Thanks to January’s tax return deadline, the start of the year is always super hectic for Dougie. A cheeky wee weekend away works wonders for lowering stress levels, so with a local holiday coming up we decided to head to Scone for a couple of days. We stayed at Murrayshall House, which is a great central base for visiting Scone Palace or Perth’s tourist attractions.
The Palace itself is closed during the shoulder season but you can still get full access to the grounds, the gift shop, and the coffee shop – what more could you need? :) The snowdrops are in full bloom at this time of the year, and the swathes of them bordering the paths and carpeting the woodland make the grounds even prettier than usual.
We spent a long time exploring the giant redwoods, conifers, pines, and firs in the specimen garden planted by David Douglas, a botanist born in Scone who gave his name to the Douglas fir. I picked up lots of bits and bobs to bring home for the wee one, including a huge slice of eastern hemlock, newly cut from the tree.
The Stone of Scone that once sat in the grounds of the palace has long since been moved, first to Westminster Abbey and more recently, in 1996, to Edinburgh Castle, taking its rightful place beside the Honours of Scotland. A replica of the Stone now sits on the moot hill in front of the chapel, kept company by the peacocks that wander around the grounds.
We had a fantastic weekend, and there was no way I could visit Scone and not make scones on our return (any excuse!). This recipe is for sultana scones, which are my favourite.
- 225g self raising flour
- 40g demerara sugar
- 75g unsalted butter, cubed
- 50g sultanas
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar, then the cubed butter. Rub together until the mixtures looks like breadcrumbs.
- Add the sultanas, beaten egg, and milk. Mix the dough until just combined. It should be quite sticky. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out.
- Lightly flour the top of your dough and roll it out lightly until it's 2-3cm thick. Using a 5cm fluted or round pastry cutter, cut out rounds from the dough - you should get about eight from one batch - or just divide the dough into eight and form scone shapes with your hands.
- Place the scones on a non-stick baking sheet, dust lightly with flour, and bake for about 12 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack then serve with butter, or jam and cream if you're feeling decadent!