Cheese and Herb Scones have a crisp exterior and a sturdy cheesy crumb. Warm from the oven, the scones pull apart in layers. Cheese and Herb Scones are a real tea time treat.




Three days of torrential rains left us cold, clammy, slushy and soggy.  How we pined for a clear sunny day. The grey sky seemed unrelenting. It kept pouring for another day.
Every monsoon, excess rainfall, rejuvenates a multitude of springs around our homestead.  The springs are seasonal and keep running for a good three months. Calming music of running and flowing water fills up the air. The sparkling water flows down the slope and recharges the aquifers below. Nature is so enigmatic, so enchanting and intricate beyond our understanding.


The rain refreshed forest is a bouquet of ferns of all shades and hues of green. This is also the season of abundance. Every plant, every tree is growing new shoots, new branches and new leaves. The herb garden is at its beautiful best.



The Rosemary looks robust.


The oregano has the broadest leaves ever and thyme looks luxuriant.



Last month somewhere in the fag end of summer, we harvested the herbs and prepared herb mix.  And, we used the homemade spice mix in the cheese and herbs scones.


The scones turned out crisp from outside and so soft from inside. Warm from the oven, the scones pull apart in layers. The cheesy and herby scones were had with a thick tomato soup for dinner. It was a real treat.


The scones are a pleasure to bake. It requires very little time to get them together. And the recipe is so versatile. Make them sweet or savoury, and use your imagination to use the add-ins to the basic dough. The result is always delicious. It is very important to cut the cold butter into small chunks and blend into the flour mixture. It should resemble coarse crumbs. The butter should be in uneven chunks. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. It is Ok if some butter chunks remain unincorporated.



Cheese And Herb Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (we are using salted butter and spice mix also has salt)
  • 2 tablespoons pizza seasoning / Italian spice mix.
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup to ¾ cup buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Keep butter in the freezer 30 minutes before you begin making scones.
  2. Line a baking tray with a parchment sheet.
  3. Whisk together first six ingredients.
  4. Add grated cheese. Mix well.
  5. Cut butter into small chunks. Rub the chunks into the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. It is OK to have some visible chunks of butter in the flour.
  6. Add buttermilk, a little at a time. With light hands, get the mixture together into a shaggy dough. Do not over mix.
  7. Add more buttermilk if and only if required.
  8. Transfer the mixture on the floured counter and knead lightly.  Shape into two 7 inch rounds.
  9. Transfer the rounds to a parchment sheet lined baking tray.
  10. Cut each round into 7 wedges with a bench knife or a sharp knife. Pull the wedges apart slightly so they have enough space to expand while baking.
  11. Keep the baking tray in the freezer for 30 minutes. This relaxes the gluten and helps the scones to rise well.
  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the top turns golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  13. Remove from the oven. Cool in the rack.
  14. Serve warm.

 Linking to #BreadBakers



    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread
    with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here.
    Links are also updated each month on this home page.


    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Our host this month is Sue Lau.
    She blogs at Palatable Pastime. She has lovely bakes on her blog.
    Check out the lovely scones baked by our members.

    BreadBakers




  • Angel Biscuits from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Buttery Jeera Biscuits from Sneha's Recipe
  • Cheddar Herb Scones from Food Lust People Love
  • Cheddar and Chive Blossom Scones from Palatable Pastime
  • Cheese and Herbs Scones from Ambrosia
  • Chocolate Scones from Passion Kneaded
  • Freeze and Bake Yeasted Mini Ginger Scones from A Messy Kitchen
  • Laminated Biscuits from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
  • Herbed Angel Biscuits from The Schizo Chef
  • Sourdough Orange Biscuits from Zesty South Indian
  • Sourdough Sandwich Biscuits from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Yeast-Raised Angel Biscuits from Making Miracles




  • It is the season of apricots in our hills. The season is short and lasts only for a few weeks. Different varieties ripen at a slightly different period giving enough length of time to enjoy the delicious little golden fruits.The fruition got delayed this year due to intermittent cold spells.


    The four Apricot trees are laden with fruit. Every morning, it’s a ritual to walk to the orchard and collect the Sun ripened apricots strewn on the dew laden grass. Naturally ripened Apricots have a great flavour and sweetness. 



    Last week, all the ripe Apricots were plucked from the trees. Half were used to make Apricot jam. Some were eaten fresh while some were use to bake an Apricot cake. Even the seeds are of value. Kids love to break the shell of the seed and eat the sweet almond hidden inside.


    Sometimes simple recipes hold so much charm. Adding fresh fruit to bakes takes them to another level. 



