Pancetta, Cheddar and Chive Scones. 

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On Sunday, even though it was Mother’s Day I had a quiet day to myself.  Mr SmartCookieSam was out taking part in a rally in his classic car, my son was working and my daughter is at uni.  So for some of the day I was at home with the dog. I know I shouldn’t be baking as I just end up eating it but I love the whole process of it. Baking is therapeutic to me.

Last week I treated myself to Lorraine Pascale’s latest book simply titled “Bake” I have most of her books including her very first publication, also a baking book.  As soon as I opened the book in the middle of Costa Coffee I was sat there drooling over the pics and mentally bookmarking what I was going to bake first.

The day after I got the book I baked some star shaped cookies but this time it was something savoury.  I’ve always loved cheese scones but these ones were slightly different in that they had crispy fried pieces of cubed pancetta in the dough.  I knew they would taste amazing.  I had a packet of pancetta cubes in the fridge from when I was meant to make a Carbonara last week and never did. So in the end they got thrown into the scones.

First, the packet of pancetta was fried until crispy.No need for oil in the pan, I let them fry in their own fat.  Once they’d cooked and were crisp, I got a paper towel out and let the fat soak into the towel to dry off.

While the pancetta was cooling down I grated some mature Cheddar into a bowl.

I  then used my food processor to combine cold cubes of butter with self raising flour, baking powder, mustard powder, sea salt flakes and an optional extra to the recipe: paprika.  I put a large pinch of this in.  After the mixture had turned into what looked like breadcrumbs I put in 3/4 of the cheese along with some chives and the pancetta.

To bring it all together I poured in some buttermilk which was about half of a carton.  This was enough to form the scones into a dough. It wasn’t sticky but the right consistency for rolling out gently.

Lorraine says her recipe makes 8 scones but I found I could only get 6 decent sized ones out of it. I often find this with scones. The recipe quantity makes far less than it’s meant to. Still six scones was more than enough for me.  I used a plain circular cutter for my scones and then once cut out they were put onto a baking tray covered in parchment. I glazed the top of the scones with buttermilk and then sprinkled on the remaining cheese.

The  scones went into the oven for about 10-12 minutes until they had risen well. I saw the cheese was bubbling and golden and couldn’t wait to test one out that very afternoon cut in half and spread with butter.  They were delicious.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Apple Scone Round

img_0522Last week my Dad and step mum gave me a bag of beautiful looking apples from the tree in their garden. I was delighted with them as the apples on my own tree in my front garden aren’t quire ready yet. The apples are a bit small and hard at the moment. To top all that, Mr SmartCookieSam had to prune the tree a couple of weeks back as our greedy and nosy Labrador worked out a way that he could shake the tree to make apples fall down. He had a great time doing this until he ended up hurting his tail after jumping up at the tree! I’ll have to see if they are worth using in a couple of weeks time.

Every year I think about what I could bake with the apples and I get fed up of the same things. Of course crumbles and pies work well and I did make a few different apple cakes. But sometimes you just want to try something different.  I gor out my recipe books and looked for all the apple recipes I could find.

One simple but delicious recipe is one I’ve baked before but never actually made it at home. In my previous post about Cheesy Feet I mentioned about working in a school and running a Cookery Club. This was a big success and wherever possible we tried to use fruit and veg that was grown in the school garden.  We did have an apple tree which on one year only produced two apples. So we made a big thing of using the two apples in a yummy apple scone round.

The original apple scone round recipe comes from the very first Great British Bake Off recipe book published back in 2010 to accompany the first series: The Great British Book Of Baking.

It’s a great recipe and I found it perfect for baking with children.

First, you need to peel, chop and core some apple. I used two medium sized ones. I put the chopped apple to one side in a bowl but worked quickly so that the apple didn’t start to turn brown. Then in another bowl I rubbed in butter, self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon to create a breadcrumb texture. Then some demarera sugar was added to sweeten the mixture.  When this was done I added a little bit of whole milk bit by bit until it formed a manageable ball of dough.

On a large baking sheet covered in baking parchment, I put the dough but flattened it out gently until it was about 20cm in diameter. I then got a knife and divided the scone into 8 by scoring the lines on the top of the dough.  Into the oven it went for about 20 minutes.

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Ready for the oven.
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Apple Scone Round; a great way of using all those leftover apples.
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A slice of apple scone with a cup of tea and some Cheddar cheese.

To get the best out of the flavour and taste, as with all scones it is best to eat them warm and fresh.  As I’d baked the scone round on a late Saturday afternoon and was going out for dinner, we didn’t eat any til the following day. It was ok but probably should have been eaten straightaway. A great serving suggestion popular round my way is to serve it with a slice of cheese: something like Cheddar or Wensleydale would work well. Failing that, it would also be delicious with a good dollop of clotted cream on the side.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 

 

Chocolate Chip Scones- The Great British Bake Off Everyday.

