Scones are a typical New Zealand and Australian café offering, as well as something, historically, that most households used to rustle up for visitors with a moment’s notice. Sadly, this has been on the decline over the past 5-10 years; which is a shame, purely from a stomach-led point of view. In Britain, the home of scones, they’re too often in a bad state. As a child I used to dream about coming to London to have a freshly baked scone served with clotted cream and jam, and a cup of Earl Grey tea. I can tell you, that as someone who always eats a scone when on offer, they are too often from the school of‘sad, dry and mass-produced’, especially when served at cafés in various historic properties all around Britain. For something requiring such little effort there really is no excuse for a bad scone. Nevertheless, my childhood Sundays were marked by someone at home, often my father Bruce, making a batch of scones - flavoured with either Cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper or dried dates.
The basic recipe is the same for all of the following three versions, as are the cooking times. You can cut scones into any shape you want, but make sure you keep them at least 2 cm thick - any thinner and they just look a little sad and don’t rise as well. Don’t overwork the dough, as too much kneading toughens it, so if you’re cutting out rounds just very gently bring the off-cuts together and press them back into one mass - don’t knead the dough at all.