As I write this, it's a Bank Holiday, so treats are in order and plenty of them. But you don’t want to be getting in a flap, sweating in a hot kitchen just to make this long weekend taste a little sweeter. That’s where scones come in. They are not called quick breads for nothing and, as these are gluten-free, you can whizz them up in a food processor at the same time as swigging from a bottle of something cold and fizzy.
It is believed that these sweet, little breads originated in Scotland in the early 1500s, made with oats and cooked on a griddle, much like Scottish bannocks are today. Scones have since evolved into light, fluffy rounds served with thick clotted cream and strawberry jam. Whether you insist on cream before jam or vice versa, and indeed whether you pronounce scone to rhyme with 'gone' or 'cone', a cream tea just wouldn’t be the same without them.
For my money, a scone still tastes like a scone, whichever the order of adornments, but, if I’m honest, I tend to go cream first, because you can spread more on that way before hiding the full evidence of gluttony beneath the jam. As for the pronunciation, I’ve known people change teams in the same sentence. Officially, both pronunciations are correct, but may I now direct you to a joke, 'What’s the fastest cake?' to settle the argument. Here’s a clue: if it rhymes with 'cone' it’s just not funny. And if you really must insist on making a stand either way, I suggest you base yours on similarly irreverent principles.
I used to bemoan the fact that living with a gluten-dodger meant shunning the wheat flour. I thought it was a bit of a hassle to be honest. Worth going to for my beloved of course, but still a bit of a hassle. Luckily, all such miserable rumblings of discontent have since been banished, thanks largely to the fact that gluten-free baking is really, really easy. I am not an essentially lazy person, but there is something so pleasing about not having to get the sieve out. That’s right, folks, gluten-free flours (with the exception of maybe gram flour) do not need to be sifted. It is also impossible to overwork the dough. You can let a thousand children wrestle with your scones if you are so inclined and they still won’t go heavy and bready. In fact, if you have any little darlings looking to be entertained this weekend, I wholly recommend bleating out the instructions of this recipe at them before letting them get on with making afternoon tea all by themselves. With the extra free hand this gives, you’ll be able to swig from two bottles at the same time. Well, it is a Bank Holiday…