Pumpkin, Cheese and Rosemary Scones

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Soup Broth Bread by Rachel Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Makes : 9

Deliciously savoury and gorgeously light in texture, these scones are great served with a hearty bowl of soup. You can use any squash instead of pumpkin and, if you fancy, add lardons of crispy bacon or diced chorizo to the mix.

Ingredients :

175g peeled and deseeded pumpkin (weight when peeled and deseeded)
1 tbsp olive oil
200g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
50g finely grated cheese (Cheddar or a hard cheese such as Parmesan)
1 egg
100ml milk, plus 1 tbsp extra for brushing over the top

Method :

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC, 180oC fan, gas mark 6. Cut the pumpkin into 1-2 cm chunks and place on a roasting tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until tender. tip the pumpkin into a bowl (leaving the oven on) and mash very well with a fork, or blend in a food processor, then allow to cool. If using canned pumpkin puree, you’ll need 125g.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and cayenne pepper into a bowl and add the rosemary, salt and all but 2 tbsp of the grated cheese, reserving the remaining cheese for scattering over the scones before they go into the oven.
  3. Whisk the egg and mix with the pumpkin puree and milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients add the wet ingredients then, with your hand in a claw shape, mix the two, making sure you don’t knead but simply mix until it comes together.
  4. Tip the mixture out on to a floured surface the tidy the sides, working it into a rough square and patting the dough out to 2 cm thick. Brush a little milk over the top and scatter with the remaining cheese, then cut the dough into 3 x 3 portions to make 9 scones.
  5. Place the scones on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. They should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack.

Basics : Home-made Mayonnaise

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living (2011).

No shop-bought mayonnaise compares with a home-made version.  Versions to whisk this by hand and blender are given below.

MayonnaiseMakes about 300ml (about 9 1/2 fl oz)

Prep time :  15 mins.  No cooking

Ingredients :
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tblsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
50ml (1 1/2 fl oz) olive oil
200ml (6 1/2 fl oz) vegetable oil
Salt and ground black pepper

To mix by hand :

Step One : Place the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl and whisk (using a balloon whisk or electric hand-held whisk) until frothy and combined.

Step Two : Combine the olive oil and vegetable oil in a jug.  Pour it very slowly, drop by drop, into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  As the mixture thickens, start adding the oil in a steady stream.  Continue until all the oil has been incorporated and the mixture is thick.

Step Three : Season with salt and black pepper.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Will keep for about seven days.

To make in a blender :

Step One : To make in a blender, replace one of the egg yolks with a whole egg.  Place the whole egg and egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a blender.  Blend for a few seconds to combine.

Step Two : With the blender on low, pour combined oils in a very thin stream into the egg mixture.  If the lid has a small removable hole, pour the oil through this.  If not, keep the lid on and lift its corner to add the oil.

Step Three :  As the mixture thickens, start adding the oil in a steady stream.  You may have to stop and start the blender to stir down the mayonnaise as it thickens.  With the machine running, continue to pour the oil.  Stop pouring when the oil is incorporated and the mayonnaise is thick and glossy.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Add more lemon juice if required.

Ideas to try:

  • Mayonnaise can be easily flavoured.  Chopped, fresh herbs like basil, tarragon, parsley or chives are tasty additions, as are crushed garlic cloves, chopped anchovies, capers or chilli.
  • To make tartare sauce (perfect with fish), stir in 1 tblsp each of capers and chopped gherkins, plus 2 tblsp of chopped parsley and 1 tblsp chopped tarragon (optional but good) to 200ml (6 1/2 fl oz) mayonnaise.  Season to taste.

Tips:

  • Stand the mixing bowl on a folded, damp tea towel while you’re making mayonnaise.  This prevents the bowl from moving as you whisk.
  • Use a tasteless vegetable oil like sunflower or groundnut oil with just a small amount of olive oil added.  By blending a peppery olive oil with a blander vegetable oil you get a lovely rounded flavour.
  • The mixture may separate if oil has been added too quickly.  To remedy this, simply whisk up another egg yolk and gradually whisk it through the separated mixture in small amounts.