Keeping it simple

How often do we hear the words, “keep it simple”? In all walks of life, but frequently when it comes to food.

So, it is with amusement I see the back lash Nigella Lawson is receiving for sharing one of her favourite breakfast ideas – squished avocado on toast with radish, chilli and a few other bits and pieces. Upfront Nigella says it’s not a recipe, more one of her favourite things for healthy eating. And it’s not as if the entire show is focussed on her toast (as an aside, I quite liked her combo – which I wouldn’t have seen if it wasn’t for the outcry, as I don’t usually watch her shows).

I’m no big Nigella cheer leader, but she’s getting a rough time for doing nothing more than other telly cooks do every week. The same criticism could be leveled at loads of “recipes” or tips. My message to the haters is switch off – or get in there and do it yourself.

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In support of simplicity, I’m going to share one of my favourite scone recipes. Scones feature on almost every New Zealand cooking show and social media doesn’t go crazy about Annabel et al teaching us to suck eggs by making something so breathtakingly simple.

What I love about this recipe is that there is no rubbing in of butter – it’s all about the cheese. The other thing it uses is buttermilk – or, you can just add lemon juice to milk. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a lemon at hand – milk is fine on its own – the acidity in the lemon just makes for a fluffier result.

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What you’ll need

250ml milk

2T lemon juice

300g plain flour

4 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

150g grated cheese

Optional: pinch of chilli or cayenne or a tablespoon of mustard

How to make them

Pour the milk into a measuring jug and add the lemon juice. Set aside for 10-20 minutes to let it curdle a little.

Turn oven to 220C and prepare an oven tray with baking paper.

20150823_114559Sift the dry ingredients together. Add in 100g of the cheese and mix, then make a well in the centre. Pour the milk/lemon juice into the well (if you are using mustard, you can add that here now) and use a knife to bring the mixture together – taking care not to over mix (you may need a little more milk). The mixture should be wet-ish without being sticky.

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Pour mixture onto a lightly floured bench and bring dough together into a rectangle shape about 3-4cm high. You don’t want to knead the mixture. The less handling, the more fluffy your scones.

Cut scones evenly to your desired size and pop onto the oven tray, leaving 3-4 cm between each.

Sprinkle the tops of the scones with the remaining cheese (and more if you like) and put into the hot oven.

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Bake for around 10 minutes until golden. I always then remove my scones from the tray and put them in a dish or on to a plate and cover with  a tea towel to keep the steam in and make them nice and fluffy.

These are my go to for a quick week day lunch or a “take a plate” morning tea. I’m sure they’ll quickly become yours!

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