"Come for afternoon tea and I'll show you my new dining room furniture," read the invitation messaged by a dear friend. "I'll make some cheese scones and we can sit and chat over a gin and tonic."
Such is the sweet life in retirement. Instead of meeting requests, you receive invitations to civilised gatherings, such as afternoon tea. I'm there, knowing that there be no taking of minutes and the closest we'll get to talking about Question Time Briefs and the like is having a giggle over the latest episode of Utopia (a satirical comedy set in the offices of a government organisation).
You'll probably laugh when I tell you that I'm still pinching myself about being retired. I don't mean "pinching" as in literally squeezing skin between my fingers. No. That would hurt. What I'm saying is that I feel so very blessed to be able to kick back and enjoy the so-called "golden years" after working my butt off for forty years. And, believe me, work my butt off I did.
Those of you who are fortunate enough to be in "club retirement" with me will, perhaps, nod knowingly on reading these musings. Whereas, the spring chickens out there doing the daily grind might not be able to see light at the end of the tunnel, yet. To you, I say: be patient darlings, for your time will come. And when it does, be sure to live the blooming heck out of every single day.
Back to the topic of cheesy scones, I'm sharing two different recipes here. The first is for scones with cheese and chives. It's been a favourite on my repertoire for as long as I can remember. I love it, because there are always chives growing in my kitchen garden. The second is a 1940s receipt, adapted from the Country Women's Association of New South Wales cookbook of the day. You'll need powdered mustard, cayenne pepper and egg for that oldie but goodie. My preference is the cheese and chives scones. Happy baking.
CHEESE AND CHIVE SCONES
2 cups self-raising flour
30g unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup freshly grated cheddar or parmesan cheese
1 - 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
3/4-1 cup milk
Preheat your oven to 210 degrees C. Line a scone tray or cookie sheet with baking paper. Combine the sifted flour and butter in a mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 3/4-cup of the cheese and chives and mix until combined. Make a well in the centre. Pour the milk into the bowl and mix well with a butter knife or spatula to a soft, slightly sticky dough. Add a little extra flour or milk as required, but take care not to over-mix.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured bench, and pat it down until it's smooth. Roll or press out the dough to about 2cm thickness, and cut into rounds with a floured 5-cm cutter. Pack the scones closely on the prepared tray, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with butter. Makes 8.
CWA CHEESE SCONES
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup grated cheese
a pinch of salt, mustard powder and cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup milk
Sift the flour, salt, cayenne and mustard powder. Rub in the butter, add the cheese and moisten the mixture with the egg and milk. Roll out, cut with a small cutter, glaze with milk and cook in a hot oven on a greased slide for ten minutes or until golden in colour.
What's on your agenda these days, dear readers? And tell me, are you living life in the golden years, or doing the daily grind?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.