This is my favourite day of the week, its my favourite blog with one of my favourite childhood characters. For those of you who aren't sure who he is, here's some background info on this gorgeous yellow bear: Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927). All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Poobear's favourite food is HONEY!! (Or 'hunny' as he spells it)
In honour of Poobear, here are three fantastic honey recipes:
Ricotta, Honeycomb and Hazelnut with Rhubarb Compote
Honey with the comb is honey pretty much as the bees intended. The idea is to eat the whole thing, comb and all. The comb has a chewy, waxy texture and is perfectly edible, but you can discreetly discard it once you've sucked all the honey from it, if you prefer.
100g skin-on hazelnuts
For the compote
500g rhubarb, cut into 5cm pieces
50g caster sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. While it's still a little wet from being washed, add the rhubarb to an ovenproof dish and toss with the sugar. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Leave to cool completely.
2 Turn the oven up to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for around 5 minutes, until they are lightly golden and the skins are starting to split.
3 Tip the nuts on to a clean tea towel. Fold the towel over them and rub vigorously. This will remove most of the skins, but don't worry if a few stubborn bits remain.
4 Divide the ricotta between shallow serving bowls. Add a spoonful of rhubarb compote to each. Break or cut your honeycomb into 4 roughly equal pieces and place on the ricotta and rhubarb, trickling over any honey that has escaped. Scatter over the hazelnuts and serve.
Recipe supplied by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Honey Cake with Citrus Passion Fruit Syrup
This cake is as light as a cloud. Eat it straight from the oven with the warm citrus syrup, or cold and split into two, filled with Greek yoghurt or whipped cream and passion fruit.
For the honey cake
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
7 tbsp clear honey
½ tsp baking powder
125g ground almonds
Pinch of salt
Butter, for greasing
For the citrus syrup
2 passion fruit
100g unrefined golden sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Greek yoghurt, to serve
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Lightly butter a 20cm diameter by 10cm deep round cake tin. Grate the zest of the lemon and squeeze out its juice. Add the juice to the milk. Separate the eggs and sift the baking powder into a bowl with the semolina and almonds.
2 Whisk the egg yolks with the lemon zest and honey until light and fluffy. Carefully clean and dry the utensil, then whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks.
3 Stir the baking powder, semolina and almonds into the yolk mixture. When the stirring starts to get difficult, add the milk and blend until smooth.
4 Add a big spoonful of the whisked egg whites to the yolk mixture to loosen it up a little. Gently fold in the remaining whites, trying to keep as much of the air in them as possible. Pour this mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or until firm.
5 While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup. Halve the passion fruit and scoop out the pulp. Dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium heat, then turn the heat up and simmer rapidly for a few minutes until the liquid becomes syrupy. Add the lemon juice and passion fruit pulp and leave to cool until the cake is ready.
6 Once the cake is ready, pierce a few holes in the top with a cocktail stick, then pour the syrup over it. Let it sit for 10 minutes while the syrup soaks in.
7 Take the cake out of the tin and slice while it's still warm. Serve with Greek yoghurt.
Honey works superbly as a base flavour for a creamy and luxurious panna cotta. It's a natural sweetener, so no additional sugar is needed. Use the best honey you can get.
125ml whole milk
375ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
2 x 2g sheets gelatine
2 points of a star anise
70g runny honey
1 Add the milk, 180ml of the double cream and two points of a star anise to a small saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the saucepan. Bring the liquids to the boil, then turn off the heat to let the spices infuse for 10 minutes.
2 Leave two sheets of gelatine to soak in a bowl of water for 4 minutes. Reheat the cream for 30 seconds or so, but don't allow it to boil again. Take the gelatine sheets from the bowl and squeeze out any excess water, then add them to the warm cream mix, along with the honey. Stir the mixture until the new additions have completely dissolved.
3 Strain the cream, honey, vanilla and gelatine mix through a sieve. Then allow this to cool for 10-15 minutes until it thickens and clings to the back of a wooden spoon.
4 In a small bowl, whisk the remaining double cream to "ribbon" stage – just before it starts to peak – taking care not to overwhip. Fold the gelatine-thickened cream mix into the whipped cream, then decant into a jug.
5 Pour the mix into dariole moulds or ramekins that hold 150ml of water. Leave a gap of around 5mm at the top of each pot. Chill them for a couple of hours or more. You could make these the morning before a dinner party, or even the night before.
6 Remove the panna cottas from the fridge five minutes before serving, so they become loose enough to slip freely from their moulds. If you are having difficulties, you may need to dip the moulds briefly in hot water to encourage them to loosen. Serve with seasonal fruit.
Recipe supplied by rocketandsquash.com
And there you go! Three gorgeous honey recipes fit for PooBear
Bee Sweet, peeps! Till next week...
Chef Shants xxxxx