Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}

These gluten-free Honey Apple Spice Scones are not very sweet, making them the perfect match for lashings of homemade jam.

Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}

These scones are hitting all the right notes for me at the moment and are what I have been craving all week before I had even tried the recipe out.

Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}

I woke up with a bang this morning knowing I wanted scones for breakfast. Yes, that’s what I had been missing all week and as soon as I realised that laying in bed at 6am they were the only thing that could possibly satisfy me. I tried eating a piece of toast only to give most of it to Cole when it just didn’t feel right. So after I bundled him off to nursery, I came back home, raided my larder and fridge for the right ingredients and 30 minutes later was enjoying the scone (ahem scones) that I had been craving.

Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}

Do note that these are not sweet scones despite the fact that there is both apples and honey in the title. I would normally put about 60g of sugar in my scones but I just didn’t want that for my breakfast today so instead substituted the sugar with honey which tones down the sweetness of the scone immeasurably. The burst of dessert apple in every mouthful also keeps the scones from feeling too savoury but really what you want here is to ladle your scones with the very best homemade jam. I ate mine slathered in last week’s Damson Orange Cinnamon Jam and the combination of spices and deep rich autumnal flavour was perfect.

Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}

After I had eaten my fill of jammy scones I then attacked them with a generous slather of salted butter which was also excellent as the gentle spices and apples were given the chance to shine. I made the scones smaller than I normally would and just made a small batch of 12. I doubt they’ll last the day once a hungry husband and toddler come home but that’s all for the best as scones are only really worthwhile on the day they are baked.

Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}

Print Recipe
Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}
These gluten-free Honey Apple Spice Scones are not very sweet, making them the perfect match for lashings of homemade jam.
Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
12 scones
Ingredients
  • 100 g sweet rice flour
  • 70 g oat flour
  • 55 g sorghum flour
  • 25 g tapioca flour
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 50 g cold unsalted butter sliced thinly
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg +1 for the egg wash
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 dessert apple peeled, cored and cubed
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
12 scones
Ingredients
  • 100 g sweet rice flour
  • 70 g oat flour
  • 55 g sorghum flour
  • 25 g tapioca flour
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 50 g cold unsalted butter sliced thinly
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg +1 for the egg wash
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 dessert apple peeled, cored and cubed
Honey Apple Spice Scones {gluten-free}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Sift the flours with the spices, baking powder and salt, then drop in the butter, rubbing together to form a breadcrumb texture.
  3. In a jug whisk the eggs into the milk with the honey and pour into the flour mixture.
  4. Stir together with a wooden spoon to bring together then turn out onto a clean work surface dusted with oat flour and using your hands gently turn the mixture round and round. As it is coming together sprinkle in the apple pieces bit by bit so they are evenly distributed. Carry on turning the dough a little longer until it forms a smooth dough which is no longer sticky.
  5. Press the dough out into an even round 1 inch thick and cut out the scones using 5cm round cutter.
  6. Place the scones on a large baking tray and brush the top of each scone lightly with whisked egg.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top of the scones are beautifully golden.

Strawberry Honey Cake

A beautiful summer inspired Strawberry Honey Cake.

Strawberry Honey Cake.
It was an exciting moment this week when I found the first of the British strawberries in the supermarket. I love their newly prolonged season, especially since I never get bored of a strawberry. As Spring moves into Summer the taste of the strawberries evolve meaning you get a little bit of something different as the seasons progress.

Strawberry Honey Cake

These strawberries I took home this week were sweet and juicy. It was excellent forward thinking on my part that I had picked up a couple of punnets as the first one was unashamedly eaten during the prepping stages of baking this cake.

Strawberry Honey Cake

I couldn’t help but pair this cake with honey, I have been collecting local honey from all the little farm shops and farmer’s markets I have been visiting these past few months so I have quite the larder full. I chose a light clear floral honey for the cake and baked it into the batter along with some sour cream to add density and offset the sweetness. I then topped the cake in the same way, a simple buttercream which I then imbued with more of the honey and sour cream.

