Magpie is a black and white bird. Shades of grey are unlikely, but there can be a flash of coloured inspiration, in peacock blue and green if she bothers to lift her wings and let the wind ruffle her feathers.
She fails to understand why the population gladly pays over the odds for mass produced, poor quality products that they could easily make themselves. No argument for convenience or lack of skills will stand up in the face of her disgust.
Take scones for example. (Sc-oh-ns… Scons…However you pronounce it). An easy bread to make, they are at their best only on the day they are made and best eaten still warm from the oven. What a wonderful and simple experience so many who claim to love them are missing. The solid, bicarb flavoured monstrosities in their infernal cellophane in the supermarket bear no resemblance to the light beauties that make their exit from the home bake oven with a cheesy flourish.
Simple is as simple does. So do. And believe that you can.
8oz self-raising flour (not traditional, but simpler than plain flour with added bicarb)
2oz butter (nothing else will do, I assure you).
scant teaspoon of salt
a healthy chunk of cheddar, or indeed any cheese that is lying forlorn in the fridge.
2-3 tblsp plain yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 180deg C.
Rub the butter and flour (with the salt) between your fingers until there are no more chunks of butter, just a heap of thin ‘breadcrumbs’ that stick together briefly like damp sand. If the butter is squishy, this process is quicker and altogether less frustrating.
Grate in the cheese. Make your own judgement how much you think should go in. (More is better but less is fine). Incorporate into the sand with your fingers.
Tip in the yoghurt and mix gently using a dinner knife (think Kenwood food mixer action) but don’t faff with it. If you over-handle the dough, the scones will be solid.
Dump the dough on a floured work surface and fashion a flat rock with your fingers, making it about 1.5″ in height.
Using a small mug or glass (Magpie still has no cutters, so she improvises with a half pint glass donated one night by a tipsy Janey on her way home from the pub), cut the shapes out of the dough and shake them onto the baking tray.
Place them in the oven on the top shelf or the middle of the oven for around 20 minutes.
Split, slake with butter and consume with gusto, letting the heady aromas of cheese mingle with the saltiness of the butter.
The scones in the picture have been made with a few ounces of wholemeal flour replacing some of the self-raising, so they haven’t risen as high as if they had been made entirely with self-raising and are browner than usual. Himself wants bacon in the morning, not porridge, so Magpie is delivering fibre through a different method from usual. Cunning bird.