A couple of weeks ago I had come home from work, walked the dog and had an urge to bake. As I often do.  My son had been off school with a stinking cold but this did not curb his appetite.  He was really hungry and asked if I had any biscuits.  I didn’t. I don’t buy them because no sooner than they are taken out of the carrier bag they are in my mouth and straight on my hips.  Or if I make them they don’t last long either.

As I had lots of jobs to do I wanted to make something that would be quick and easy to prepare as well as taking a short time to bake.  Scones always fit the bill for me and as I was feeling tired and sluggish myself, a scone with a cuppa would hit the spot!

Once again I thought I’d try a recipe from the latest Great British Bake Off book” The Great British Bake Off Everyday”.  I had noticed a few scone recipes in the book and knew this would appeal to my chocolate loving son.  These scones also had the extra addition of marmalade in them which sounded lovely.

Here’s how they were made:

Self raising flour, salt and sugar are sifted into a mixing bowl.
Self raising flour, salt and sugar are sifted into a mixing bowl.
Small cubes of cold butter are added to the bowl.
Small cubes of cold butter are added to the bowl.
The mixture is rubbed together to form breadcrumbs.
The mixture is rubbed together to form breadcrumbs.
In a jug some buttermilk and an egg are mixed together.
Some buttermilk and an egg are mixed together.
The egg mixture, chocolate chips and marmalade are added to the mixture.
The egg mixture, chocolate chips and marmalade are added to the mixture.
The mixture is formed together with a pallette knife.
The mixture is formed together with a pallette knife.
The ball of dough is flattened slightly and rolled out to about 3cm deep.
The ball of dough is flattened slightly and rolled out to about 3cm deep.
The scones are cut out with a plain cutter. This was meant to be a 6cm diameter one. I ended up with an 8cm one so I only got   6 scones out of an 8 scone recipe!
The scones are cut out with a plain cutter. This was meant to be a 6cm diameter one. I ended up with an 8cm one so I only got 6 scones out of an 8 scone recipe!
Split open and warm straight from the oven.  The scones tasted fab spread with butter and more tangy marmalade.
Split open and warm straight from the oven. The scones tasted fab spread with butter and more tangy marmalade.

The scones made a yummy alternative to fruit ones and were a great hit with all my family.  I will definitely make them again.  I didn’t tell my son there was marmalade in the scones itself as I can imagine he would not eat it.  He did eat them with butter though.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Kids’ Cookery Club- Drop Scones.

One of my favourite roles in my job as a teaching assistant and supply teacher in a local primary school is that I get to cook with the children I work with! I really enjoy it and judging by their response, I know they enjoy it too! For three years until funding and childcare issues stopped it, I ran an After School Cookery Club. This was a great hit with the children. Six children came after school once a week for an hour for Cookery Club in half termly blocks. The parents did have to pay a small contribution which was £1.50 per session to cover the cost of the ingredients used.

The idea behind the Cookery Club was, not only would the children get to cook, but they would also get to eat their creations at the end of the session depending on the nature of the food created. It was wonderful to watch the pupils sat around the table tucking into vegetable stir fries, fajitas and bologneses. If they were baking they would take their creations home at the end or they would be wrapped up and given to them the following day. Some recipes were more popular than others! For example the look on the children’s faces was a picture when the bogie snot coloured St Patrick’s Day Irish Potato and Chive Muffins came out of the oven!

Obviously, for security and protection reasons I haven’t got any photos of my Club sessions to share with you, but I would love to showcase a few of the recipes I used over the next coming weeks. Most of the recipes I used in Cookery Club were adapted from recipes I had at home and are ones I have made with my own two children over the years as practice!

We made Drop Scones as part of a Breakfast Session at Cookery Club, giving the children ideas of things they could make for breakfast! These weren’t really scones, more like small, thick pancakes! I’ve also seen them called Scotch Pancakes.

For the Drop Scones I used the recipe featured in the second Great British Bake Off Book – How To Bake The Perfect Victoria Sponge. It is a simple recipe and I make it during the school holidays from time to time for my children at breakfast time. My son loves Drop Scones smothered in strawberry jam, though they are good with butter too!

First, I sifted plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar into a bowl. Into another bowl I put the wet ingredients- golden syrup, a large beaten egg and milk. This was whisked for a little but you have to be careful not to overdo it or else the mixture will be tough.

Then, I heated my crepe pan up on the hob and added a tiny knob of butter which was enough to grease the pan. Once this was melted, I made a test scone by putting a large spoonful of batter into the pan. I let this cook for about 2 minutes, then flipped the scone over to cook on the other side.

Once this was cooked, it was kept on a warm plate and then I got on with cooking the rest of the scones. These were done in batches of three or four until all the batter was used up.