Strawberry Honey Cake

Strawberry Honey Cake is a perfect teatime treat, enjoyed out in the garden with the distant sound of a lawnmower buzzing in the background. Although it did lead me to contemplate what a sorry state my garden is actually in at the moment and fret over the grassless lawn and ghostly pots of long gone plants so it wasn’t the perfect idyll.

Strawberry Honey Cake

I regret not drizzling my finished cake with honey as well before I took the photos, the idea only came to me as I was tucking into the cake afterwards. The extra drizzle really lifted the strawberries and accentuated the honey so make sure you don’t forget it like me.

Print Recipe
Strawberry Honey Cake
A beautiful summer inspired Strawberry Honey Cake.
Strawberry Honey Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 270 g plain flour *for gluten-free see below
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 150 g strawberries hulled and chopped into quarters
Honey Buttercream:
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 165 g icing sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • 50 g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 270 g plain flour *for gluten-free see below
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 150 g strawberries hulled and chopped into quarters
Honey Buttercream:
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 165 g icing sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • 50 g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
Strawberry Honey Cake
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes until pale and fluffy
  3. Add the eggs one at a time until fully combined.
  4. Pour in the honey and mix well, then the vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour to the rest of the cake batter, mixing well. Then follow with half the sour cream, mix it in then another 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the sour cream then the last third of the flour. Mix until the batter has just combined.
  7. Pour nearly all of the cake batter into the baking tin.
  8. Puncture the batter with the chopped strawberries in a single layer before spreading on the very last of the cake batter to cover the strawberries.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack completely before icing.
  10. For the honey buttercream beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  11. Pour in the honey, sour cream and a pinch of salt and mix until completely combined.
  12. Using a palette knife spread the buttercream thickly on top of the cake.
  13. Decorate with strawberries and drizzled honey.
Recipe Notes

* For a gluten-free version of the cake, substitute the plain flour for a blend of:
60g sweet rice flour
45g oat flour
35g millet flour
20g potato starch
15g tapioca flour

Skopolos

I can only apologise for my tardiness in posting lately. I have been away but I felt the wrench of leaving my blog behind nearly as much as it pained me to say goodbye to my three little monsters for a week. However, it was generally decreed that we all needed a jolly good holiday. Willow and Wesley went south to be puppy-free where they could play with their toys to their hearts’ content at my mother’s in Berkshire and Billy Buddy went in the opposite direction to my in-laws to spend the week on the canals of Cambridgeshire. Meanwhile, before any of our parents could change their mind and demand their money back we hightailed it to the nearest airport and boarded a plane for the remote Greek island of Skopolos.

It has been over a year since our last holiday, our much talked about adventure in the deep south of America, but this year has been so busy that we craved the complete opposite of that experience. My husband has been sweating it out in the unrelenting demands of a job in the city and ever since I quit working as a TV producer last year I have been toiling to carve out the rewarding existence I had promised myself. The addition of Billy Buddy to our household was the final piece of lego to turn our lives back to front and upside down. Stroud Green Larder and Billy have given my days a fulfilling and haphazard structure but loving what you do so entirely means that it’s sometimes too hard to take a break.

The past few months I have been dreaming of white-washed buildings, cobblestones underfoot, awe-inspiring vistas, the crystal clarity of the azure ocean but most importantly, a pool, a Kindle chock full of the pulpiest material and gin and tonics on tap.

It’s a bit of trek to Skopolos, our taxi collected us from North London at 1.30am to take us to Gatwick. The early hour was only made bearable by a very chatty cabbie who was giving us all the gossip of his celebrity passengers; Gary Barlow – miserable, Michael Barrymore – horrendously drunk, Nadine from Girls Aloud – the most normal of the band, Jude Law – a top notch bloke.

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The flight to Skiathos in Greece is only 3 hours, but then you taxi it down to the port and then jump on the catamaran to the neighbouring island of Skopolos. Due to lack of sleep and then plane delays which meant we had to hang around on the runway for an age and then missed our catamaran connection, the journey felt as torturous as the time I was forced to watch the extended cut of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. By the time we had dragged our rental car up the vertical incline of the Skopolos mountains to reach our villa nestled in olive trees we were fit to drop. And we did, directly into our pool’s embrace, not to emerge for the whole week.

