Monday, November 15, 2010

'Aga' drop scones

My new job has been eating into blogging and cooking time which means that getting used to the Aga is taking longer than I'd hoped. There have been a fair few disasters which, I have to admit, have had me tearing my hair out in frustration. My biggest gripe is that we struggle to keep a constant heat and, as we have to fill up with solid fuel once or twice a day, the kitchen is permanantly covered in a layer of black soot. Not very appetising!

However, there are aspects of this cooker that I already love and know I will miss terribly when we move. I love the instant heat - no pre-heating required here. Water boils instantly. Meat is sealed in moments. And the kitchen has a lovely warm glow. Having acquired an old Aga kettle we no longer need to use the electric version and the toaster is looking dusty in the corner too - crumpets and toast cook perfectly using the heat that is already there. But my favourite thing about the Aga involves the simmering plate (top right hand side) and a piece of Bake-o-Glide. Actually, we don't have Bake-o-Glide. It is fearfully expensive. We have some kind of supermarket imitation that does the job just as well. It is basically a non-stick, re-usable sheet of silicone (I think?!) which can withstand fairly high heat. We place it over the simmering plate and cook directly on it. Fat-less 'fried' eggs are a favourite - just crack an egg onto the non-stick sheet and lower (yes, really) the lid. A few minutes later, lift the lid to a perfectly-cooked, super-healthy egg. Butterless toasted sandwiches are a real hit - we favour a mature Cheddar and some onion chutney. Make the sandwich, place on the silicone sheet and put the lid down again. A few minutes later, flip the sandwich and repeat. Moments later you'll have a scrumptious, perfectly cooked toastie without messing up a sandwich toaster and without an ounce of butter smeared on the outside. Lovely!

The 'baking sheet-simmering plate method' is also a winner for all kinds of pancakes. Drop-scones (or scotch pancakes) cooked directly on the top are an Aga classic. I have a few Aga cookbooks which feature various 'Aga' classics. In slightly arrogant tone they refer to 'Aga' shortbread, 'Aga' drop scones, 'Aga' breakfasts and 'Aga' flapjacks. This makes it sound as though 'Aga' shortbread is vastly superior to any other kind - I'm not convinced by this but at least it makes me laugh! Anyway, the drop scones are a hit with me. I've made them several times in various guises. For pudding with maple syrup and pears or bananas. For an indulgent weekend breakfast with honey and berries. For a dinner party starter with added herbs and served with smoked trout and horseradish cream.

Here is the recipe I have used. I believe it is a Mary Berry recipe. Feel free to vary the batter. Good additions include cinnamon, raisins, blueberries or fresh herbs. An Aga is not necessary - these will be equally delicious cooked on a griddle or in a good non-stick frying pan! Please excuse a selection of terrible photos - light was awful and I was in a hurry to eat them.

'Aga' Drop Scones


4oz self-raising flour
1oz caster sugar (omit if making savoury pancakes and season with salt and pepper)
1 large egg
1/4 pint milk

1. Mix flour and sugar together and create a well in the centre.

2. Crack egg into the well and mix with a wooden spoon to combine.

3. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring between additions, until you have a smooth batter.

4. Lightly grease a frying pan, griddle or the top of the simmering plate on an Aga. If you have a solid fuel Aga like us, place a piece of non-stick silicone liner over the simmering plate. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto the pan or liner and leave to cook until bubbles begin to form on the surface. Carefully flip the drop scones with a palette knife and cook the other side. This should only take a minute or two.

5. Remove cooked scones from heat and keep soft in a clean tea-towel until ready to serve.


miss mary said...

Drop scones are the best things about an Aga! I miss them sooooo much!!!!

Glad to hear you're getting to grips with it :)


JannyBannyBee said...

Hey Antonia
FOund your blog when I googled drop scones and aga.....have my little boy's friend coming for tea tomorrow and since it's shrove tueday....found the mary berry recipe in my aga book but you have brought it to life with your fab pics and so as per your suggestion, I'm going to try mine added with raisins which I'll soak overnight tonight...can't wait to do them. Thank you!!!! Janny Banny Bee