Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Pesto Scones

Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Pesto Scones
We had a bit of sunshine in Manchester last week. As we don’t get it very often I always feel a social pressure to get out there and spend time in the sun, sit in a beer garden, enjoy it while it lasts etc. Well folks, I don’t like being out in the sun. That’s right! I’m ginger and pale, and sunshine is not my friend. Don’t get me wrong, sunshine is beautiful! It makes the world look so pretty, and I’ll quite happily gaze at the beautiful sunlit world… (through sunglasses while sitting in the shade). I always feel like a minority when I dare to voice this opinion, and I probably am, but I enjoy sunny days in my own way and I’m happy with that. Sometimes you just have to go with how you feel and what makes you comfortable, no matter what everyone else is doing. Making these Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Pesto Scones and drinking cold cider in my flat with the windows open is how I chose to enjoy a sunny day recently. They are a combination of some of my favourite savoury flavours and to me they scream summer. They would be great at a picnic out in the sunshine…if you enjoy that kind of thing!

Jump straight to the recipe!

In a bowl I whisked together 100ml milk, 70g pesto and 1 egg.

In a second bowl I mixed together 250g self raising flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt.

I added 150g grated mature cheddar and 60g sundried tomatoes. Then I used kitchen towel to soak the oil from the tomatoes first then cut them up using scissors.

I poured the pesto mixture into the flour and made a dough. I patted it down to about 1 inch thick, then cut 7cm rounds out of it. Reshape the dough and cut out more rounds until it’s all used up.

Then I placed the rounds onto a lined baking tray and brushed them on top with beaten egg.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes and until they were golden brown.

The scones are extremely moreish and perfect warm with butter! They also pack up great for on the move, lunches and picnics. The pesto really comes through and is a perfect match for the cheese, and the sundried tomatoes add extra fruity flavour. I’d love to try these with chutney on and even more cheese!

Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Pesto Scones


  • 100 ml Milk
  • 70 ml Pesto
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 250 g Self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 150 g Mature cheddar grated
  • 60 g Sundried tomatoes


  1. Pr-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4

  2. In a bowl whisk together the milk, pesto and 1 of the eggs
  3. In a second bowl mix together the self raising flour, baking powder and salt
  4. Use kitchen towel to soak the oil from the tomatoes then cut them up using scissors. Add them along with the mature cheddar to the flour and mix
  5. Pour the pesto mixture into the flour and make a quick dough. Pat it down to about 1 inch thick, then cut 7cm rounds out of it. Reshape the dough and cut out more rounds until it's all used up
  6. Place the rounds onto a lined baking tray and brush them on top with beaten egg
  7. Bake them for 20 minutes and until they are golden brown

You can find more of my Scone recipes by clicking here!

How to Host an Afternoon Tea Party with Cocktails

How to Host an Afternoon Tea Party with Cocktails

It was my birthday at the end of July and as I’m not really into clubs much anymore all I wanted to do was stay in, eat cake and hang out with my friends! So I decided on an Afternoon Tea Party & Cocktails. We all got dressed up, I made a table full of goodies, and we spent the day eating cake and drinking tea, then as the evening came, we hit the cocktails, played games and had a brilliant time! I wanted to create this guide to help you have a great afternoon tea party too!

I started a few days in advance by making these fruit scones. I put them in the freezer to keep them fresh, then took them out the night before the party. If you have any gluten free guests try this scone recipe from The Gluten Free Alchemist, or for vegan guests try this recipe from Wallflower Kitchen.

I also made my own raspberry jam to go on the scones, which I made a few days in advance too. And of course the scones were not complete without clotted cream! So I made sure to get a couple of tubs in for the party. If you don’t want to make your own jam, there are so many quality options in the supermarket now, I would suggest buying a more premium option for the party – it is a special occasion after all!

A classic Victoria Sponge Cake was the centre piece of the table. I made a basic sponge mix and sandwiched the two halves with jam and fresh cream in the middle. You can’t go wrong with a Mary Berry recipe or my Strawberries & Cream Cake is sure to impress!

For the second cake I wanted something a bit different so I made this Spiced Carrot Loaf Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, it was so yummy! The recipe is from BBC Good Food, I omitted the walnuts and sultanas.