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You may not have heard of Skopolos but you may have seen it as it was the prime location for Mamma Mia. Luckily the island has mostly survived unscathed by the experience, the only impact this had on us was that we had a great game location- spotting on our various trips out. Now I don’t like Abba music at all, which is strange as I am not at all discerning in my music tastes. However, I do love the film due to its sheer cheeriness, and the best scene without question is Meryl Streep’s fabulously over the top performance of The Winner Takes it All and her utter commitment to wresting such unbridled emotion from every single lyric as she’s flinging her arms and her shawl about on the stone cragged steps leading up to her daughter’s scenic wedding chapel.

The chapel of Agios Ioannis, where this scene was filmed, is considered the ultimate in tourist destinations, and was so even before the film. Our visit was purely magical and not just because of its location where waves crash wickedly beneath the plummeting steps carved steeply into the rock, but because of what we found at the top. It was a surprise as we were struggling up the perilous incline when a be-suited and flustered man tore down the stone stairway, nearly sending us to our doom, followed in hot pursuit by a blonde beauty in a scarlet dress and high heels giggling about what a hurry they were in. I mean I was struggling in my trainers, how she ran down the steps in her skyscrapers without plunging into the sea is absolutely commendable. It soon became apparent when we climbed the last few steps what their hurry was as a bride was looking on bemused at the commotion, tucked behind a flour white wall before her grand entrance, as her maid of honour and the best man raced to fetch the forgotten wedding rings, 100m below in the car.

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It was there then that we witnessed the most romantic wedding I have ever been to. A delicate aisle made from white gauze set the scene just outside the matchbox sized chapel, as high as the clouds, where ribbons breezily hung from a stooped tree as the sun set in the background of this most intimate of gatherings. It made Mamma Mia seem like a circus show. The wedding party were delightfully tolerant of the cluster of five or six tourists lolling about discreetly, snapping away at their special moment.

Now, I am very fortunate that I am a cat lover. Or cat obsessive, whatever. If I were to live in a sci-fi novel then I would definitely like to live on a planet of cats and Greece does not have that long to go before that sci-fi sitch is made a reality. There are cats ev-er-ry-where, which was quite honestly brilliant! Our villa even came with 3 cats, a little kitten whom we christened Jessop before we had even got out of the car on day one, her pregnant mum, Penny and her Dad Agamemnon, named just because we were in Greece – we weren’t much more imaginative than that. There were cats weaving in and out of your legs as you ate your meals in courtyard restaurants, there were cats sleeping on stone steps, doorways, shop windows and street benches. The local cats are known to all the residents and we were given a running commentary on all the cats in one bar we went to, one particular cat that slunk by was singled out for being a ‘bad cat.’ When we enquired as to why we were told that he liked to bite the other cats. A bad cat indeed. Since our return we are contemplating putting Willow and Welsey on diets. Our fat lazy housecats seem quite at odds with the felines we have been frolicking with all week, when I first saw Wes I thought he had been eaten by yogi bear so ginormous he seemed in comparison.

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Like many travellers I like to go on holiday to eat, but probably more so than most as I am horribly greedy. Greek food is a little hit and miss. I have had excellent Greek food in the past, but the problem is that a lot of places we went to were offering very lazy versions of moussaka, stifado and kleftiko. However, there were a few dishes which stood out. One of the specialities of Skopolos is the Skopolos cheese pie, a curl of filo pastry stuffed with thick molten cheese, easy to get very wrong I should imagine depending on where you order it. It sounded so intriguing though and I am thankful that I tried it at Anna’s, a lovely courtyard restaurant swaddled within the twisty stone streets of Skopolos Town where pomegranate trees plump with fruit droop becomingly over your table. The Skopolos cheese pie I ate there was studded with strawberries and graced with almonds. The crisp of the pastry contrasted delightfully with its soft oozing interior.

