Honey has been on my mind lately, interviewing as I was, an expert on Beekeeping in my job as a reporter for a community magazine.
I can now tell you loads about the complexities of a bee colony, what threats they face, how they are heavily regulated by themselves and the bees and the process of making honey.
Whilst beekeeping can turn into an obsession, I am more obsessed with honey and its use as food. I sourced a wonderfully tasty Immune boosted raw Honey from the Beekeeper himself. This honey has all sorts of health benefits as the bees graze from a wide variety of food sources.
Apart from having one teaspoon of this delicious food from the Gods, each day, I made some Honey and Oat Biscuits, (or Honey and Oat Cookies if you are American), using a favourite recipe of mine, that I will share here:
Honey and Oat Cookies (Biscuits) Recipe
1 cup Self Raising Flour, (or all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons Baking powder)
3 tablespoons custard powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (125 g) or softened butter
1 – 2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup wheatgerm or bran
Blitz the flour and custard powder
Add sugar and oats and blitz again
Add butter through the chute as processing til blended
Add honey and process till well combined
Roll teaspoonfuls of the mix into balls and toss lightly in the wheatgerm/bran
Place on baking tray and flatten lightly with the back of a fork
Cook for 10 – 12 minutes in a moderate over 180 degrees C (350 F)
Merle is an Aussie Grandma and a fantastic cook who released a book of Australian recipes, and one of the all-time favourites is reproduced here albeit with a few alterations.
The recipe is posted here, as it was Anzac Day, yesterday.
Every year on 25 April, Australians remember the Anzacs in memorial services in every suburb, in every city in Australia, and it is a national holiday. I would venture to say a sacred day in the consciousness of all Australians.
Anzac biscuits are named after the Australian and New Zealand Army troops who fought on the side of Britain during WWI. They were unfortunately slaughtered in an mistaken decision made by the British command.
Churchills error in the Dardenelles against the Turkish forces resulted in an atrocious loss of life and the soldiers who fought there have since achieved saint-like status in the minds of Australians and Kiwis.
These biscuits/cookies keep well for an extended period of time and were sent in tins to the troops fighting in the filthy trenches at Lone Pine and Anzac Cove in Turkey, by the mothers and sweethearts of those brave young men.
Mel Gibson immortalised the Anzac soldier’s spirit in the 1981 film “Gallipoli”.
I cooked the Anzacs at 180 degrees C… sorry Merle love, my oven is happier working at a higher temperature than yours.
Feel free to post what temperature worked for you, if you try the recipe…
1 cup plain flour (approx 4 ounces)
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp bicarb soda
160 g butter, melted
Preheat Oven 170 Celsius
Method 1. Sift flour, ginger in a mixing bowl and add coconuts, oats and sugar. Make a well in the centre 2. Stir in Golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb in a small bowl until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well 3. Take heaped teaspoons of mix and roll into small balls. Place on trays and flatten gently. Bake 6-7 minutes ( I baked them for 10 mins) 4. Cool on tray 10 mins til they firm up slightly.
The supreme sacrifice of those men in the cause of freedom, is truly something to eternally ponder about. “Lest we Forget”
Now you can also try these biscuits, and tell me what you think.
Reproduced here for the Danish island school and the children who some years back organized an Australian morning tea as part of their tuition from their fabulous teach who unfortunately passed away some years ago.
Never buy a packet cookie or cake mix again! Many of them are just flour, sugar and dehydrated egg or fat.
You can easily make good quality cake mixes on your own in a food processor, or by hand, if you relish manually rubbing in butter to flour; (I don’t). But it does save you money and assist in building a zero waste household!
Buying larger bags of flour and sugar, in order to make up a few batches of cake mix will save money in the long run, as you can access cheaper prices for buying in bulk. Think how much each individual box of cake mix costs. I estimate you could save at least 2/3 of the retail price. So in effect, 3 for the price of 1!
These pre-made mixes can be made up immediately they’re removed from the fridge, but it will take a little longer than if the ingredients are at room temperature when you make them up. Use this time well by preparing pans, trays etc. whilst waiting for the mix to acclimatize.
Hints on Making Your own Baking Mixes:
Measure ingredients accurately.
Place mixes into sealable plastic bags: large zip lock bags are great.
Mark down the date prepared and the contents: eg.Chocolate cake/ orange cake, on the label. You might even want to add some simple directions on preparing or baking and give these mixes as gifts to friends. A marble cake pre made mix is welcomed by my friends.
