You’d think one of the benefits of working from home is the chance of the odd lie-in – but not so for Jane Stockton who’s up at 5.30 every weekday morning making a little dough for her family, in one sense, and for the decadent delights she supplies to locals in the other.
Anyone who’s grabbed a morning coffee recently from the Roast Office at Te Uku may well have been tempted by her still-warm cinnamon brioches, or savoury scones with caramelised onion and sundried tomato.
Or depending on the day the choice may have been between blueberry and lemon brioche or ham and cheese scones, or between caramelised onion and feta scones or moist raspberry and white chocolate ones topped with a thick dusting of icing sugar.
“Anything with berries and chocolate flies out the window,” says Jane who’s up making dough before daybreak so she can hand her home-made goodies over to husband Matt a couple of hours later to drop off at Te Uku, en route to his own job as principal of Whatawhata School.
The scones are “based on my Mum’s recipe”, Raglan Jane – as she’s known around town and online – told the Chronicle last week. “We had a house cow and had lots of cream,” the former King Country girl explains of her old-fashioned scones with a contemporary twist that transforms them into irresistibly moist muffins-cum-scones.
The cream has gone now from Jane’s adapted scone recipe because she doesn’t have a house cow at home out the back of Te Uku, where she and Matt have now lived for nine years. But she does have a flock of happy hens in the yard of their property, which is at the end of a long gravel road and overlooks both rolling green farmland and an upper reach of Whaingaroa harbour.
The hens provide “the freshest eggs possible” for some of Jane’s other creations – such as oaty ginger slice, brownies and chocolate chip cookies – which each day grace the counter at Raglan Roast’s original hole-in-the-wall coffee outlet in Volcom Lane.
Jane also supplies a Paleo, organic and gluten-free version of the chocolate brownie to The Herbal Dispensary in Wallis Street, plus a gluten-free ginger and coconut slice.
She’s kept “pretty busy” three days a week in her baking kitchen – downstairs in the basement as opposed to the family kitchen upstairs – making these slices and cookies while daughters Emily and Isabelle, aged 11 and 9, are at Te Uku School.
Jane was an Otago-qualified food scientist living and commuting to work in Auckland until a decade ago, but reckons her job description has now changed to that of “a from-scratch baker specialising in old-fashioned homestyle baking”.
She’s got a website with a link to her Facebook page, and a “gallery” of photos showing all the delectable-looking goodies in her home bakery/catering line.
Opportunity came Jane’s way three years ago soon after the Roast Office opened at Te Uku. Its counters were bare of foodie treats and “I saw a gap in the market,” she says. “I wanted (to make) something easy that tasted great and sold well.” So she did.
Being used to making recipes work en masse in food factories turning out the likes of Lisa’s Hummus, or products under the Naked Organics and Delmaine Fine Foods labels, Jane took the initiative and prepared a simple batch of scones for a trial run at the Roast Office.
Despite being very casual about it all, she recalls, the staff liked what they tasted and so did “The Don”, Raglan Roast boss Tony Bruce.
So she got a licence for her small bakery downstairs and the rest is history. “I will probably have to look at getting another oven – and possibly even a bigger mixer,” she says of the next steps.
Outside of Raglan Roast and The Herbal Dispensary, Jane occasionally caters – word-of-mouth – for a few other local customers like Indies downtown and the community-based Te Mauri Tau in Hills Road.
Raglan Jane also supplies the new Laroma Espresso Bar in Frankton with her home-made goodies, delivering them on weekly trips to Hamilton for her girls’ gymnastics classes.
Meantime this enterprising 43 year old is happy to have a business and a lifestyle in one. “I love the creating,” she enthuses of her self-styled job from home. “It provides an income and keeps me busy and works well within school hours.”