I made some pretty lemon cupcakes and sat them on one of my birthday gifts, a beautiful cupcake stand from Laura Ashley. You can find the recipe below:

Lemon Cupcakes

Servings 12



  • 2 Eggs
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 175 g Butter
  • 175 g Self raising flour
  • 1 Lemon zested


  • 150 g Butter
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon extract
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Sprinkles


  1. For the sponge, cream together the butter and caster sugar until soft and fluffy
  2. Add in the eggs and lemon zest and mix well
  3. Fold in the self raising flour
  4. Separate the batter into cupcake cases in a muffin tin and bake at 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool completely
  5. To make the buttercream mix together the butter, icing sugar and yellow food colouring until smooth and the desired shade
  6. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a closed star nozzle and add desired sprinkles

For savoury lovers and also to provide a break from all the sweet treats, I made three types of finger sandwiches – salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and cream cheese, and ham. They were very popular and I ended up having to make more half way through the day! I also provided some crisps for nibbling on. There are so many sandwich filling options and I’ve listed some more ideas below, don’t forget to check if any of your guests require gluten free bread.

Beef & Mustard

Egg Mayonnaise

Hummus & Roasted red pepper

Hummus & Cucumber

Cheese & Pickle

I bought a good selection of tea to suit everyone’s tastes, I included decaf and fruit teas. I also provided soft drinks and juices. If you have a teapot you can make up a pot of tea for everyone.


I decorated my table with bunting, fresh flowers and a floral table cloth. I also hired some gorgeous vintage cups, saucers and plates from Tamaryn’s Treasures. They were so beautiful and really made the party special! I loved the one with the gold pattern inside the cup. They really added that vintage afternoon tea party feel to the day. Here are a few other companies that offer the same service, if you Google ‘Hire vintage crockery’ you will find lots of results:

Pretty Vintage (Lincoln)

The Vintage Affair (Buckinghamshire/Berkshire)

Add Vintage (Leeds)

Honey Bees (Leicestershire)

Later on we moved onto cocktails. This is a Cosmopolitan, a delicious mix of vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice. Throughout the night I also made lime daquiris, pina coladas and long island ice teas. These are all classic cocktails and the recipes are readily available online, try Social and Cocktail for 100 cocktail recipes.

We played some awesome games. First we played Cranium which is a fairly well known family game, well to everyone except me! I had never heard of it but apparently a lot of people play it at Christmas. Later on we played the hilarious Cards Against Humanity – which I highly recommend. Games are such a great way to get everyone involved and interacting with each other, especially if your guests don’t all know each other well.

I looked into hiring people to come and do hair and make up for us, but I didn’t have the budget for this. If it was a bigger event like a hen party I would definitely have hired a professional, but I was lucky enough to have a very talented friend who did everyone’s hair. And I thought we all looked fab! If you can find someone in your local area to come and do your hair and make up, and you have the budget for it, then get on Google and Facebook and have a search. I’ve listed below some I found and the locations:

Hen Heaven (Major UK cities)

Lipstick & Curls (London & Leeds)

The Vintage Beauty Parlour (Manchester)

I had such a fun time and I highly recommend this kind of get together if you can’t be bothered with the hassle of going out (and you love cake!) Staying in is much more fun! I made everything myself for the party, but you could get your friends to bring a bake each to lessen the workload. If you do want to make everything yourself, the freezer is your friend! You can freeze the cakes (undecorated) and the scones in advance. I hope you have fun! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for the perfect afternoon tea party!

Neff & Event with John Whaite

Neff & Event with John Whaite

A couple of weeks ago I was kindly invited by to attend a day of Afternoon Tea Delights featuring Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite. I headed down to Milton Keynes and had a wonderful day baking scones with John and several other bloggers. One of my favourite things about the day was getting to meet fellow bloggers as I have only met a couple so far and that was only recently. Some of them I hadn’t heard of before, some I had, and some I read their blogs regularly. I met the very friendly Britt from She Who Bakes and Julie from Real Food Fans at the train station when I arrived. Here’s what I got up to at the event…

If you haven’t heard of before, they sell major domestic appliances online. They are known for excellent customer service and their same day delivery service. That’s right if you order your appliance before midday you can have it the same day! They will also recycle your old appliance. Their website is interactive with user reviews and videos so you can have a full shopping experience.