This was not the only time where I appreciated the art of filo and surprisingly I ate a most delicious minced meat pie from a tiny bolthole in Skiathos on our stop through whilst journeying home. It was so simple but the pastry was crunchy around the soft meat and chewy at the edges. I rarely cook with filo and this is definitely something I will rectify on my return.

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Skopolos is rightly very proud of their plum trees which are prevalent throughout the island, so in turn you cannot open a menu without seeing plums or prunes paired with some sort of roasted meat. The best example of this was at Angelo’s Restaurant in the harbor of Skopolos Town where I was served meltingly tender goat with fat plums, perfectly cooked rice and two fist sized roast potatoes. I am terrible as I love the Greek habit of serving rice with white potato, for some reason this carby combination is one of my creature comforts and this was easily my favourite, if not the most sophisticated, meal I ate on the island.

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I am always inspired by the local ingredients on holiday and like to stay in my own villa if I can so I can experiment. The cooking is just as fun as going out to restaurants, working from a limited larder where the focus of your cooking is sharpened. I made a stew of cinnamon chicken, a celebration of the best produce Skopolos had to offer – with large juicy prunes and richly fragrant honey. I used chicken in my version as we ate a lot of red meat out at the restaurants and I was looking for something that night a little lighter. If I were to make it at home, I would make it with chicken thighs which are more flavourful and probably lose the sausage but if you are working with chicken breast which is a lot leaner then the sausage gives the dish a bit of oomph to brazen out the sweetness of the sauce.

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The Greek Salad at Angelo’s

One of the most refreshing things about the restaurant menus on Skopolos, besides telling you exactly which dish was made from frozen produce, was the wide and varied range of salads on offer. They are given their own section, they are not only served at lunchtime and they are celebrated just as much as any other dish on the menu. We always included a salad with every meal we ate, which some of the restaurants found a bit odd as we would order it alongside our main dishes which is not really the done thing. We also made sure we ate at least one Greek salad every day. There was one fateful day where we ate it twice, but that was considered a touch too far in the feta aftermath. The Greek salads you get in Greece are worlds away from any Greek salad you could possibly make at home. The reason is simple, you just cannot get Mediterranean tomatoes in the UK. It’s the unabashed heat of the roasting sun which ripens the tomatoes on the vine which give the fruit its flavour and polytunnels in the Isle of Wight just do not do the same job. The flesh is soft and warm without any hint of fluffiness and the juice inside is sweet and luscious. The cucumbers are remarkably unseedy with firmly rippled emerald skins and tight bodies. If you are going to make a Greek salad at home, purchase the best feta you can find which crumbles to the touch, choose the tomatoes which have travelled to your farmers’ market the least distance and ugly organic cucumbers which are far superior to their slimy supermarket counterparts. The addition of honey and cinnamon to the dressing is not authentic but once I cheekily included the honey first time round it brought such a rich forest flavour direct from the mountains of Skopolos that I couldn’t bring myself not to include it every time. The cinnamon I snuck in just because it turns out that at the moment I can’t bear to prepare any meal without a pinch of the auburn spice to add a pep of warming sweetness and Greek cinnamon is quite wonderful.

We eat a lot of tzatziki at home, the version noted below is a little different to the one I normally prepare where I usually grate the cucumber and add a touch of coriander and plenty of mint. In Skopolos though mint is swapped out for dill and it makes the dish taste entirely different but just as delicious. The tzatziki we were treated to in restaurants were punched through with handfuls of garlic to complement the accompanying herb and fish roe fritters which we ate in the beautiful Agnanti restaurant in Glossa or the flowers stuffed with rice and spices which we ate in great mounds at the restaurant of Molos on the harbor of Skopolos.

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Skopolos Tzatziki

200g greek yoghurt
¼ cucumber, finely diced
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a pinch of sugar

Mix all the ingredients together with plenty of seasoning and serve.

Cinnamon chicken with prunes and honey
Serves 2

1 chicken breast
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
120g pork sausage
1 glass white wine
1 tbsp honey
10 prunes, stones removed and chopped
Plenty of seasoning.

