Though the number of traditional baking recipes from England may have to go a long way to match those of rural France there are many, that are still produced and eaten in the out-of-town districts, that reflect regional tastes.
Quite a few are linked with local and national festivals while others derive from local produce and customs.
Soda breads and scones are a good example of such and are as many and various as the counties that created them.
Cooked on a ‘girdle’ or griddle, (a thick, round iron plate or heavy bottomed fry-pan) any one of them will make a very useful addition to the high tea or supper table, whether linked to a specific festival or not.The above hails from the north of England but regional variations are plentiful .
To the left is a more generic recipe where the fruit is optional and the size and shape is less bound by regional conventions.
The leavening of scones is generally done with bicarbonate of soda rather than yeast, in accordance with an old Irish tradition.
Scones and soda bread are quicker and easier to produce than more traditional breads and have thereby remained a popular bakery item.
The leavening properties of soda are fast-acting and quickly expended and so the whole recipe must be mixed rapidly, handled lightly and baked hot.
Girdle scones taste best still warm from the baking or at least on the same day, though they will keep for a day or so in an airtight tin for toasting.
A plate on the top of the stove will save having to light up the oven, and is therefore more economical, but scones can still be oven baked if preferred.
I have previously posted an older soda bread recipe from Phillip Harben but include here another as a contrast.
The improvement in leavening agents mid-century refined many an old recipe. Basic ingredients also improved in leaps and bounds as production technology developed. Which is best is mainly a matter of personal preference.