Vegetable Cheese SconesPosted: June 25, 2014
This week it’s more a variation on a theme, rather than a completely new recipe.
Deliciously savoury cheese scones, fortified by the inclusion of some fresh vegetables in the middle – ideal for lunchboxes, picnics, to accompany soup or salad, or even as a mid-morning or afternoon snack.
I thought they looked especially pretty with a single piece of veg inside. Other suitable contenders might be small, vine-ripened tomatoes (peel them and place with the stalk to the side in order to look prettiest when cut) and whole, caramelised shallots.
Of course, you could just as easily cut the vegetables into dice the same size as the cheese, but I quite like the surprise element of the scones appearing to be plain, albeit of a rather generous size.
The recipe I have used as a starting point is the one for Mrs McNab’s scones from my book. As an unsweetened recipe, it is perfect as a blank canvas which can be tweaked to your own needs. Here are a few tips I followed when tweaking:
- Choose your cheese and vegetables according to your personal preference. I used cheddar for the scones with cauliflower and mushroom, although it doesn’t show up much. A more striking alternative might be Double Gloucester or an aged Red Leicester. White feta/goats cheese goes well with both the broccoli and the beetroot. Alternatively, a pale and crumbly Cheshire or Caerphilly cheese or even a blue cheese would also be suitable.
- Cut cheese into 1cm cubes. Grated cheese tends to blend into the scone mix and get rather lost. One of the first batches I made of these scones had 100g grated Parmesan in and you could barely make out any cheese flavour at all. The cubed cheese gives a great hit of cheesiness because it is nestled in the plain scone mix, which gives it a great contrast.
- Whenever you have cooked cheese in a recipe, add a little mustard powder. It won’t be detectable, but it will give a great boost to the flavour of the cheese.
- Make sure the vegetables are partly cooked. The cooking time for scones is so short, the heat won’t penetrate enough to cook them, merely warm them through. I roasted the cauliflower for a bit of extra flavour and blanched the broccoli for 5 minutes. The mushrooms were poached in stock for 30 minutes and the beetroot I bought ready cooked.
- Add some pepper to the scone mix.
- Bake the scones in deep muffin tins to give them a good shape.
Vegetable Cheese Scones
Makes 12 large scones. You can make more if you reduce the size of the scones and use small vegetables.
450g plain flour
60g unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
½tsp black pepper
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
2 tsp cream of tartar 
1 tsp mustard powder
1 large egg
150-200g cheese – cut into 1cm cubes
150ml plain yoghurt
150ml milk, plus extra to glaze
Assorted cooked vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan.
- Grease a 12-hole muffin tin.
- Put the flour, butter, salt, pepper, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, mustard and the egg into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Tip the mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the cubed cheese.
- Mix the yoghurt and 150ml milk together thoroughly.
- Gradually stir into the flour and egg mixture with a knife. The dough will be very soft and rather wet. This is fine.
- Put a heaped tablespoon into the bottom of each cup of the muffin tin.
- Press the vegetable you are using gently into the scone mix.
- Spoon more scone mix over the top until the vegetable is completely covered.
- Smooth the tops and brush with milk to glaze.
- Bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. Turn the baking sheet around 180° after 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Cool on a wire rack.
 Or use 4tsp baking powder.