Phil Vickery discovers how the Queen likes her scones

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The Queen’s former royal chef, Darren McGrady, has shed light on her favourite meal, afternoon tea. He outlined Her Majesty’s favourite afternoon tea dishes, the subtle way she’d communicate with the chefs while at Buckingham Palace and the strict protocol the kitchen staff had to abide by when including scones on the menu. Speaking to UK-based coffee machine retailer Coffee Friend, Mr McGrady also touched on the Queen’s “frugal” food tastes and why the kitchen staff would never cater to any late-night orders.

Coffee Friend shared Mr McGrady’s answers with

He said: “The Queen had afternoon tea every day, wherever she was in the world.

“If we were at Buckingham Palace and she was on her own for tea, or whether she had Prince William come and join her, or whether she had a garden party for 6,000 people or even if she was on the Royal Britannia in Australia.

“The Queen loved afternoon tea, I would say it’s probably one of her favourite meals.

“Certainly when I was there, she would sit down religiously for tea.”

What were the Queen’s favourite items in afternoon tea?

Mr McGrady commented: “There had to be two types of sandwiches on the menu, there were scones – one day they would be plain scones, the next day they would be fruit scones with raisins.

“It was really important the way they alternated.

“So much so, that the chefs at Buckingham Palace would ring Windsor Castle on a Monday morning and ask what flavour scones the Queen had the day before, just to be sure we didn’t serve the same.

“I’m not sure what would have happened if we did, but we always checked.

“For afternoon tea there would be small cake, anything from a mini chocolate eclair to a Queen’s cake, and large cakes too which we would call a cut of cake, where the Queen could cut a slice of cake.

“This could be honey and cream sponge, a fruit cake, gingerbread. Banana bread, chocolate biscuit cake – one of her favourites – or a chocolate ganache cake.

“They were served with Earl Grey tea and that was afternoon tea for the Queen every day.”

Mr McGrady shared the royal recipe for scones with Coffee Friend.

Ingredients for 12

450 grams cups all-purpose flour
113 grams soft butter
One tbsp granulated sugar
Four tsp baking powder
One egg
One cup of milk
Half cup raisins (if making fruit scones)
One egg yolk for glazing
One jar strawberry jam
One jar clotted cream


Set the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder and sugar.

Add and rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg and about three-quarters of the milk.

With a metal spoon, bring the mixture together making sure you do not over mix it or you will tighten the dough.

If the mixture is a little dry add more of the remaining milk gradually.

Lightly dust the table with flour and roll out the dough to about one-and-an-inch thick.

Then cut using a two-inch round cookie cutter.

Place on a baking sheet about one inch apart and brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.

When cooked, lift onto a wire rack to cool.

Serve the scones with jam and cream.

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