Sunday, 17 April 2011

Scones - Cheese Scones, Fruit Scones & a big update !

This post is specifically for Marie - who requested my cheese scone recipe after I took them to Sara & Max's Easter Egg hunt party on Friday. The children all had a super time and it was so funny to watch Oliver  and friends tearing round the garden at warp speed collecting eggs. For those of you that want to see the photos - you should be able to view them if you have a Facebook account . Sara's Easter Egg Hunt 15/4/11

Stupidly, I didn't take photos of Friday's scones, but since Victoria and Emma were coming over on Saturday.... I made some more.

Scones are best eaten on the day they are made - preferably still a little warm. Still - if there are any left a day or two later, try toasting them and spreading with butter. Cheese scones are awesome toasted and the cheese  melts again so they taste as good as they did straight out the oven.

Cheese Scone Recipe - makes 6 > 8

350g self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mustard powder (omit if you prefer)
300g coarse grated strong cheese
175g milk
squeeze of lemon juice
60g butter
beaten egg (to glaze)

Preheat fan oven to 200deg C

Scones are so quick and easy to make that once you make them once yourself, you'll never go back to shop bought. I'm serious. I hadn't made scones in a year until last week, but I hadn't bought any either. Ok - that's a lie. I occassionally buy really cheap reduced / out of date ones for the chickens. They do love scones... but I refuse to make scones for chickens !

There are a few rules for making good fluffy scones that rise tall.

1. Grate your butter. Yes - sounds crazy. I think that was a tip I picked up off a Jamie Oliover program many years ago. It may seem mad - but it works like a dream. You want to work the dough as little as you possibly can. Grating the butter means it incorporates into the dough FAR faster.

2. Warm your milk. Just as you are ready to use it, give it a zap in the microwave. You want it nice and hot - but not too hot to touch.

3. Sour the milk with a squeeze of lemon juice (or use buttermilk). I normally use a little lemon juice. If you don't have any, vinegar would do. It doesn't need much !

4. Handle the scone dough as little as possible and get it in the oven as fast as you can. The addition of the warm / hot milk helps them rise from the inside.

In a large bowl, mix sieved flour, salt and baking powder. Rub in the grated butter until crumbs form. Keep a small amount of grated cheese back to decorate the tops, and toss the rest of the grated cheese through the crumbs. If you forget, it's no big deal. I often do and have to grate some more ..

I usually like to use EXTRA STRONG Mature Cheddar (Cathedral City) for scones - but the ones photographed were made using Applewood smoked.

Warm the milk and add it to the dry ingredients. Combine with a fork. Bring together with your hands. It will be very soft and a little sticky.

Tip out on to a work surface and pat it into a rough rectangle about 9" x 6" I guess. Try not to add any extra flour and handle the dough as little as you possibly can. Mine is normally about 1.1/2 > 2" thick (yes - before they go in the oven !)

I never ever roll my scone dough....and I never use cutters on it either. If you want to cut it into rounds, push the cutter the whole way down in one go. Don't twist / rotate the cutter as you do this - otherwise the scones don't rise nearly so well.

I simply cut into rectangles with a sharp knife. One single cut down and lift the knife out exactly the way it went in. I basically cut my rectangle into 3 and then each big piece into two.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment - or use a silicone baking tray liner as shown above. Great things these are - save me a small fortune in baking parchment.

Brush the tops with beaten egg and then strategically place several strands of grated cheese on top of each one. You won't need much cheese on top (it's mainly decoration), and I promise you that these are packed with cheese on the inside.

Bake for 10 > 12 mins at 200deg C (fan)

For Fruit scones :

replace 60g butter with 85g.
omit the mustard and cheese (obviously !)
Add a good big handful of the plumpest raisins / sultanas you can find. Tesco does some really good ones.
Add 3 > 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 tsp vanilla

Well - it's been one heck of a week. THREE fires at the building behind us at work. I was working late on Monday night and went out to the car to get some paperwork. On going out the door, the smell of smoke hit me. On looking up, I could see our roof was smoking and the building behind was pouing smoke.

On running round the back of the building, there were employees from surrounding units pouring water along the ground where wooddust which had blown in the wind was lying and catching fire everywhere. The stack of pallets by the back of our building started to ignite. The moss on our roof and lying wood dust blown over from the sawdust factory was starting to burn.

I phoned the fire brigade who thankfully arrived quickly. They called in more help and there were 6 appliances on site and approx 36 fire crew. A couple of them spent a good two hours hosing our roof alone as they were worried about thermal hotspots. I'm just grateful that no damage was done.

