From my kitchen: Lemon and rosemary scones

I know this flavour combination sounds a bit weird for sweet things, but I promise you these scones are divine. And they don’t taste like roast chicken!

I’ve mentioned before that I get incredibly strong lemon cravings, so I’m always looking for new recipes, sweet and savoury, to cook with lemons. Recently, I started seeing recipes for lemon and rosemary cakes on Pinterest which inspired me. The combination of lemon and rosemary is one of my favourites in cooking, so I decided to be brave and try it out in baking too. I think it works extremely well in these scones.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

These are traditional English scones, perfectly crumbly and ideal for a tea party (even if the party is just you, eating scones and drinking tea alone in your kitchen), but they are extra zingy and fragrant. And they are so easy to make!

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

First, heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 6 and line and lightly grease a large baking tray. In a large bowl, rub the flour, 1⁄4 tsp salt and the butter together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Add the caster sugar, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary, and stir with a cutlery knife.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Mix together the buttermilk and milk and add the liquid in a well in the centre of the flour mix. Use your cutlery knife to combine the mixture as a soft dough. Be careful to not over-mix as this might make the scones dense and heavy.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Tip onto a floured work surface and pat the dough out to a 2.5cm thickness. There’s no need to use a rolling pin, just roughly pat it down with your fingers.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Use a 5cm cookie cutter to stamp out the scones. Try to not twist as you cut, as this will stop the scones rising to their full potential. Any scraps of dough can be gently pushed back together to make more scones.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Place the scones on the baking tray and bake for 10 mins until they are nice and golden, then leave to cool.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

While the scones are cooling, mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick but runny icing.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

Add lemon zest and a bit more chopped rosemary to the icing and give it a stir. Drizzle over the scones. Enjoy! The scones are really tasty on their own, but they are even better cut in half with a generous lick of butter on each and a cup of tea to accompany them. Perfection!

Here’s the recipe if you want to print it out. It makes 14 mini scones.

Lemon and rosemary scones @ alittleadventure.net

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From my kitchen: Blackberry and apple crumble

Crumbles are so simple to make, endlessly variable, almost impossible to get wrong, and so satisfying and comforting to eat. I love them! Plus, I take great pleasure in saying “Are you ready to crumble?” in a big booming voice whenever I make one.

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Anyway, the past month I really focused on using up blackberries as we were picking more than we could eat. Apart from freezing some to make jam in a few weeks, I used them in blackberry turnovers prepared in the last minute, the most indulgent blackberry french toast, and this delicious blackberry and apple crumble. It’s a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks: Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights by Sophie Dahl. (More of my thoughts on this cookbook here.)

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Start by coring and slicing a couple of apples. Then simply mix the flour, oats, and butter in a bowl. Using your fingers you crumble things together until the mix begins to look like coarse breadcrumbs. At that point, add in the sugar and mix.

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Place the apples and blackberries in a baking dish, you can be as neat or messy as you like. Dot the fruit with some extra butter and sugar. Cover the fruit with the crumble and bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling up.

Enjoy with some custard. Perfectly comforting!

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So far, I’ve cooked quite a few recipes from this cookbook. If you’d like, have a look at Peasant soup, Buttermilk Chicken with Smashed Sweet Potatoes, and Tawny Granola.

Recipes from the same cookbook coming up: Banana Bread and Aubergine Parmigiana.

From my kitchen: Greek baked eggs

This is a recipe I adapted from a couple of recipes I found in Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis & Taylor Hackbarth. I’ve joined Trish’s Cookbook Challenge which has given me some extra motivation to actually cook stuff from the cookbooks I own. It makes a nice change from finding most of my recipes online.

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Breakfast for dinner is such an awesome concept, isn’t it? I mean, every once in a while, it’s just so comforting to have breakfast at any time of the day. So I really like the concept of this cookbook but most importantly, it has some really great recipes.

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This is what my dinner last night looked like and it was delicious! I decided to use up stuff we had at home and this turned out to be just the thing. I basically combined a recipe for Shakshuka and another one for Greek baked eggs.

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This meal, like most great things in life, starts with heating up some olive oil over medium-high heat and throwing in some finely chopped garlic.

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Once the garlic is golden brown add a tin of diced tomatoes, a little bit of dried chilli flakes, some oregano, and season with salt and pepper. You can also add a splash of balsamic vinegar too. Then, lower the heat so that the sauce is lightly simmering.

