Thursday 1 March 2018

Snow Day Cheese Scones

Having grown up in the American Midwest, I became accustomed to experiencing seasons. Summer was hot, spring flowery and changeable, autumn crisp, winter cold and snowy. You had separate wardrobes for each time of year, and both central heating and cool air conditioning were standard in most nearby houses.

So when I emigrated to Scotland, the biggest shock was that while the amount of daylight you get varies dramatically through the year, the weather barely changes. There is no summer wardrobe, nor are snow boots required.

Well, normally that is.

But if there is one thing that Napoleon and Hitler taught us, is was never to underestimate Russia. They have attacked our political processes, and now they have sent us their snow. Edinburgh is roughly the same latitude as Moscow, but normally we are spared harsh winters due to warm gulf weather swirling up to protect us. Don't ask me to explain it further, please.

But this year we are being invaded the "Beast from the East" which has given Scotland our first ever RED WARNING from the Met office, warning us that we may DIE if we choose to travel.

Banished from the schools, the kids now have their first ever snow days. Plural. Yesterday I had to go in and left my husband to man the fort, as I had to go into work with the other managers who commute by foot so that we all could learn about risk awareness. Oh the irony.

But today, the schools are off again so I must stay home with the children to ensure their well-being. The reality may be somewhat more like this.

So as I try and attack my work emails without access to the one bit of software that I really need, while also playing Carcasonne with the littles (the eldest is NOT taking his loss very well) I also am coping by consuming these:

Our new office building has a cafe at ground level that sells cheese scones much prettier than mine, so if I just close my eyes, and block out the sound of the kids, I can pretend I am in the 16th century constructed surroundings of my calm, quiet workplace, just getting on with my regular, non-snow-day, paid employment.


Wait, what's that noise?

Well, they are cute. And for some reason they want to be around me, poor things. I shall keep calm and carry on.

And the snow keeps falling.
Yes, I know this is a pathetically small amount of snow that has caused us to shut down. I DID live in Minnesota for 4 years, you know.

Snow Day Cheese Scones 
450g plain flour (or if using self-raising flour omit the baking powder)
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp English mustard powder (optional)
100g cold butter
250g strong hard cheese like mature red leicester or cheddar
2 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional)
120ml cold milk
120ml cold water
1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk
Heat the oven to 220C. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and mustard powder into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth and well combined.
Grate in the butter, then rub it in with your fingertips until it looks like wet sand.
Finely grate in 225g cheese, add the chives, and then stir to combine. Mix in the milk and water until the dough just comes away from the edge of the bowl; don’t handle it any more than is necessary. Tip on to a very lightly floured surface and flatten into a rectangle about 2.5cm high. Cut out with a fluted cutter (about 6cm wide for 12 scones), reshaping as necessary while handling the dough as little as possible.
Put on a baking tray and brush the egg and milk mixture. Grate the remaining cheese over the top and bake for about 12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly on a rack before splitting open.

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