Imagine in this day and age there is something so Dickensian and Micawberish as a debtor's prison in a so-called civilised country? Makes me wonder why so many white-collar embezzlers aren't locked up behind those bars, instead of some poor person who defaults on a hire-purchase or credit union loan, or the dreaded TV licence. Those ads on TV and radio imply there is no worse crime than not having a TV licence, which is supposed to fund Irish public broadcasting - yet we are all watching Sky and wonder why if RTÉ is commercial and gets load of dosh from its ads, we need a licence.
Even if you only use the TV for playing the Wii, you must have a licence per address, which makes it totally unfair as a hotel or business premises pay the same as a private household. I do not see why one has to have a licence to watch DVDs or play Wii or Playstation - but that's the law and it's enforced inefficiently, intrusively and at great cost through the courts of the land, and like debtor's prison victims, it disproportionately targets low-income earners. (Yes, we have one and so does our son who has no TV provider so only plays Wii on it - costly games!)
That's today's polemic rant - back to the scones. The other cookbook is Grandma's Best Recipes, one of those bargain-bin books from Eason's that turn out to be a real gem. The recipes differ in that one calls for self-raising flour and the other for plain flour with baking powder, and one has an egg and a pinch of salt, and double the butter quantity which makes for a shortbready scone rather than a doughy one - much nicer! But you choose.
I have taken the best of both and merged them. They are so quick to make that there's no excuse for not having a fresh batch made on a whim, if the mood takes you. They are delicious with butter, strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream - which totally ruins any healthy low-fat benefits of the basic scone, before you start feeling smug.
I usually make half the recipe portion unless the house is full, as I hate waste and stale scones won't do it for anyone. This recipe will make a dozen, which will last less than a day all going well, and you can make them every day you want them if you feel particularly domestic goddess-like, and are having a Rachel or Nigella moment. You can see the lovely digital kitchen scales Tandy gave Jan - another great Lidl purchase.
Scones - Basic Recipe
- Chop up butter in flour and rub it in to breadcrumb texture
- Add sugar and mix
- Add beaten egg and mix
- Add enough milk to make stiff dough
- Turn onto floured surface and knead lightly
- Roll to half-inch/1cm thickness
- Cut with cookie cutter or cup (I used round cutter)
- Place on floured baking tray (I used a silicone baking sheet on a baking tray)
- Glaze with leftover egg/milk if you like a glazed top (I did half glazed and left half plain - catered for all tastes!)
- Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees Centigrade/350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes
- Cool on a wire rack
Add any of the following to the dry ingredients after Step 2:
2 ozs/50gm raisins/sultanas/mixed dried fruit/glacé cherries (washed and halved)/blueberries.
For savoury scones add grated cheddar cheese.
While cooling, make the tea, and then enjoy the fresh baked scones with
- Butter (no substitutes please!)
- Strawberry Jam (preferably homemade or good quality)
- Freshly whipped cream or clotted cream.