A short introduction
I’m back! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long, but the Summer got a little bit crazy! I had lots of fun in Italy in the Dolomiti mountains, which I’ll be writing about in the coming weeks, but for now, I wanted to start off the “beginning of the year” (I work on the school year since that’s where my kids are) with something very special: a guest post written by a fellow ex-pat Kiwi and internet friend, Emma. Emma writes a fabulous blog called Adventures of a London Kiwi in which she shares her travel and day-to-day life experiences while living in London. Don’t just read this post by her: go check out her blog!
Emma very kindly agreed to write a piece on her mother’s delicious date scones for my blog. I had forgotten all about these delicious baked goods until I saw her post on them. I loved date scones when I was a kid. In New Zealand they often appear on the table and you can also find them in cafes all over the place. I have to make them myself soon…..though I’m hoping that Emma will come and visit me one of these days, and make them for me!
So, without further ado (drumroll please…..!!), I pass you to Emma!
Emma’s Date Scones
Growing up on a small farm in a tiny town, buried deep in the centre of New Zealand, we never had much in a material sense as kids. Entertainment usually consisted of running amok in the nearby paddocks, usually with our easy-going cat held hostage, endless re-runs of our favourite movies (this was by choice – anything new was treated with indifference) and clothes for my younger siblings were usually well loved hand-me-downs.
What we were lucky enough to have is a sense of adventure, love, endless attention and a mother who could cook like an angel. She wasn’t perfect in many ways – though who is? – but anything that came out of our oven & fridge was mysteriously packed with enticing flavour in a way that I’ve never quite been able to capture. Was it the years of experience, hundreds of small sheets of scribbled paper recipes or just a gift for seasoning?
One of my earliest memories is sitting in our country kitchen (not an idealised Martha Stewart one, but one where gumboots and overalls hung near back of the door) staring at our oven, willing her latest batch of date scones to rise really quickly so we could tumble them out, burn our fingers and smother them in butter.
Living in London 25 years on, almost 20,000 miles from that kitchen, I still get that feeling each time I slide a batch of date scones into the oven, or spot them in our favourite Kiwi Cafes in the bustling centre of the city. I have managed to glean her recipe for these delicious scones – one of the few she has peeled away from that handwritten cooking book. I’m sure she just keeps the rest to make sure we travel home as often as possible…
I have a suspicion that Lisa – so kind to let me guest post here! – has a collection of recipes just like my mum’s, but you’re lucky enough that instead of making you visit her kitchen table – has published them right here on her blog. Come to think of it though, a trip to Lisa’s sounds utterly delicious!
The best way to make date scones starts the night before. If you’re in a hurry this isn’t an essential step, but to make The Best date scones, it’s a good idea. *Roughly chop the dates, put in a small container, add enough boiling water to cover, pop somewhere safe and dream of date scones in the morning. If you do this step, the next day switch out half a cup of the milk in the recipe for half a cup of the date water.
You’ll also need to make sure you have a 250ml cup measure/mug – that’s how we roll in the Antipodes. None of this ‘weighing’ malarkey, well, not much anyway.
And a short P.S. from Lisa: don’t forget to go to Emma’s blog Adventures of a London Kiwi to read more from her!
- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- 3 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tbsp White Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 75 g Butter 2.7oz, 1/3 cup
- 1 1/2 cups Dates
- 1 cup plus a little for glazing Milk
- Preheat oven to 220°C (400ºF) & dust an oven tray with extra flour.
- Sift flour & baking powder into a bowl, then add the sugar & salt.
- Cut butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.
- Add milk (and/or date water) and dates, mixing lightly until the mixture comes together kneading a few times.
- Press the scone dough lightly out, and score into 12 even-sized pieces at least 2cm apart (that’s about an inch for you imperialists).
- Brush with the extra milk, and cook for around 10 minutes or until golden.
- Scoff once vaguely cooler.