Sunday, 8 May 2011

Tasty, Mega Easy, Savoury Mini Scones!

Where to begin? Firstly, Mariquita had the best birthday ever. We had a lovely sail during the day and Jim our esteemed captain bravely relinquished the helm so that we could all have a little steer on her big day. Then as soon as the sails were dropped, down below scarpered Sian and I to chill bubbles and build canap├ęs for the party.

My Turn! The knee pads and gloves don't look so cool at the helm.
Then there was the birthday cake to assemble. Now, baring in mind I only had one day to make all the food, I hope that you’ll understand and forgive me if I said that I used…gritting my teeth…packet cake-mix to make 2 huge cakes needed to feed about 70-80 people. Yep, me. Never done that before. Bit weird. But hey, needs must. I didn’t have the time to make from scratch and we don’t have the budget to buy a pre-made cake from any shop in the Cote D’Azur. And it was a whopper of a cake! I surrounded the cakes with chocolate fingers which was then flooded with chocolate mousse (pre-made; I know!) Then I melted about 6 bars of white chocolate and poured that over the top of the mousse. The decoration was very much an after thought but I think it went well. Anyway, despite the cheating, it was a delicious cake and everybody seemed to get a piece. And surely that’s what counts.

So I must give you the recipe for the mini pecorino and courgette scones that I made. They were so easy, took no time at all and everybody loved them. I will definitely be making them for any large ‘do’ that I ‘do’ in the future. Topped with a small dollop of smoked salmon mousse, a wee sprig of dill and Bob’s your Uncle. And they kept very well over-night (pre-salmon mousse) and I bet they freeze well. So here goes.

For 70-80 mini scones you will need;

700g self raising flour
170g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
250ml plain, natural yogurt
80ml milk.
200g pecorino cheese or parmesan
2 large grated courgettes.
3 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
Tsp salt


  • Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and cut the butter into the flour. Work the butter into the flour with your finger tips, running your thumb across your finger tips so that the flour and butter looks like breadcrumbs. This bit can be done in a food processor if you are lucky enough to have one or lucky enough to have the cupboard space to put one in. I digress.

  • When you have ‘breadcrumbs’, add the cheese and poppy seeds and just before you add the grated courgettes, taking fistfuls, squeeze as much of the juice out of the courgettes as you possibly can. (You can save this very healthy green juice and freeze for stocks or smoothies if you wish).

  • Once all of the ‘squeezed’ courgette has been added, mix all the ingredients together well with a fork.

  • Make a well in the flour and courgette mixture and fill with the yogurt and milk. Using a knife, gradually stir the milk and yogurt into the flour and then when it all starts to come together then it’s time to get your hands in. It does all eventually come together as a nice dough but if you think it seems a bit dry then add milk a tbsp by tbsp. It should be a work-able dough that isn’t too wet but definitely not dry.

  • Knead the dough on your floured kitchen surface then cut the dough into two pieces to make it easier to roll out. It’s a lot of dough!

  • Roll the dough to an inch fat. This makes for nice tall, well risen scones. Then with a 4cm pastry cutter, give it a fast, hard thwack with the palm of your hand, cutting out the scones. Try not to twist the cutter to get through the dough, this will only stop the scones from rising properly and that’s when you get lop-sided scones. It’s a straight down affair.

  • Brush the tops of the scones with milk and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C gas mark 6 for 12-15 minutes on a baking sheet.

I baked mine in quite a few batches because my oven is pretty small and ineffective. Actually to be fair it did a grand job that day and I have a strong feeling that my oven is a bit like my old Morris Minor, Barbara, I had when I was a student. If you said anything nasty about her, she would break down on you, guaranteed. So, well done little ‘Force Ten’. You did well.

Of course, if you only wish to make these scones for a small tea party or ‘yeast free’ sandwiches for a picnic/packed lunch then you could halve the recipe and make them full sized. Or served warm, with a gazpacho or a tomato and basil soup would be lovely too. The possibilities are endless.

I really hope I’ve not gone down in your estimations too much with the packet cake mix and that the scones have made up for it. I was very honest.

Oh and by the way, we’re now in Nice. We have moved here for a week before sailing to Corsica. We trained today and will again tomorrow and tonight I finally got round to using that bulging bag of dried Cep mushrooms (Poricini) I bought at the Cannes market. I’ll give that recipe to you next time. Formidable, Tres Bien, they say here!

See you soon and Thanks for coming.