You might think that women gave up providing morning tea for tradesmen years ago. But ask around and you'll find out that's not entirely true. Just a few months ago, my friend Jill even baked cakes for the council workmen working on the road outside her house, popping out to ask how many men were on duty before she put a plate laden with wedges of freshly baked date and apple cake on top of her letterbox. Another friend hurries home from work each day to be in time to make afternoon tea for the painters. And for the moment I've got a new morning routine. On the days that we are expecting builders, blocklayers, plumbers or electricians - not to mention the architect or engineer - to turn up to do their bit towards constructing a new workshop outside the kitchen window, my first job is to turn on the oven and decide what I'll make for morning tea. It isn't that the tradesmen expect anything - or at least they didn't when the job began. It is more to do with the fact that I rather enjoy having a reason to bake scones, flip pikelets and occasionally bake a cake. Their big smiles are worth waiting for, too.
Scones are my favourite offering, and I always start with the same basic formula, varying the type of flour, liquid and fruit according to what is in the fridge and pantry. One morning when I'd run out of milk, I used water mixed with an egg, which turned out just fine. Here is one of my favourite versions.
|2 cups||Standard flour|
|1 cup||Wholemeal flour (Main)|
|3 Tbsp||Caster sugar|
|6 tsp||Baking powder|
|¾ cup||Currants, dried (Main)|
|1 ½ cups||Milk, buttermilk, or a mixture of milk and yoghurt|
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- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Put the flours, caster sugar and baking powder in a large bowl and use a whisk, fork or fingers to mix thoroughly. If the butter is soft, rub it in with your fingers, if the butter is hard, grate it in with a coarse grater, then rub in. It is okay if flecks of butter are still visible.
- Mix in the currants. Add the liquid, using a blunt knife to mix it in. Tip this soft mixture out onto a well-floured bench and pat out into a long rectangle. Fold this rectangle over into thirds, then pat out again and fold over once again into thirds, dusting with a little flour as needed. Now use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a rectangle about 15mm thick.
- Cut into squares or rectangles and transfer to a baking tray, lined with baking paper or a baking cloth.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until well risen and lightly browned. Makes about 12 large scones.
Tip: You can replace the milk with either butter milk or a mixture of milk and yoghurt