The scones are ideally eaten straightaway and taste better warm. There’s no danger of them not being eaten straightaway in our house though!

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The drop scones were cooked in my flat crepe pan two or three at a time.
Drop scones cooked two or three at a time, some burned slightly but they still tasted fantastic.
Drop scones cooked two or three at a time, some burned slightly but they still tasted fantastic.

If you fancy having a go at making your own drop scones, I have found another recipe on the BBC Food Website which looks like a delicious one to try in the future.

Click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/dropsconeswithbutter_78898

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Fruity Buttermilk Scones

If someone asked me what my favourite cake or sweet treat would be it would be a choice of two things. Although I love baking cakes and cupcakes, I can’t resist chewy, gooey flapjacks or scones covered in strawberry jam and cream.  It brings back fantastic childhood memories of tea out with my grandparents. Whenever I go anywhere for afternoon tea, the scones are always top of the list for me.

When it was my 40th birthday last year I loved afternoon tea so much I decided to have an afternoon tea party in my local village hall as a celebration. Not for me a pub crawl and throwing up into a gutter at 3am.  Though perhaps 20 years ago when I was a student, now it doesn’t have it’s appeal. At the celebration I just had to have scones!  My mum made some beautiful, delicate little scones to have with jam and cream at the party and they went down very well.

The food table at my 40th birthday party.
The food table at my 40th birthday party. The scones were in a large basket. People could help themselves to them along with butter, jam and cream if they wanted.

At the end of term as a teaching assistant I always get lots of lovely gifts from the children who I work with.  These are usually totally unexpected as I love my job.  This time I was given a gift of a jam pot complete with jar of strawberry jam from one of the families in school.  I was over the moon with this as the parent concerned knew how much I liked baking.  The first thought was this wasn’t going to be wasted on toast, I was going to enjoy this with a traditional afternoon tea!

An end of term gift from one of the families at work, a jam pot with delicious strawberry jam from Marks and Spencer.
An end of term gift from one of the families at work, a jam pot with delicious strawberry jam from Marks and Spencer.

 

Yesterday was a funny day where the weather had turned to rain and we didn’t know what to expect.  I had a carton of buttermilk in the fridge that was getting near to it’s use by date and I just fancied having scones.  So, I had a play around with some scone recipes and came up with this version. If you don’t like fruit you could leave it plain or add chocolate chips, citrus peel or even some cherries which are another huge favourite of mine!

50g sultanas

50g raisins

450g self raising flour

80g golden caster sugar

150g butter

2 large free range eggs, beaten.

6 tbsp buttermilk

Makes 9 large scones if using a large 10cm approx circular fluted cutter.

Sift the flour into a bowl, then add the sugar.  Rub in the butter carefully until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on the dried fruit. Pour on the beaten egg and the buttermilk. Combine together with a pallette knife then work the rest together with your hands.  If the dough is a bit dry add another 1tbsp buttermilk. Don’t handle the dough too much though.  Form the dough into a ball then put it onto a floured work surface. Roll lightly so it is about 1″ thick and cut the scones out. Whatever you do don’t twist the cutter around, just tap it or the scone will go a funny shape! Carry on til you get trimmings, roll the scone mix up and start again.  Put the scones on two baking sheets covered with parchment and bake in a preheated oven at 220oc/ fan 200oC/425oF or GM7. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until they are well risen and golden brown. Best served fresh on the day they are made!

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The finished fruity buttermilk scones still warm from the oven!
Afternoon tea outside in my garden before the heavens opened!
Afternoon tea outside in my garden before the heavens opened!

My son came into the kitchen and said “Wow, scones!”  He normally laughs about me and my cream teas saying I’m an old grandma but he wolfed two down there and then!  Scones are definitely NOT old people cakes!  They are delicious whatever your age.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 

Chocolate and Orange Scones

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Warm, fresh scones straight from the oven.

After drooling over all the lovely bakes on the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off the other day I was itching to bake some scones.  The scones that really caught my eye were some mouthwatering sounding chocolate and orange ones. Now I have baked chocolate and orange muffins, cupcakes or cookies before but hever attempted to put chocolate in a scone. To me I always associate scones with dried fruit or making plain ones to have fruit and cream with.

After GBBO had been on I was looking through my Twitter feed and noticed that Jo Wheatley said if you wanted to make the chocolate and orange scones, her recipe in her Passion For Baking book would be ideal. This recipe is for cranberry and orange scones, another delicious sounding combination.  As I have Jo’s book and love using it all the time I was keen to use her recipe as they always work for me and give fab results.

On Friday I had a whole day off.  For the past few months I have been working on a Friday morning but as from last week I am now back to having a full Friday off. This means I can take on some more orders or do more stalls for the weekend but this last week I thought I would go shopping in Northallerton in the morning then back to walk the dog before doing some family baking.