Sealed well these mixes will store in the freezer for 3 months.
Foundation Cake Pre-Mix
*NB: Self raising flour is the equivalent of 1 cup of plain or all purpose flour mixed with 2 teaspoons of Baking powder sifted and mixed thoroughly.
Cake Mix Ingredients
1 1/2 cups Self-raising Flour*
3/4 cup (180 g) castor sugar
2 tablespoons skim milk powder
125 g (4oz) butter, straight from fridge and chopped into small cubes
Combine sifted flour, sugar and milk powder in the bowl of food processor fitted with a metal blade for blending the butter.
Blitz dry ingredients for 2- 3 seconds to mix.
Add the chopped cold butter.
Process 10 to 20 seconds until butter is evenly distributed in dry ingredients.
Seal and store or continue to make a completed cake.
Making up the Cake from the Pre-Mix
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract or Vanillin Sugar
1/2 cup water
Prepare Foundation Cake Mix in a mixer bowl as instructed above.
Add the eggs, vanilla and water.
Beat on low speed until ingredients are combined.
Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for three minutes or until mixture changes in colour and is smooth. (There should not be any lumps in the mixture; if there are, beat til they’ve disappeared).
Spread mixture evenly into well-greased 20 cm Round, Bundt, Ring, or a 28 x 18 cm, (11x 7 in) lamington tin.
Bake in moderate oven 30 minutes and leave for 10 minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool.
Add 2 teaspoons grated orange rind with the water and eggs and omit vanilla.
Top cake with Orange glace icing when cold.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon instant coffee with 1/4 cup boiling water, and make up to 1/2 cup with cold water but leave to cool before using. Use this in place of the 1/2 cup water in original recipe.
Top with glace icing of your choice, or coffee icing.
Sift 1/3 cup Cocoa into a small basin, gradually blend in 2/3 cup water, stir till smooth. Use in place of water in original recipe. (The extra water is needed in this recipe to absorb the cocoa.)
Top with chocolate icing.
Cooking times vary so here is a guide to tin sizes and cooking times:
20 cm (8 inch) ring tin – 35 minutes
2 x 25 x 8 cm (10 in x 3 in) bar tins – 30 minutes
20 x 10 cm (8in x 4 in) loaf tin – 50 minutes
23 x 12 cm (9in x 5 in) loaf tin – 50 minutes
25 x 15 cm (10in x 6 in) – 45 minutes
Basic Cake Icing
Vanilla Glace Icing
1 1/2 cups Icing or Confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons Butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract or Vanillin sugar
2 tablespoons Milk, approximately
Stir Icing sugar into small heatproof bowl
Stir in butter, vanilla and enough milk to make a thick paste.
Stand basin over hot water, stir constantly until icing is of spreading consistency.
Spread over cold cake with spatula.
Orange Glace Icing: Use 2 tablespoons strained orange juice in place of milk and omit vanilla.
Over at StPA, I spoke of the Anzac Day spirit living on throughout Australia, as it does here at the Home by the Sea. Today, April 25, is Anzac Day. This morning we experienced an Anzac Day, like no other.
Due to the risks associated with Covid-19, Australians were unable to hold communal memorial ceremonies, at the shrines in each and every suburb, as is the norm.
Our first Anzac Day at the Home by the Sea, was always going to be unique.
In our street and across every residential streets of Australia, people turned out to stand on their driveways, at 5.55 am in order to hold a candlelight line of honour in memory of the Anzacs and sacrifice of servicemen and women.
Thanks to a bugler two streets away, the Last Post wafted quietly over the rooftops and the suburban streets, which had fallen into a 5-minute silent vigil, as a mark of respect. Hearing this tune chokes up the hardiest person, once you know what it represents.
The haunting tune, made eerily more real as humanity battles the Corona virus.
Flags hung from balconies, garage doors and windows. Later, street barbeques with appropriate social distancing were held at lunch. The R.S.L. branches held ‘Two-up,’ online! A first.
Me, I made Anzac Biscuit from my own recipes and shared them (observing appropriate Hand Hygiene practices), with the local community. Rick, our self-appointed neighbourhood watch trooper who scoots about on his Power Wheelchair, was a grateful recipient, scooting off to share the still warm biscuits or cookies, with his “Mrs.”