If you are out of bread to serve with dinner, you can have a batch of these on the table in 25 minutes from start to go, and only half that time is actual work. These are wonderful, cut in half, with butter melting on them. Cooking at: 220 C / 425 F / Gas Mark 7
Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening. Add milk -- if it looks like it won't take any more milk without getting gloopy, then don't add any more.
Don't knead or overhandle the dough or your biscuits will become hockey-pucks.
Turn out onto floured surface, roll out or pat out with your hands to a thickness of 1/2 " to 3/4 " (1 to 2 cm.) Fold the dough onto itself 2 or 3 times, like folding a piece of paper. Roll out again. Repeat the folding and rolling 3 or 4 times in total. This creates fluffy layers in your biscuits.
At this point, you can either cut into squares or use a round biscuit cutter (or a floured glass.)
Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet and bake about 12 to 15 minutes.
Optional: if you have some fresh parsley to use up, toss about 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley in to make some nice savoury biscuits.If your oven runs hot, then you may wish to lower the baking temperature a bit.