The challenge had proved
an easy a popular one with lots of bloggers taking part for the first time and Dom had been somewhat gleeful in his expectation that at least some of the “Virgins” might find a normal challenge somewhat harder to complete.
Needless to say, that made it essential that I took part this month!
Dom posted that this (the 19th challenge) would go back to basics – back to the original challenge. The idea being to somehow randomly chose a cookbook, randomly choose a page, and cook the recipe – no cheating! The only tweaks allowed are those for health/dietary/product availability reasons.
Cookbooks were duly piled (spines facing away from me so that I couldn’t cheat!) and one grabbed (note for future reference – pulling a book out of the middle of a stack has messy consequences if it is a big pile…).
My choice turned out to be the thrillingly titled “Potato” by Alex Barker with recipes by Sally Mansfield. I remember picking this up in the book section of a local garden centre. Not sure why it caught my eye but a quick flick through the pages had obviously persuaded me that it was worth £4.99 at the time.
I was someone nervous of choosing the recipe – a lovely hot day in August wasn’t an obvious choice for a potato recipe – but I duly opened the book, somewhere towards the back.
Initially I was pleased – scones are acceptable to bake on a hot day! Then I panicked – did I have any sweet potato? I know ingredients could be subbed due to availability but subbing the main ingredient seemed a bit off… Maybe I could chose again?
In my mind I could hear Dom laugh and pictured a smug look on his face at my failing at the first hurdle so I decided even if it meant a drive to the shop, I was going to make these scones! Imagine my relief when a glance over to the veg rack actually revealed the presence of (cue drum roll) A Sweet Potato!
Naturally I substituted gluten free flour (just Dove’s Plain GF Flour) for the flour in the recipe. Everything else was the same. However my results did NOT match the instructions and pictures in the book! It may have been the humidity, or (more probably) the fact that I didn’t use cold mashed potato (I’ve previously found this can affect such recipes) but my dough did not end up able to be rolled out and cut in the traditional scone manner. I improvised by dividing the mixture in to a greased muffin baking tray and that seemed to do the job.
Sweet Potato Scones
adapted from Potato by Alex Barker & Sally Mansfield
Butter, for greasing
150g/5oz/1¼ cups plain flour (I used Dove’s Plain GF Flour)
20ml/4 tsp baking powder
5ml/1 tsp salt [Update: I think this is an error in the recipe - don't use this much! Try 1/4tsp]
15g/½oz/1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
150g/5oz mashed sweet potatoes
150ml/¼ pint/ 2/3 cup milk [Update: Another questionnable part of the recipe. Add milk till the dough is firm & smooth enough to roll out]
50g/2oz/4 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
Preheat your oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8 and grease a baking sheet (or, if you end up like me with a wet dough, a muffin pan tray).
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder in to a bowl. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl mix your mashed sweet potato with the milk and melted margarine/butter. I added mine to still-hot potato which I think may have affected the result so I advise sticking to the original method. Either way, beat well to blend.
Add the flour to the sweet potato mixture and stir to form a dough – or a batter, if it turns out like mine! If you DO have a dough, turn it out on to a lightly floured surface, knead gently until soft and pliable then roll/pat out to 1cm thickness and cut into rounds with a 4cm cutter and place on to your baking sheet. Alternatively, measure out equally into your muffin tin!
Bake for about 15 minutes until risen and lightly golden.
Even though these didn’t turn out like the recipe suggested (though actually their picture if you looked carefully enough wasn’t THAT different) they were really yummy.
The book suggests having them warm just with some butter, which I tried. I also think they would taste great with a really strong cheese – you know the sort that leaves the roof of your mouth aching? I also want to try them with some bacon jam (which happily I am due to make tomorrow for our gluten free sandwich round).
One note: I am used to seasoning my food and, as I think many chefs/foodies find, I can find recipes quite bland. However the teaspoon of salt in this recipe really came through. This might have been because I salted the water that the potatoes were cooked in very well. Either way, I think someone unused to such seasoning may notice the salt. If you think that applies to you, either don’t salt your cooking water for the potatoes or halve the amount of salt in the recipe.