Some breakfast ideas stay with you forever, some are fleeting memories. Once we visited Napa valley and some of their famous vineyards. We stayed in a cosy Bed & Breakfast place. I remember vividly how it smelled early in the morning, as the entire valley harvested their grapes and the air was filled with sweet smell of freshly pressed wine. Did you know that a 3 day old grape juice is already fermenting and very sweet? I was so surprised when we got to sip on a Mondavi that was still virgin. One morning we got up really early and against all our instincts we climbed into the basket of a hot air balloon and travelled with all the other balloons through the valley. The most "uplifting" experience. The sun rises and you are high up there almost no sound except the heating of the air balloon. I will never forget the coming down as well. A little breeze got us off track and we motioned towards a ridge and some bushes. All the other balloons landed safely, except ours. The captain then asked all the men to jump out , take a rope and pull the balloon down, but with less weight and only us 2 girls in the basket the wind took us right into the ridge.
I was terrified and couldn't help but think: " Why did I ever get into that balloon in the first place, I might die today!" Of course I didn't but most of us got some scratches and bruises because the balloon then got caught in the trees, the men wanted to help rescue their wives and we had to descend from up there! A balloon ride with an adventure for free!
The B&B we stayed in was called "Sunny Acres" in St Helena and the owner of the house was previously the pastry chef at the Mondavi Estate. Her breakfast each morning was just awesome and she kindly shared one of her recipes with me. I still have it in her handwriting, back then when you actually wrote with a pen on paper ...
3 cups all purpose flower
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
> mix all in bowl
8tbsp or 115 grams butter
1/2 almond finely chopped or almond meal
> add to the the flour mix with the help of your pastry blender
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup buttermilk, yoghurt or milk
1 large egg
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp almond extract
Mix all in a large enough glass and and then into the other ingredients until a soft dough forms.
Turn onto your bored and knead 5/6 times, put into round and cut it with a knife into 12 or 16 equal pieces before baking.
Bake for 25 minutes at 185°C or 375°F. Let cool. Best enjoyed with butter and jam or clotted cream even with whipped cream. The orange and the almonds are really a great combination and it is easy to make - just scones!