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With the sauce happily cooking away, chop some pitted Kalamata olives and some feta. add the olives to the sauce.

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Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and place two ramekins each with a little pat of butter inside on a baking tray on the middle shelf. If you are making this for more people use a larger ceramic pan or a skillet instead of ramekins. After about 10 minutes the sauce should be ready, check the seasoning. Bring the ramekins out and divide the sauce into the ramekins.

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Crack two eggs in each ramekin and put them back in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

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When the eggs are cooked, top the ramekins with the feta and put back in the oven for another minute or two.

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Finally, top with some freshly ground pepper, some chopped parsley and a bit of sea salt.

bookworm_bakedeggs10And that’s all there is to it! This is a very simple meal, easy to make as a meal for one or to feed a crowd. It really is so good! I served it with some lime and pepper tortilla chips (you can find the recipe here) and a nice crispy salad.

Here’s the printable recipe:

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The kitchen garden: The first basil crop of the summer

How are your gardens doing? I’m very pleased with our windowsill plants this year, flowers and herbs are all doing great. In fact, we don’t even seem to have that many snails and slugs, which are my enemies every year.

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Our basil is doing really well and since I’m determined to not let it grow too tall or flower,  I’m aiming for regular harvests. So once each plant had more than six leaves, I chopped the two uppermost leaves. The first crop was a small one, and the leaves are so much smaller than store-bought basil but they are so fragrant and delicious! Even as I was cutting them on the windowsill I could feel the sweet scent rising up.

For the first basil crop we had to make a Caprese salad, which in my opinion is the best way to have basil. It’s fresh and delicious and it really transports me back to Italy. And it’s so simple to make! You simply slice some nice, juicy tomatoes and layer them with a healthy amount of sliced fresh mozzarella. Scatter the whole or roughly chopped basil leaves on top. Sprinkle some sea salt and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top. If you want, you can add some balsamic vinegar too. Ta-da!

bookworm_basil2This Caprese salad was one of the stars in our first al fresco lunch in the garden. We’ve had some really lovely, summery weather lately (I’m ignoring today’s monsoon) and one of my favourite things about the summer is enjoying a nice meal in our beautiful garden. This Caprese salad really tastes like summer and it’s so great that we get to use our own, homegrown basil. I’m very much looking forward to making it many times in the coming months.

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A Cook’s Year in a Welsh Farmhouse by Elisabeth Luard

It’s no secret that I love the english countryside and I also love food memoirs and cookbooks. So when I saw Elisabeth Luard’s A Cook’s Year in a Welsh Farmhouse at the library I knew I had to read it. Ok so it’s set in Wales and not England, but from what I read, the welsh countryside is just as charming.

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I loved this book. It is divided in twelve chapters, one for each month of the year and each chapter starts with an essay followed by seasonal & very locally sourced recipes. The essays are simply beautiful and offer a very enjoyable look at life in a rural area, a glimpse of the everyday activities on a farm, and lovely family moments with Luard’s grandchildren. I was reading this book at night and it was so nice to be transported, even for a few minutes, to the farmhouse. Whether in the winter months when everything seems to be dormant and yet there’s so much to do, or in the beautiful summer months when nature bursts into colour, scent, life, it was charming. All the chapters were beautifully written, in a very simple and personal manner, because this is the author’s home and this is truly a whole year of her life.

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As for the recipes, I was surprised to see how few recipes included meat. This isn’t a bad thing, really, we eat way too much meat, but I thought that living on a farm with sheep shepherds as neighbours would mean meat is on the menu every day. Instead, Luard seems to eat a very simple diet, probably not very different to that of farmers hundreds of years ago when meat was a rare luxury. And she really does stick to local ingredients that are in season, even in the winter months when nature’s offerings are not abundant. I was very impressed. I tried and loved her recipe for an asparagus tian (pictured below), and I also made a note of her recipe for elderflower cordial to be tested next week. There were also many nice looking recipes for jams and preserves, which is why I’ll be borrowing the book from the library again towards the end of the summer.

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All in all, I thought this book was really good. I loved being transported to the welsh countryside and reading about how it changes over the seasons. Most of the recipes were family recipes, or traditional of the area and they all promote living in harmony with nature. Simply lovely.