Here's a really gorgeous savoury scone recipe, which I've cut into fingers for the sole purpose of dunking into a nice big bowl of soup. By all means cut these into rounds or squares instead, (in fact little round ones halved, with something lovely on the top would make a really gorgeous party nibble or canapé.). The flavours are punchy, just how I like them - along with the sun-dried tomato is cayenne, mustard and garlic, then the crunch of pine nuts. These are just as good, (in fact better!), than any cheese scone I've had recently!
You absolutely must try one straight from the oven, spread with margarine - to die for. If you're making these to serve to friends and family, just bake them for 5 minutes less than the instructions, keep them in an airtight container overnight, then do the last 5 minutes of cooking at the last minute to make sure they are at their very best. Of course they are also good cold, and would be great to take on a picnic.
The idea for these came from some homemade sun-dried tomatoes I've been experimenting with recently. Yes, I know tomatoes aren't quite in season yet, I've been scouring supermarket bargain bins for the nearly out-of-date ones!
Dehydrating is a fantastic way of preserving food, because it draws out the moisture and concentrates the flavours, which is why sun-dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms and so many dried berries and fruits are so intensely flavoured, and last a long time when stored correctly.
I've discovered that a dehydrator is a perfect piece of kit for anyone with toddlers - we've been making our own sweet potato crisps with very little oil and salt (following this recipe by Janice at FarmersGirl Kitchen), fruit leather rollups which cost an arm and a leg in supermarkets but pennies to make yourself, chewy apple chips (a huge hit), banana and strawberry slices for morning museli, and more. Its so nice to know that these contain nothing but fruit or veg, and are really nutritious as well as lots of fun to make together - particularly as you can open the drawers whilst it is on to check how things are getting on.
The foodie in me is loving the intense flavours you can create for everyday cooking. I over-dried some tomatoes on my first experiment - they were a bit tough, so I blitzed them to a fine powder in my Optimum 9200A and now sprinkle it into pasta sauces, chillis and all sorts of dishes to add some deep, savoury tomatoeyness. And I've made some really lovely dried mushroom slices at a fraction of the price of those you buy in supermarkets - OK so they are not quite as fabulous as porcini, but still make a really deep mushroom risotto for everyday meals when I can't justify £3 worth of porcini!
I should say that this is a fairly big piece of kit - mine lives in the spare room at the moment as it's not really something you can keep on the kitchen worktop, but that's not much of a problem - most things need between 5-10 hours to dry, so having it shut away upstairs is a good thing, (the fan is fairly noisy).
This will be great at the end of the summer when we get gluts of fruit and veg from the garden - I usually end up freezing everything we don't use immediately, but now have a whole new range of options to try.... kale chips, dried blackcurrants, lots more sun-dried tomatoes to give away in pretty jars, etc....!
And finally - I've included the instructions for making sun-dried tomatoes in a dehydrator at the bottom of this post - scroll down to find them.
Now back to those scones... I made mine dairy-free, but if you're not vegan and don't have dairy-free margarine or chia seeds to hand, these would also work really well with butter and one egg replacing the chia seed and water mix.
Sun-Dried Tomato & Pine Nut Scone Fingers
- 1 tbsp ground/milled chia or flax seeds
- 3 tbsp water
- 200 g plain flour (or half wholemeal and half plain white)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 70 g dairy-free block margarine (my favourites are Stork [in a block, not the tubs], or Tomor)
- 4 tbsp soya yoghurt
- 2 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp 'lazy' garlic (or 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed)
- 50 g sun-dried tomatoes (about 8-10 pieces), finely chopped
- 50 g pine nuts
- a little soya or nut milk to glaze
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
- Mix the chia/flax seeds and water together in a bowl, and set aside whilst they turn 'gloopy'.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Cut the margarine into cubes, then rub it in to the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add to the chia/flax seeds the yoghurt, mustard, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, and pour this mixture in to the dry ingredients, mix with a knife and bring together into a soft dough. Do not over-knead, just mix until everything is combined.
- Tip the dough onto a floured surface, and roll out into a rough rectangle shape about 2-3cm thick. With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into three equal pieces, then cut each diagonally across to form 6 triangles. Place these on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment or greaseproof paper, and brush the tops with a little soya milk.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
How to make Sun-Dried Tomatoes in a Dehydrator
- Cut each tomato into quarters (or halves for small cherry tomatoes), and remove the seeds whilst leaving the flesh in tact, (see picture above).
- Scatter the quarters with a little salt and any herbs you wish to use, (I used oregano and thyme).
- Place skin-side down on the dehydrator trays, and set for 7 hours at 52°C. After a few hours, turn the tomatoes over and press flat, then a few hours later turn back to skin-side down.
- After 7 hours, check to see whether they are ready - they should be pliable but completely dried. They may need a few more hours.
- You can either store them as they are, and soak in a little boiling water before using, or pack into jars and fill with a good quality olive or rapeseed oil.
NB. 6 medium tomatoes filled just over a third of a standard size jam jar, so you would need around 15-18 tomatoes per jar. (I know, that sounds a lot, but they do last a long time!)
For more dehydrator recipes from blogging friends, take a look at:
- Nettle Powder Smoothie by Choclette from Tin & Thyme
- Vegan Cheese & Onion Kale Chips by Cathy from Planet Veggie
- Vegan Banana Bread Biscuits by Cathy from Planet Veggie
- Vegan Cheese & Onion Flavour Spinach Chips by Cathy from Planet Veggie
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