Sunday 17 August 2014

Walnut, brie and apple scones and random notes

In a topsy turvy week of illness and an overflowing vegetable crisper, scones are a very good thing.  They can be baked in the blink of an eye and they jazz up any old soup.  Which may explain three batches of scones in 8 days.

Or you might just blame Celia for encouraging my "sconesiness" with her International Scone Week.  It prompted much contemplation of scone recipes.  Perhaps I bought some brie intending to make interesting scones last weekend but ran out of puff, then I needed chocolate during the week, and finally the brie made it into scones this weekend!

It is true that Sylvia has been sick all week with aches that come and go.  There was the mysterious ear ache that disappeared at the doctor's on Monday, reappeared at school on Tuesday and Thursday and was finally diagnosed at the doctor's as an infection on Friday!  Plus stomach aches, fevers and lack of appetite at night.  She has still played with enthusiasm when she was not crashing with a rising temperature.  You might begin to see why I needed chocolate during the week.

We spent a lot of the week eating a lovely split pea soup but three days running were quite enough.  So last night I made a soup with some pumpkin and vegies that needed using, plus the remains of the split pea soup and some vegan tofu-based cheese.  Odd companions but they got along very well.  Alongside them I served some very savoury scones.

As well as the brie, I had the remnants of a tub of smoky salted walnuts.  More smoked salt than walnut crumbs.  I added some other skerricks of walnuts I found but it was still quite salty.  I was of a mind to add cranberries but Sylvia wanted dried apple.  Fine.  It was so savoury I added a little honey.  I made them a little fancy by baking them with slices of brie on top.

They were delicious scones.  I loved the slight crunch of walnuts and the soft cheese on top.  They were quite savoury so the little nuggets of dried apple were a lovely sweet contrast.  Sylvia ate hers with jam, E had nut butter on his and I loved them plain.  This morning I enjoyed the scones with my mum's dried apricot jam for breakfast.  A success!  More lovely scones to be found at Celia's International Scone Week round up.

Finally a photo of the cute cupcakes at the Fitzroy Market yesterday and some random notes: 
  • I have been given the most fun exercises by my doctor - blowing up balloons!  Seriously!  She says it will help clear some of the fluid in my ear that has built up after a recent ear infection.  Sylvia is only too happy to do the exercises with me.
  • Our Australian federal politicians continue to astound us with their arrogance.   Last week Treasurer, Joe Hockey was criticised for saying that a proposed increase in fuel excise will not hit the poor as hard as the rich because they “don’t have cars or actually drive very far”. And then there are our Prime Minister Abbott's comments on Scotland's referendum for independence.  Oh dear, oh dear!
  • We finished watching The Secret State on the telly on Friday.  Gabriel Byrne was dignified as Tom Dawkins.  It was an unsettling plot about the conspiracies and deals behind the scenes.  The most telling line was when the Prime Minister said, "You get to the top, and you realise it’s really only the middle." It was worth watching just to see the sort of honest speeches I wish we could hear from our politicians.
  • I also watched the last of the second series of The Time of Our Lives last week.  Great Aussie drama.  In the last episode was a wedding that was held the afternoon after a stressful job interview and the marriage proposal, organised as a surprise for the bride.  It looked beautiful but a little too much like it existed in televisionland.  How many brides would really be ok about not having a say in the planning of the wedding!
  • I hate finding a typo in my writing and yet they are so hard to spot.  Now that I have read Why is it so hard to catch your own typos? I am relieved to discover that the next time I spot one of my own typos I can feel smug about focusing on more high level complex tasks than mere spelling and grammar!
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
 One year ago: Mini baked doughnuts and fun stuff
Two years ago: NCR African Curried Coconut Soup
Three years ago: Potage St Germain
Four years ago: Election Blues and Matrimonial Slice
Five years ago: Potato boston bun
Six years ago: WTSIM ... Beer Bread
Seven years ago: SHF #34: Pumpkin scones

Walnut, brie and apple scones
Based on Food Ideas's basic scones
Makes 28 small scones

2 cups white self raising flour
1 cup self raising wholemeal flour*
80g butter*
1/2 cup smoked and salted walnuts*
1/2 cup chopped dried apple
115g brie
1 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, plus extra for glazing*
1 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 200 C.   Lightly grease (or flour) a baking tray.

Rub butter into flours.  Chop half the brie in small dice.  Gently stir in walnuts, apple and the chopped brie.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in buttermilk and honey.  Mix to a soft dough.  Add a little extra milk if needed.

Tip dough onto a well floured surface.  (Use floured hands if the dough is sticky.  Mine was a bit sticky but nothing some flour couldn't fix - better a little too sticky than a little too dry!)  Knead briefly until the mixture is smooth.  Pat out to about 1 1/2 cm thick.  Dip a scone cutter or the edge of a glass in flour and cut out rounds.  (Or cut into squares or triangles if that is your style!)

