Mother’s metrics, or lack of

As part of my Lenten Promise to try out a new recipe each week, I took inspiration from the Irish traditions we’re hearing so much about this week. Surrounded by all things Irish in the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to try my hand at an Irish staple – the plain white scone.

My mother’s scones are renowned and anyone who has spent time in our house will have an image of my mother throwing ingredients energetically into a big mixing bowl at a Tazmanian Devil picspeed that can only be compared with the ferocious Tazmanian devil! Twenty minutes later and those hot buns of deliciousness appear from the oven sending a waft of amazing aromas throughout the house. Scones are up! Generally speaking, the scones never make it to the wire rack to cool and are cut in half and smothered in butter in the same speed and energy Mother uses to make them.

Much like any “Mammy’s Recipe”, there is nothing written down as it is pure habit…it’s a bit of this and a bit of that and if it isn’t like this then you have to add another drop of that! What has happened to our generation that we cannot cook and bake with this confidence sans recipe?

Recently, a friend asked Mother for her brown bread recipe, she laughed and said she doesn’t have one and she couldn’t possibly tell her how to make it because it changes every time. That explains why every loaf is different, even after 40 years of brown bread making!

I made the same mistake and asked Mother for her plain scone recipe – problem. My mother does not do metrics, and I, on the other hand, rely on them! “Relax”, she tells me, “You’ll just know”.

Here it is, as best as I can possibly decipher…and remember (it was quite stressful):


  • 4 cups self raising flour
  • pinch of Irish Atlantic Sea Salt, naturally
  • tablespoon of sugar (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • half pint skimmed milk (approximately)
  • 2 oz of butter


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Sieve the flour and add the sugar and salt.Cube the butter and add to the dry ingredients, crumbling with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the eggs (beaten) and milk. Use a wooden spoon to mix. Mammy Tip No.1: Use the same mixing bowl every time as you will get to know the consistency of the mixture and you won’t have to worry about measurements.
  • Once you are happy with the mixture and it is not too wet, place it onto a flour board. Mammy Tip No. 2: Do not handle the mixture too much, you should treat it like pastry.
  • As Mother’s recipe does not use a raising agent, you should keep the mixture quite high and don’t roll it out too much, keep it around 1 inch in height.
  • Using a cutter, or a glass, cut out approximately 12 scones from the mixture.
  • Place on a baking tray with a little flour to avoid them from sticking. Mammy Tip No. 3: Rather than using an egg wash, and to give your scones a nice glaze, wash with a little milk and sugar – as she likes to call it, an egg-free egg wash!
  • Place in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or as Mother says, “Until they smell ready”!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh,

from all at Irish Atlantic Salt Ltd.

Happy St. Patrick's Day


About irishatlanticsalt

Gourmet Irish sea salt flakes lovingly handcrafted on the Beara Peninsula, County Cork, by Michael and Aileen O'Neill.
This entry was posted in Lent, Mother's Recipe, Recipes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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