Sunday 13 September 2009

Fruit scones, yellow and uncertainty

I am beginning to understand why my foremothers baked a lot of scones. They are so quick and easy. Lately I have made quite a few scones. I made banana and chocolate scones because I was missing Bakers Delight’s version (which is no longer made at our local bakery). Mine weren’t quite as light, perhaps because I used wholemeal flour. Then I made berry scones when I wanted to take food to a friend’s place and had very little time. Most recently I made some cheese and apple scones because I had wanted to send a yellow offering to Barbara from Food and Winos for LiveSTRONG with a touch of yellow 2009 food event.

This is the third year that Barbara has held this event. The first year I had not commenced blogging but wanted to be part of the fun. Last year I was thrilled to be able to participate with a chowder. So I have been determined to send something to Barbara this year but am quite late as I think today is the last day for entries. The event is a special one because it is held to raise awareness of cancer by Barbara who has fought the disease herself.

There is much that I wanted to write about how cancer alters our perception of life but I will have to keep it short (for me). Thinking about the disease made me reflect on how much we take in the past and the future as we think about our lives. Today is just the mundane but yesterday is filled with the path that brought us here and tomorrow is full of plans, a roadmap to take us on marvel journeys.

We look back. We look forward. We remember the first time, the laughter, the tears. We plan dinner for tonight. We celebrate a wedding of many years ago and tell each other the big anniversary is next year. We think forward to how we will be when we are sixty-four.

So many of us have such a firm view of where we think our life might go. But minutes with a doctor can change this. Or it can be days and months as tests and consultations gradually reveal the bad news. It reminds us of how easily our lives can change, how plans can go awry and how our vision of the future can be shown to be mere dreams. Cancer suddenly makes us remember that each minute is precious. It makes us appreciate the moment as it fills us with uncertainties about the future.

It is not the place to talk about others' pain, disappointments and hopes but I know of those who are battling cancer and those who feel the loss of loved ones to cancer. I dedicate this post to them with my best wishes. Barbara has chosen yellow for her event. It is a colour that shines with the warmth and cheer of a positive outlook that is needed to deal with cancer. Those I know who have encountered the disease have great courage and strength in how they have faced or are facing it.

To speak about food after contemplating cancer can seem like a leap from the sublime to the superficial. And yet in difficult time, food can comfort and nurture. Scones are great for a busy day and also will be just the thing for a day when you want to cook but don’t have the energy for much. The scone recipes I am posting have the added benefits of fresh fruit.

The scones I have made are based on the style I learnt from my mum who in turn learnt it from her mum and so on. No eggs, only a little butter that is rubbed into flour with the finger tips. The dough is not to be handled much – I have started using a butter knife to mix the mixture after hearing somewhere that this makes better scones – and is cut into round scones that are wrapped in a tea towel when warm. They are fluffy when pulled apart and are then loaded with jam and butter or cream.

The banana scones were nice but not quite what I was after. I had wanted them just like the Bakers Delight banana and choc chip scones so I would have used all choc chips but ran out so I used some cranberries. Although not like the lovely BD ones, this is a good quick recipe that I will make again.

The berry scones were lovely. They were as light and fluffy as I had hoped. I wanted to use all buttermilk but ran out so used a bit of milk to top it up. In the original recipe it called for strawberry yoghurt, which sounds like a good option but this is not something I have on hand for whipping up scones from what is about. I substituted honey for sugar and found the scones were barely sweet. This pleased me and seemed to allow the juicy berries to shine all the more.

The cheese and apple scones are part of a search for great cheese and apple baked goods. I tried a cheese and apple cake that was too sweet and not cheesy enough. I looked at many cheese and apple

scone recipes when I had decided this would be my yellow baking for Barbara’s event. None quite fitted my idea of what I wanted. I eventually made many changes to a recipe which was nearest my ideal.

The scone dough was firmer than that of most scones I have made but the final result was golden fluffy scones with a slight crunch of cheese and cornmeal. The cheese is the dominant flavour. You can barely taste the apple but it contributes to keeping them soft. They made a lovely brunch at home and then a tasty offering when visiting my brother, Andy. With melting butter and runny honey, they are the touch of yellow that Barbara has requested.

