Every so often I forget to make bread, and for some reason since we got back from our holiday in September this happens more and more. I think because I got out of the routine, and it stopped being second nature to spend the first part of the morning kneading, resting, proving and baking.
Being out of the habit wouldn't be too bad if I had an emergency batch in the freezer, or a good local bakery. But as it happens we have neither, and many months ago I made some crazy resolution that all the bread in the house - with a few exceptions - would be made by me. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and in the months that followed. Now suddenly finding myself without fresh bread and with a growling stomach I begin to curse my self-righteousness and wish for that sneaky loaf of supermarket stuff stashed in the freezer. I know it won't be anything like as nice, but at least it would be there.
However, it's not and so I must come up with another solution. Often I turn to soda bread as my saviour. I have a great recipe, quick, easy and so versatile that so far everything from figs and oranges, to seeds and nuts have made their way in without mishap.
Thing is, I don't always want soda bread, and then we're in trouble.
Not any more. A few weeks ago I made cheese scones. I had just spoken to my Mum and heard about hers and couldn't resist, especially as we had cheese in the fridge and chutney in the cupboard to try. It went down very well indeed. So this week I decided to branch out again. This time I made a plain scone recipe and added two tablespoons of grain mustard. The result was a scone with a nice texture, and just a hint of mustard. They were a great accompaniment to the cranberry chutney I made at the weekend (I know you're supposed to let it mature, but sometimes we can't wait!) and the strong cheese from the farmer's market.
In fact, I am about to make them again, as once more I failed to make bread yesterday and I know that in a few hours my stomach will be growling. I think the only adjustment I will make this time round is to add more mustard. The subtle flavour from last time was good, and the slight crunch of the grains nice, but I want something with a bit more bite.
So, I'm off to make these....why don't you. I reckon a bit of cham could go with them very well!
Mustard Scones - Makes 8-12 (depending on how thick you roll the dough and how large a cutter you use).
225g self-raising flour
50g butter (I used half salted, half plain and ommittted the salt)
pinch of salt
2 tbsp grain mustard (or more for a stronger flavour)
enough milk to make up into a rollable dough.
Heat the oven to 220C and grease a baking tray. Rub the butter into the flour and add a pinch of salt. Then rub in the mustard. When this is combined start adding milk about a teaspoon at a time until you get a stiff dough. Roll out and cut into rounds. Place on the baking tray and bake for 10 mins, or until lightly golden and springy at the press of a finger.
NB: I adapted this recipe from the Be-Ro Flour recipe book. My Mum used to use this book (more of a pamphlet really, as it's just 86 slim pages) all the time when I was a kid, and I had such fond memories of it (okay, mostly of the chocolate chip cookies in it) that when I went off to university my Mum tracked down a copy for me. Talk about best Mum ever. It's a great go-to book for pretty much any basic recipe that uses flour, and according to my front cover it's in it's 40th edition - and this was a good few years ago now. Believe me, it's worth buying a copy if you see it, if only for the cookie recipe!