Honey Trap

24th April 2009

Now in its eleventh year, National Honey Week (4 to 10 May) is one of the UK’s ‘sweetest’ celebrations.

Honey has long been recognised as a natural remedy and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. Its antiseptic properties mean that it can be used as a remedy for ailments from sore throats to burns and cuts. It’s also, of course, fabulous to eat, and a great ingredient. Here are four new recipes from the Honey Association, plus half a dozen tips and hints for getting the best out of the sweet stuff.

Honey Hints

1. Remember honey is much sweeter than table sugar! Substitute 100g of sugar for about 90ml honey. You should also subtract about 50ml of liquid from a recipe for every 125ml honey used.

2. Take a tip from grandma and run a spoon under a hot tap for stress-free honey drizzling.

3. Don’t be afraid to experiment with set honey. Thick honey is delicious combined with cinnamon and poured over natural yoghurt and fresh fruit. Set honey can be softened simply by standing it in warm water for an hour or so.

4. Honey is a fantastic base ingredient for marinades, sauces and glazes, giving a naturally sweet edge to hundreds of sweet and savoury dishes.

5. Try mixing honey and mustard together and brushing over chicken. Grill until golden brown and enjoy! Simple and delicious.

6. Remember, slightly reduce the temperature of your oven when cooking with honey, it crisps and browns much faster than sugar.

Serves 4

Honey Mustard Chicken with Grilled Courgettes

Ingredients

4 tablespoons clear honey • 2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard • 4 chicken breasts, skinned • 4 baby courgette • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice • Small handful mint leaves, torn

Method

Pre-heat the grill. Mix the honey and mustard together and brush all over the chicken breasts. Grill the chicken for 8 minutes each side, until golden and cooked through. Cool for 5 minutes then slice.

Slice the courgettes lengthways. Place them on a baking tray. Brush with a little olive oil and grill for 2 - 3 minutes on each side. Place them in a shallow dish.

Put the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and mint in a bowl, mix, then pour over the courgettes. Add the sliced chicken and gently combine together.

Serves 4

Grilled salmon marinated with ginger, honey & lime

Ingredients

1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped • 1” piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped • 1 tablespoon clear honey • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime • A little low-sodium salt • Freshly ground black pepper • 4 salmon fillets

Method

Make the marinade by whisking all the ingredients together in a shallow bowl. Season to taste with the low-sodium salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the salmon in the bowl and turn gently to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

Heat the grill. Cook the salmon under the grill for about 2- 3 minutes each side. Spoon the remaining marinade over the salmon and allow to stand for 2 -3 minutes before serving

Serves 4

Roasted butternut squash & goat’s cheese salad with soy balsamic dressing

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded • and chopped into 2.5 cm (1-inch) cubes • A few sprigs of rosemary • Freshly ground black pepper • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil • 100g rocket • 100g Goat’s cheese, roughly sliced • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

Dressing: 4 tablespoons olive oil • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar • 1 tablespoon clear honey • 1 tablespoon soy sauce • 1 garlic clove

Heat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ gas mark 6. Put the butternut squash in a roasting tin together with the garlic, rosemary and black pepper. Drizzle over the oil, toss well and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes until tender.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Put the rocket in a large serving bowl and arrange the squash and Goat’s cheese on top. Pour the dressing over and scatter over the walnuts.

Makes 9

Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

225g (8oz) self raising white flour • 85 g (3 oz) margarine • 2 tablespoons clear honey • 1 large egg • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract • 200ml (7 fl oz) skimmed milk • 125 g (4 oz) fresh blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cases. Mix together the margarine and honey until smooth.

In a separate bowl beat the egg, vanilla and milk then add to the margarine/ honey mixture together with 2 tablespoons of the flour. Beat the mixture until smooth then fold in the remaining flour. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins – about two-thirds full - and then bake for 18 - 20 minutes until the muffins are risen and golden.

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