Thursday, 19 June 2014

Date with a Bacon Scone

So firstly I want to thank all those who said 'Rosie what the hell are you doing? Why haven't you posted on your blog? Idiot'. Thank you for your kind and inspiring words. 

Having returned from my travels I have made the delicate and natural transition from the world of fitness into the world of baking. I can tell you, this world smells way better. Everything I thought I knew about bread and pastry has been flip reversed. However, this is coming from the girl whose first attempt at using yeast resulted in a loaf so alive it was practically crawling across the kitchen counter. Let me tell those who aren't sure - not the desired result.

I wasn't sure how to start here so I went for something easy, lovable, delicious and British. The scone. I don't want to shock too much but this isn't the scone which enables clotted cream and jam (although you could....), this is a savoury scone. A cheesy scone. When it came to deciding on the flavour combination I was slightly perturbed. My decision making ability is flawed at the best of time but for a decision involving cheese? And herbs? or even BACON? No one in their right minds can make that kind of decision, especially not on an empty stomach. Yes, you're correct. ALL OF THEM. That's my decision.

I have created 3 different flavour combinations here but please feel free to do your own thing. Go mental. Use anchovies (if you're that kind of person). 

Blue cheese, Date and Bacon scones 
(I advise eating this one as soon as possible)

Goats cheese and thyme scones

Cheddar and rosemary scones

Quantities: Makes 12 - 14 scones

Timings: Prep is 15/20 mins depending on how leisurely you are.
Cooking around 12 mins.

Kitchen Stuff: 
Nothing overly exciting - an oven, baking sheet and some bowls. And a rolling pin, preferably.

Scone Ingredients

500g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp english mustard powder
2 tsp fine sea salt
80g unsalted butter, very cold and diced
320ml buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

Extra tasty ingredients 
(quantities are for the whole batch, divide by 3 if you're making all three flavours from one batch)

1. 180g Blue cheese (Saint Agur worked wonderfully for me), chopped into little cubes
10 rashers of Streaky bacon, cooked to crispy and chopped
8 or 9 big squigdy dates (I used Hadrawi), chopped

2. 200g Creamy, mature cheddar, grated 
1 handful of sprigs of fresh rosemary, stalks removed and finely chopped
A chunk of parmesan

3. 180g large goats cheese log (creamy or not, depending on preference), chopped into little cubes
Handful of time, stalks removed


Preheat your oven to 200ÂșC and line a baking tray with baking paper. Or grease it as I did cause i'd run out of baking paper. Good start.

BREADCRUMBS: Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, salt, mustard powder and your cold diced butter. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it has all combined and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

DIY INGREDIENTS: Stir in your ingredients of choice (please feel free to go a bit crazy and let me know if it works out) then add the buttermilk and mix together. I would advice starting to mix with a wooden spoon and then using your hands as the mixture comes together. 

Be gentle and don't over-work the mixture. Leave it to rest for 5 mins.

ROLLIN': Lightly flour a surface and roll your dough out so it is about 2cm thick. I didn't have a following pin so used a roll of cling film. Worked a treat.

Using a pastry cutter, cut out your scones into your desired size and shape. 

Note: Due to severe lack of normal round pastry cutters in M&S (and an abundance of strange butterfly shapes) I ended up using an upturned glass - this worked perfectly; if you have no pastry cutter, despair not.

BACON BAKE OFF: Place your scones on a baking tray and glaze with beaten egg. If you're making cheddar and rosemary, or goats cheese and thyme, sprinkle a little parmesan on top of the egg. Delish.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and cool on a wire rack. 

EAT: Serve with anything you want. Smoked salmon. Bacon. More cheese. Butter. It all works.