Wednesday 5 May 2010

Scones and soup for busy days

On the weekend my dad and my sister’s partner, John, put a gate from our back yard into the back lane. As I have no practical skills in installing a gate, I made sandwiches and strawberry marscapone scones for the workers. It took most of the day and when they left, I was glad we could relax with some soup I had made the previous night.

The soup was inspired by browsing through a recipe magazine in the supermarket. I bought the magazine and days later I made the Cauliflower and Zucchini Soup with Dumplings. Fortunately E made some scrambled eggs for Sylvia and himself. He makes them with pesto, tomato and cheese. It gave me a time to make some frugal freezer stock and then use it to make the soup.

I don’t usually start from scratch like that when making soup but I had the scraps in the freezer ready to be made into stock and I know what a difference the home made stock makes. It made all the difference to this soup. I didn’t bother with any additional spices or flavouring even though the recipe call for cumin. The only problem with the recipe was that there weren’t that many dumplings.

On the third night we made the last of the soup go further by stirring in with some crumbled falafel and marscapone cheese, and serving it with steamed corn and broccoli on the side. Which brings me to lunch on Saturday. I went out in the morning and bought some fresh falafels from my favourite local falafel shop (Half Moon Café) and made salad sandwiches with falafels (lettuce, tomato, grated carrot, falafel and mayonnaise). Fresh bread and abundance of veggies always make it a joy to make salad sandwiches.

I had decided I would make scones as well. I love makings scones and had some old bananas that seemed to be destined for scones. However, in searching for a banana scone recipe (and finding one I hope to try later) I chanced upon a recipe for Strawberry Marscapone Scones. It ticked boxes of those hard to use ingredients in my fridge. The strawberries were almost past their best and I am still new enough to marscapone cheese to be unsure of how to use my leftovers from the Butterscotch Layer Cake.

I was dubious about rubbing marscapone cheese into the flour along with the butter but it worked and I am sure it helped make the scones light as a feather. They were lovely. It was an American recipe with more sugar and butter than our traditional Australian ones and eggs, which we don’t usually add. Hence it was far richer but it meant they were lovely just as they were or with a stroke of butter. As an Aussie I couldn’t resist reverting to our scone traditions and cutting them into small circles and baking them at a higher heat, as well as reducing the sugar.

The scones took a while but I was glad to have them to offer to John and dad after all their hard work. There was welding and cutting and drilling in the backyard. John had brought over equipment worth more than our car. Our electricity even went once or twice thanks to his power tools. He had a sandwich but couldn’t finish it for iron filings flying about.

When they finished, I gave both John and dad a bag of scones to take away because they had been too busy to stop and eat in the afternoon. John had one immediately but my dad waited to get home and butter his. Fran and my mum got to taste them and loved them.

These scones were so light and fluffy that I hope to make them again. My mum commented that the strawberries tasted like the jam was in the scones rather than on top. As this was such a great way for me to use some neglected strawberries, I am sending these toLynny Lu who is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging #232 this week. The blog event, which is coordinated by Haalo and was started by Kalyn, showcases how bloggers use fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds each week.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year:
Ricki’s Tempting Truffles
This time two years ago:
Waste Not Want Not Cookies
This time three years ago:
The Vegie Bar: a tyranny of choice

Cauliflower and Zucchini Soup with Dumplings
adapted from Recipe Plus May 2010
serves 4-6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.25 litre vegetable stock (I used this one)
    ½ small cauliflower roughly chopped (or a whole on if you have it, though you may need a little more liquid)
  • 400g tin of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 270g tin of creamed corn
  • 4 medium zucchini, roughly chopped


  • 1 cup packed fresh breadcrumbs (I used a little less than a cup of finely chopped stale bread and used some roasted maize to make it up to a cup)
  • 35g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • chives, optional (I didn’t use)
Heat the olive oil in a stockpot or large saucepan. Add the onion and cook til browned. Add garlic and stir for an additional minute. Add stock, cauliflower, creamed corn, and cannellini beans. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add zucchini and simmer for another 10 minutes. Blend the soup with a hand held blender.

While the soup is simmering, mix dumplings ingredients together to make a thick mixture and roll into about 12 small balls (about the size of golf balls).

