Cooking food for others is often an act of love: the time, care and thought that goes into preparing a meal for someone and sharing it with them really shows how much they mean to you. My husband and I don’t go in for Valentines day in a big way, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to come up special treats for him. Scones are one of his all time favourite foods. On our honeymoon we spent a week on the south coast of England where our three meals were brunch, afternoon cream tea and dinner. Ever since then even the mention of scones transports us back to that blissful holiday. We also both enjoy food more when we can share the experience so I set myself the challenge of making dairy free scones that lived up to his high scone expectations. Here I have made savoury cheese scones to go with a hearty vegetable soup seasoned with mustard and warming spices. When we first met most of my husbands culinary efforts contained some form of cooked cheese (cheese toasties, cheesy crumpets, pitta pizzas…you get the idea) so I thought the cheese scones were an especially fitting dish to show how much I treasure all the time we have together.
Cauliflower and celeriac soup with dairy free cheese scones
Cooking time: 15 minutes preparation, 25-30 minutes cooking
Dietary info: vegan, (the soup is gluten-free, but the scones are not)
Cauliflower and celeriac soup
- 1 celeriac, chopped
- 1 cauliflower, chopped
- 600ml water, plus extra to get the correct consistency
- 2 tbsp grainy mustard
- 1 tbsp smooth mustard
- 1 tsp ground celery seed
- ½ tsp asafoetida
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp mild chilli powder or paprika
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- Juice of ½ a lemon
Dairy free cheese scones
- 125g wholemeal flour
- 100g spelt flour
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- A pinch of salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, solid
- 60 g grated vegan cheese (or cheddar if you don’t want to make these vegan / dairy free)
- 150ml unsweetened almond milk
- Put all the soup ingredients, except for the lemon juice, in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 15-25 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Blend 1/2 of the vegetables and liquid until smooth and mix back into the rest of the vegetable mix in the pan. Stir in the lemon juice and enough water to get to your preferred consistency for soup (we tend to like it quite thick but it is just a matter of personal taste).
- To make the scones, put the flours, salt and mustard powder into a mixing bowl and rub in the coconut oil until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Stir the almond milk into the flour mixture until fully combined then mix in the grated cheese and knead lightly to make a soft dough, adding a little more flour if it is too sticky to handle.
- Divide the dough into 8-9 pieces and roll each piece into a ball, then flatten into a rough disc about 1-1.5cm thick.
- Place the scones onto a non-stick baking tray (I use a baking tray covered in a non-stick silicon liner to prevent sticking) and bake at 160C fan for 15-20 minutes until the scones are golden brown and make a slightly hollow sound when tapped on the bottom (i.e. they are firm rather than too doughy). You can turn them over for the last 15 minutes to help the bottoms crisp up. Serve the scones with the soup.
A few tips to prep ahead:
- The soup can be made in advance and stored in a covered container (or even the saucepan if you have space) in the fridge for up to a week.
- The scones can be made ahead and stored in an airtight box or wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge for 2-3 days, then reheated in the oven for 3-5 minutes on the night.
- However, I prefer the scones fresh from the oven, in which case, the dry ingredients for the scones can be measured out in advance and kept in a bowl, covered, at room temperature for up to a week, then you just need to rub in the coconut oil and mix in the almond milk and cheese, shape the scones and bake on the night while you are heating up the soup.
Some tasty little twists:
- Turn this from a soup to a vegetable bake by reducing the water to 300ml and only puree 1/4 of the vegetables (with most of the liquid).
- Put the vegetable and puree vegetable mixture in an ovenproof dish
- Roll the whole scone dough into a 1cm thick shape, similar to the shape of the ovenproof dish, score half way through the dough to mark 8-9 scones and place on top the vegetables (see my Christmas spiced vegetable stew for pictures of a scone topped bake).
- Bake for 20 minutes until the scones are golden brown.
- Leftover scones make a great accompaniment to a cooked breakfast:
- Have them with fried or scrambled eggs, mushrooms, bacon and sausages for a meat option.
- Replace the eggs with scrambled tofu and use vegan sausages and tempeh rashers for a vegan version.
- Add diced sun-dried tomato (pat the tomatoes with kitchen paper to remove the oil as this can prevent the scones baking well), chopped chives or small pieces of bacon to the scones to make the extra special.
- Cauliflower or celeriac both make wonderful creamy bases for vegetable stews, but you can try different vegetable and spice combinations for variety, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Replace the celeriac with 1 chopped broccoli and 200g frozen peas.
- Replace the cauliflower with 2 diced onions and a sliced fennel and replace the mustard and spices with 1 tsp ground celery, 1 tsp smoked garlic powder and 1 tsp smoked paprika.
- Replace the celeraic with 6 chopped tomatoes and 1 diced onion and replace the cloves and cinnamon with 1 tsp smoked garlic powder and 1 tsp mixed herbs.