    Apricot cake has ¾ cup diced ripe sweet apricots. Every bite has juicy apricots that become fudgy when baked. It is such a delicious summery bake.


    Make sure to use ripe and sweet apricots for the cake.

    Eggless Apricot Cake

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup unrefined sugar
    • ¾ cup warm milk
    • ¼ cup butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ¾   cup diced apricot
    • Zest of one lemon
    • 2 apricots cut into long thin slices and one apricot halved.

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together first five ingredients.
    3. Add butter to warm milk. Let the butter melt completely.
    4. Add vanilla extract.
    5. Add dry ingredients and mix till you get a smooth batter.
    6. Fold in diced apricots and lemon zest.
    7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
    8. Arrange the apricot slices on the top to make a spiral pattern. Place the apricot half in the center.
    9. Bake for 40 -45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    10. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool in the rack.
    11. Slice when cold.




    Pear Cake is delicately flavoured with cinnamon. Two cups of chopped pears go into the batter. It has a very light crumb and is full of juicy pear bits and crunchy walnuts. Every bite is a burst of flavours, and amalgamation of different textures. It is a low fat cake and is very delicious. It makes a great breakfast cake and is a tasty accompaniment to a cup of tea.






    The pears trees in our homestead are the old trees some as old as 30 to 40 years or more. 





    These are gritty, juicy, and sweet pears albeit not very good looking ones. They have blotchy skin and are spindle-shaped. These pears don’t command a good price in the market. After all, good looks sell.


    Most of the farmers in the village are now growing a small variety of pears that are round and juicy and have a lovely smooth yellow skin. These pears ripen early and fetch a good price.
    Last week, one of our neighbours got a bag full of these pears. Most of the pears were eaten and some saved to bake a Pear Cake.


    Pear Cake is delicately flavoured with cinnamon. Two cups of chopped pears go into the batter. It has a very light crumb and is full of juicy pear bits and crunchy walnuts. Every bite is a burst of flavours, and amalgamation of different textures. It is a low fat cake and is very delicious. It makes a great breakfast cake and is a tasty accompaniment to a cup of tea.



    Last year I baked Wholegrain  Pear Cinnamon Cake. The cake has a lovely aroma of cinnamon and has the goodness of wholewheat flour



    Low Fat Pear Cake

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups chopped pears ( ripe  and soft)
    • 1 cup unrefined sugar
    • Juice of one lemon
    • 2 free-range egg whites
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • ½ cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon (scant) salt
    • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Instructions

    1. In a deep bowl, take chopped pears and sugar. Add lemon juice. Give a good stir. Cover and keep for one hour.
    2. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease and dust one medium size bundt pan or a regular 8 inch round cake pan.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk together the last four dry ingredients.
    4. Beat the egg whites till fluffy. Add oil. Mix well.
    5. To this add pear mixture. Add dry ingredients. Mix well so that there are no dry pockets or lumps.
    6. Fold in chopped walnuts.
    7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top turns golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    8. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan after 6-8 minutes.
    9. Invert on the rack to cool.
    10. Slice the next day.



     Vanilla Wholegrain Cake has a tender and moist crumb. The berry compote made with the wild berries collected from the forest compliments the cake.




    It was a foggy morning this Saturday. As the day progressed, it was calm and overcast. 


    Last year around mid-June, we had spotted some berries growing wild in the forest. We discovered the berries to be black raspberries. 



    Hoping to find the berries again, we went to the adjoining forest. Forest trail was serene and cushioned heavily with leaves and petals.  The dancing treetops and the rustling of the leaves felt like a gentle whisper. Such surroundings quieten the mind and your soul feels at rest.


    Forests in the hills are treasures of edible wild berries and fruits. Cold weather and almost negligible human intervention favours the exuberance of wild growth. We reached the same site and discovered fruit-laden branches. Some were eaten right from the plants and some collected.
    We got home some cuttings from the older plants and planted in our garden. Nature is amazing and kind and there is something magical about the salubrious Himalayan clime. All the cuttings survived.


    Black raspberry is almost like the red raspberry. Red raspberry is very common while black raspberries are a unique type and only grows in certain locations. The ripe fruits are sweet and juicy and full of tiny crunchy seeds. The berries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.


    A wholegrain cake was baked this weekend. We made compote with the black raspberries, Golden Himalayan Raspberries( Hisalu) and homegrown strawberries


    Sustainable baking is all about sourcing all the ingredients locally and from around. Most of the ingredients that went into the cake are sourced locally.
    The cake turned out moist and soft. The compote complimented the vanilla cake.


    You may use any local fruit or berries to make the compote. It adds so much zing to the cake and is a pleasant change from the regular ganache frosting.

