On Sunday afternoon, the sun streaming through the drapes and the flat eerily quiet, I started to bake. The new oven, quick to heat and quiet itself, was turned on and a bag of flour folded over with sellotape was prised open. I had elbow room to bake, nobody needing past to reach the kettle or checking to see when I was done, just space to spread out. A glass made a satisfying ‘puft’ noise as it punctured discs from a round of scone dough. I cannot find my cutters in the new kitchen but it doesn’t matter too much. As they went in the new oven, which quietly hummed as the scones rose, the process felt familiar yet strange. I moved around the furniture, curious to see how the lighting changes in each corner. Photographs here seem different, but perhaps that’s because I’m learning all over again. A bunch of tulips I bought to brighten the flat with a little greenery start to splay outwards, lazy stems on a Sunday afternoon. I eat two scones, still warm from the oven with coffee and wonder when this will all seem normal.
I underestimated how moving would effect me, the little things like ‘where did we decide the chopping boards go again’, the medium problems of which new cushions to buy to bigger pangs of sadness for an old chapter already closed. Blogging became difficult when my mixer sat sadly in a box and sugars and flours were taped up to avoid spillages in the van. Yet now we are here. And so slowly, I’m unfolding like those tulips and bringing back those little snippets of what life was like before towers of cardboard boxes and Ikea trips and unwrapping clocks and picture frames. Baking has always been a comfort and these fat rounds of fluffy scones with vanilla stirred through studs of chocolate seem an appropriate way to say hello again with.
- 220g self raising flour
- 55g chilled butter, cubed
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 140ml buttermilk (or 140ml milk with ½ tbsp lemon juice added)
- ½ tsp vanilla paste
- 100g milk chocolate chips
- Preheat an oven to 200oc/180oc and line a sheet with baking parchment. Place the flour and the butter in a large bowl and rub together, feeding the butter through your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir through the sugar – you can do this with your hands – and add the chocolate chips. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk then pour into the buttery mix, bringing together first with a knife then to a soft dough with your hands.
- Tip the contents of the bowl onto a clean, floured surface and bring together gently with your hands. Roll the dough to around 1.5cm thick and cut rounds out using a small glass, rerolling the scraps to create around 6 scones. Place the scones on the prepared tray and brush with a little milk. Bake for around 13 to 15 minutes until golden and risen. Leave to cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack, eating slightly warm with coffee and thickly spread with nutella.