What is it?: A beautifully simple plain scone
Occasion: Mid-winter afternoon snack
Ah, scones. The old ‘Home Ec’ favourite. There were always millions of them on sale at the school fete for one simple reason – children could make them. I was always proud of mine – risen, fluffy and just a little bit sweet – and my cookery teacher would often say I made the best scones in my class, however when I reached adulthood, something went horribly wrong. For some reason, unbeknown to me, my scones went from little baked pillows of loveliness to hard flat discs akin to savoury biscuits, you couldn’t split them in half, let alone fill them with anything, and I daren’t show them to anybody through fear of them laughing hysterically or mistaking them for a hockey puck. I was about ready to give up and then, a few months ago, I tried out Dan’s Everyday Scones recipe and all was right with the world again.
These scones are very, very simple and quick to make – I’m not sure if it’s the combination of ingredients, the addition of yoghurt into the mixture or the method that makes these scones so successful, but I have made them several times and they always turn out well. I have vowed never to need another scone recipe as long as I live. The yoghurt forms part of the wet ingredients, along with some double cream and a little sugar. This is knifed into the dry ingredients to form a dough, which is then patted out on to a floured surface and cut into scones using a cutter. One of the more unusual aspects of the recipe is that Dan recommends the scones are baked in a roasting dish rather than on a baking tray. I was skeptical about this, but it does give a softer scone as promised.
Scones are, quite possibly, the most versatile bake for a crowd – they are inoffensive enough for those with plain tastes and appeal to those that don’t generally eat cake, however the possibility of toppings (clotted cream is my favourite) make them exciting for those with a sweet tooth. I never need an excuse for scones, I can eat about a hundred of them, and although there are some excellent bakeries in south-east London that sell a wide variety of sweet and savoury scones, nothing can beat one just from the oven. Make yourself a cup of tea and you’re all set.
In other news:
Last night Ollie took me out to the wonderful Elliot’s Cafe for my birthday dinner. We have eaten there a couple of times before and it has become a firm favourite. The restaurant is situated in Borough Market and it is this location that inspires most of their dishes. They have no fixed menu but instead cook seasonally and according to the produce available. This means that you seldom get the chance to establish a ‘favourite dish’, but you do get some of he best of the food around at any point in time. On our cold November evening we had steak tartare and scallops with black pudding to start, an enormous ox cheek and onion pie with maris piper potatoes to share for the main, and a chocolate and salted caramel pudding with malted ice cream for dessert. With a delicious house white and beer from Bermondsey’s The Kernel brewery, it was an absolutely stand-out dinner.
Elliot’s Cafe, 12 Stoney Street, London SE1 9AD.