Here is where I confess to a passionate and abiding love. Oh, this love of mine is so sincere and heartfelt and long-lasting. Me and scones, man. It’s deep. We go way back: I can’t even remember eating scones when I was little, but I must’ve done, because how else would I have grown up thinking that scones and cream and jam were the most heaven-blessed combination on this green earth? It’s not a coincidence that I married a man famed within his family for being the scones-maker. I knew I was on to a good thing.

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to cakery-bake them, but today I had a lovely friend coming for lunch, and it just seemed like a really good idea. Once I’ve conquered them, I thought, I can make them all the time just for me. Brilliant. There are scones recipes everywhere, of course, but I used the one in my new BBC Good Food Teatime Treats book (quite a lot of my Christmas presents were food-related, now I think of it). I was excited to find that the ingredients were the sort you might feasibly have in your cupboard anyway, though I still had to make a supermarket run as it’s been a while since I used self-raising flour.

(PS – while we’re on the subject: Tesco, WHY have you stopped selling caster sugar? Does it offend you? This is the second time I’ve gone looking and haven’t found any at all, and it’s not on. In case you were wondering, readers, you can use granulated sugar without it making too much difference, but it’s the principle of the thing.)

Initially I was dismayed to find that I had to begin by rubbing butter into flour – it makes my hands cramp – but the sun was shining into my little kitchen, and is there anything better than making scones in a quiet, sunlit house on a leisurely Saturday morning? The whole process from beginning to end was delightful, from pouring warm milk and vanilla into a well made of flour and butter, to combining the beautifully sticky dough with a cutlery knife (why? The randomness of this pleases me) to getting out my pastry cutters with great excitement and cutting out the little rounds.

The recipe said to pat the dough flat until it was 4cm deep, then cut out the scone shapes. I did a couple, and they seemed far too large – and, sure enough, after a spell in the oven they turned into leaning monster scones – so I rolled the remaining dough to about half that depth, and they were much better.

For some reason they needed 15-20 minutes in the oven instead of the recommended 10 (I think I let too much heat out of the oven at the beginning) but soon they were done and ready to eat. It’s an excellent recipe, this one: they are fluffy and soft without being too light and cake-like. They’re much better warm than cold, but if you can’t eat them immediately they heat up well in the oven or even in the microwave. And once you run out of cream, as we did after the first sitting, butter and jam or even cheese are magnificent accompaniments.

Cue Hallelujah Chorus.


I couldn't resist eating a bit, sorry.

Deliciousness: This is about as good as it gets at teatime, I think. I haven’t been this happy after a meal since we accidentally made the World’s Largest Toad-in-the-Hole last week.

Complexity: Nothing difficult. They weren’t quite the photo-friendly, golden little rounds you see in recipe books – a bit too craggy and uneven – but taste-wise, they couldn’t be faulted.

Washing-up pile: Seven items. Pretty good.

Casualties: Twin oven burns on both of my hands when I tried to lift a Yorkshire pudding tin out of the way. Serves me right for keeping three Yorkshire pudding tins in the bottom of the oven (I like to be prepared for Yorkshire-pudding-related emergencies).