“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
This quote from Paradise Lost has seemed especially pertinent over the past few days, where our minds have become one of the few places we may still go. Now in total lockdown whilst we wait for the raging storm (aka Covid-19) to pass, a new kind of pressure evolves. An enforced transitionary period between a new “before” and “after” suggests a time for reflection, development, creativity, new types of connection with ourselves and others. I feel panicked about finding the optimum way to spend this time productively, but at the same time, wonder whether allowing ourselves time to be unproductive, to ponder, to start 100 new projects and not finish any. Therein we might even discover some new facet of ourselves we didn’t know existed.
Obviously my question as to how I might make a heaven of hell begins to find its answer in the kitchen. I wanted to make something which used few ingredients, and ones which would already be in the house. Admittedly I used my 1 allotted shop trip for the day to go and buy some smoked cheddar, but oh was it worth it! If you don’t have smoked cheese and cannot venture out to find some, try using a spice with a bit of smoke such as smoked paprika or smoked garlic.
Although the handy thing about these is they don’t contain any butter, they are absolutely ideal topped with a heftly slab of it if you have some to spare. They’re also fantastic topped with a relish or chutney-like number such as onion jam.
250g self-raising flour; white, wholemeal or a combination of the two
0.5 teaspoon salt
150ml whole milk, or a little more if using 100% wholemeal
50g smoked cheddar, grated
50g cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon dried chives
50g grated parmesan
Egg or milk, for glazing
Heat the oven to 220ºc. Cover a baking sheet with baking paper.
In a large bowl mix the flour(s) and salt, then add in the grated cheese and the chives.
Pour in the milk, and mix with your fingers to achieve a fairly stiff, rough dough. Knead for a couple of minutes.
For dough into a ball and place in the middle of the prepared tray. Mould it into a flat disc of about 2cm thickness. Using a dough scraper or sharp knife, divide the disc into 8 triangular segments.
Brush the top with the egg or milk, sprinkle with the parmesan and bake 15 minutes. Eat while still warm, with a good amount of salted butter.