Saturday, 15 September 2012

Wensleydale and Ginger Scones

What is up with the weather?  One minute, everyone is raving on about how autumnal it is; my fellow foodies are twittering about soups, stews and casseroles; and I'm desperately trying to find my gloves*. The next, it's roasting hot and I'm feeling like Pinchy probably did when he met his end a little while back.

When the weather turned earlier this week, I figured I'd make some soup this weekend and that it should be complimented by a plate of hot, buttered cheese scones.  My mind then wandered off at a tangent as I bought some Wensleydale to go with Bath Olivers - recommended to me by Lizzie (aka @Mrs_Gaffer).  Whilst perusing Ocado online, I came across Wensleydale with Ginger and thus, Wensleydale and Ginger scones were born.
Slightly singed scones with even more cheese

Wensleydale was one of my favourite cheeses long before Wallace and Gromit appeared on the scene.  For the uninitiated, it has a very delicate flavour and is very crumbly too.  It works well with sweet things such as proper apple pie (with a top and a bottom) or ginger cakes.  I have yet to try it with Bath Olivers as I used it all in my scones and will therefore have to buy more next week.

Because I already had a jar of stem ginger in the fridge, I decided to just buy regular Wensleydale and to combine the two into a scone.  That way, I could make some plain Wensleydale scones to see what they were like on their own - and to feed to my fussy toddler, just in case - and I could do some with ginger in as well.

So I made two sets of mixture, one with cheese, a touch of cayenne and a smidgen of mustard; the others with cheese and finely diced ginger.  I placed them in the oven to bake and couldn't work out why, after 12 minutes, the plain scones had barely risen, let alone browned.  Then I noticed I'd stupidly switched my oven on to grill mode in my sleep-befuddled haze (this was 7.30am**) and so consequently, the ginger ones were cooked and nearly singed on top***, whilst I had to rebake the plain Wensleydale ones again.

The resulting scones were both enjoyable, although the Wensleydale flavour is so subtle in the scones that you'd either need a lot more of that and barely any ginger to get both flavours; or as I would recommend, you should just make the ginger scones, omit the cheese from the recipe and eat it on the side in a big fat lump.

Just getting back to the weather - after barbecuing myself in the sunshine all day (and eating a dodgy looking ice lolly), I returned home to find I was shivering cold and so ended up also making this tomato soup from BBC Good Food.  This is the quickest soup ever and is great when a tin of rather foul Heinz tomato soup is the only thing in your store cupboard.

So here's the recipe for both sets of scones.

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 50g cold butter, cubed
  • 145ml buttermilk (or 140ml milk and 5ml lemon juice), warmed
  • pinch table salt

-then either-

  • 150g Wensleydale, grated
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch English mustard powder


  • 1 ball stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 150g Wensleydale (optional if you want to try the Wensleydale and Ginger version)

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/425f.  Place a baking tray in the oven to get hot.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add your other chosen ingredients and give a quick mix to spread through the bowl evenly.  
  4. Pour in the buttermilk and work to form a soft, dough using a round ended knife.  Don't over work the dough.
  5. Tip out onto a floured work surface, pat to be about 2.5cm/1 inch thick and then cut using a pastry cutter.  I used an 7cm cutter for my ginger ones and got four from the mix (and one for the dog) and a 5cm cutter for the plain cheese ones and got eight (and one for the dog).
  6. Remove the baking tray from the oven, place the scones on to the tray and bake for 10-12 minutes.  If you're baking larger scones, leave them for 14 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before serving with lashings of butter.

*cold hands = warm heart
**at this point, I'd abandoned the soup plan in favour of a day out at the local-ish farm park with Miss A so the scones had been promoted to picnic fodder
***thankfully I didn't wake the husband with the smoke alarm for once

Dodgy ice lolly

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