The busy Professional Countrywoman has a repertoire of recipes up her sleeve to feed hungry families, extra guests, a muster of musterers or a shed load of shearers. New Zealand is blessed with some fantastic kitchen whizzes such as Annabel Langbein, Nadia Lim and so on, so no way am I going to compete with them. However, I am a good country cook and there are a few recipes that are classics which I will be putting up in this space. My aim this year is to actually make some of those recipes in those beautiful books rather than just looking at them from time to time. I am not saying that I am going to do a Julie/Julia thing and try a new recipe every day but I think I will aim for one a week. (maybe.)
The honour of the first recipe on this page is going to the humble scone. I remember when I made my first batch of scones. My mother – a mother of seven- is still a fabulous cook and was pretty clever at being a resourceful meal maker. (She also worked as a Pharmacist and diversified into being a travel agent so I guess was a good role model for the Professional Countrywoman). So while she was busy making this new fangled thing called a “pizza pie” I was charged with making the scones for Saturday lunch. I had seen her knead bread dough so I started doing the same thing before she caught me and told me that overworking the scone dough would make it tough. Well those scones were pretty good and she pronounced those prophetic words over me – “you are going to be a cook!” and I am.
Preheat oven to 220c
Sift together 3 cups flour with 5 heaped tsps of baking powder
Put into large bowl and add 2 dessert spoons of sugar (optional)
Grate in about 50 grams of cold butter. (this is easier than rubbing in butter)
Mix with enough milk to make a soft dough. Probably about a cup and a half. You want the dough to be soft but not too sticky. Careful not to over mix or they will be too tough.
Put onto a floured board, shape into a rectangle, cut into squares and put onto oven tray.
Cook in hot oven until cooked – about 10 or 12 minutes.
To make date scones – soak a cup of dried dates in boiling water for a few minutes. Roll out dough, place dates on half then fold over and pat down. Continue as above.