  1. Dice the chicken, then sprinkle with seasoning and cinnamon and set aside whilst you begin cooking the dish.
  2. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan and bring up to heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat them gently until just turning translucent.
  3. Add the cinnamon chicken and the sausage and stir together until the chicken begins to brown.
  4. Splash in the white wine, turning up the heat to middling. Then add the honey, prunes and some more seasoning.
  5. Toss everything together then simmer for 10 minutes until the prunes are plump and the honey has melted.
  6. Serve with rice or a simple Greek salad.

Greek Salad
Serves 2

100g feta, crumbled
2 good sized tomatoes, diced
¼ cucumber, diced
¼ red onion, finely sliced
1 tsp honey
A pinch of cinnamon
Squeeze of lemon juice
A generous tablespoon of olive oil

Don’t be shy with this salad, chop your ingredients heartily and mix it all together with abandon.

Goats Cheese, Honey and Thyme Cheesecake

Goats Cheese Honey and Thyme Cheesecake
Last week we were treated to a wonderful talk on bees and beekeeping at our WI meeting.  I learnt basic bee stuff in Biology back in the day but I don’t remember them being this fascinating.  They are like little machines, programmed to do their own special job within their ecosystem.  If something breaks down in the chain then they intuitively follow through with a back-up plan, for instance if the queen dies then they just automatically make another by feeding one of the cells solely with royal jelly rather than honey and pollen.  Nature really has it in for the honey bee though and they are constantly under threat by all sorts of diseases and mite infestations.

After the talk we were encouraged to try a selection of local honey.  In the past I have never been the greatest honey monster, it always just seemed like sweet goop.  However, this honey isn’t like your Sainsburys Basic brand, surprise surpise. Instead it is so florally fragrant, you can almost see the wildflowers dancing about in the breeze and the pots of honey from two different producers had completely different tastes.  The joy of good ingredients is that they can speak directly to you and after my second taste of the honey I immediately imagined this delicate cheesecake sweetened only by the honey bouquet.

Goats Cheese Honey and Thyme Cheesecake

London honey is considered a particular delicacy would you believe due to the utter variety of flowers that the bees have access to.  It’s not cheap as the batches are made by independent beekeepers, but see if you can pick some local honey at a farmers market as it is worth it and you will be supporting your neighbourhood honey bee.  This honey should not be relegated to merely toast or crumpets, although almost certainly would pep up breakfast time no end, but use it in delicate dressings on your salad leaves, drizzled on top of a light vanilla ice cream or do what I’ve done below and create a bit of an event out of it.

If you don’t have a food processor, then you can easily prepare the digestive base by hand by placing the biscuits in a plastic food bag, tying the end off so the crumbs don’t escape and giving them a good bash with something heavy, like a rolling pin.  It’s really very satisfying.

This cheesecake would be perfect at the end of a meal in lieu of a cheese course, it’s not entirely sweet or savoury but steals pleasurably from both camps.

Goats Cheese Honey and Thyme Cheesecake

Goats Cheese, Honey and Thyme Cheesecake
Serves around 8 people

175g digestives
75g unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
375g soft goats cheese
150ml british wildflower honey
150g sour cream or crème fraiche
3 eggs
1 tsp thyme leaves
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
Extra honey to drizzle

  1. In a food processor whizz up the digestive biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs and then pour in the melted butter until completely combined.
  2. Press into an 18cm loose-bottomed cake tin and place in the fridge for 15 mins. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
  3. Then place the digestive base in the oven to bake for 15 mins.
  4. While it’s baking, beat the goats cheese and the honey in a large bowl until smooth.
  5. Add the crème fraiche and beat again until smooth.
  6. Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Add the thyme leaves, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and stir in until everything is well incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter on top of the biscuit base and bake for 40 mins until the top has set but still has a little wobble in the centre.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to come to room temperature in the tin. Then transfer to the fridge and leave to chill for at least 4 hours.
  10. Remove from the tin and drizzle with honey before serving.