So we’ve got a house-load this weekend. Me Mam’s over with my twin niece and nephew (The Fleas). The house has echoed to the sounds of thudding little feet, MarioKart wars, raucous laughter and (occasionally) indignant argument. Cries of ‘I’m hungry!’, ‘ow, get off!’, ‘it’s my turn!’ fill the air, and I’ve yet to sleep in past 7am (6am this morning with the clocks going back).
But it’s lovely to see them and fantastic for my two as they miss them loads. So this morning we had a huge, final breakfast with croissants, pains au chocolat, baguettes and these yummy little fruit soda breads, adapted from Rachel Allen’s recipe which I must have tried ten times and just couldn’t get to work for some reason.
1lb (450g) plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
350 – 400ml buttermilk (or just sour some normal milk with juice of Â½ lemon)
So first, whack your oven on as high as it’ll go and weigh out your dry ingredients. Make sure you sieve the flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda really well. If you don’t, little bits of soda will show up in your finished scones as green lumps. Not very appetising. Then stir in the sugar and sultanas.
Crack the egg into a jug and give it a whisk, then add your buttermilk (or if you’re not using buttermilk, remember to add the lemon juice to the milk), topping it up to about 400ml altogether. You might need a bit extra but I never do.
Pour the milk mixture bit by bit into the flour, stirring with a fork. You’ll probably find you won’t need all the liquid but that’s fine as you can use it to glaze them at the end. It’s a bit messy but be patient as it’ll come together into a nice soft dough. Turn out on a floured board and pat into a big flat squareish shape. Cut into 9 or 12 or whatever, depending on how big you want them. Brush with the leftover milk mixture and sprinkle with crunchy brown sugar.
Stick your little soda breads on a baking tray (non stick preferably) and bake them on the high setting for about eight minutes (I had to turn mine round half way through as my oven doesn’t cook very evenly). Then after the eight minutes turn them down to about 200 (gas 6) for the last five or six minutes. Watch them just in case as the smaller the buns the less time they’ll need. They’ll sound hollow when you tap them if they’re done.
Serve warm with lots of butter to melt into them and enjoy the (brief) silence.