A Scottish lady whom I don’t know personally but whose blog I do sometimes read, publishes excellent short stories (amongst other things) on her blog, The Deadliness of Leisure. It recently occurred to me that a fair share of her stories involve food. I don’t think that’s necessarily the reason that I like them so much, although I suppose it does maybe help.
My favourite, which I suggest you read (click right here) is about a young Parisienne who is in a relationship with a baker. Of course bakers are nothing but trouble, which you will find out if you read the story (which I do recommend, it’s not very long and it has a very satisfying ending). I was slightly shocked by the turn that this story took, but also surprisingly relieved, if you’ll forgive me the spoiler: I am not the only one, then, who prefers passionate, savoury, almost aggressively odoriferous cooks over wimpy bakers. And cooking over baking, of course.
Cooking, that’s easy. If something goes wrong, you’ll notice straight away and you can quickly fix it. Your sauce is lacking in depth: add herbs. It’s still bland: add salt. Added too much salt: add more sauce. You can taste and adjust ad infinitum whatever you’re making. Plus, the behaviour of the ingredients is easy to predict. When I’m cooking, I hardly ever mess something up beyond repair.
Baking, that’s different. If you mess up even the littlest thing in the beginning, it will only get worse once you shove it in the oven. And you can’t even open the oven to check what your muffins are up to, because apparently ‘they don’t like to be disturbed’. Stick a knife in to check if they’re baked all the way through; accidentally poke a melted chocolate chip, interpret the chocolate as soft dough, bake them too long. Poke the smallest muffin a little off centre: discover that the bigger ones are still soft on the inside, but only once you’ve already let them cool.
Thankfully, the Swedish, bless their merciful hearts, have invented something for baking failures like me. They’re called scones (even in Swedish, yes) and they’re so easy to make that they really, honestly, cannot go wrong, and they’re so quick to make that it wouldn’t even be such a heart breaking loss if they did go wrong. My wonderful new Swedish friend gave me the recipe. Thanks a lot for that, Liz, you have brightened up my grey, cold, Scottish Sunday mornings with your delightful Swedish breakfast scones.
Here we go. For two:
- 250 gr flour
- 50 gr butter (soft, but not melted)
- 150 ml milk
- 2 tbsp baking powder
If you’re using self-raising flour, like I did, leave out the baking powder.
Put the flour in a bowl, mix in the baking powder and a generous pinch of salt, maybe more like several pinches, or a teaspoonful or something.
Chop the butter (which you should take out of the fridge a while before you use it, so it becomes soft) into pieces, then mix with the flour. Knead it a little with your hands. Then add the milk, and use a spoon (or something) to mix it all up, but don’t mix it too much, it should be a fairly lumpy mixture.
Now you should be able to take it out of the bowl, shape it into a ball and knead it a little. Make two balls out of the dough and put them on a sheet of baking paper on an oven tray.
Flatten them out, use a fork to stab them a few times, then use a knife to divide the cakes into fours, but don’t cut all the way through them.
Stick them in a preheated oven, about 15 minutes on 220 degrees. Serve fresh and warm with butter, jam, cheese or anything, and a cup of coffee.