Hands up – who likes a good haiku? I certainly do – and here's one I made earlier
My reflection grows
Older with each passing year
But never wiser
What is it with wisdom? Why is it so damn elusive? I was talking to a dear friend's 18-year old daughter the other day, about boys and relationships and alcohol – all the things that seem to make life worth living when you are eighteen. In some ways, she is so knowing and SO much more sophisticated than I was at that age, and in other ways you listen to the things she says and think "phew – at least I know not to make THAT kind of mistake any more!".
Or so you'd think. But then when I find myself in a situation that somehow drags me mentally back to when I was in fact eighteen, to my quiet horror I feel myself slipping back into the same old thought and behaviour patterns - as if the intervening years and all the wisdom and experience they reputedly bring simply had not happened! Older – definitely. More suspicious – probably. But wiser? I'm not so sure. Can you confidently say that you are wiser now than you were at 18?
Ah well. Even if I can't offer wise advice, at least I can offer you some sage advice – and my advice is to grow your own sage and to use it as often as possible in your kitchen! Sage (or Salvia officinalis) is native to the Mediterranean region. In ancient Rome it was considered to have substantial healing properties, particularly helpful in the digestion of the ubiquitous fatty meats of the time, which probably explains why it is still routinely partnered with pork. Both Roman and Arab physicians believed the herb imparted mental acuity and its English name comes from this association with wisdom. It is a hardy perennial and dead easy to grow in the UK – so there really is no excuse for not keeping a pot on your patio or balcony.
These scones are a variation on my mom's standard scone recipe and contain a wonderful combination of sweet, salty and herby flavours. They are best served hot out of the oven with a generous smear of salted butter.
If you liked this recipe, you may also want to try these CookSister sage creations:
- pork loin stuffed with pear and sage on the barbecue
- roasted butternut squash and sage risotto
- Sage and Parmesan gnocchi in a browned butter & chilli sauce
If you are wondering where I got the pretty little bamboo spoon holding the peppercorns in the photo below, it was kindly sent to me by Restaurantware, who make an attractive range of bamboo and recyclable plastic disposable crockery for catering professionals.
2 cups plain flour
3.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of oil
2/3 cup of milk
50g feta cheese, crumbled
50g Peppadew peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease/spray a large baking sheet, or line it with baking parchment.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the egg together with the milk and oil.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the liquid into it. Add the cheese, peppers, sage and pepper. Mix using a wooden spoon, making cutting motions as if you were drawing a noughts and crosses grid. Turn the bowl after each grid.
Mix until all the liquid has been absorbed but do not over-mix. If there is still some dry flour visible, add milk a tablespoon at a time and mix till all the flour is absorbed. The mixture should be sticky but firm enough to hold its shape when you form the scones on the baking sheet.
Form a rough balls from the dough, place them on the baking sheet, evenly spaced, and flatten slightly. You can make them as neat or as free-form as you like but remember they are not going to look like cookie-cutter, egg-washed scones!
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden – test with a toothpick to see if they are done.
And in other news…
The May 2011 Plate to Page hands-on food writing and photography workshop presented by me, Meeta, Jamie and Ilva is now sold out - but register now if you are interested in Plate to Page II in Italy in Autumn 2011!