thyme and taleggio scones


Neither Tom or I are fond of food shopping, yet for some unknown reason we have never ordered our supplies online using one of the many delivery services now available. I finally tried this the other day, and of course made the mistake of failing to adjust the default units under which some items are measured. This rookie error resulted in the delivery of a kilo of taleggio cheese. I required just 100g to make a tart, and was now in possession of 10 times more than the recipe required. . . . Tom had a good laugh, and Bruce kindly offered to help out by devouring the excess, but, I reminded him (as I often have to) that dogs don’t eat cheese.

Unfortunately, taleggio is a substance with limited uses, and not really the sort of cheese you can just chow down on wholesale — it is quite strong and salty and very squashy. What to do?


Well, I just made taleggio scones for lunch, and they turned out so well that I thought I’d share the recipe!



There are a few key things to remember when making these:

1) stick the taleggio in the freezer for half an hour so that it hardens up
2) cut the taleggio into small pieces
3) do not work the scone dough in any way. Just bring it together and plonk it down on your floured surface.

Thyme and Taleggio Scones

(Makes 6 or 7 large scones)
6oz / 170g self raising flour
2oz / 56 g butter
3.5 oz / 100g taleggio
ground black pepper
sprig of thyme
5floz / 150 ml buttermilk

Put taleggio in freezer for 30 mins
Preheat oven to 180c / 350f / gas mark 4.

Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the thyme leaves and the ground black pepper.
Take the taleggio out of the freezer and cut into small cubes. Using your hand, mix it lightly into the breadcrumb mixture.
Add the buttermilk, and, using a butter knife, stir the mixture gently until it starts to come together.
Bring the mixture together carefully with your hands into a rough dough. DO NOT KNEAD, OR OTHERWISE WORK THE DOUGH!
Place dough on floured surface and lightly press to 1.5 in thick.
Cut out scones with pastry cutter.
Place on floured baking tray and bake at centre of oven for 15 mins, or until golden.
Eat warm.


Well, that’s 100g of taleggio down, only 900g to go . . . .


There is no getting away from the fact that I’ve had a rough few days. Please try not to have a stroke, people: the long term health implications of it are really bloody annoying. Sometimes the process of recovery itself can add further problems to the myriad medical issues that follow a brain injury, and this has certainly been the case for me. This particular issue concerns the instability of my pelvis, and my general (in)ability to get about, and as well as being in quite a bit of pain this week I’ve been feeling rather angry and frustrated. Will this shit never leave me alone? Unfortunately, it probably won’t. The only thing for me to do is to properly face up to the fact that a stroke is, in effect, a chronic condition with which I am now living: however determined I am, my mobility is now going to be seriously compromised for the rest of my life, and I have to deal with that. Easier said than done, sometimes. I often find myself thinking of Patricia Neal and her hip replacements.

I’m not keen on myself when I’m maudlin, and I’m quite sure no one else is either, so I find myself with not too much to say today. Here are a couple of cheering things.

I love this so much I can’t stop knitting it. The yarn is the stuff I showed you recently and it is just. so. bloody. tasty. I am making some things from it which will be out in pattern form next month, so I will be able to show you the right side reasonably soon.

Tom baked hazelnut shortbread. When baking anything containing nutz, it is, of course, obligatory to sing several verses of the old Louis Jordan song, Nuts to You. At least it is round here:

“We’ve got walnuts, chestnuts – all the best nuts –
Every kind but donuts
Brazil nuts, peanuts, we will see nuts
Till we really go nuts.”

Where was I? Oh yes, Tom’s hazelnut shortbread. It is very good.

You will find the recipe on p. 948 of Nigel Slater’s Tender, vol 2, or below in an abbreviated variation, rendered without Nigel’s linguistic excesses (“large, unruly balls” being a notable feature of his original).

Butter 170g
golden caster sugar 100g
skinned hazelnuts 60g
ground almonds 40g
plain flour 200g
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 160c.

Cream butter and sugar together till fluffy.
Toast hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until golden, then pound with mixer or pestle & mortar until coarse.
Add the nuts & flour to the butter & sugar and stir until the mixture comes together.
Take a teaspoon, and divide mixture into twelve blobs.
Place on non-stick baking sheet and bake for about 25 mins, or until the biscuits have risen and begun to colour.
Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes, before lifting from the baking sheet and dusting with icing sugar.

Enjoy while still slightly warm, with a nice cup of tea.

thatch ale


There has been much brewing activity here this weekend — and I am very excited to report that the latest breakfast-themed dark ale involves the last minute addition of. . . a cup of yorkshire tea! (milk free, of course). Anyway, here by request, is the recipe for last week’s brew — the tried and tested hoppy delight that is Tom’s Thatch Ale.

Thatch Ale

Yeast: Thames Valley Wyeast 1275

2.6 kg maris otter
1.5 kg lager malt
500g malted wheat
120g pale crystal malt
28g black patent malt

Bittering: 32g hallertau / northern brewer hops (8.5% alpha acid)
Flavour: 28g Perle hops (8.2% alpha acid)
Aroma: 24g perle hops, 9g elderflowers, 9g mount hood hops (4.4 % alpha acid)
Dry hop: 12g perle, 9g elderflowers, 9g mount hood

Smack Wyeast starter pack, leave overnight.
Make starter:
Combine 1 litre water, 120g extra light dry malt extract + handful of mount hood hops.
Boil for 5 mins and strain into sterile bottle.
Leave to cool to 21°C. Add yeast from smack pack. Leave for 48-72 hours
Time to brew:
Heat 10 litres water to 77°C and add to malt (excluding black malt) in mash tun. The mash should stabilise at 66-67°C, add more hot/cold water to adjust temp as necessary.
Mash for 45 minutes, adding black malt in the last 5 minutes. Sparge slowly into brew pot with 15 to 17 litres of water at 78°C to a final volume of approximately 5 gallons. Gravity at run off = 1021.
Return wort to the boil. Add bittering hops (32g Hallertau / northern brewer). Boil for 45 minutes. Add flavour hops (28g perle) and boil for further 15 mins. Add aroma hops (24g perle, 9g elderflowers, 9 g mount hood) and boil for 2 more minutes.
Strain hot wort into sterile fermenter and cool to approximately 21°C.
Meanwhile prepare ingredients for dry hopping:
Take one of Kate’s old stockings, and fill with 12g perle, 9g elderflowers, 9g mount hood. Tie at both ends and steam for 3 minutes. Drop into cooled wort and pitch yeast starter. Taken original gravity reading (OG = 1038).
Ferment at 19 – 21°C for six days.
Rack into secondary container removing yeast sediment and dry hops. Leave in secondary until yeast drops out (5-14 days). Bottle when ready.



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