The countdown to the start of the Tour de France has begun here in Yorkshire. It sneaks into the local news bulletins on a regular basis, and there are yellow signs popping up along the route the cyclists will take as they spend the first couple of days of the race pedalling through the county.
In honour of Yorkshire’s Grand Depart, I’ve planted a French-inspired collection of herbs in the garden… well no, not really – they were already growing there. But in all the years I’ve had fresh chives, parsley, tarragon and chervil out there to pick, I’ve never put the four together to create that French classic of fines herbes. Turns out this was a big mistake, and I’ve been missing out on a truly great flavour combination. These four herbs were practically made for each other, so what better way to celebrate a visit from the world’s greatest cycle race, than a recipe bringing together a French herb collection with some traditional Yorkshire baking.
I’m not sure if those taking part in Le Tour will have time to stop for tea and scones as they zip through the Yorkshire countryside. But if they do, they might like to try a plate of these savoury scones, made with fines herbes and one of the greatest blue cheeses ever made – Yorkshire blue… and I say that as someone who doesn’t really like blue cheeses. The smell of these scones as they baked was good enough to bring my daughter, who dislikes blue cheese even more than I do, downstairs to see what was cooking. But not quite good enough to get her to try one once she found out the full ingredient list… ah well, one step at a time.
Best eaten fresh from the oven, but if the scones last into a second day they’re are also pretty good toasted and buttered.
At the beginning of the month, when I read that the cheesey theme for April’s Cheese Please! over at Fromage Homage was blue cheese, I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be joining in. But with these scones coming fresh from the oven as we approach the end of April I’ve changed my mind. And who knows, I might even end up trying some of the other blue cheese recipes in this month’s challenge. Just maybe… one step at a time.
Yorkshire blue & fines herbes scones
(makes about 12 scones)
225g self-raising flour
pinch of sea salt
50g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped parsley, tarragon, chervil and chive leaves
45g Yorkshire blue cheese, chopped into small cubes
1 egg, beaten
about 5 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 200oC, 400F, gas 6.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the salt and the butter and rub the fat into the flour until you get a mixture that is the texture of breadcrumbs. Stir in the herbs and cheese – you might need to use your fingers to make sure the creamy cheese is evenly distributed through the flour mix.
Add the egg and 4 tablespoons of milk and bring everything together to make a soft dough. Add more milk if needed to bring all the ingredients together. Roll the dough out on a floured work surface until it’s about 2cm thick. Cut rounds about 5cm/2” in diameter and put each one on a greased baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the scones are a nice golden brown colour. Cool on a wire rack until you can no longer resist the smell, then tuck in and enjoy.
This blog post comes with an apology to any French speakers reading it. My school level knowledge of the language didn’t stretch to translating ‘Fine herbes with a touch of Yorkshire’, so I resorted to an online translator for the title of the post… feel free to complain / make corrections as required.