I’ve been planting up some pots with herbs – they look good and I can keep them near the back door for easy picking when the weather is wet, which is most of the time here right now. Some herbs are in small pots with space for just one plant, others have a mixture of herbs that like to grow in the same sort of conditions.
Most culinary herbs want a soil that doesn’t get too wet, so plenty of crocks in the bottom of the pot first. Then I made up a mixture of multipurpose compost and John Innes no. 2 to get the soil just right, and added a bit of sharp sand for herbs like thyme and rosemary which like really good drainage. When the planting was done, I gave the pots a good watering and found them a sunny, sheltered spot right next to the door. Now I just have to let them get established before I start picking fresh leaves for the kitchen.
And after planting potfuls of fragrant herbs I was ready to do some cooking, so I raided the garden for a handful of leaves and made a batch of cheese and herb scones. You can create your own herb mix for these scones based on what you have growing in the garden and like the flavour of – I used parsley, chives and sage. The savoury scones are great eaten warm from the oven with some good salted butter.
Cheese and Herb Scones
200g self raising flour
a pinch of sea salt
50g unsalted butter
a handful of finely chopped fresh herb leaves
75g grated Cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp Dijon mustard
about 5 or 6 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 230oC, Gas 8.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt then dice the butter and add it to the flour. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until you get a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the chopped herbs and grated cheese.
Add the mustard to the beaten egg and whisk together until there are no lumps of mustard left. Add the egg and mustard to the flour and stir gently to combine. Use enough milk to bring the mixture together and make a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and gently roll it out to about 1cm thick. At this stage you don’t want to be rough with the dough – the less handling the better to keep the scones light and airy. Cut the scones out and put them on a greased or lined baking tray. Depending on the size of your cutter, you should end up with 8-10 scones. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg or milk – I added some milk to the beaten egg and mustard mix left in the bowl and used that.
Bake in the hot oven for 12-15 minutes, until the scones are golden brown on top. Cool slightly on a wire rack before cutting in half, buttering and enjoying.