The librarycook has never been a scone maker. Daunted, perhaps, by her Irish grandmother’s mastery of the scone – her repertoire featured the plain scone, the date scone, the sultana scone, and the cheesy savoury scone, the librarycook had never ventured into the realm of the scone.
But that was all about to change. The September issue of Delicious tried to lead her off the straight and narrow with its cover image of a salted caramel & pretzel cheesecake (is it just the librarycook, or are other people over the whole salt/sweet thing too?), but it was Matt Moran’s article featuring not one, but seven separate scone recipes that rose to the top.
And of all the recipes, the one that had instant appeal was for Double Cheese & Mustard Ploughman’s Scones. With the suggestion that they be accompanied by a Cherry Tomato Relish, more cheese, ham, mustard and cornichons, they weren’t just scones, they were a meal.
So last Saturday morning, the librarycook decided to risk everything, and make a previously untried recipe. For guests. On the same day. And almost immediately fell into a trap no long-term cook should encounter – the dreaded words, at the beginning of the recipe “Begin this recipe 1 day ahead”. Quickly pulling herself together, it was apparent that only referred to the relish component of the recipe, the scones could still be made for the same day. And luckily, mr librarycook has discovered a latent enthusiasm for all things pickled and preserved, so the librarycook residence’s shelves are groaning with jams, preserves, pickles and other tracklements.
The recipe was easy to follow – even the part about grating the butter. The librarycook remembered her grandmother’s words, about not over-working the dough. The scones looked good as they went into the oven (for a mere 15 minutes, not enough time for more than a glance at the Saturday papers). They smelt great. They tasted great too – the additions of cheddar, parmesan, mustard, smoked paprika and spring onions ensured that. But they just didn’t rise. Compared to the family scones, these were like hockey pucks. Nevertheless, they were devoured, and the accompanying pickles added to the collective deliciousness.
So, has the librarycook been scared off ever making scones again? On the one side, there’s the almost total lack of reading time. And the fact that, in the case of a sudden shortage of hockey pucks, the librarycook’s efforts could make up the shortage. But on the other side, they were delicious. And the librarycook has spotted another recipe, this one for Lemon & Fennel Scones with Hot-Smoked Trout. Yum, thought the librarycook.
And perhaps the librarycook’s grandmother’s first attempts at scones weren’t that great either.