During the Coronavirus pandemic, everyone, all around the world, seems to be rolling up their sleeves, doing the simple things that can be achieved while some lockdown restrictions still prevail.
Baking seems to be a favourite pastime. People are making prodigious amounts of sourdough bread, labouring long and hard over their starters, proving and kneading, the whole process. Admirable.
I think it’s a comfort thing. Getting back to the basics of making bread connects us with what mankind has been doing for millions of years, nourishment of body and soul.
I get much happiness from a day’s work in the kitchen or in the garden and sitting down, preferably in the garden, with Richard for a cup of freshly-brewed tea and, on occasion, a treat. I think my favourite is a home-made scone, with (also home-made, of course) jam and a good dollop of clotted cream. Jam on first, unless you are the Queen!
Here’s a recipe for the scones:
350g Self Raising Flour, plus extra for dusting
.25 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
85g Unsalted Butter, cut into small cubes
3 tbsps caster sugar
Beaten Egg, to glaze
Jam and Clotted Cream, to serve
Heat oven to 22o C
Tip 350g of the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder. Mix well
Add the butter cubes and rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs then add the sugar and rub through
Put the buttermilk into a pan and heat very slightly until tepid
Put a baking sheet in the oven
Make a well in the dry mix in the bowl and add the buttermilk, combine with a cutlery knife, it will seem very wet at first. Dredge the dough and your hands with flour and fold the dough over itself 3 or 4 times until it’s pretty smooth, pat into a round about 4cm thick
Sprinkle some flour on a cool worksurface
Take a 5cm cutter and dip it into some flour (this will stop the scone sticking)
Stamp out the scones, flouring the cutter before each stamp
Press the rest of the dough together so you can stamp out more scones
Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg and carefully pop them on the baking tray
Bake for 10 minutes until risen and golden on the top
Eat when cooled with jam and a generous dollop of clotted cream