    Wholegrain Vanilla Cake (Eggless) With Wild Berry Compote

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • ¼ cup melted butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon white vinegar/apple cider vinegar

    Wild Berry Compote

    • 1 cup mixed berries
    • 1/4 cup water or orange juice
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • 2-3 tablespoons sugar

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
    2. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk together first four dry ingredients.
    4. In another deep bowl, take the milk and heat it until warm. Add Butter.
    5. Add vanilla extract.
    6. Add dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
    7. Add vinegar and mix well. The batter will begin to bubble and feel light.
    8. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top turns golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
    9. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan after 5-6 minutes.
    10. Cool in the rack.

    Wild Berry Compote

    Mash the wild berries with a fork. Transfer the mashed berries to a steel wok. Add water or juice and lemon juice and sugar. Cook on medium heat till the mixture bubbles and attains a thick sauce-like consistency.
    Cool. Pour on the cooled cake.





    Cornmeal bread has a lovely taste of cornmeal. The crumb is very airy and soft. Makes a great breakfast bread.



    It is mid-summer and it is too early for the rains. The pitter-patter returns to the forest and brings out nature’s magic. Brown pathways turn verdant green, reviving the ferns and foliage. Rain washes everything anew and adds so much richness to each hue.


    A bright day after a week of torrential rains is the most beautiful thing one can ask for. The hills were fog-laden and clouds took on strange shapes. Some like dragons, some like demons, and some like puffed cotton balls.


    The rains caused rain lilies to bloom before time.


    Hydrangea heads looked bigger and vibrant.


    It gives so much happiness to see the tiny plants nurtured a year back blooming in all glory.


    Dainty daisies brightened up a corner of the garden.

    Warm weather calls for baking bread. We had some cornmeal sourced from a village shop.  Farmers in our village grow corn. Tender corns are roasted on the wood fire and enjoyed with homemade garlic chilly salt smeared generously on corn with sliced lemon. Corn kernels are cooked. And the excess corn is dried. The dry kernels are made into flour and stored. After the corn is harvested, the plant becomes fodder for the cattle. Nothing goes waste. Sustainable living is a way of life in the hills.


    We decided to bake a cornmeal bread. The bread came out very soft with a mild cornmeal flavour. Cornmeal also lends a beautiful golden colour to the bread. The bread toasts well.
    We loved the warm buttered toasted slices with homemade apple jelly.


    Yeast Corn Breakfast Bread (Vegan)

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
    • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 1  cup warm water ( 1-2 tablespoons more if required)
    • 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
    • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast

    Instructions

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together first three ingredients.
    2. Add sugar and yeast to warm water in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes. It will turn frothy.
    3. Add yeast mix to flour mix. Add oil. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Form a sticky mess initially, the dough will become smooth and elastic and a little tacky. Add more water if it feels dry or hard. The dough should be soft and a little sticky.
    4. Transfer the dough into a greased pan. Turn around once to coat evenly with oil. Cover and keep to rise for 1 hour or until it doubles.
    5. Grease one 8 ½ x4 ½ inch loaf pan.
    6. Punch dough down. Shape into a loaf and place into the prepared pan seam side down. Cover and keep in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until double.
    7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top turns golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.
    8. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
    9. Slice the next day.

     Linking to #BreadBakers
    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers.
    We get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.
    Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
    Our host this month is Stacy Livingston Rushton who blogs at Food Lust People Love .
    Her blog has lovely recipes.
    Also, check out  the cornmeal recipe posted by out enthusiastic bakers


    BreadBakers

  • Bacon Country Bread with Corn from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Corn Bread from Sneha's Recipe
  • Grits Sandwich Bread from Pastry Chef Online
  • Honey Skillet Cornbread from Making Miracles
  • Hot Water Cornbread from Palatable Pastime
  • Iowa "Corn" Pancakes from A Messy Kitchen
  • Polenta Rosemary Garlic Sourdough Bread from Spiceroots
  • Polenta-Crusted, Kernel-Dotted Sourdough from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
  • Sourdough Cornmeal Dinner Rolls from Zesty South Indian Kitchen
  • Southwestern Chicken Skillet with Cornbread Topping from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Studded Golden Cornbread from What Smells So Good?
  • Sweet Peach Cornbread from Food Lust People Love
  • Yeast Corn Breakfast Bread from Ambrosia





  • Nettle bread has a soft and airy crumb and a pleasing green colour. It has all the goodness that the nettle has to offer. The slices toast very well and also make great sandwiches.