Place scones on prepared tray.  I like to fit them snugly together but it is not necessary.  Brush with a little milk.  Slice the brie and chop each slice into small pieces.  Place a piece of brie on top of each scone.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Leave for a minute or two on tray so that brie is not gooey and then wrap in tea towel until ready to eat.  Best eaten warm.

*NOTES: I used 1 cup wholemeal flour and 2 tsp baking powder instead of a cup of wholemeal self raising flour.  I used margarine instead of butter, and used soy milk with a splash of cider vinegar instead of buttermilk.  If you don't have smoked walnuts, you could add some smoked paprika (1/4 to 1/2 tsp) and salt to taste.

On the Stereo:
The Bairns: Rachel Unthank and the Winterset


  1. Sorry to hear that you and Sylvia have been unwell. I hope you both get well soon. Meanwhile, I am frantically hoping that I will avoid a late winter cold. These scones look delish - perfect with a slice of cheese.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - happy to say Sylvia is better this week - well mostly better! Good luck with avoiding a late winter cold there have been some nasty ones this year that just seem to linger! And yes can never have too much cheese :-)

  2. It sounds like a very trying week Johanna - I hope ears and infections all clear up very soon (incidentally, I am interested in the balloon exercise approach for fluid in ears!). Scones do sound indicated, and whilst you know my relationship with cheese, walnut and apple scones sound fantastic to me. As for Australian politicians...I'd read Abbott's Scotland comments but hadn't seen the car-related remarks from Hockey. It's hard to fathom the ignorance that seems to be sitting in Australian parliament at the moment.

    1. Thanks Kari - our ears are much better. I had thought that a vegan version could be made with nutritional yeast flakes to keep the savoury taste. However for you I think walnut and apple would work well. It was interesting that Hockey came out with some stats to back up his claim and yet it just seemed to show how statistics can be found to back up every argument. But you are probably more happy for not knowing a lot of the stuff our Aussie pollies are saying :-)

  3. Fabulous scones! I'm so sorry to hear Sylvia's been unwell - glad she's still playing though!

    1. Thanks Celia - Sylvia had a lovely time at home last week - I think she was a little sad to go back to school but she was pleased to see her friends (and nice to see they were pleased to see her)

  4. So sorry to hear that both you and Sylvia have had ear infections! I hope you both feel much better soon! I can sympathize with the prickly pear experience you shared in your comment - unfortunately I touched a prickly pear wearing garden gloves that I thought would keep me safe and got a hand full of nettles! They are quite fierce little plants!
    Your scones look divine! I adore brie and scones are one of my very favorite things, so I cannot wait to fix your recipe! :-)

    1. Thanks Astra - sorry to hear about your prickly pear experience - and I am glad to be warned not to fall into complacency because I am wearing gloves - hope your hands are ok now. I was really pleased how well the brie worked in the scones - I think the chunks on top helped to make sure the brie didn't disappear into the scones too much.

  5. So may points in this post: the scones look amazing. Blowing up balloons is definitely fun. And yes I can only seem to find typos once I've published a post! :P

    1. Thanks Lorraine - yes blowing up balloons is fun but there are only so many that I can handle floating about the house (most of the ones I blow up go down again) and the article made the point that one of the most commonly used key is the backspace showing that we do correct a lot of typos but a few always seem to wriggle their way through

  6. these scones look delicious! you can never go wrong with brie, walnuts and apples together. love the flavour combinations..

    1. Thanks thalia - I agree on the combo - it is one of my favourite things to combine cheese, nuts and fruit.

  7. I too, am blind to my own typos. I'm so sorry to hear that you and Sylvia haven't been well. What an unusual treatment - but at least it's not going to cost you an arm and a leg xx

    1. Thanks charlie - yes blowing up balloons is a good cheap thing to do - which made me feel better than another doctor I saw who suggested if my ears didn't clear up soon I might need gromits!

  8. Thank you! I have a basket of vegan brie cheeses at the moment and had no absolutely idea what to do with them except for crackers and bread! What a brilliant way to use the brie & nuts in these scones - I love scones! I need to find a vegan recipe to make these scones so I can use up the brie - know any good ones? The exercises sound fun blowing up balloons is a lot of work, but fun to do around kids!

    1. Thanks Rika - vegan brie cheese sounds interesting - definitely would go in these scones - in fact if you have the vegan brie cheese it is pretty easy to veganise this recipe - check my notes as the only other non-vegan ingredient I used is honey and any sweetener would work.

  9. A very tasty sounding recipe. I love all the ingredients so that must be a good thing.

  10. Those are looking so delicious
    Thanks for sharing it with us


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