The observant amongst you may have noticed that goats’ cheese has made several appearances on this blog. That is because it is possibly my favourite type of cheese (although choosing a favourite cheese feels rather like choosing a favourite child, and as I typed that last I was already starting to feel guilty about Stilton, halloumi, and St Jude) and it features fairly heavily in my cooking. Chicken stuffed with goats’ cheese and wrapped in bacon, shallot and goats’ cheese tart tatin, and raspberry goats’ cheese brownies are all regular fixtures around here. I would happily eat the stuff every day if I could.
Oddly though, I misguidedly disliked goats’ cheese as a young child. I vividly remember helping my mother put together some bruschetta for a party at around the age of ten or eleven, and her becoming cross with me when I insisted I didn’t like goats’ cheese.
‘Of course you like goats’ cheese’, she’d admonished. ‘And I don’t want you becoming one of those picky kids that whines about trying new things all the time’.
I didn’t become one of the picky kids, partly because I don’t think my mother would have stood for it. One of the many gifts my parents gave me was to let me (or force me) to eat a wide range of foods throughout my childhood and teenage years. Thus I was lucky enough to be spared the deep fear and mistrust engendered by anything both edible and unfamiliar that I saw in many of my peers when I reached university, and began to be wholly responsible for feeding myself for the first time. It’s kind of hard to justify being fussy about cheese when you’re used to seeing your mother eat an entire fish head, eyes included (and savoured).
So, in a brief foray into savoury baking, I bring you these goats’ cheese, sun-dried tomato, and thyme scones. They are quick and easy to make, and feel slightly less indulgent that the classic scone-jam-clotted cream triumvirate (one of my favourite things in the world, by the way), and could be reasonably appropriate for breakfast, or for lunch with some salad. Or some extra cheese, for good measure.
Notes: If you are one of those people who does not enjoy goats’ cheese (I mean, you’re wrong, but okay) then you could substitute grated cheddar or crumbled feta.
This recipe should make eight to ten standard scones, depending on your cutter size.
140g self-raising flour
140g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g cold butter, cut into small pieces
80g goats’ cheese, crumbled
15-20 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 large egg
salt and pepper
2 tbsp plain/Greek yoghurt
4 tbsp milk
- Heat your oven to 190/170 fan/gas 5. In a large bowl, mix both flours and baking powder, then rub in the butter until it reaches breadcrumb stage. Stir in 1/2 (40g) of the crumbled goats’ cheese. In a jug, mix together the other 40g of the goats’ cheese, the sun-dried tomatoes, the thyme, the egg, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, the yoghurt, and the milk until combined. Make a well in your flour mix and pour in your wet mix, then mix quickly with a cutlery knife, using your hands at the end to briefly knead the dough together – don’t overwork it or your scones will be heavy.
- Working quickly, pat the dough out into a rough 2cm thick round on a lightly floured surface. Stamp out as many scones as you can, using a cutter (or a glass if you don’t have a cutter to hand). Be careful not to twist the cutter as you remove it from each scone as this can impede the rise. Gather the scraps of dough, then repeat the cutting until all the dough is used – the scones from the reshaped dough will be a bit rougher and won’t rise as high, but will still be delicious.
- Put all your scones on a baking sheet and finish by brushing with milk or sprinkling with wholemeal flour, if you like. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, firm on the outside, and easy to pull apart at the ‘waist’. .