Monday, August 9, 2010



I love Mondays. Grandpa picks up my six-year-old from school, the four- and not-quite-two-year-olds sleep, and I get to do stuff. Actually, I doze on the couch, fluff around on the computer and bring in the washing, but it's lovely just the same.

When everyone's home and the younger girls have woken, we're ravenous. And having been saved an hour and twenty minutes by not doing the school run (ever walked a mile with a four-year-old?), I graciously donate 15 minutes to making scones.

As they come out of the oven, kids and Grandpa rush to the table and choose a plate from our op shop collection: sprinkled with flowers, pink with blue polka dots, cornflowers and butterflies, or blue peacocks. They open the honey and the jam and wait for the cloth-covered board bearing its hot little bundles of puff straight from the oven.

"Wooooow!" says the toddler. "Yum!" says everyone else as they break open their scones and the steam swirls up.

O wonderful me!

Scones are very easy to make, but if you bash them around and moon about, they will be stodgy. The trick to making little clouds of pleasure is to be light and quick. Don't mix them, but combine with a knife; don't knead them with the ball of your hand, but with your fingers; don't roll them out, but pat them down gently. And get them into the oven as fast as you can!

This quantity makes 8 or 9 medium-sized scones. They don't keep well. If you do have leftovers, you can re-heat them in the microwave – but it's better to invite a neighbour over, or Grandpa, and demolish the lot in one sitting.

If you want to make more, make two batches – you can move quicker and faster and they will come out lighter than if you make them all in one big batch.


- 2 generous cups self raising flour
- pinch sugar
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 scant cup sour milk. (The best scones are made from milk which has soured slightly. You can use off milk, off yogurt, off cream thinned with water, or buttermilk. If you don't have any sour dairy, use milk but squeeze a little lemon juice into it before you start. You can even use soy milk – it's a very forgiving recipe.)
- butter and/or cream and/or honey and/or jam to serve

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Whisk a pinch of sugar into the flour, then rub in the butter.

Make a well and add all the milk (cream, yogurt, soy milk) at once. Using a knife (I have an ancient flexible bone-handled knife which is perfect), combine the milk and flour with a slicing motion, then turn the mixture onto a lightly floured bench and knead lightly until fully combined.

Gently pat into a disc about an inch thick. Using a scone cutter, cut out your scones; or use a knife and slice it into wedges. If you use the cutter, gather up the remaining dough and lightly shape into extra scones. Don't use a glass to cut them out, as it will compress the dough and make the scones stodgy.

Place scones on a greased tray, or a tray lined with a silicon baking sheet. Brush gently with milk and slip into the oven for 9 or 10 minutes, depending on your oven.

To check they're cooked, tap one on the bottom. They are ready when they sound hollow.

Bundle them into a clean tea towel to keep them warm, and eat as soon as possible with butter and honey, jam and cream, honey and cream, just butter, butter and jam... oh, just gobble them all up!

(Local: flour if you're lucky, milk, honey, jam, cream. Somewhere in Victoria: butter. Non-local: sugar.)

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