I have been keeping a cooking notebook since 2000, when I first lived away from home for an extended period of time. I was off to Hungary for a four month stint studying mathematics, and my Mum encouraged me to start a book of recipes. By the time I flew over to Europe, she had managed to help me get eleven recipes written in the book--including one for how to cook rice. Armed with the notebook and a 1953 version of The Joy of Cooking, I embarked on my great adventure.
Living in Hungary opened up a whole new world for me especially since I began to cook and eat only food I bought myself. Over those four months, more recipes started to be collected. Page numbers were added and I started an index in the back of the book. (Mathematicians like to organise, you know.) When I returned to Canada and back to my mother's care, I cooked a lot less again. I started to cut recipes out of magazines, saving for the future. One recipe I added to the notebook during this period was a mix-and-match recipe for buttermilk biscuits. It never got any use since I was rarely cooking, and by the time I had my own kitchen again I had more exciting things to try.
So this is actually the first use of the recipe I clipped so many years ago. I wish I had tried it earlier, though, since the scones are tasty and easy. The cornmeal gives them a distinctive gritty texture that feels so right when dipped in creamy soup or a rich stew.
Cheddar Cornmeal Scones
adapted from Canadian Living Magazine, May 2003
1 1/2 c (190 g) plain flour
1 T sugar
1 c (170 g) cornmeal
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T dried sage
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 c (115 g) cold butter
1 c + 1/4 c (120 g + 30 g) grated mature cheddar cheese
1 c (250 mL) milk
1 t mild vinegar
Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sage in a large bowl.
Cut in the butter and add 1 c (120 g) grated cheddar cheese.
In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, vinegar, and egg. Add to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix into a wet dough.
Press onto a prepared baking sheet and flatten to a height of about 1 or 2 cm. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake at 400 F/205 C for 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then cut with a knife into rectangles.