Drop balls into soup and simmer for about 2-3 minutes – they will rise to the surface when they are cooked. (NB I just noticed that the recipe says to cook dumplings in boiling water but I didn’t read the recipe properly and my way saved on dishes.)

Serve the soup with the dumplings.

Strawberry Mascarpone Scones

Adapted from Recipezaar
makes about 20

  • 4 cups plain white flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 125g butter, sliced
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ cups strawberries, diced
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. Rub the butter and mascarpone cheese into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and honey.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the egg mixture and the strawberries. Gently stir until it forms a very soft dough.

Tip dough onto a well floured surface and knead gently til it comes together – mine was still a bit rough but I didn’t want to overwork it. Pat into a circle on floured surface and cut into 5cm rounds with a scone cutter or a glass. Brush a little milk over the tops of the scones.

Bake at 220 C for about 20 minutes or until scones are golden brown on top and have a little colour on their bottom. Wrap in a teatowel and serve warm. If they are not eaten on the day of baking, put in the freezer and gently defrost in microwave. Delicious served with butter.

On the Stereo:
Ravage: Westwind


  1. Repaying DIY with baked goods is always a winner and encourages the DIY providers to come back and DIY again. ;-)

    Those scones look lovely!

  2. The scones look delightful Johanna! I haven't seen a recipe before where I've had to rub mascarpone into the flour so I would have been apprehensive at first too! :P Looks like a winner! :)

  3. I don't think I've ever had dumplings in soup before (probably because of the mother's wheat allergies), but something about their bobbing stodgy (in the good way) moistness is calling out to me right now.

    Also, you weren't born knowing how to install a gate? Shameful! :D

  4. Oh. My. Gosh. Those scones look indescribably good! They are incredibly tall and you can tell just how light they are even from the photo. Honestly, I'm salivating! I bet strawberries were a perfect filling, too. Lucky Dad and John, to be served those! (And what a kick I got seeing my own name as I read through your "on the blog last year" post!) ;)

  5. Thanks Helen - maybe I would learn some DIY if I might get some baked goods :-)

    Thanks Lorraine - I am starting to love marscapone - seems to be able to replace cream and butter though it is a little sweet

    Thanks Hannah - my little niece was born with handyman genes - we have inherited her little trolley from when she was a toddler and even then she was taking it apart and putting it back together - and hurrah for dumplings - I used some GF roasted maize and wondered if I could substitute it for the breadcrumbs to make them GF - maybe you could try that for your mum

    Thanks Ricki - It was nice to see your name pop up - and the scones rose very nicely - I thought of putting in wholemeal flour but they seemed to want to be white processed princess scones!

  6. I've never seen scones made with mascarpone before but I can imagine how delicious they would be! Interesting that American scones are different from Australian ones because they have more butter and sugar. Makes me want to go do some scone research!

  7. Fancy scones! Well I particularly fancy the soup. Reminds me that I want to try making my own stock, why haven't I??

    I'm impressed by how well you have kept up with blogging since returning to work. Glad to have you around just as much still :)

  8. I know what you mean about 'American' and sugar! I always find myself cutting the amounts of sugar.
    Love the sound of the strawberry jam in instead of on top ;-)

  9. Thanks Ashley - I have been amazed since blogging to find how different scones are in America compared to those I grew up with

    Thanks Sarah - try the freezer stock - it is so easy, so cheap and makes such a difference to the taste (I never thought I would be saying this) And glad to still be here too with people like you making such nice comment (blush)

    Thanks Tanna - interesting that you cut sugar too - to read those recipes, I get the impression the American palate is used to more sugar than the Australian - glad to hear that is not always the case

  10. Lovely soup Johanna and do you know I have never had dumplings in soup before. Actually, know I think about it, I don't think I have ever ried dumplings. As to the scones, they look scrumptious and I see why when I look down the list of ingredients. Now, I am just being plain nosey, does the lane lead to anything in particular?

  11. Thanks Jacqueline - the back lane just leads out to the road but without a back gate my bike and any other stuff for the back yard needs to go through the house which is a pain so the gate is just about easy access to our backyard

  12. Your scones look fabulous! So does the soup! I've never used breadcrumbs to make dumplings, but yours look perfect. Great way to use up stale bread. Thanks for joining in WHB.


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