Honey, honey.

If I were a bee, I think I’d be permanently annoyed. Annoyed because of all the creatures that steal my hard work – for absolutely no financial reward. Maybe that’s the reason bees always look busy. “When you look like you’re annoyed, people think that you’re busy” (George Costanza, Seinfeld). Having some slobbering, furry, smelly bear with its paws in my honey – I would be very annoyed. Why do bears like honey anyway? Surely it gets stuck in their fur and attracts the flies. Its not like they carry wet wipes.

If I were a bee, I’d sleep standing up in my hexagon honeycomb cell covered in a blanket of warm honey. Sort of like a viscous flotation tank. I would dream about buttered crumpets with honey oozing through the holes, honey covered apples and honeyed soy sauce chicken baked in a pan. I’d eat all the honey myself in every conceivable combination:

Honey…and locusts?!

The only downside would be that if I got fat – I wouldn’t be able to fly.

Honey is splattered and slathered across most children’s books. In these far off lands of milk and honey, everyone it seems is on the hunt for honey. Its allure may be because this golden treasure is indestructible; it never goes off! Fact!

There are those who love honey: Brer Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, Miss Honey (Matilda), the Jumblies (Edward Lear), the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, Asterix & Obelix (revoltingly – these two dine on giraffe necks stuffed with honey in Asterix in Switzerland) and almost every fictional bear you can think of. Perhaps the craziest of the honey-lovers are the  Jumblies, who go to sea in a sieve and are not only mad in their little blue heads, but also mad for the sticky golden honey.

Then there are those who despise honey, like Tigger and the Plum Pudding Flea whose evil plan is thwarted when he gets stuck in a honey trap in David Wood’s retelling of the Owl & the Pussycat. “Honey of all things. Sweet and nice and yucky. I hate things, sweet and nice and yucky.” (Listen to the great honey song here).

Inspired by the all these references I’ve made a few honeyed dishes of my own and a couple of addictive honey drenched drinks below.

Milk & Honey Recipe

You could probably drink this and bathe in the rest…but here’s how you make it.

A large glass of oat milk (for the lactose intolerant)
2 tsps of honey (Manuka)

Green & Black’s dark cocoa powder for sprinkling
1/2 tsp of vanilla paste

Put the milk and one teaspoon of honey in a pan and simmer. Put the other teaspoon into the glass. When the milk starts producing tiny bubbles, stir in the vanilla paste. Using a whisk or milk frother – froth the milk. Pour the mixture into the glass on top of the honey. Dust with cocoa powder and drink.

The oat milk is lighter than normal milk so can take the sweetness of the honey and vanilla. It’s healthy and contains the antibacterial magic of Manuka honey.

Hot Rum & Milk

A large glass of full fat milk (don’t be afraid – its much easier to digest than semi-skimmed)
2 tsps of honey (Manuka)
1 shot of Jamaican rum cream (try Baileys and Frangelico as well)
Cocoa powder for sprinkling
Vanilla paste

Put the milk and one teaspoon of honey in a pan and simmer. Put the other teaspoon into the glass. When the milk starts producing tiny bubbles, stir in the vanilla paste and a teaspoon of the rum cream. Using a whisk or milk frother – froth the milk. Pour the mixture into the glass on top of rest of the shot of rum cream. Dust with cocoa powder, a drizzle of the rum cream and drink. Then maybe make another glass.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash
1 tbsp Acacia honey
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 small sweet potatoes
1 pint of chicken stock
salt and pepper to season

For the rosemary and pine nut croutons
1 clove of garlic
Wholemeal or granary bread
Salt and pepper
Pine nuts

1. Cut the butternut squash lengthways.
2. Drizzle the honey over the squash and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Put into a baking tray face up with enough water to cover at least an inch of the squash.
3. Cook in the oven for around 40 minutes or until you can easily put a knife into the squash.
4. Cut the onion, sweet potatoes and crush the garlic. Sweat in a pan with a sprinkling of salt.  After 2-3 minutes, add in the chicken stock.
5. When the squash is ready, scoop out the flesh and add to the stock and other vegetables. Cook until all the vegetables are soft.
6. Blend until smooth.
To make the rosemary croutons:
Cut the bread into chunky cubes. Heat two teaspoons of butter and a teaspoon of oil in a pan
. When it is hot, throw in a good few pinches of rosemary and and the bread and toss until crispy. As the bread is turning brown, throw in the garlic and pine nuts (be careful as the pine nuts will toast very quickly). When the croutons are crisp, add the mixture to the top of the soup – and maybe another twist of salt (I love salt).

Honey & vanilla marshmallows

These are brilliant to make. There is no good time to make them, and you will put them off out of fear. But be strong, channel your inner Gordon Ramsay, close your eyes and cook the marshmallows. Go – go now. But, be warned, everything you own, including your hair will be covered in marshmallow. There is no way to contain the gloop once you start whisking. Your kitchen will look like the final episode of Ghostbusters when the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man blows up all over Manhattan. You too will have molten marshmallow cream on all your appliances. But it is a small sacrifice to make these joyous fluffy beasties.

9 sheets of gelatine (soaked in 140ml of water for 10 minutes)
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of honey
1 tbsp glucose
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (or paste)
3/4 cup icing sugar (for coating your marshmallows)
Warm Nutella – for dipping

1. Line a deep baking tay with greaseproof paper. Spray it with a light coating of oil.
2. Soak the gelatine in the water for 10 minutes.
3. Put the sugar, glucose and honey in a pan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
4. Bring to the boil and cook for another 10 minutes. Pour in the squelchy gelatin and vanilla extract.
5. Pour the entire mixture into a large mixing bowl.
6. Using a whisk (be careful not to get any of the hot mixture on you), whisk the mixture for about 10 minutes. The clear sugary mixture will start to go cloudy until eventually it turns into a mixture resembling meringue. Only stop whisking when you can lift the beaters out without the mixture dropping off.
7. Pour the mixture into the baking tray.
8. Leave to cool then put in the fridge for 24 hours.
9. Loosen the marshmallow from a pan and turn out onto a surface covered with icing sugar. Peel off the greaseproof paper and sprinkle with more icing sugar.
10. Now cut the marshmallow into squares, using a greased knife. Roll the cubes around the icing sugar to make sure every side is coated.

Peas & Honey

I eat peas with honey
I’ve done it all my life

It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife. (Anon)

A fork.

Foody Footnote…

Check out Cocoandme blog for the “buzz buzz cake”, inspired by a story book by Machiko Yagyu.

Let me know any of your great honey inspired recipes



6 thoughts on “Honey

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