Last weekend I confronted the cheese drawer of my refrigerator. This is really my stash of souvenirs from the trips I’ve taken lately. It is full of the rinds of hard cheeses that have gotten so low that I might grate my fingernails if I try to get any more off of them, but that still might have some use. There were pecorinos from Umbria, a hard sheep’s cheese from the Isle of Pag in Croatia, and some parmigiano from Venice. I actually held them in my two hands, my body the fulcrum, weighing if I would work with them or throw them out. I decided to set to work trimming them up and then grated the entire batch in my food processor. Can you believe I got 6 cups of grated, aged cheese? It was a treasure, and the exact amount to make a triple batch of these scones to take to a friend’s going away brunch this morning.
Adapted from the restaurant Prefab in Wellington, NZ
Makes 6 large or 12 mini scones
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 75 g. butter
- 2 cups grated, hard cheese, plus a little extra for sprinkling
- 1 1/2-2 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the flour, baking powder and pepper in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese.
Slowly add the milk to the cheese mix, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough. Press the dough out on a floured bench and cut into 6 large or 12 mini scones. Put on a baking tray then sprinkle with a little extra cheese and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Serve with the sweet chili jam (recipe follows).
Sweet Chili Jam
Makes 2 small jars
- 250 g ripe tomatoes, cored
- 3 red chilies, deseeded if desired
- 5 cloves garlic
- Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
- 15 ml fish sauce
- 150g dark muscovado sugar
- 50 ml red wine vinegar
Put the tomatoes, chilies, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce in a blender and blend to a course puree.
Put the puree, sugar, and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the sauce resembles a jam consistency. Pour into sterilized jars and store in the fridge.