26 February 2014

Playing with my Honey (no, not him!)

My God you guys must have had some horrid weather whilst I was away sunning myself – when we got home our entire honey stash was crystallised.  We always have quite a lot due to our habit, inspired years ago by both having bad colds at the same time, of having a delicious drink of honey and lemon on first waking.  This takes about 3 teaspoons of honey each so we get through a fair bit.

Now I am not, of course, put off by crystallised honey.  In the first place it is absolutely fine in every way, just a bit crunchy/chewy and secondly it is really easy to de-crystallise it by standing the jar in a pot of hot water till the crystals melt. I saw, it however, as a chance to have a play.

Whipped or Creamed Honey

I think there are scientific guidelines about how to do this properly (see here for instance) but I just wanted to whip up the honey and see what happened, so I did …

From this .........................to this!

The honey became creamy, soft and spreadable and it occurred to me that this would be a good time to add some flavouring. I considered lemon zest, whisky, lemon zest and whisky and ginger but decided to go with vanilla paste (details of this wonderful stuff here). Good decision.

I also tried making a simple honey sorbet because I have decided to write an eBook on the subject as an addenda to my ice cream book (see sidebar and watch this space!). It turned out a bit too soft, but I know why and it was lovely anyway.

Raw Honey

Whilst we were away we went cold turkey for a few weeks on our honey and lemon drink because honey is so expensive in the islands.  Well most of it is but after a while we found some lovely Caribbean raw honey which was cheaper … $6 as opposed to about $15 for the same amount of normal honey!  Why is this, I wondered.  Raw honey (a bit like extra virgin olive oil – it hasn’t been heat treated) still contains all its antioxidants, enzymes and antibacterial usefulness and is quite pricey in the UK. 

Other Things about Honey ...

~   My sister (of the superb Art Caf├ęs in West Mersea and Colchester) sent me some White Truffle Honey a while back and … Boom!  It’s an eye opener, especially on cheese!

~   Did you know that in Liverpool honey is sold by the postcode (read all about it here)! Obviously different locations have different plants for the bees so the honey tastes different, apparently the flavour can vary from one street to another!  Something I may have to look into.

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