Monday, 13 January 2014

St. Tola Goats' Cheese & Chive Scones

Scones are so easy to make and can be rustled up and are ready to serve in no time at all. Whilst I am partial to sweet white scones served with jam and cream (of course), I also love savoury versions.

This recipe is essentially a simple cheese scone, but I have added a couple of tablespoons of freshly chopped chives because I love their mild onion flavour, which adds a sweet note and also complements the flavour of the hard goats’ cheese that I have also used. I was going to add some English mustard powder to give a little sweet heat but I felt that this might compete with the goats’ cheese. I do add mustard powder when I am making cheddar cheese scones, because its presence almost makes the cheddar seem more cheddar-y!!! I have deliberately omitted it here.

Scones are essentially a quick bread and I really cannot stress enough how quick these are to make. It takes about five minutes to prepare the dough and then another ten minutes or so to bake them. I recommend eating them still warm from then oven, split in half and spread with butter which melts slightly into the still warm crumb… HEAVEN!

The weather is still quite wintery but thankfully, now that the Winter Solstice has passed the days are beginning to lengthen and hopefully Spring is just around the corner. In any event, I was still feeling in the need of something warming to eat so I made a simple pea soup. I wanted something to accompany the soup and felt that these scones were just the thing. They were delicious with the soup and I will be making them again.

I love the goats’ cheese/chive combo. I used a hard goats’ cheese, which was almost gouda- like in texture, made by St. Tola Organic Goat Cheese, who are located in County Clare. Ireland has a great artisan cheese making industry and this is one of my favourites and when I am able to get my hands on it, I regularly use it in my cooking.

Anyway, here’s my recipe… Ironically the time that it has taken me to write the preceding paragraphs is actually longer than the time it would take to bake a batch of these tasty scones! One tip I would give whenever making any quick breads such as scones or soda bread – handle the dough as little as possible and do not overwork.

Ingredients:

250g plain flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
30g butter
150g St. Tola hard goats’ cheese, grated
2 heaped tblsp snipped chives
150ml milk
To glaze:
Some milk or a beaten egg

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan Oven 200C/Gas Mark 7.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheese and the snipped chives and mix through the flour mixture.
3. Slowly add the milk to give a soft dough (it should not be too sticky, so add the milk slowly as you might not require it all).
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly to bring together and then roll out to a thickness of about 3cms. Stamp out rounds of the dough using a round 4-5cm cutter. Place on a lightly floured baking tin.
5. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with a little milk or beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until well risen and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving, still slightly warm!

Makes 9-10 mini scones.