Cheese and chive scones with tomato relish and herby cream cheese

Cheese and chive scones with tomato relish and herby cream cheese


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Of all the foodie days on the calendar, one of my top favourites is National Cream Tea Day! I am an avid fan of all things tea time, and a good home-made fluffy scone is my idea of heaven when topped with rich, golden clotted cream and a dollop of fruity strawberry jam.

However, I am also a cheese addict and I adore cheese scones, especially when made at home to accompany bowls of thick velvety soup and hearty stews; but, there’s more to a cheese scone than acting simply as an accompaniment to the above, so why not make cheese scones the star of National Cream Tea Day as part of a savoury cream tea?

My three recipes for Cheese and chive scones, Quick tomato relish and Herb and garlic cream cheese will offer all savoury afternoon tea lovers the chance to indulge in a cream tea with a difference, and you can still enjoy a pot of tea to go with your cheesy, herb and tomato treats. A robust tea is what’s needed, and one of my favourites is assam, a dark and malty black tea with attitude.

As someone who was recently in Sri Lanka, and who had the privilege of ‘plucking tea’ over there, as well enjoying a tea tasting session in one of the plantations, another tea that would be the perfect accompaniment would be a Ceylon Broken Orange Pekoe tea, which is a tea full of character and flavour, and one that would hold its own when enjoyed with the cheese scones, tomato relish and herb cream cheese.

So, if cheese is more your thing, then here’s the perfect trio of recipes for you to make and enjoy this National Cream Tea Day, with a pot of tea of course, and why not make it a sweet and savoury affair by offering rich fruit scones with jam and cream for the ‘dessert’ course of your cream tea too!

  • Cheese and chive scones

  • 450g of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 110g of butter, soft, or margarine
  • 150g of mature cheddar, grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 150ml of buttermilk, or skimmed milk
  • Quick tomato relish

  • 1 onion, peeled and very finely diced
  • 250g of cherry tomatoes, small, quartered
  • 75g of sugar, white
  • 60ml of balsamic vinegar
  • Herb and garlic cream cheese

  • 225g of full-fat cream cheese, soft, at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp of herbs, fresh, such as chives, parsley, basil and thyme, very finely died (or use 2 tsp dried herbs is fresh are not available)
  • 1 tsp dried garlic granules
  • salt
  • pepper
To begin, make the relish. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and simmer for 20–30 minutes, until you have a thick, jam-like relish and all of the liquid has evaporated. Allow to cool and serve with scones, cold cuts, cheese or with burgers and hot dogs
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Grease and/or line a large baking tray
To make the scones, mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and rub the margarine or butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
Add most of the grated cheese, leaving some to scatter over the top of the scones, and mix well
Add the beaten egg to the milk and add to the dry mixture, leaving a little to glaze the top of the scones
Bring the mixture together with your hands until it forms a dough, place it onto a floured board and press it down with the back of your hands, being careful not to over handle it – it should be about 2cm thick
Cut out the scones with a 5cm scone cutter and place them on the prepared baking tray. Re-roll any dough that is left over, and continue to cut out the scones until it has all been used
Brush some of the egg and milk mixture over the top, sprinkle the reserved grated cheese over the scones and bake in the preheated oven for 12–15 minutes, until well-risen and golden brown
Meanwhile, make the herb and garlic cream cheese. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat it with a spoon to soften
Add the chopped fresh (or dried) herbs and the garlic granules to the cream cheese and mix well, using a hand-held whisk if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and store in a covered container in the fridge until needed
Place the scones on a wire cooling tray and eat warm, with butter, herb cream cheese and a dollop of the quick tomato relish
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