Nutmeg Scones with a Sugar Crust


It would never have occurred to me to put nutmeg into a scone if Alex from The Angel’s Share Bakery in Richmond (North Yorkshire) hadn’t told me that she did it.  And she bakes the most delicious scones, pies, quiches and cakes that you can imagine.  She has a magical touch with everything she bakes.  This isn’t her recipe – I didn’t have the nerve to ask for it – but the children have begged me to make scones like this all the time from now on, so they must be good.

If you’re on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales or County Durham, do pop along to The Angel’s Share Bakery ( or to pick up a luxury picnic; it’s just lovely, and there are plenty of picturesque spots within a few minutes’ walk where you can sit to enjoy your treats.

1lb self-raising flour

1 teaspoonful baking powder and a good grinding of nutmeg

4oz butter

Rub the butter into the flour, nutmeg and baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add 4oz golden caster sugar and 2oz sultanas/raisins.

Crack a large egg into a measuring jug, then make this up to 9 fl.oz with a teaspoonful of vanilla extract and cold water.  Whisk together.

Stir little by little with a knife into the dry mixture (you probably won’t need all of the liquid), then finish off with your cold hand.  When it all comes together, lightly flatten it on the work surface with your hand until it’s about an inch thick.  Use a round cutter to make about 10 scones.

I’d really recommend that you buy one of those non-stick black baking sheets to cover your baking tray:  it saves all of that greasing and flouring.

Spread a heaped tablespoonful of golden caster sugar over a flat plate, and sprinkle over some more nutmeg.  Brush the tops of your scones with milk, then dunk them upside down – one at a time – onto the sugar, so that they have a crusty top.  Place onto a prepared baking tray.

Cook in a hot oven (200 degrees) for 25 minutes, but know your oven – in mine, they cooked in 10 minutes at 190 degrees.  Take them out as soon as they start to smell delicious.  They will brown more quickly with their sugary tops.

I’m sure you know what to do with scones.  I had the first one with butter and the second and third with raspberry jam and clotted cream.


Chicken and Vegetable Casserole with Dumplings


There’s no way around it, dumplings aren’t photogenic, but let me reassure you that this casserole is absolutely, totally delicious!  Note to self the next time I make it:  don’t tweak a thing.


2 leeks, washed and finely sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely sliced

4 large carrots, peeled and in pieces

1 clove garlic, peeled but whole

200g mushrooms

3-4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

2 rashers of bacon, chopped

a heaped dessertspoon of cornflour, sprinkled with thyme, paprika, a little salt and pepper

a sherry glassful of Marsala

a pint of chicken stock

100g self-raising flour

50g suet

a grinding of nutmeg

5 tablespoons of cold water maximum


 You need a large casserole pan with a lid for this one.  Sweat the leeks, onion, celery, garlic and carrots in half a teaspoon of sea salt and a big knob of butter.  Keep the heat very low, and stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, quarter 200g mushrooms and fry ferociously in a separate frying pan (in butter) to brown them.  Don’t stir them too often.  When they are nicely golden, add to the other vegetables.

Cut your bacon and chicken into hearty-sized pieces and sprinkle with the cornflour mix.  Turn over to ensure maximum coverage.

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan (now devoid of mushrooms) and bring the heat up again.  Fry the chicken and bacon until well-coloured on all sides.  Now pour in a small glass of Marsala and scrape the bottom of the pan vigorously with a wooden spoon to deglaze.  Let it bubble for a few more moments, then pour the whole lot into the vegetables.  Add a bay leaf and a pint of chicken stock, then pop the lid on and simmer for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings.  Before you add the dumplings to the casserole, though, taste and adjust your seasoning, and give the casserole a good stir to check that it’s not sticking.  If it is sticking, it’s probably safer to finish it off in the oven.


Mix the SR flour and suet together with a decent grinding of nutmeg.  Stir in just enough cold water for the mixture to bind.  No need to roll into neat balls; the dumplings will take on their own shape as they cook.  Just cut your dough into 8 pieces and dollop onto the top of the casserole.  Put the lid on and continue to cook either on the stove-top or in the oven for 20 minutes.