It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe because I was extremely busy filming three concurrent projects in the past month. When 24 hours in a day are barely enough and sleep deprivation is a familiar friend, the last thing I want to do is to go into my kitchen and make something. But it is also the one thing that I long for most… to be able to eat freshly made home cooking instead of grabbing hawker or fast food. I missed baking and eating simple but delicious food, such as a good scone.
I remember hunting for food one morning just before I had to go out on the streets to interview people in the city. I searched every coffee joint, bakery, and cafe I could find for a decent scone to satisfy my craving. But it was hard to find scones in the business district and when I eventually found one, it did not meet up to my expectations. A good scone has a crisp golden crust that hides a tender, flaky, buttery interior. If the only scones you’ve had are hard, dry, tasteless and makes you wonder if you had stones instead of scones, you probably haven’t had a good one.
I must say, scones are probably one of my favourite things to eat and to make. They are so versatile you can have them plain with jam and clotted cream; make them fruity with raisins, cranberries, fruits, chocolate, nuts; or create savoury versions with cheese, ham, bacon, chives and herbs. Plus, they are so easy and quick to make you’ll be enjoying them under an hour. No fancy equipment needed, just your good old fingers and an oven to bake them off.
In the July issue of Gourmet Living magazine, I was featured in an article together with my cheese and herb scone and pavlova recipes. It was such a fun shoot and I was amazed at how the team made my food look so good! Food styling and photography is still something I need to learn (apart from the 100 other things on my bucket list, including speaking French, riding a motorcycle etc.) Well, if learning how to make scones is on your bucket list, here’s my savoury cheese and herb scone recipe for you to try. Enjoy!
Cheese and Herb Scones
Yields: 10-12 x 5 cm round scones
240g plain flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of ground black pepper, cayenne or paprika
80g cold salted butter
160g sharp mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
A sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk beaten with a splash of milk
1. Preheat oven to 220 C / 425 F
2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a large clean bowl.
3. Coat cold butter with flour mixture and cut butter into small pieces, coating with flour as you do so.
4. Using only your fingertips, rub butter into flour quickly.
5. Add grated cheese and rosemary into the mixture and give it a toss to mix them well.
6. Add almost all the buttermilk, reserving some, and stir until a wet dough just comes together. If there are still dry bits of flour, add more buttermilk a bit at a time until all the flour mixture comes together
7. On a floured surface, pat dough into an even layer about 1” thick. Then use a 5cm round cutter to cut out rounds and place them on a parchment lined baking tray.
8. Brush tops of scones with egg wash
9. Bake at 220 C / 425 F for about 10-12 minutes until scones are golden brown.
10. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!