I've got quite a lot of photos and some video clips that are far too long to load up on here. This was before the fire brigade arrived and the THIRD fire. Yes - you did read that right. There were an additional two further fires at this same property on Wednesday. The problematic machinery obviously wasn't fixed.... Thankfully on those occasions, the wind was blowing the opposite way and there was no risk to us.

I think by the time I took this photo, essentially the fire was out. Anyway, the fireman at the bottom of the ladder is Richard (one of my employees) who is also a retained fire fighter with Attleborough Fire Brigade. If it wasn't for local businesses letting staff remain on retention with the fire brigade, we wouldn't have a local fire service. I'll need to remember not to whinge too much when he gets a call out and has to make a rapid exit for a fire call..

Basically, I've been really held back this week due to various things that have to take priorirty - like fires for instance. I've got several parcels waiting to send to some of you guys / gals (who have offered some help) on my desk and will be sending several emails in the morning for addresses. A few have also already been sent - and one or two received already. Apologies for the late replies... it's been a very packed week !

Massive thanks to Ann Low of Ancoo Journal who send me an awesome parcel last week - full or agar agar and jelly molds to play with. I can't wait to have a go ! Do have a look at Ann's blog though - she really is the master of jellies and her photos are stunning :-)

I took a couple of hours out yesterday when my friend Victoria brought her little girl Emma to play with Oliver. For those of you who don't know, Emma and Oliver are the best friends in the whole wide world. I met Victoria outside nursery last autumn when for some unknown reason I offered her some newly laid eggs from our chickens that I had in the car... You meet people in the strangest of ways !

We took Emma and Oliver out for a walk. The joy of a sunny day and the outdoors.

Below : Catching Butterflies.

Best Friends.....

Beautiful cherry blossom,. Oh - how I'd love to visit and see cherry blossom in Japan. My thoughts go out to those in Japan after all their tradgedy of late.

Glorious sunshine - and then the rain came.

Really wierd. Glorious sunshine on one side and thick black cloud on the other. We made a quick dash for home....

Well - that's it for tonight. Got some photos using a new mould to upload tomorrow if time allows


  1. Awwww Oliver and Emma are soo sweet! :)

    Thank god the fire is over and there was no damage. A very efficient fire brigade I must say!

    I will try your scones. I love scones. Not too sweet and so buttery. :)The tips u gave are really useful too.Ill keep them in mind.

    Im making brioches today. Hopefully they turn out well and I can take fotos! Hope it doesnt pour though.



  2. my photos of the scones are pretty poor - it was all too much of a rush ! I was literally shoving them in the oven as Victoria and Emma arrived.

    Brioche is on my list of things I'd really like to make this year. I've never done it before. I made choux pastry at the weekend which was also another first. Turned out just fine (on the second attempt !) but didn't get photographed as they were a bit too rustic for my liking.

    Good luck with your brioche x

  3. I love Oliver and Emma in that photo "catching butterflies". Both of them seems having great fun at that moment.

    The scones look good for breakfast, I'm bookmarking it :)

    Take care Sarah :))

  4. Emma and Oliver seem like they are having the time of their life. after few rainy days we enjoyed the the sun early today.
    the scones sound delicious. I love making scones for breakfast over the weekend, they disappear in a heart beat.
    I'll try your cheese ones soon. thanks Sarah

  5. I love your scones, really love and your kids are amazing and so cute!!
    Thanks God the fire was over and dont have damage. Have a nice Easter! gloria

  6. Those fires sound so scary. I am glad everything worked out. I think I am in love with those cheese scones. They sounds perfect for this cheese fiend. Thank you for sharing those sweet pictures of the kiddos. They look like they had a lovely time.

  7. Emma and Oliver are just adorable. They both look like they are having a blast and not a care in the world.

    Glad to hear the fire didn't get to your property, but how scary this must have been.

    Those cheese scones are making me drool. They look positively delicious!

  8. What an eventful week it has been for you. Just glad to hear no one was hurt in the fires, scary. Your little boy is so adorable as is his best friend in the whole wide world :) The cheese scones look mouthwatering, I need to try them soon. I also never knead my scone dough but I do usually cut it with pastry cutters. But no more, thanks for the tips.

  9. Sarah...I will definitely try out your scones...scottish ones ? :) I used your friands oval silicone moulds to make some delightful friands but the photos did not turn out impressive enough. I definitely like your silicone moulds and looking forward to newer designs. Wishing you all the best in your coming show .

    All the best,

  10. OH thank god fire was extinguished on time and everything is safe and fine and scones very hearty!


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