After enduring multiple days of 40°C temperatures, the thought of winter comfort food would be the last thing on anyone's mind. It took delving into my latest cookbook acquisition to give me the inspiration for Alicat and Sara's latest installment of Weekend Cookbook Challenge.
The cookbook in question is Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery. Margaret Fulton is the godmother of Australian cookery. It's been said that she "taught the nation to cook", her influence bringing new foods and new methods into our kitchens. At 82 she's one of our nation's living legends and is still cooking. In fact her latest work is the update on her original Encyclopedia first published in 1983.
Using this tome as my inspiration there seemed only one appropriate dish to create. Something quintessentially Margaret - something very much a part of our heritage and still enjoyed, at any age.
There's nothing more comforting on an cold afternoon in winter then to settle back with a pot of tea and a batch of piping hot scones (with jam and cream of course!) straight from the oven. The scent immediately connecting with your senses, the warmth radiating from the kitchen. Perfection.
Our scones most resemble what the US call "biscuits" though for us a biscuit is their cookie, but that's another story. Scones can come in all shapes and sizes with all matter of flavourings but for me, nothing beats the simplicity of the basic scone.
3 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
60 grams/2 ounces butter
1¼ cup milk or buttermilk
Sift flour and salt into bowl. Rub in butter. Add nearly all the milk at once and mix quickly with a knife. Add remaining milk only if necessary to mix to a soft dough.
Note: The key to proper scones is not to overwork the mix. You want it soft but not soggy.
Turn onto a floured board and knead by turning and pressing with the heel of hand 3 to 4 times.
Pat onto a round 2cm or ¾ inch thick and cut into 4cm (1½ inch) rounds with a floured cutter. Place scones close together on a lightly greased baking tray (You can use baking paper).
Brush the tops with a little milk and bake in the top of a preheated very hot oven (230°C/450°F) for 10-15 minutes or until well risen and golden.
Note: as with all recipes you need to adapt the temperature according to the quirks of your own oven, use the temperature listed as a guide.
For soft scones, wrap in a tea-towel as soon as they come from the oven. For crusty scones, do not wrap, cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm with butter or with jam and cream
This recipe makes 12.
I'll have to add that even though it's about 35°C, these scones went down a treat.