Category

Summer

Food & Drink, Summer

Strawberry and Basil Scones

strawberry and basil scones recipe

strawberry and basil scones recipe

Aah, strawberries, how I could feast upon them all day long.  Sadly the strawberry season is so fleeting – coming into season at the start of June, and on the wane come mid August, so I try and pack in as many as I can into summer!  This strawberry and basil scones recipe is a great way to enjoy this summer glut!

Fresh local strawberries are so cheap and delicious right now, and my local shop packs it shelves with punnets and punnets of the things.  If you go in at the right time in the evening you can come away with a punnet for just a pound.

I picked up a punnet on Sunday at such a price, and my mind immediately turned to strawberry scones.  I generally have all the ingredients to hand for making scones, and scones are a fairly easy bake, without the need for any equipment (perfect if you’re cooking with toddlers too, like I was!).

As I returned from the shop and was putting the key in my door I caught a glimpse of the basil growing in our window box, and thought what a great addition to a strawberry scone!  Behold strawberry and basil scones!

If you’ve got some strawberries left over then I’ve got a two-for-one for you here, as I’m also sharing a tasty strawberry butter recipe that’s ready in minutes.  The butter really complements the strawberry and basil scones really well so I’d very much recommend you make both if possible!  If not then don’t worry, the scones are just as tasty without!

strawberry and basil sconesstrawberry butter

best-strawberry-scone-recipe

Strawberry and Basil Scones Recipe

adapted from Heat Oven to 350

Strawberry and Basil Scones Recope

This strawberry and basil scone recipe is a light and delicious surprisingly savoury treat - the basil isn't overpowering and adds a delicate flavour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 350 g self-raising flour sifted (plus extra for kneading)
  • 220 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 60 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110 ml milk
  • 175 g fresh strawberries hulled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil - roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Oats and sugar to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. To a large bowl add your sifted flour, sugar, salt and pepper, and stir well.
  3. Cut your butter into small cubes, add to the bowl of dry ingredients. Using your hands rub the butter in until you’ve got a coarse mix, without any large lumps of butter.
  4. Add your strawberries and basil, and mix gently.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat your two eggs and add the milk.
  6. Make a well in the flour/strawberry mix and pour the egg/milk mix in. Gently mix with a large spoon until the mixture is combined.
  7. Flour your work surface and turn your dough out on to it. Gently knead your dough a few times.
  8. Transfer to a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and shape into a circle, about 2cm thick.
  9. Brush with milk, and sprinkle a light dusting of oats and sugar on top.
  10. Slice into eight sections, and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or so until golden brown. Keep an eye on it from the 15 minute mark onwards.

baking ideas with toddlers

Toddler optional!

 The basil isn’t overpowering – just enough to give the scones a little flavour, and is surprisingly savoury making it a good breakfast scone.

If you’re after a little sweetness then I made strawberry butter from the leftover strawberries, which really transforms the scones into a lightly sweetened treat!

Strawberry Butter Recipe 

via Martha Stewart

best-strawberry-scone-recipe

1 pack of unsalted butter (250g) (at room temperature)

35g icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

90g strawberries (hulled and roughly chopped)

Directions

Using an hand mixer mix together the butter, icing sugar and salt.  It’s quite messy so go at a low speed!  This could take a couple of minutes depending on how soft your butter is.

strawberry butter mixing

Add your strawberries, and mix again, until the strawberries are combined.  Serve on the toasted strawberry and basil scones, regular scones, or toast, or however your fancy takes you.

I thought it would be fun to cut the butter into heart shapes but you can skip this step!

The butter can be frozen, and will last up to 2 months in the freezer.  I’ve lost count of how many hearts I have in the freezer right now!

easy scone recipe

Enjoy your strawberry and basil scones!  What are your favourite strawberry recipes?

Food & Drink, Summer

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

elderflower cordial

elderflower cordial

Can you believe I’ve been waiting to share this elderflower cordial recipe with you for a whole year?  I made this boozy elderflower cordial at the peak of elderflower season last year but I didn’t want to share it before tasting it in case it didn’t taste right.  By the time it was ready and had the Moral Fibres seal of approval by that point elderflower season was over.

