Feeling a bit smug.  Not because a blind person won first prize for the honey cake class at our local beekeepers’ show but because the last one I made was a near disaster!

That time I was in San Francisco and was using nearly the same recipe by Professional Masterchef Champion, Steve Edwards, but using clearly very dubious commercial “honey”.  It was very much touch-and-go as to whether it would ever cook through.  This time I used the same Victoria sponge recipe, replacing sugar with our own Spring honey, and injected more while the cake was still warm.

Golden brown loaf-cake with darker brown crust and first prize certificate.

The honey and ginger cookies scarped a Very Highly Commended while the honey and bramble jelly  got a Third.  In reality, I thought that the jar was a bit mean on contents and the set was too firm: different juice/honey proportions next time.

Plate of five round nubbly pale brown biscuits with the sixth having been nibbled and certificate. One jar of clear dark purple jelly with certificate.

Meanwhile, the sous-chef got a First for his crystallised honey.  Its from our Spring harvest and full of flavour with a hint of thyme.  His two matching labelled-for-sale jars got a Third and the wretched wax blocks didn’t even merit a mention.  Some we win, some we lose!

Two jars of yellowy orange sticky stuff and certificate.

We’ve been very engrossed in the Asian Hornet saga.  These invasive insects are bigger than wasps but smaller than their cousins, the European hornet.    They are cropping up all over the place (especially Kent, Sussex, London, Hull, Newcastle, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and here in Hampshire).  They have distinctive legs that look as if they’ve been dipped in yellow paint and an orange belt near its bottom.  Don’t get close as they can sting badly and some people end up in hospital. If you spend time in the countryside or even have a garden, download the App so you too can press  button, take a picture and report it to DEFRA in one go.  Then the experts can take over.

More happy speaking engagements recently: Tavistock U3A plus their local Talking Newspaper  followed by a Hampshire Macular Degeneration  group.    Losing your sight in later years can mean losing confidence to cook.  Rather than rely on “ready meals”, why not have a go at my recipes. I’m a fan of batch cooking so have meals in the freezer  and know what went into them!

© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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