One of the main brands that sell is Neff. Neff are a German brand and the UK is the second biggest market for their products. 1 in 5 ovens sold in the UK is a Neff oven. If you don’t already have a Neff oven, you may be familiar with their Bake It Yourself online community. They are on all of the major social networking sites ‘encouraging everyone to embrace baking’.

We started the day browsing the Neff showroom and learning about all the features of their appliances. If you watch The Great British Bake Off you will have seen their ‘Slide and Hide’ oven doors already, this is where the oven door slides underneath the oven when you open it so it is out of the way. But you may not know that Neff also make induction hobs, warming drawers, mini dishwashers, coffee machines and microwaves. My dream kitchen will definitely involve some of these appliances!

Then we entered the cookery classroom where John Whaite and Home Economist Lynn Williams made Lemon & Poppyseed Muffins and Salmon & Watercress Tarlets. They made these bakes in order to demonstrate Neff’s Circo Therm technology. This means that each rack in the oven has air circulated around it separately and so any strong smelling foods that you cook, like salmon, will not affect any more delicate bakes, such as lemon muffins, that you cook in the same oven at the same time.

One batch of muffins was baked with the salmon tarts, and the other baked alone. And sure enough, after a thorough taste test, no one could tell the difference!

I was so excited to get baking and after a demo from John on how to bake Orange & Cranberry Sconelets, we all got stuck in and made our own batch of scones. Some of the bloggers made cheese scones, and some made the fruity ones.

I made the orange and cranberry ones with Gemma from GemsMaquillage as my bench buddy. I did make a bit of a mess with my dough as it was far too wet, but after adding some more flour it sorted itself out. It did give me some insight into how The Great British Bake Off contestants must feel! Although no one was going to judge my scones, we were being filmed and photographed whilst we were baking and John visited our bench a couple of times to see how we were getting on.

We used the Neff ovens to bake our scones and mine came out looking gloriously golden and well risen. I tucked in straight away and they really were delicious. I took them into work the next day and got some amazing comments on how good they were. I hope when I make these again in my oven they are still just as good!

Finally it was time for lunch and we were presented with this amazing array of afternoon tea delights! There were some of the scones we had baked, the muffins and tartlets John and Lynn made, as well as some other tartlets and a White Chocolate & Apricot Traybake. I chatted to Lucy from Supergolden Bakes and Em from MBakes whilst we ate. I’ve read both of their blogs a lot so it was great to meet them in person, check out their blogs for stunning photographs and delicious bakes.

My plate of goodies!

The final part of the day was a Q&A session with John Whaite. One of the first questions was what was his favourite bake and he said he likes simple things like scones and a Victoria sponge. However his favourite recipe from his book is the Fig, Pecan & Orange Bundt. For comfort food John will always turn to Chocolate Mud Cake or bread. He named his baking heroes as Richard Bertinet and Nigel Slater.

John told us all about his new chocolate range called The Hungry Dog. After a 9 month course in chocolate making, John loves chocolate work and the intense flavours you can infuse in chocolate. All of the chocolates are completely hand made and have a limited availability. John also revealed that he will be opening a cookery school called John Whaite’s Kitchen in Wigan soon on his family’s farm, where he will do a range of classes. I am very excited about this and it’s great that he’s opening it up North!

He said that blogs are places a lot of ideas originate from and it was great to hear how he thinks professional chefs are inspired by bloggers like us. We received a goodie bag at the end of the day which included one of John’s books. His second book is pictured above, but I swapped it with Julie from Real Food Fans for a signed copy of his first book (because she already owned it). John told us that he writes recipes by first of all thinking about what chapters he wants in his book, then thinking about what would go in those chapters, and finally creating the recipes themselves. It was interesting to learn about his creative process.

It was such a great day and I must recommend you check out the ao life blog, as well as the blogs mentioned above and Fork & Good, The Spicy Pear and KB Eats.