I decided I wanted to make the chocolate and orange scones as they would be quick and easy to prepare before the children came back from school.  I used a packet of dark chocolate chips for quickness.

Once I had weighed out all the ingredients I started on the scones.

I sieved self raising flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and caster sugar together and combined them in a large bowl. After this I rubbed in some unsalted butter, followed by the zest and juice of an orange.  Once this was done I began to combine the scone dough along with the chocolate chips. It was a little dry so I added a little milk to the mixture.

I did not need to roll the dough out much as I like really chunky, thick scones. I only rerolled out the dough when strictly necessary.  Once this was done the scones were placed onto baking trays lined with baking parchment.

I brushed the scones with beaten egg yolk, followed by a sprinkling of brown sugar on the top. I did not have any demerara sugar left so I used light brown soft sugar instead. I hoped it wouldn’t make a difference.

The scones baking was the most gorgeous smell ever. I found it unbearable to stay in the kitchen when they were in the oven so I went upstairs to put some laundry away.

I am ashamed to say I scoffed one of the scones when it had just come out of the oven. The chocolate was warm but not melted, the scones didn’t need cutting and eating with butter or jam, they were perfect on their own.

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Chocolate and Orange Scones baked from Jo Wheatley’s book “A Passion For Baking”. Absolutely delicious.

I can honestly say this recipe was a joy to bake as with all Jo’s other recipes and I can’t wait to bake these scones again.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Best Loved Recipes- Cathedral City Cheddar Cheese Scones

Last weekend it was my husband’s birthday and we had my mum staying with us for the weekend. It had been a weird week all round, mainly caused by the snow coming and going.  It got to last Saturday morning and the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Overnight in our part of North Yorkshire about 10cm of snow had fallen. I didn’t fancy going out food shopping that morning.  I looked in the fridge and saw we had lots of soup to use up but not much bread. We were eating out that night but I didn’t want to make a big meal.  We had cheese and all the ingredients for the Sunday lunch the following day. So what could I make that would go with soup?

I remembered the Cathedral City  Best Loved Recipes book I had bought earlier on that week when I was in Morrisons.  I thought about what I could make from the book and remembered there was a scone recipe in there. I never really make savoury scones, only sweet ones so I was keen to have a go seeing as the last time I made them was when the children were very young.

I had got all the cleaning done ready for my mum getting here so out came the ingredients for the scones. I preheated the oven and prepared two of my baking trays with lining parchment ready for the scones.

Then once all the ingredients were out I started on the scones themselves. Into a large mixing bowl I put wholemeal and plain flour along with some baking powder. At this point I was also meant to add salt but I completely forgot about it. this I realised when I had made the scones and tasted one, thinking they were quite bland.  I also added the Cathedral City cheddar which I had bought as a block so this had to be grated. It was a faff grating it as you needed 200g of it and my arms hurt by the time I had finished. I also had to add some Parmesan to the mixture. This was already grated as I had a bag of it in the fridge so it just got tipped in.  I also decided to add a teaspoon of dried parsley to the scones, I would have tried chives but I couldn’t find them in the cupboard. I was convinced I had some left!

The mixture was then combined with some milk, which made it into a rather sticky dough.  I managed to roll out the dough easily though I did not roll it much as I like thick, chunky scones.  I did not get 15 scones out of the mixture though, more like 9!  Perhaps my cutter was too big, it was the middle sized one in my set.

Once the scones were laid out on the two trays I brushed them with a little beaten egg before going into the oven to bake.  They didn’t take long to bake, only about 15 minutes and they smelled delicious.

As they were baking my hubby and daughter got back from Harrogate where she had been at her dancing class. What I hadn’t realised was that my hubby had nipped into the supermarket on the way home and had brought lots of Chinese nibbles like spring rolls and prawn toasts for lunch along with more soup, ciabatta bread, ham and olives. When I said I had already got lunch organised he didn’t seem impressed when I mentioned the scones.

Cheese Scones using Cathedral City cheddar from the Cathedral City Cheddar Best Loved Recipes book
Cheese Scones using Cathedral City cheddar from the Cathedral City Cheddar Best Loved Recipes book

Well, these scones do not look exciting or that appetising. In the end I did serve them and everyone had one split and spread with some butter. As I bit into mine I felt disappointed, to me they didn’t taste of anything. Everyone else said they tasted lovely but I couldn’t taste the cheese, only stodge! I felt as they were very tasteless and lacked something.  My mum said I could try a spoonful of mustard powder in the mixture next time, then I remembered what was missing- salt!

The same couldn’t be said for these savoury scones. There were still four left in the cake tin in my cupboard on Friday (6 days after being baked) and this never happens in my house, everything gets eaten as if there’s a plague of locusts about.  I had to chuck the cheese scones out. Oh well, one I won’t be baking again in a hurry then!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx