It’s June. That officially means summer has begun. It’s well and truly underway. Or it should be, at least. As my adventures in outdoor BBQs show, just because it’s supposed to be summer doesn’t mean it always is.
At the moment, in London at least, we appear to be alternating between hot, sunny days and utter misery. Usually this is one day of sun and one day of rain, but there have been a few days where I’ve come to work in a light jacket and ended up soaked to my very skin when I come home. It’s fine. It’s Britain. We’re used to it.
I’m definitely in the mood for summer food, though. I’ve been enjoying ice-cream and burgers and delicious fresh British berries for the past few weeks – if anyone can tell me why British strawberries taste SO much better than any other strawberries, I’d appreciate it – and I was asked to be part of Waitrose’s new #tasteofsummer campaign, which has had me planning even more delicious summer food.
Basically, this campaign is about all the best flavours and foods of summer. They want people to share their favourite summer foods in the hope that this will inspire people to go out and cook them.
Will this recipe inspire people to go out and cook it? I hope so, because I’m very pleased with it.
Basically, the first thing I think of when I think of summer food is scones and jam. I adore scones but I only seem to eat them when the weather is warm, probably because I think they’re best enjoyed spread out on a picnic blanket with the sun on your face and your freckles coming through. Recently I went for afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel and they served white chocolate scones, so when it came to writing up my recipe for this campaign I decided to experiment a bit. I’m glad I did. It paid off.
Scones are a staple, and this scone recipe is very easy to follow. If you don’t want white chocolate scones, you can swop the chocolate drops for fruit or even leave them out entirely. It’s your jam, guys. I’m just the jukebox.
Start by sifting together plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Then add some very cold butter and rub together until you get what looks like fine, golden breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar and chocolate chips.
Add lemon and vanilla to milk and leave for a few minutes until it looks, for want of a better word, lumpy.
Grim, right? Don’t worry. It makes DELICIOUS SCONES. Then pour into the flour and mix with a butterknife to get a very wet dough.
Flour your worksurface well and turn out the dough. Fold it over onto itself a few times until smooth, but don’t overwork. Then pat together into a dough with well-floured hands, and cut out rounds. Try not to twist the cutter too much, and don’t forget that you can dip it in flour if it’s sticking.
Pop on a baking parchment, brush with egg, and bake.
Leave to cool a little – but not too much, because warm scones are one of life’s genuine pleasures – and serve with jam /or cream.
I just went for a splodge of raspberry jam on these, no cream, because I didn’t want the cream to overpower the white chocolate chips. Feel free to add cream too, though. I’m never going to tell you to not put cream on things. Cream is the best.
- 400g of plain flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarb of soda
- 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
- 100g of very cold unsalted butter
- 60g of caster sugar
- 150g of white chocolate chips
- 225ml of milk
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 220C and line a large baking tray with parchment. Put this tray in the oven to heat up
- Heat the milk in the microwave until warm. Then add the lemon juice and the vanilla. Stir lightly and set aside
- Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together. Sift together into a large bowl
- Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour a bit at a time, tossing the butter to coat it in the flour. Then rub in until it looks like breadcrumbs
- Add the white chocolate and the sugar, mixing through evenly
- Beat the egg and add two tablespoons to the milk. Pour the milk over the dry ingredients and stir through with a butter knife until you get a wet dough. Be careful not to overmix
- Flour your work surface and your hands. Turn out the dough, sprinkle over more flour, then fold the dough over itself two or three times
- Pat the dough into a round that's about 3cm thick, and cut out rounds using a 4-6cm cookie cutter. Don't twist the cookie cutter when cutting out, and dip in flour between cuts. Press the dough together to cut out more scones
- Put onto the hot baking tray and brush the tops of the scones with egg. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the scones are golden and risen
- Leave to cool on a wire rack, then serve
- You can swop the white chocolate chips for dried fruit, or omit them entirely