Cheese & Marmite Scones

Cheese & Marmite Scones

My dad introduced me to Marmite when I was growing up and I’ve loved it ever since. So what better way to say Happy Birthday to my dad than to make him these yummy Cheese & Marmite Scones! It’s a rare Marmite lover that isn’t aware of the fantastic flavour combination that is created when Marmite and cheese mix together. It’s one of my favourite things and if you love Marmite and have never had it with cheese… well get in the kitchen right now and discover how amazing it is!! Or you could read on and learn how to make these Cheese & Marmite Scones.

Jump straight to the recipe!

I started by sieving self raising flour together with baking powder in a mixing bowl. I added butter and rubbed it into the flour until it resembled breadcrumbs.

Then I grated mature cheddar and added half to the flour and stirred in.

In another bowl I whisked together egg, milk and marmite.

I poured the wet marmite mixture into the flour and formed a dough. I patted it out to about 2cm thick and cut out the scones. Depending on how big a cutter you use, you will get a different amount of scones. I used a 3 inch one and got 5 scones.


I laid the scones onto a baking tray, glazed with a little milk and sprinkled on the remaning cheddar.

They baked on 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20 mins until golden brown.

Cheese & Marmite Scones

The Cheese & Marmite Scones came out great, the marmite flavour really comes through and the cheese on top is just yum! My dad text me a couple of days after I gave him the Cheese & Marmite Scones to say they were very nice and there were only two left. Result! Looks like I will be passing this recipe onto my stepmum very soon. I’ll also be making these again for myself as they are really tasty.


Cheese & Marmite Scones

Servings 8


  • 225 g Self raising flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 50 g Butter
  • 85 g Mature cheddar grated
  • 1 Egg large
  • 25 ml Milk plus more for glazing
  • 1 heaped tbsp Marmite


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

  2. Sieve the self raising flour together with the baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs
  3. Add two thirds of the cheddar to the flour and stir in
  4. In another bowl whisk together the egg, milk and marmite
  5. Pour the wet marmite mixture into the flour and form a dough. Pat it out onto clean work surface dusted with flour to about 2cm thick and cut out the scones using a round cutter, size of your choice
  6. Lay the scones onto a lined baking tray, brush a little milk on top and sprinkle the remaining cheddar on them

  7. Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown

You can find more of my Scone recipes by clicking here!

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Fruit Scones

Fruit Scones

Scones are a simple tasty treat that don’t take long to make. They are a key element of afternoon tea, and are best served with jam and clotted cream – the debate rages on about which should be applied to the scone first! This Fruit Scones recipe can also be made plain without the fruit, and they can also be frozen – if you have any left!

Jump straight to the recipe!

I put self raising flour, salt, baking powder and butter in a large bowl.

I rubbed the mixture together until it formed fine crumbs. Then I stirred in caster sugar and sultanas. I always use sultanas as my boyfriend doesn’t like raisins, but you could use raisins or mixed dried fruit.

I heated some semi-skimmed milk in the microwave for 50 seconds until it was warmed through but not hot, I then added lemon juice and vanilla extract and left it for a few minutes, it will go a bit lumpy but don’t worry that’s meant to happen. After making a well in the flour mixture, I poured in the milk, then mixed it in to form a dough.

I tipped it out onto a floured surface and patted it together as briefly as possible by hand to form soft dough. You don’t want to handle it too much. I cut out rounds using a 3 inch cutter, and I re-shaped the dough when needed until it ran out.

I put the dough rounds onto a pre-heated baking tray and glazed the top with a beaten egg. They baked for 15 minutes until the scones were risen, golden brown and sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Fruit Scones

I made three batches of these Fruit Scones and ended up with a big pile of light and fluffy scones. They were golden brown and the egg gives them a lovely shine on top. Of course I served the Fruit Scones with jam and clotted cream for the perfect afternoon tea experience.

Now you just have to decide whether to put jam or cream on the Fruit Scones first!

