It’s been a busy old few weeks round here, especially the weekends which have been full of sanding and varnishing floorboards and a day-long haul to Ikea where we finally ordered a shiny new kitchen! We’ve been working like the clappers to get everything ready before the cabinets arrive on Friday (Ikea’s lead time is ridiculously quick). Doors have been hung, skirting board painted and worktop samples ordered; my kitchen is finally starting to come together but rather than feeling excited I’ve been immersed in a sense of blind panic. Foreboding questions are doing laps round my mind. What if it turns out I’ve chosen the wrong combination of cabinets? Is the worktop really going to be too low? Where is all the food going to live? How will I ever find a sink I actually like and can afford? Or a tap? When I find it’s all getting a bit too much I head into my temporary kitchen 1) to remind myself that even if the final product’s not perfect, it’s better than what I’ve got at the moment and 2) to get stuck into some baking which, in the most part, is my favourite way to relax.
Baking for relaxation ultimately requires a nice, simple recipe. No fancy decorations or fiddly details. Nothing that won’t look and taste good with a minimum of effort. Home baking all the way, this is not the time to try out that interesting patisserie technique or that recipe that only works 1 time in 10. So here you have my recipe for savoury scones that is easy, fun and turns out great results every time. Made with baked sweet potato, they are lighter and fluffier than the average scone and, handily for diabetics, have less of a refined carbohydrate hit. The sweetness of the potato is tempered with savoury cheese and onion as well as an undertone of cumin which adds depth but doesn’t overwhelm the other flavours. They go really nicely with soup, spread with butter or, in their latest incarnation, on top of chilli cobbler. These scones stay fresh for a day or two, not long granted, but they revive well once warmed. Out of a recent batch of 20 small scones I baked 8 immediately (and promptly ate half them) and froze the rest for later. When I have the oven on for dinner I pop a few frozen scones in to bake then take them to work the next day to go with my thermos of soup.
Sweet potato, cheddar and spring onion scones
Makes 20 scones
- 250g cooked sweet potato (about 3 whole potatoes baked then peeled)
- 1 large egg
- 60ml vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 125g cheddar cheese, grated
- 6 spring onions, sliced
- 300g self-raising flour
Mash the cooled, cooked sweet potato then beat in the egg, oil, milk, salt and cumin.
Stir in the cheese and onions. Sift in the flour and stir to form a soft but workable dough.
Turn the dough on to a floured surface, pat out to about 4cm thick.
Flour a 4cm round cutter and cut out as many scones as you can. Gently reshape the dough, pat to the same thickness and cut more scones. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
Line a baking tray with parchment, arrange the scones leaving 5cm space between.
Bake at 180°C for 20–25 minutes until golden. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool.
From frozen bake for 30–35 minutes.