Cheese and Apple Scones
Makes 12-14 scones
Inspired by

1 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g shredded Gloucestershire or cheddar cheese
30g butter, chopped
1 small apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup milk with a squeeze of lemon juice (or buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 220 C and grease a baking tray. Mix flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder in a medium to large bowl. Rub butter into dry ingredients to make a sandy mixture. Mix in apple milk and lemon juice to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board and knead briefly. Pat dough into a circle about 1 inch high. Use a floured scone cutter to cut rounds. Place scones on the greased tray. Brush tops with milk. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until it scones are golden brown and a little golden brown on the bottom. I tend to take out the scones around the edge and return the middle scones to the oven for a couple of minutes as they bake a little slower. Serve with butter and jam or honey.

Banana and Choc Chip Scones
Adapted from
Makes about 16 scones

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal self-rising flour
1/2 tsp salt
30g cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk (about)
2 tbsp honey
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup choc chips and/or cranberries
Extra milk to brush on scones

Preheat oven to 230 C and lightly grease a baking tray. Put flours and salt in a bowl. Rub in butter till crumbly. Make a well and add remaining ingredients. Gently mix with a knife or a fork to make a soft dough. Turn on to a floured ball and knead lightly. Cut into 2 inch rounds with a floured scone cutter and place on greased tray. Brush the tops with milk. Bake for 10-12 minutes til golden brown. Serve plain or with butter.

Berry Scone Wedges
Adapted from here
Makes 8

1 and 3/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
60g butter
1/2 cup (80g) mixed berries frozen
200ml buttermilk (or milk or strawberry yoghurt)
2 tbsp honey
extra milk, for brushing

Preheat oven to 220°C and lightly grease baking tray. Place flour and baking powder in bowl. Use your fingers to rub in butter. Add buttermilk, berries and honey. Gently stir ingredients in with a butter knife until just combined.

I found the dough very soft and sticky so I put it straight onto the greased tray and using well floured hands, I patted the dough down until it was a circle of about 3cm thick. Make a deep indentation with a sharp (floured) knife to make 8 wedges. Brush with milk.

Bake 10 minutes and then cut into wedges along the indentations and move apart slightly. Bake an additional 10-20 minutes or until cooked and golden. (I baked mine for 30 minutes altogether with the tray on the top shelf for 20 minutes and on the bottom shelf for 10 minutes because the top was getting a bit too brown.) These can be served with butter and jam or honey but are delicious with no adornments.

On the stereo:

It: Pulp


  1. I must have a go at the Banana choc scones. When I was growing up scones were either cheese or fruit (saltanas) Id never even though of banana scones

  2. I am late for the event but happy to see your post... There's a lot on my mind regarding this event. *sigh*

    Love all the scones!!

  3. Thank you Johanna for such and insightful and thoughtful post. I love all the scones too. It has made me hungry:)

  4. I too love scones. So quick and easy to make and so versatile. Love the sound of the berry ones

  5. Damn I missed this event again. It's such a good cause and it really makes one aware of how stupid petty things don't count as long as you have your health.

  6. Thanks Fleur - I had the same scones as you when growing up - but I love finding new variations

    Thanks Anh - sorry to hear you are distracted with sad news rather than just good times

    thanks Barbara - glad you are holding this event yet again and will look forward to the round up

    Thanks Katie - the berry ones were unexpectedly good

    Thanks Lorraine - it's hard to keep up with all the events but am sure the round up for the one will be worth a few minutes of your time - lots of great reflective posts

  7. Great post and great reminder to try and enjoy and appreciate everyday. And amazing looking scones! Yum. Especially the cheddar and apple ones. I recently made some cheddar apple scones but didn't find them cheese-y or apple-y enough.

  8. Thanks Ashley - hope you keep trying with cheddar apple scones - these ones were great but I would love a version with more apple flavour

  9. Such a thoughtful (and thought-provoking) post. Thanks for this. I like the banana/chocolate idea, but think I'd enjoy the berries most as well. Nothing like juicy berries!

  10. Thanks Ricki - the berry scones were excellent - glad the post gave you some food for thought :-)

  11. I know this is an old post but I made the Cheese and Apple Scones today and they were amazing, thank you!


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