on a mild march day back in 1986, a little baby was born in a beautiful seaside town. this baby was fair of face and full of charm and nana taylor, her nana of the heart, fell quickly in love with her.
nana taylor was a kind soul who lived in the same street as the baby and her mother and father. nana taylor knew that the baby’s mother was a long way from her own family and offered to help her out by taking the beautiful baby for a walk everyday in the sun.
the new mother was touched by this act of kindness. she would stand on her front porch and smile as she watched nana taylor and the baby doing their daily circuit: conveniently, nana taylor and the baby lived on a street called ‘the square’, which really was square, and whose sides they would tread together, round and round and round.
it was in this way that nana taylor and the baby and her mother and father all became good friends — indeed family. the young mother flourished with nana taylor’s gentle support and guidance.
but, alas. there was one thing that gnawed away at the young mother.
no matter what she did, she never seemed to be able to make a batch of edible scones. they would always come out too crumbly or uncooked or hard as rocks. and, being a feminist, the young mother was somewhat loathe to admit that being unable to make scones troubled her so.
but she confided in nana taylor who, as always, came to the rescue.
at the same time as teaching the young mother about scones, nana taylor taught her a little about life. the thing is, you see, that scones, like life, are so easy to overdo, overcomplicate, and overhandle. the wise words of nana taylor were this: the more rushed you are, the less you fuss, and the better your scones will be. in other words: keep busy and you won’t have time to stress about things and ruin them. genius, huh?
apply nana taylor’s words to life and to the following recipe, and you will find you get a wonderful batch every time. nana taylor, WE LOVE YOU.
nana taylor’s stress-less scones
50 g butter
1 ¾ milk
3 c self-raising flour
pinch salt (optional)
melt the butter in a microwave jug. let it cool a little bit. break in the egg and add the milk, and mix briskly with a fork in a non-fussed fashion.
in a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt (if you want it) and make a well in the centre for the liquid. you can have a little bit of a play while you’re making the well if you like. we always do.
add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix quickly with a wooden spoon. depending on your flour’s absorbency, you may need to add a little more milk: you want to create a reasonably wet mixture that is still firm enough that you’ll be able to mold it and cut it.
transfer your dough onto baking paper. DON’T knead the proverbial out of it. DON’T flatten it down in a perfectionist manner. DON’T fuss over it at all. simply pull it all together quickly into your geometric shape of choice about 5–7cm thick.
cut it into squarish pieces, place them apart on an oven tray, and get them quick-smart into a hot oven (around 230 degrees celcius). bake for ten minutes or until golden brown.
when your amazing scones are out of the oven, pick up the light little darlings that have not been pummeled into toughness and brush each one with melted butter, using a pastry brush. (this last tip is from nanny norma in melbourne.)
and if you feel like mixing it up a little …
- butter can be replaced with quality, cold pressed oil.
- milk can be replace with buttermilk, yoghurt, cream or soy milk.
- if you’re out of self-raising flour, never fear! you can simply use one teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of standard flour.
- freeze these scones and look like a highly organised and clever soul by microwaving a couple for your friends when they come around for afternoon tea.
(here’s where we let you in on a secret: the fair child was none other than kimberley june davis herself, which makes the young mother cathie of the jumping tangents little brown house, and the author of this post. we are sure that nana taylor still smiles on every batch of scones we bake and we are so blessed to now have a nanny norma as our present-day wise woman.)
love cathie xx