500 gm plain flour (3 x 250 ml cups)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 gm dates, roughly chopped
80 gm strong cheddar, grated
100 gm butter
350 ml (approx.) milk
Put butter, milk and cheese in the freezer for half an hour before starting to mix. Heat the oven to 220oC (200oC fan oven).
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt twice. Add the dates and mix briefly. Add the cheese then grate the semi-frozen butter in to the dry ingredients. Add enough milk to make the mixture wet enough to handle.
Pat the mixture out, always handling it lightly. Brush with a little milk and cut into 12-16 squares.
Bake for 17-18 minutes.
Variations: you can make these scones more (or less) cheesy. If you add more cheese, cut down the amount of butter. You can also try replacing some of the milk with plain yoghurt or buttermilk.
This reminds me of the food I ate as I was growing up on a farm in New Zealand. My mother often made batches of scones to feed hungry farm workers, especially at harvest or shearing time. Scones remain a popular snack in New Zealand. This version was served in a cafe providing refreshment for walkers at the end of a four-day hike.