Thursday, 8 December 2011

Herby cheese scones, vegetable stew

It took me a good couple of hours to work out what I wanted to eat on Sunday. It had to be warming winter food, the weather was foul and I was hiding under cover on the sofa. None of the obvious things were appealing. Not lamb hotpot, not cottage pie, not toad in the hole, not roast meat and gravy, not even a curry which is rare for me.

Eventually it came to me, I wasn't in the mood for meat. I wanted a hearty meal that was hot and nourishing, but not rich, fatty or stodgy. My default setting in such circumstances is to reach for the lentils and get a pot of dal on the go, but that didn't appeal either. Instead I made some herb and cheese scones to serve with a simple vegetable casserole. The casserole was ok, but the scones turned out really well so I thought I'd write up the recipe.

It's a basic scone recipe, so hardly original, but the addition of fresh herbs and some sharp cheese makes them a fantastic accompaniment to a stew or casserole, vegetarian or otherwise. They are light, savoury and gently fragrant. Best served when they're fresh, warm and slathered with butter.

What you'll need to make 6 good sized scones (I made 8 but a couple were rolled too thin):

8oz self raising flour
pinch of salt
scant tsp of baking powder
2oz butter
1oz grated cheese (use something sharp and fairly strong, mature Lancashire would be good)
150ml milk, plus extra for brushing
1 dessertspoon mixed finely chopped rosemary and thyme

What to do:

1. Set the oven to 220 deg C and grease a baking sheet.

2. Finely chop the herbs and grate the cheese.

3. Put the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.

4. Rub the butter into the flour.

5. Make a well in the middle of the flour/butter mix and pour in the cheese, milk and herbs.

6. Mix the whole lot together into a soft dough. Handle it as little as possible.

7. Roll out the dough to about 2cm thickness, cut out the scones and place them on a baking sheet.

8. Brush the tops with a little milk then bake in the oven for 12-15 mins.

9. When they're done they should be golden topped and will sound hollow if tapped on the base. Leave them to cool for a few minutes then eat warm.

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