This recipe came about as a result of a craving for brown soda scones and a bag of dried dillisk (dried Irish seasweed) in my press waiting to be used up! I had totally forgot about it until I recently read that John and Sally McKenna had released a book about cooking with seaweed (or sea vegetables as the more posh folk would say), and it reminded me that I had a bag to us up, so in it went to my last batch of brown soda scones. Seaweed of all different varieties adorn the Irish shores, and yet Irish people don’t eat it nearly as much as you would think despite it being such a nutritous food. However, seaweeds are becoming very fashionable again and I’m starting to sea a whole number of varieties on menus again. Seaweed has been used as a beauty treatment in Ireland for centuries, and many Irish cosmetic companies use it as their superstar ingredient, Voya being by far the best Irish luxury cosmetic company, harnessing seaweeds hydrating properties. So here’s to using what we have in plenty and finding fun and unusual ways of cooking and eating it.
I also have to mention Macroom Oats and Flours as I used them in this recipe, and I use their grains all the time. The Macroom mill is based in Cork and is run by a man called Donal Creedon. I haven’t met him, but he’s known in Cork as being a true artisan who has managed to make oats and flour a luxury artisan product. His oats are stoneground and lightly toasted and make the most delicious, luxurious porridge in the world. His wholemeal flour is ground in the same way and gives the most lovely slightly nutty texture to breads. I recommend seeking the products out, they’re available in most good independent delis and health shops around the country, but often times if they’re not you can just enquire at your local speciality store and they’re usually quite open to ordering unavailable products in.
These scones are savoury using the dillisk which has a lovely very slightly salty taste and beautiful texture, and a little parmasan cheese to give the scones a subtle kick. When they are fresh out of the oven the taste of the dilisk is stronger (the heat and moisture rehydrates the dried dillisk), however when cooled the taste is extremely subtle. However, these would be perfectly delicious without the dillisk or cheese, and the recipe can be used in exactly the same way and would be gorgeous topped with a little jam and cream.
Ingredients (makes 6-8):
225g self raising flour
180g coarse wholemeal flour
20g oats (if you don’t have any oats you can just use 20g wholemeal flour)
1 tsp bread soda
1 pinch salt
75g butter room temperature
2 tbsp grated Parmasen cheese (or any other cheese)
2 handfuls of dillisk (or other dried seaweed) chopped
2 tbsp mixed seeds to scatter on top (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 220C and mix the flours, bread soda, salt, cheese and dillisk into a bowl.
- Rub the butter into the flour mixture until combined in.
- Mix together one of the eggs and the buttermilk and milk into the flour with your hand until the mixture is combined.
- Turn out onto a floured surface. This is a loose, wet mix, so spoon some mixture out trying to keep height of about 2-3cm height. (If you prefer a more structured scone that is less loose, then use 100ml less buttermilk, then you should be able to turn out your dough and use a scone cutter). There is a beautiful moist softness to the recipe above though, so I recommend doing it my way.
- Pop the scones into a tin on top of a greased piece of baking paper, you can use a little of the second beaten egg to wash the top of the scones and sprinkle the seeds on top.
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes, they are done when they are golden on top.
- Let cool completely on a wire wrack before serving.