I seem to have a sort of automatic reaction to being at home: baking. Perhaps this is because I don't really like the idea of baking in my student kitchen - you never know how clean the surfaces are, and I don't relish the idea of kneading bread dough on a surface that moments before has been home to bacon or some form of grease. Perhaps this is also because at the moment, given that I spend all mealtimes (except for breakfast, thankfully) waitressing, I don't have time to cook any proper meals (a fact that makes me very sad, and which I hope to rectify as soon as possible), and therefore need to consume maximum calories in minimum time. Baked goods seem like an effective way to do this.
Yesterday, I made scones. I am actually not very good at making scones. I have only made them a couple of times and they haven't risen well, or have ended up more like rock cakes. I think I am a bit of a scone perfectionist because I strive to produce a scone comparable with those that emerge from the kitchen of The Rose tearoom in Oxford. I urge you to go there if you haven't already been. The scones are like heaven with jam on top. Seriously, they are the best I have ever tasted. Mine will never compare. There is something truly perfect about a warm, fluffy, crumbly scone topped with jam and clotted cream.
So I was quite happy yesterday when I decided to experiment and come up with my own scone recipe. Plain scones are definitely a good thing, but I fancied something with a bit more substance, and decided on apricot and ginger scones. It works in biscuits, so why not in scone form? I mixed a load of stuff together that I had a vague idea might work, put them in the oven for ten minutes, and squealed in delight when they rose perfectly: they were soft and fluffy in the middle, and just brown and toasted on the outside. (I actually did squeal. That is how childish food makes me). Very good just with butter, so you can really taste the ginger and apricot, but also delicious with apricot/cherry/strawberry jam. And, of course, a nice pot of Yorkshire tea.
Here's the recipe, if anyone wants to replicate said scone-making triumph.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Sift 125g plain self-raising flour and 125g wholemeal self-raising flour into a bowl. Add 1tsp baking powder. Cut 60g butter into cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (as you would for crumble or shortbread). Stir in 30g brown sugar, 2 globes of stem ginger in syrup (finely chopped), a handful of chopped apricots, and the zest of an orange. Make a well in the centre and break in an egg, and about 4 tbsp yoghurt. Mix it all together until you have a dough - you don't want it to be too sticky, but you also don't want it too crumbly. Add more yoghurt or a bit of milk if it's too dry. Put on a board and roll out to a thickness of about 2cm. Use a biscuit/scone cutter to cut into circles. Brush the tops with yoghurt and sprinkle with brown sugar. Put on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Eat while warm from the oven.