Cheesy scones. With cheese… What? This is fine.
We’re big fans of a Ploughman’s Lunch here at The Simple Things. And, while you might think the story of The Ploughman’s would be something of a pastoral, in fact it’s something more prosaic altogether.
Of course, farming types have been slinging a cloth filled with bread, a hunk of cheese and an apple in their bags for centuries. But it was The Cheese Bureau which first germinated the idea. The Bureau wrote in its monthly bulletin in 1956 that it “exists for the admirable purpose of popularising cheese and, as a corollary, the public house lunch of bread, beer, cheese and pickle. This traditional combination was broken by rationing; the Cheese Bureau hopes, by demonstrating the natural affinity of the two parties, to effect a remarriage”. To be honest, we’re just thrilled to hear there is such a thing as The Cheese Bureau and we’re wondering if we can arrange some work experience with them… We digress.
The Cheese Bureau clearly made sterling efforts to put the component part of a Ploughman’s back on the pub table. But it was The Milk Marketing Board which picked up the idea in the 1960s and ran with it, coining the phrase ‘Ploughman’s Lunch’ to describe this combination of bread, cheese, apple (and, one hopes, a huge brown pickled onion and a stick of crunchy celery). The Ploughman’s Lunch was hoped to boost the sale of cheese, particularly through pubs and it worked a treat. We’re still eating Ploughman’s Lunches with gusto half a century later.
So, in the spirit of entrepeneurship, in our April issue’s Gathering, we have this jolly little recipe for Ploughman’s Scones. We recommend you serve them stuffed with cheese and chutney alongside an apple and a pickled onion or two.
The Ploughman’s Scones are part of our Any-Time Tea Party feature by Catherine Frawley, which also includes recipes for Hot Cross Bun Loaf, Mini Egg Rocky Road, Mini Victoria Sponges and Marshmallow Pops. Make it for an Easter treat or just, you know, any time. The recipes are in our April issue, which is in the shops now.
225g self-raising flour, plus extra to dust
1 tsp baking powder 55g butter, cubed
125g cheddar, grated
60ml milk, plus extra to glaze to serve
1 Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/ Gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
2 Sift the flour, baking power and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub with your fingertips until you have a breadcrumb mixture.
3 Gently mix in 100g grated cheese, make a well in the centre, then pour in the milk slowly, mixing until you have a soft but firm dough.
4 Dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough to about 2cm thick. Using a 5cm cutter, cut out your scones, re-rolling and cutting the remaining dough, until it’s all used.
5 Place the scones on the baking tray, brush with milk and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 12–15 mins or until golden brown. Leave to cool on a rack, then serve with slices of cheddar and pickle.