I stayed in a hotel for a couple of nights last week. If I have to be away from home – and if I have to be in Johannesburg – this particular hotel would always be my pick. It is very central in this gigantic (and getting bigger every second), very modern, L.A. like city. The Hyde Park has great beds, an excellent restaurant, is attached to a shopping centre and the breakfast is included in the rate. I am not much of a breakfast eater (usually peanut butter toast and a coffee) – but their array of fresh fruit, juices, different honeys and granolas etc is perfectly pitched to suit my tastes. Plus they will go around the back into the Italian restaurant and make me the perfect Americano, so I don’t have to drink the filter coffee that does for the rest of the patrons.
The one thing they don’t have are scones. Which are my go-to morning carb fix when I am not at home. Apparently there is not a huge call for scones in the morning, especially not for the kind I like: the less buttery, not sweet kind. “But”, said the manager, “if you want to bring some in – we would be happy to warm them up for you”.
I wouldn’t do that – would be rude considering all the other lovely things on offer. Instead, what I did do was bake up a batch first thing the next morning at home. Takes literally 10 minutes, and they never let me down. (Carla – this one is for us, they really are that easy to make). I think they would work with regular flour too – if anyone tries them out, please let me know.
I ate them on the sofa as the Cape rain poured down outside, paired with a tickle of leftover ‘dead easy strawberry jam’ (find the recipe here*)’, a cup of coffee and my beloved hound. It was a delicious homecoming.
The Perfect Wholewheat Scone
200g/7oz Wholemeal Flour
2 teaspoons/10g Doves Farm Baking Powder
1 tablespoon/15g Brown Sugar
50 g/2oz Butter
150 ml/5oz Milk
Preheat your oven to 230C/400F
1. Mix the flour, baking powder & sugar in a large bowl.
2. Mix the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Don’t be bothered to get it too fine.
3. Add the milk and bring together into a ball of soft dough.
4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll or press gently until 3cm/1″ thick.
5. Press round pastry cutters or an upturned coffee cup onto the dough to make dough circles. I make a simple round and then cut it into 8 triangles.
6. Place the scones on a floured/sprayed baking tray. Paint them gently with an egg wash to help them cook up with a golden tan (don’t let the egg wash run over the sides or it will stop them rising).
7. Bake in the hottest part of your oven for 15/18 minutes. We have a fan assisted oven and 15 did perfectly for me.
I freeze whatever I don’t eat, and then warm them up in the oven or my toaster whenever I need a little scone fix.
*A note on the jam. I slice each strawberry into a four thickish parallel slices – through the body of the fruit. Then, while I am cooking the jam, I squish only half of them, so that the jam has a chunky texture. I also add very little sugar, because I don’t like my jam too sweet, and usually a squeeze of orange or lemon juice. When I made the version pictured here, I added the juice of a minneola and the jam was a bit runny. So I just decanted off some of the liquid and put it in a small jar to use as a simple syrup. It will appear in a cocktail on these pages at some point. I’m thinking a sparkling summer sangria perhaps. The jam, which I guess is more of a preserve, works perfectly on top of porridge and cereal too.