It was recently Molly’s birthday (we’ve still got the bunting and balloons to prove it and I don’t think we’ll be allowed to remove them until Christmas), and like last year, we held a party at the local village hall. Anyway, it was stressful. I even had party food nightmares. I didn’t before exams, but this obviously weighed more heavily on my sub-conscious. The party was a success of course (it’s hard to fail as children will enjoy anything with balloons, games and cake), despite me making several children cry with my overly lupine ‘What’s The Time Mr Wolf’. The food was fine, but what I did like, was that Siobhann insisted on bringing some beautiful cucumber sandwiches. This small (or large Siobhann, don’t know tricksy they were to produce) gesture, helped me relax about the food. So, when my friend Eveline said she was having a party for her son, I offered to help do some food. Eveline asked if I’d mind making scones, and I was happy to give them a go. I’m not a scone connoisseur, I know some people (namely Jamie’s Auntie Jill) can become almost evangelical in their quest for the perfect scone, but these were easy, they tasted great and I was rather pleased I’d learned something new. I had mine with crème fraîche and homemade (by Ben) chilli jam. Yum. Eveline had been having similar pre-party anxiety dreams, so I hope my gesture had a similar affect to Siobhann’s.
Scones – Makes 8 (you’ll need a scone cutter to get the scalloped edges)
350g self raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
85g butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp golden castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Squeeze of lemon juice
Beaten egg, to glaze
Pre-heat oven to 220c. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice; set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.
Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife (you don’t want the dough to get too warm). Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round about 4cm deep.
Take a 5cm cutter and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. By this point you’ll probably need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
Bake for 6 – 8 minutes or until risen and golden on the top. Eat as soon as possible.