Thursday, January 1, 2015

On The Band Wagon

Happy New Year friends, readers and fellow bloggers! 

"Not another foodie blog", I hear you cry.  Yes, another foodie blog and, whilst I cannot promise that this one will be any different to anything else you have already encountered in Blog Land, I am hoping that you will read, enjoy, learn and share in all things gastronomique.

Apart from the fact that there are already many food blogs out there, I couldn't think of a good enough reason not to finally put my thoughts into written sentences. Even if nobody else reads them, I am hopeful that these blogs will be a source of foodie inspiration and a good way of organising my thoughts, my pantry and my life throughout 2015. 

Most of my early adult life in Dublin was spent enjoying the coffee culture of the big city and, after moving in with my other half, Ronan, appreciating the artisan markets and local produce in the fishing village of Howth, North County Dublin. You can imagine then the level of adjustment required for life in Blenheim, New Zealand from 2011 where McDonalds is one of the few options for dining out on a Monday night in a sleepy town. Life in Blenheim has, in all fairness, been good to us and has perhaps affirmed our passion for good produce, locally sourced ingredients and soul fulfilling food. I should mention here that Ronan (having worked in fine dining restaurants as a waiter since the age of 16) is very much the Head Chef in our household and has taught me many tips and tricks of the trade. 

April 2014 presented Ronan with a new scientific adventure in Nelson, New Zealand and I now commute 90 minutes each way between Nelson and Blenheim where I work. Nelson is a refreshing change from sleepy Blenheim with a huge artisan market every Saturday and lots of great places for coffee and good food which I enjoy with friends.

My foodie start to 2015 came by way of a simple delight from our local cafe bar - The River Kitchen. 

Located along the banks of the Maitai River just on the edge of town, this local eatery is a little foodie gem.  Our favourite coffee time treat are their scones - either sweet or savoury. 

With Ronan feeling ill with a gastro bug on New Years Day, I decided that I would go for a walk in the glorious sunshine and get a takeaway treat for morning tea. That treat came in the  shape of a perfectly formed and delightfully fluffy cheese scone. 

It is not until recently that I have embraced the idea of a savory treat for breakfast or morning tea. Scones have always been made for jam and cream (or cream and jam depending on where you are from!) and not cheese or bacon or both.  That said, I am certainly glad I have succumbed to the cheesy goodness. The River Kitchen scones in particular are probably my favourites but I am of course open to being persuaded otherwise. 

Now here's the part where I make my contribution to you for taking time out to read this. I thought I would share my own recipe for cheese scones which has been tried and tested. They are simple and time co-operative and are great for picnics, gatherings or lazy morning tv watching. 

Onawe Cheese Scones Recipe 

You will need:
225g of flour 
1 tbsp of baking soda 
60g of butter (plus extra for greasing) 
150ml of milk 
1 cup of grated cheese (I use the Onawe cheddar by Barrys Bay cheese company) 
1/2 tsp of paprika


1. Heat the oven to 220c. Lightly grease a baking sheet with some butter or use parchment paper. 

2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and paprika and carefully rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Stir in the cheese and then gradually add the milk to get a soft dough. Different flours will absorb liquid at different rates so it may be you need just a bit less milk or just a bit more to get a soft but not sticky dough. Try warming the milk before adding to get the raising agent working.

4. Turn the dough out on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. If you overwork the dough, the scones will be heavy instead of light and fluffy. Pat out to a round about 2cm thick. Use a cutter to stamp out rounds and place on the baking sheet. If you flour the cutter it will stop the dough from sticking and will make the rounds easier to get out. Don't twist the cutter as this will seal the scones which means they won't rise. 

5. Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk. Be careful to only brush the tops - if you brush the sides with milk the scones will seal and won't rise. 

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy! 

I have just taken some chicken breasts out of the freezer for tonight's dinner now that Ronan is feeling better, so the next task is to think about what to create tonight. First though, some yoga sequences in the sun. 

Hope you all have a good day/night depending on where you are reading from. Thanks for stopping by and let me know how you get on with your scone making. 

Big hugs, 


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