden syrup is allowed too."
Time's up and out they come. They look perfect.
Amorelle's are a bit bigger and need another few minutes before they too emerge, hot and inviting.
Out comes the jam and cream ... both styles delicious. The CWA version light and fluffy, Amorelle's a bit bigger and more filling.
Everyone's happy, and there's even a suggestion they should do it again with a curry. They can count me in.
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