Fruit Scones

Servings 7


  • 275 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 65 g Butter
  • 175 ml Milk Whole or semi-skimmed
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 35 g Sultanas or other dried fruit
  • 3 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg beaten, for glazing
  • Jam for serving
  • Clotted cream for serving


  1. Put a baking tray in the oven and pre-heat it to 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7

  2. Put the self raising flour, salt, baking powder and butter in a large bowl

  3. Rubb the mixture together with your fingertips, or pulse in a food processor, until it resembles breadcrumbs

  4. Stir in the caster sugar and sultanas

  5. Heat the milk in the microwave for 50 seconds until it is warmed through but not hot, then add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and leave it for a few minutes, it will go a bit lumpy but don't worry, that's meant to happen

  6. Pour the milk mixture into the flour, then mixed it in to form a dough

  7. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it together as briefly as possible by hand to about 2cm thick. Cut out rounds using a 3 inch cutter, you can make them bigger or smaller if you like by using different size cutters. Re-shape the dough when needed until it runs out

  8. Put the dough rounds onto the pre-heated baking tray and glaze the top with the beaten egg. Bake on 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 10-15 minutes until the scones are risen, golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom

  9. Cool on a rack and then slice in half and serve with jam and clotted cream for a truely indulgent afternoon tea experience!

You can find more of my Scone recipes by clicking here!

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Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I absolutely love autumn baking! As soon as September comes I just want to put pumpkin and cinnamon in everything I bake! I make pumpkin pie every year and when I first started this tradition you couldn’t buy tinned pumpkin puree in the UK. Now it’s readily available I’m making lots of other pumpkin recipes too, like these yummy Pumpkin Scones. They are filled with Autumn spices and drizzled with a sweet glaze.

Jump straight to the recipe!

First I put the self raising flour, caster sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves in a bowl and mixed together.

Then I added the butter and rubbed together with my hands until it resembled breadcrumbs.

In a separate bowl I whisked together the egg, milk, and pumpkin puree.

I combined the pumpkin mixture with the flour and mixed until a dough formed. I placed it onto a floured service and roughly shaped it into a circle.

Then I used a knife to cut it into triangles. This recipe makes six scones, but you can double it to make more or cut smaller triangles or circles with a cutter.

I placed the shaped dough onto a lined baking tray and baked on 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas mark 7 for about 15 minutes.

They were beautifully golden brown. My kitchen smelt so good!

I put the Pumpkin Scones on a cooling rack and meanwhile made the two glazes. For the base glaze I mixed the icing sugar with the milk then spread it over each scone.

For the spiced glaze I mixed the icing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and milk together. I put the spiced glaze in a piping bad a made a zig zag pattern over each scone.

These Pumpkin Scones are yummy and full of the taste of autumn and the festive season. They are so light and fluffy inside too!

Pumpkin Scones

The glaze and drizzle are so scrumptious and make the Pumpkin Scones into a lovely sweet treat perfect with a hot drink. You don’t have to add the glaze, you could cut the Pumpkin Scones in half and spread with butter instead, but it does make the scones look very pretty. You could also try adding dried fruit to the dough. I think cranberries or sultanas would go well.


Pumpkin Scones

Delicious sones packed full of autumn flavour and drizzled with cinnamon glaze

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Scones
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author thebakingexplorer


For the scones

  • 320 g Self raising flour
  • 90 g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
  • 85 g Butter
  • 1 Egg large
  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • 125 g Pumpkin puree

For the plain glaze

  • 90 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk

For the spiced glaze

  • 80 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • A pinch of Ground ginger
  • A pinch of Ground cloves


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas mark 7, and line a baking tray with non stick baking paper
  2. Put the self raising flour, caster sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves into a large bowl and mix together
  3. Add the butter and rub together with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and pumpkin puree
  5. Combine the pumpkin mixture with the flour until a dough forms, try to not to over mix it, once it's come together that's good enough
  6. Pat the dough out into a circle shape about 1cm thick on a floured surface
  7. Cut the circle into 6 triangles - or use a round cutter if you prefer and re-roll until all of the dough is used
  8. Put the scones on the lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes
  9. Cool the scones fully on a cooling rack
  10. Make the base glaze by mixing the ingredients together until smooth with no lumps, use a spoon to gently spread it over the top of each scone
  11. Make the spiced glaze by mixing the ingredients together until smooth with no lumps, put it a piping bag and drizzle it over each scone. If you don't want to use a piping bag you can drizzle it over with a spoon
  12. Make yourself a tea or coffee and enjoy a delicious scone!

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

You can find more of my Scone recipes by clicking here!

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