    Rain laden clouds are looming low on the horizon. Another heavy downpour is expected soon. The weather has been quite strange this year. It has been a wet summer so far.



    The clouds rumble and grumble and a strong breeze makes the trees sway. Soon the rain begins to fall and becomes intense and there are undulating curtains of rain moving across the valley with the wind.

    A flash of sunlight in the evening creates a rainbow far in the valley.

    Cold and wet evenings call for healthy and simple meals. Living in a forest, and love for a sustainable living makes one forage and try out the wild and obscure food growing around the area. Dependence on store-bought food is minimal.



    Recent rainfall has caused the plants of stinging nettles sprout everywhere around our homestead. Old bushes have become lush and healthy. These needed to be pruned and this is where we got the star ingredient of our bread.



    Remember to use a pair of gloves to harvest nettle and pick only the tip and the first two leaves.

    Nettle imparts a deep green colour and to the loaf. The loaf has all the health benefits that nettle has to offer and goes well with a hearty soup. It is believed that nettle is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants.



    The slices toast well and are best enjoyed with a generous lashing of butter.



    Last year, I baked Wholegrain Nettle Bread.  The blanched leaves were chopped and added to the dough. 



     This time I pureed the blanched leaves and added while kneading the dough. The loaf turned out to be green and flavourful with a soft airy crumb.

    Himalayan Nettle Breakfast Bread (Vegan)

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar or honey (for a non-vegan version)
    • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
    • ¾ cup of warm water
    • 2 cups tightly packed fresh young nettle leaves

    Instructions

    1. Blanch the nettles in boiling water, lightly salted water until tender, about 1-2 minutes. Discard water, add a little cold water and blend to get a fine puree. Keep aside.
    2. Dissolve sugar in warm water and add yeast. Stir, cover and keep for 10 minutes. The mixture will turn frothy.
    3. Whisk together first four ingredients (dry ingredients) in a large bowl.
    4. Make a well in the center. Add pureed nettles. Add yeast mixture. Mix the ingredients and knead the dough. Add warm water if the dough is feeling dry. Knead to get a smooth, soft and supple dough.
    5. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that the dough is evenly coated with oil. Keep in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until it doubles in volume.
    6. Grease one 8 ½ x 4 ½ inches loaf pan.
    7. Punch the dough and roll into a rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you are using.
    8. Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal. Place the roll in the greased loaf tin with the seam side down. Cover and keep it to rise for 1 hour or till the loaf becomes double its size.
    9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the bread becomes brown and the bottom of the tin sounds hollow when tapped.
    10. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
    11. Remove from the oven and remove from the tin after 10 minutes.
    12. Cool and slice it the next day.

     

     


    Cardamom Cake has a delicate buttery crumb infused with the beautiful aroma of cardamoms. It is a lovely accompaniment to tea. It makes a great dessert when served with warm custard or ice cream





    This gluten-free chocolate cake made with water caltrop flour has a light texture, airy crumb. The flavor of water caltrop flour melds beautifully with chocolate to give a unique taste.




    Baking a glutenfree cake was on my mind for a long time. A flour that I always wanted to use in my baking is the freshwater caltrop flour. The flour has a light texture and a subtle sweetness. My mother makes delicious halwa with it. It has a great flavour that is unique. Popularly known as Singhara atta, the flour is rich in potassium and low in sodium. It is a good source of iron, calcium, phosphorous and zinc. It is a source of good carbohydrates and minerals. It is rich in dietary fibre and a good source of energy.


    Singhara atta, also known as water chestnut, water caltrop and paniphal is very popular during fasts and a lot of delicacies are prepared with it. It is gluten-free flour.

    Last week, I baked a chocolate cake with water caltrop flour. The cake rose well. My apprehensions were allayed when family tasted it and let out joyous notes. It had a great taste and texture. Kids loved the taste and that was a huge signal that the experiment was a success. A new recipe was born and compiled.



    The crumb was a little dry. We enjoyed the chocolaty slices loaded with ganache. We had half of it next day with warm custard.


    Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

    Ingredients

    • 1 ¼ cups water chestnut flour
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
    • 1 cup unrefined cane sugar
    • 2 free-range eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 100ml buttermilk

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together first five ingredients. Pass the mixture through a strainer to remove lumps.
    3. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well.
    4. Add vanilla extract.
    5. Now add dry ingredients. Add in three shifts. Every time you add flour mixture, add buttermilk and mix well. The batter will be light, smooth and thick.
    6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top turns golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
    7. Turn off the heat and let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
    8. Invert onto the rack to cool.
    9. Slice when cold.
    10. Drizzle some ganache on top or serve with warm custard or icecream.




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