Blue Cheese Scones

 

I’ve waffled on about my parent’s holiday cottage on Mull several times now. It makes me happy, alright? The very first booking is imminent and my parents went up the other week for one last weekend of making sure everything was in order and the house was ready for guests to stay in. It made me realise I’ve not been up in about 4 months, which I hate, especially as now it’s completely booked up I don’t get to go again until August. Anyway, my Mother bought me back a wedge of Hebridean Blue from the Isle of Mull Cheese Company. It won silver in the world cheese awards a number of years ago and it’s by far the best cheese I’ve ever eaten (blue cheese is the best cheese, end of discussion). I thought this would be a great chance for me to bake something full of the stuff… but er, I kinda ate the whole thing, in a few days… Oh well, my intentions were good, so I bought myself another wedge of blue (less good, but still served its purpose wonderfully).

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So then I had to decide what I actually wanted to make, bread? Tartlets? Muffins? I decided on Scones. I realise I’d not made scones since last year when I made my Chorizo and Smoked Cheddar Scones after a trip to York food festival (which I thought I’d written up but apparently never did, whoops!). Savory scones are definitely the best kind of scones, in my opinion at least. Blue cheese works wonderfully well, especially when you add something like caramelised onion. All these need with them is some chutney and perhaps some soup and they are perfect for a snack. Why not wash ‘em down with a bottle of real ale and a pork pie? Now I want a pork pie, someone bring me a pork pie.

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Blue Cheese Scones
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 115g (plus 2 tablespoons for the onions) cold butter, divided
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • Salt and black pepper to season
  • 255g all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ Teaspoon baking soda
  • 90g Blue Cheese (crumbled)
  • 180ml Buttermilk (they sell it in M&S, only place I’ve found in Leeds center that does)
  • 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C(200°C fan assisted) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the two tablespoons of butter in a pan and fry the onions over a medium to high heat until the start to brown at the edges. Reduce to a low heat and cook for a further 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t cash. They’ll be soft and caramelised by the time it’s done. Set aside and allow to cool.
  3. While the onions are cooking whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda. Incorporate the butter in to the flour mixture, do this using your fingers, a fork or an electric mixer. Combine until it resembles coarse bread crumbs/meal.
  4. Once the onions are done and cooled slightly, add them, along with the blue cheese and buttermilk to the flour mixture and fold to form a dough. If it’s too sticky add a little more flour.
  5. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a square that’s roughly 20cm x 20cm. Divide in to 8 matching portions and transfer them to prepared baking tray. Brush the top of each one with the beaten egg, this will help them glaze.
  6. Place in the middle of the oven and cook until they are golden brown. This should be around 15 minutes. Remove and transfer to a rack. Best served fresh but they’ll last a couple of days after in a sealed container.

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Triple Chocolate Brownies

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates. As I am still laptopless in the evenings it’s kinda getting in the way. I am also no longer with a copy of lightroom, so apologies if the photos aren’t quite so good. My fingers have got so itchy that I’ve actually stayed in work late to get this posted, and likely will be doing so a few times this week (I’ve got Guinness cake and Blue Cheese Scones to write up as well)… Anyway, BROWNIES. My greatest foe (not really, but I had a couple of disasters the other week when I tried making some using various different recipes I found on the old interwebs. I knew I should have stuck to the usual one). I also got myself a new giant brownie pan. So wanted the excuse to make them. I thought I’d keep it simple with some triple chocolate brownies.

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I’m fairly sure I’ve ranted before about shop bought brownies being too cakey and how, to me, that’s just not what a brownie is. It should be a gooey, chocolatey mass of awesome.

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For a smaller 20cm tin halve the ingredients.

Update (September 2016): This recipe requires some serious whisking, I’d recommend you did this with an electric whisk or at the very least a hand-whisk.

Triple Chocolate Brownies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 250g best dark chocolate
  • 115g plain flour
  • 53g cocoa powder
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 4 large eggs
  • 370g golden caster sugar
Instructions
  1. Melt together the butter and dark chocolate, by placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture together as it starts to melt, over a low heat. (You can do this stage in the microwave, but I don’t own one). Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. While it is cooling, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted) and grease/line your tin.
  3. Over a medium sized bowl, sieve the flour and cocoa powder in together.
  4. Roughly chop the white and milk chocolate into chips and set aside.
  5. Break the eggs and caster sugar into the bowl of your electric mixer and whisk on high speed until it looks thick and creamy. This can take anywhere between 3 and 8 minutes. When you take out the paddle, as it dribbles onto the surface and leaves a trail for a second or two then it’s perfect.
  6. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly folding it until it’s completely incorporated. You want them mixed without knocking out all the air you just added in to the mixture with the whisking.
  7. Sift the flour mix into the egg/chocolate mix and mix until it’s completely combined. Again, being careful not to knock the air out. Followed by the chocolate chips.
  8. Pour this into the prepared pan. Ensuring that it is spread evenly, by pushing it around gently with the spatula.
  9. Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes (20 if using the smaller pan). You’ll be able to see if it is done by wobbling the tray slightly. If the middle wobbles it needs a little longer, so put it back in for another 5 minutes.
  10. Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack, still in the tin and leave to cool completely before removing and dividing in to squares.

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American Style Pancakes

Pancake Day! Everyone’s favourite thing about lent, and when everyone momentarily acts half religious again. The other being Christmas, or when they want to get married in a church. Aaaaanyway, Andy (my housemate) has requested American style pancakes this year so that’s what he’s getting. Topped with Maple Syrup and crispy fried bacon. I still remember a few years ago when the idea of this completely disgusted me, but these days the sweet/savoury combo is just down right salivating. PASS ME THE BACON.

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Also, I’m doing this before actually making the pancakes… so I’m relying on an old picture of ones I made when some friends came round last year and I made Sunday morning hangover pancakes. I will get some proper snaps tonight, but the recipe is the same.

American Style Pancakes
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • For the pancakes:
  • 135g/4¾oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 130ml/4½fl oz milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) or olive oil, plus extra for cooking
  • For the toppings:
  • Streaky bacon, fried until crispy
  • Maple Syrup
Instructions
  1. Sift the flour in to a large bowl along with the baking powder, salt and caster sugar. In a separate bowl whisk the milk with the egg. Mix in the melted butter.
  2. Pour the milk/egg mixture into the flour mix and beat with a fork until the lumps have all disappeared. Leave it to stand for a few minutes.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan and melt a knob of butter. Drop one ladle full (two if your pan is big enough for two separate pancakes) and fry until the top starts to bubble. Flip and cook both sides until they are golden brown and the pancake has risen by about 1cm.
  4. Serve warm topped with bacon and covered in maple syrup.