As it tasted so good, this year I thought I’d share the homemade elderflower cordial recipe early on in the season so there’s plenty of time for you to go out and pick!  Here in Edinburgh the elderflowers are just coming out into bloom at the moment.  If you’re further south they may in bloom already.

how to make elderflower cordial

Step One – Foraging for Elderflowers

elderflower picking

My secret elderflower foraging spot!

First up you’ll need to find and pick your elderflowers.   Elderflowers are pretty ubiquitous around the UK and are likely to be found in woods, beside rivers or canals, in graveyards, etc.    Another common place is beside roads, but I’d tend to avoid picking beside busy roads.

Elderflowers are quite easy to spot – look for a flowering bush, with delicate white flowers and a distinct sambuca like smell.  If in doubt I found a handy elderflower identification guide that you might find useful.  If you’re still in doubt don’t pick anything and ask an expert!

what do elderflowers look like

This is what you’re looking for!

Once you’ve found your elderflowers bear in mind it’s best to pick elderflowers on a dry sunny day, in the morning, when the flowers are at their most fragrant.  This apparently translates to a richer sweeter flavour, but if it’s late afternoon don’t worry too much!  Avoid picking at ground level (dogs!) – pick from the higher branches.  You also want to make sure that you pick nice creamy white flower heads – anything brown or a bit discoloured may taste a bit bitter.

Give the flowerheads a good shake before you put them in your bag to dislodge any insects, and try not to pick from just the one bush.  The elderflower cordial recipe calls for about fifteen elderflower heads.

Step Two – The Elderflower Cordial Recipe

homemade elderflower cordial

Boozy Elderflower Cordial Recipe

This boozy elderflower cordial is smooth and mellow, and is the perfect taste of summer all year round. Serve with tonic or soda water, or lemonade, or serve straight up over ice.

Ingredients

  • A 1 litre capacity jar
  • About 15 elderflower heads see above for how to identify and pick elderflowers
  • 1 litre of cheap generic vodka
  • One large lemon
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar

Instructions

  1. Dip your elderflowers in water and give them a good shake to dry. Peel a lemon, and keep the peel to the side.
  2. Then add your flowers to a sterilised jar, adding the lemon peel as you go so it’s evenly distributed in the jar. Keep going until you've added as much elderflower as the jar will hold and all of the lemon peel.
  3. Add 5 teaspoons of sugar, about 5 mls of juice from your lemon, and pour in the vodka until you’ve completely submerged all of the elderflowers. Screw the lid on and give the jar a good shake.
  4. Leave for four weeks in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally to mix the sugar in.
  5. During the four weeks it’s really worth occasionally opening your jar to check that the vodka is still covering the elderflowers otherwise the top ones might go a bit brown and make it taste a bit bitter. If this happens just take out the brown flowers and top up with more vodka.
  6. Once your four weeks are up sieve your mix to remove the flowers and lemon peel, and decant your flavoured vodka into a sterilised bottle or jar. It will keep for onwards of a year!

 You can drink your cordial straight over ice, or add some lemonade, tonic or soda water for a refreshing summer drink.

You can add any flavours you want to your elderflower cordial.  I added a punnet of local raspberries in another jar as and it turned out beautifully.  Elderflower cordial tastes like summer at the best of times, but the addition of raspberries was extra summery!  Strawberries, cherries or blackberries would also work well, I’d imagine, but blackberries are never ready here in Edinburgh in time for elderflower season!

I got a bit carried away and ended up with three large jars of elderflower cordial!  I had intended to give some of it away, but, ahem, that didn’t quite happen…!   I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that after a year this is all we have left of our supply:

elderflower cordial recipe

Needless to say I’ll be out elderflower foraging in the next few weeks, and getting funny looks at the local shop for buying so much vodka!

Hope you enjoy this elderflower cordial recipe – bottoms up!

ps: keep an eye out for elderberries later in the season.  You can make this delicious non-alcoholic spiced elderberry syrup from them!  I made a small batch last year, which we used up far too quickly.  I have made a mental note to make triple what I made as it was just incredible (and I’m not 100% certain if it was down to the syrup but I didn’t catch the cold once over the winter season…).