While visiting my parents-in-law this weekend, I decided to bake a big batch of cheese and rosemary scones for our afternoon tea. This recipe makes it easy to have a delicious snack ready within the hour.
Cheddar cheese, rosemary and onion scones recipe
These scones are delicious and it’s easy to adapt the recipe. Add six slices of rashers when you make the onion and rosemary mixture and you have a delicious variation of the recipe: bacon and cheese scones.
Ingredients for 12 cheese & rosemary scones
A glug of olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
500g plain flour – you can replace up to 1/3 with wholemeal flour if you like
6 level tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
100g cold butter, cubed
150g mature cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
100g natural yoghurt
For the topping
A little bit of extra milk for brushing
50g mature cheddar (grated) to spread on top
How to make cheese and rosemary scones
As always it’s best to get all the ingredients ready and chopped before you start. Luckily, I had some family assistance (chopping by my husband, entertainment by my mother-in-law) today and everything was done in no time.
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped onions gently for about 10 minutes. Stir in the rosemary and set aside to cool.
While the onions are frying, sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, mustard powder and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine.
Add the butter cubes and rub them in with your fingers until your ingredients have a breadcrumb-like consistency, then add the cheese and onion-rosemary mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
In a separate bowl, combine the milk and yoghurt and whisk briefly.
Add the milk and yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients to form the dough. It doesn’t need to be worked too much. In fact, try to work it as little as possible.
Lightly flour your worktop, turn out the dough and carefully flatten to about 3cm without kneading it.
Use a round cookie cutter or glass with floured rim to cut the scones into round shapes. You’ll need to put the dough pieces together a few times until you have no dough leftover.
Put the scones onto the baking tray, brush with a little milk and spread some grated cheddar on top.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer to a rack to cool.
Eat the cheddar and rosemary scones while warm and fresh. Once cooled you can store them in a plastic container for about two days. Just heat them through in the oven for a few minutes and they are as good as new. Scones are great for freezing too.
This is an adaptation of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.
I found our bread basket empty this Sunday morning. Not good! Traditional Irish white soda bread is the perfect loaf for situations like this. It’s very easy to put together, only five basic ingredients are needed and fresh bread will be on your breakfast table in just over an hour.
Quick White Soda Bread Recipe
This quick white soda bread recipe will reward your taste buds and will also fill your kitchen with the most amazing smell of fresh baking. Great things happen when fragrant flour, tangy buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda come together. Bicarbonate of soda is the raising ingredient used in soda bread recipes. As an alkali, it needs an acid to perform its magic – in this case buttermilk, yoghurt or the lemon-milk mix.
White soda bread ingredients
400g plain flour
100g wholemeal wheat flour
15g bicarbonate of soda
400g buttermilk – Both real or cultured buttermilk work. If you can’t get buttermilk, you can also work with yoghurt or souring milk with lemon juice or white wine vinegar. As always when replacing ingredients, you may need to adjust the dough’s hydration to get the desired texture.
Where can I buy real buttermilk in the UK & Ireland?
Real buttermilk is the thick, acidic by-product of butter churning. Cultured buttermilk, as sold in many supermarkets and shops, is made by adding lactic cultures to ordinary milk. Buy real buttermilk in the UK from Ivy House Farm or Longley Farm and in Ireland from Cuinneog.
How to make white soda bread
Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). Don’t ignore this step, it’s important that the oven is fully preheated by the time the dough is ready.
Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix well. The sifting is important, particularly for the bicarb of soda, as the lumps do not dissolve in the liquid.
Make sure the dry ingredients are mixed evenly, then add the buttermilk. Mix well but minimally i.e. don’t over-mix. Make sure everything is happening swiftly as the bicarbonate of soda will begin to react with the acid buttermilk as soon as they make contact. Working quickly helps you take advantage of all the carbon dioxide produced to lift the dough.
The soda bread dough will be quite soft but that’s just perfect. Shape into a round loaf and flour lightly.
Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Now make the trademark soda bread cross to divide the loaf into four sections. Cut the dough with a knife to make a deep cross; cut almost fully through the dough (about 80%).
Bake for approx. 45 minutes at 200°C on the top shelf. The loaf is ready when it has a nice brown colour, has risen well and sounds hollow when tapped. Cover with tin foil after 30 minutes if the bread browns too quickly.
Wrap the soda bread loaf in a tea towel while it cools to soften the crust or cool on a wire rack if you like your crust to be crisper.
Best served fresh and eaten on the same day – what a Sunday morning treat!
You can store the soda bread at room temperature for about two to three days. I usually freeze half a loaf and defrost again later in the week. It doesn’t otherwise keep that well. Freshen the defrosted bread by placing it in the oven for a few minutes before serving.
Also try this delicious brown soda bread recipe which is a much more wholesome version of the above basic white soda bread.
Any visit to my husband’s grandmother’s house would see the obligatory cup of Barry’s Tea accompanied by a slice of brown soda bread topped with generous amounts of Kerry Gold butter and raspberry jam. Happy memories!