Category: Breakfast

Recipe #14: Savoury Scones with bacon, leek and cheese

There is no question I’ve been doing a sh*! ton of baking in this house for the last two months. Thankfully I haven’t had a problem finding ingredients despite the run on household staples as we all went into State-ordered hibernation. I am still baffled by all the people who decided to take up baking (especially bread baking) when this pandemic forced all of us indoors. Why not knitting? Or drawing? Or guitar lessons?

Anyhow, I shouldn’t be poo pooing people’s ambitions to expand their culinary horizons. Baking is great. It’s cathartic and at the end of the activity, not only do you have a pile of dirty dishes to clean, but you also have something yummy and delicious to eat (hopefully).

One recipe that doesn’t require any yeast, is scones. My mom has been baking so many of these, I have this image of scores of scones tumbling out of her freezer as she opens the door. She calls all her baking “distractabaking.”

I found a great recipe for scones on the King Arthur Flour website and modified it with my own add-ins. I had some leeks that looked like they had only a few days left before being chucked so I saved them from a worse fate. I also had a chunk of Comte cheese that was growing a nice fuzzy green coat of mold, so I cut away all the mold and shredded what remained to add to the mixture. There was also some leftover cooked bacon and who doesn’t love bacon?

Scones originated in Ireland. There are so many variations (including how to pronounce the name–scON or scOHn?), I couldn’t possibly go into all the details. All I can tell you is that baking powder is the leavening agent used to make these rise. There are no eggs in this particular recipe, but some recipes do call for eggs.

You can switch up the add-ins to suit your own taste. I also like to make the kale parmesan version of these–a recipe that comes from Manresa Bread, which is a bakery in Campbell, California. Whatever you fancy–sweet or savoury–scones make a great snack or breakfast treat.

Bacon, Leek and Cheese Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated cheese of your choosing (the sharper the cheese, the more flavourful the scone IMO)
  • 1/3 cup diced and sauteed wilted leeks
  • 1 cup cooked bacon bits
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all the dry ingredients together with a whisk.

Add the butter, cut into small chunks, and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until it appears crumbly.

Add the cheese, leeks and bacon and combine thoroughly.

Pour the cream over the mixture and combine until the dough comes together and appears ragged.

Pour the mixture out onto a floured surface and squeeze together into a ball. Form the dough into a flat round about 3/4 of an inch high and approximately 7 inches wide. Transfer to a lined baking sheet.

With a regular knife or a bench knife, cut the disk into eight equal triangles. You can pull them apart a bit before baking, or you can do what I do and wait to completely cut them until they finish baking.

Brush the dough with a bit of cream before baking. This helps them brown nicely.

Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until they are browned on top.

Let them cool completely before serving. If there are leftovers (and that’s a big IF), place them in an air tight container in the fridge. They also freeze nicely. Pop them in the oven and reheat on low.

Mmm….bacon, leek and cheese scones!

This is 41

Last year my birthday fell on a Monday. It was the first day of a new job and I felt I couldn’t ask for the day off and really celebrate it the way I wanted to. I didn’t feel like telling my new colleagues, who were complete strangers to me. But I do remember buying myself a below average slice of red velvet cake at the coffee shop in the lobby of my building on my lunch break to mark the occasion.

I couldn’t even celebrate that night with my family because we were busy taking the kids to hockey games. It shouldn’t have bothered me because I was planning on celebrating that milestone birthday when the weather improved. Nevertheless the day was a bit of a disappointment and I vowed then that I would not let another birthday pass without marking the day in a special way.

Today began with breakfast in bed from my wonderful husband. Check out the apple swan he carved up! What he didn’t know was that I already had plans for breakfast with my Mom so the kids tucked into the cinnamon toast and scrambled eggs.

Breakfast in Bed
Breakfast in Bed

We headed over to Scratch Kitchen for breaky. I had this amazing dish called Soft Scrambled, which was full of sweet caramelized onions, pulled pork and other stuff I can’t remember on top of homemade rustic bread. Yum!

Soft Scrambled from Scratch Kitchen
Soft Scrambled from Scratch Kitchen

After breakfast we headed over to Costco (yeah, I know, not exactly the most exciting birthday destination) to do some shopping for food and other essentials. $325 later we bounced and hit the mall for a bit of retail therapy. The post-holiday sales were great, but most stuff was picked over so the choices were limited. I ended up getting a cute unstructured blazer from Maison Scotch for 70% off! Score!

Things picked up in the afternoon with a visit from my massage therapist who pummelled my leg muscles into submission. I thought I was going to barf it hurt so much. I have since learned there is a term for this sensation–it’s called an “autonomic response.” Apparently this is a good thing and means I am more in tune with my body. Not sure I need to feel everything to the point of being nauseated.

I whipped up a chocolate cake really quickly. I know what you’re thinking: “You mean you baked your own birthday cake? How depressing.” Not at all! I love to bake and it was cake in a box with homemade icing. Super easy. Super quick. Always a crowd pleaser. And pretty!

Chocolate Birthday Cake
Chocolate Birthday Cake

Dinner with the fam came next. It was perfect: Chinese buffet so the kids didn’t have to wait and order off a menu and they could pick what they wanted.

The night ended with a soak in the bath tub and the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.

It really was a great day. And that’s the point–it was great for me. I still think celebrating any birthday, milestone or not, is about more than the day itself. It’s about looking back and reflecting on how I grew and changed as a person over the last twelve months and what I managed to accomplish. It’s also an opportunity to look ahead to the next twelve months and set some goals. I’ve signed up for a half marathon. I want to take courses on photography and Photoshop and I’m chomping at the bit for another design project.

If this is what they call middle age, it feels pretty good to me.

This is 41
This is 41

New Year, Old Me

I can’t make New Year’s resolutions. I won’t keep them. I know myself well enough that it just won’t happen. I, like all humans, am a creature of habit. And breaking old habits, or creating new ones is tough. So rather than set myself up for failure (or success for that matter), I’m simply going to document myself–habits, good or bad–as a bit of a social experiment.

I’m starting with breakfast. I have a new habit that started back in 2013 after our trip to Costa Rica where my girlfriend made smoothies for us every single morning. So I now make myself smoothies almost every morning for breakfast. I recently purchased a Vitamix, which is the self-proclaimed king of blenders, because I’m convinced the quality of my smoothies will improve (ha!), although the real reason I purchased it was because it can blend frozen chunks of fruit, which my previous blender could not.

Today’s blend, however, is a bit of a departure for me. That, my friends, is where I am a creature of habit: banana, pineapple, spinach, almond milk. Done. Today’s blend: apple, kale, ginger, pineapple, almond milk. It’s definitely not as easy going down, but I could get used to it. And I think my body could use the nutrients.

Accompanying this lovely smoothie is a homemade granola bar care of Angela Liddon’s cook book, Oh She Glows. It’s the highlight of my morning with crispy bites of peanut butter and sea salt-laced oats intermingling with chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and other good for you stuff. I’m trying really hard not to gobble it up.

This is not a breakfast of denial. I enjoy this and my tummy thanks me for it. But I think I will have to expand my morning meal horizon and try and get some eggs or meat in there once in a while to boost the protein quotient.

I’m open to suggestions too–any good protein-packed lactose-free meals you can suggest would be helpful!

Green smoothie and a glo bar
Green smoothie and a glo bar