Easy scones with cheddar cheese and chives
I am consumed with our upcoming stay in Italy and I also find myself thinking about why we travel. Travel today is easier than ever. The world is getting smaller and more accessible and remote places are relatively easy to reach. To a certain degree we find the conveniences of our western homes almost anywhere and language becomes less of an obstacle with the advent of the internet, not to mention the old standby – hand gestures.
In preparation for an upcoming 4 months stay in Italy we are reading and watching videos about it’s history, art, culture and food. Travel is an education and the learning begins before you leave.
One of the books I have read before and looking through again is Alain de Botton “The Art of Travel”. In his book de Botton contemplates interesting questions about travel: why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so.
Travel is not necessarily easy and it’s rare that everything goes smoothly. There is often a gap between what we expect and what we find when travelling. Could we be contributing to this gap by who we are?
De Botton describes how he arrives in Barbados for a relaxing vacation and finds himself weighed down by mundane worries from back home. His revelation: “I had inadvertently brought myself with me to the island.” You know the saying: “Wherever you go, there you are”. His conclusion, if I understand him correctly, is that despite the fact the the world is more easily reached in a physical sense, it is just as obscure as ever by our own limitations, and we need to rely on art, poetry, philosophy and great writing to “translate” the experiences for us, to make us see things we may otherwise miss. Landscape, says de Botton, becomes more attractive once we have seen it through the eyes of a great artist. The cypresses and primary colours of Provence in Van Gogh’s painting are a case in point. If nothing else, art, music and literature enhance what we see, hear, and comprehend.
I would add that food is another way of seeing a culture and enhancing our travel experience. Food is fundamental to the human experience and people within a culture connect through their food. Slow travel, market forrays, cooking on location and participating in local culinary rituals enhance travel experience in a way you won’t soon forget.
Well, back to cooking: many people who love to cook can be divided in two camps: those who love to cook and those who love to bake. I fall somewhere in the middle and really love to do both. Earlier in my cooking endeavour I used to bake a lot and fairly challenging “stuff” like complicated cakes, croissants, all kinds of breads, cookies etc. Now I still bake but simpler things like cookies, bundt cakes, breads occasionally and other things, like these scones. I came across this recipe while leafing though a food magazine somewhere and scanned it with my iPhone (aren’t these things a dream? how did we (maybe not you) live without them?). So this morning I thought I’d make a batch and see what it’s like. The scones were gone before I had a chance to photograph them so, yes, I made another batch.
Adapted from Scones recipe in Canadian Living October 2015.
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold, cut in small cubes
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/3 cup chopped chives, fresh
3/4 cup half and half or milk
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Add the cold butter and work it in by hand or a pastry blender until the flour coats the butter and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the cheese and chives and mix with a spoon.
Add the cream slowly, mixing until the dough holds together.
Scoop with an ice cream scoop onto a foil lined baking sheet.
Bake at 425F until golden and cooked through, about 15 min.