When we were younger, my brother used to spend most of new year’s eve in tears. Whether we were at home or in a restaurant, with friends or in a hotel bar somewhere drinking sufficient diet coke to keep us up well beyond midnight, he’d end up sobbing about how he didn’t want anyone to get any older.
I was, at the time, about as sympathetic as you would expect an older sister to be. In recent years though, I’ve come to appreciate exactly why he was so upset.
Rather than look forward to the new year, I often find myself mourning the passing of the last. Not because I either have any great attachment to 2013 or any particular regrets but simply because it means that we’ve used up another one of our years.
I feel like 2013 slipped through my fingers when I wasn’t paying attention.
And I can make all sorts of grand promises about how this will be different in 2014 – how I will live more mindfully and with intent, how I will make seize every opportunity that comes my way and embrace everything that year has to offer – but I’m pretty sure that come mid-March, when I’m buried in the minutiae of everyday life and wishing away the days to our next holiday, I’ll feel 2014 slipping through my fingers too.
I don't think I'd really appreciated the flavour of kumquats before I made these scones to mark the new year - roasting the kumquats before using them in the scones ensures that they are soft and sweet and sticky and mellows their natural sharpness. Their floral flavour is a lovely contrast to a not-too-sweet hearty scone.
- 200g (about 1 cup) kumquats
- A sprinkling of sugar
- 220g (1 3/4 cup) flour - I used einkorn in these but any combo of spelt, plain, whole wheat is fine but you might need more or less liquid depending on which type of flour you use.
- 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 45g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 120ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
- Up to 60ml (1/4 cup) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten (optional)
- I think the easiest place to start is by roasting the kumquats in a little sugar for about 20 minutes in an oven at 170C/325F. You want to kumquats to be soft to the touch but not reduced down to a sticky mess. Allow the kumquats to cool before making the scones.
- To make the scones, preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with a non-stick surface.
- Lightly whisk the flours,sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the flour quickly. You can stop rubbing when it is in pea-sized lumps.
- In a separate bowl lightly mix together the buttermilk and vanilla. Pour the liquid into your dry ingredients, add the kumquats and bring everything together with a fork until you have a rough dough. You might need to use your hands to just bring it all together at the end. If it seems a little dry, you can add a splash of milk.
- Gather the dough together and squash it down with your hands (I don’t bother with a rolling pin). Either cut out scone shapes or just shape them by hand as I did. The secret is not to overwork the dough or twist the cutter too much as you use it as it may stop the scones from rising properly.
- Brush with a little beaten egg if desired and then bake for 20 minutes or so until risen and golden
Adapted from these nectarine and almond scones