Saturday, February 26, 2011

Honey uses and recipes

Honey is a very handy thing to have in your cupboard, not only for cooking and baking, but it can be used in first aid as well. This site has some useful information on using honey to treat minor cuts etc as it is a natural antibiotic:

I have some interesting recipes using honey. Remember not to feed honey or anything containing honey to infants under 1 year old due to 'botulism'.

Oriental Turkey and Rice
4 cups cooked turkey, diced
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups cooked rice (2/3 cup dry - 2 cups cooked)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup prepared mustard
4 tablespoons turkey drippings


1. Spread diced cooked turkey in a shallow pan, season with salt and pepper.
2. Mix honey, prepared mustard, curry powder and turkey drippings.
3. Blend in turkey. Bake in moderate oven (180 degrees C) for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Spoon over cooked rice.

Makes approx 8 servings.

You can use chicken as well. Use as a marinade for uncooked chicken pieces (omit the turkey drippings). Chicken will require approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake.

Honey Bee Ambrosia
4 medium oranges
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 medium banana
1/4 cup honey

1. Pare oranges. Cut crosswise into thin slices and place in serving bowl.
2. Peel bananas and cut thin slices into the bowl with the oranges.
3. Toss fruits. Blend orange juice and honey and pour over fruits.
4. Sprinkle with coconut. Serve.

And an absolute favourite of my family's. Taken from the Australian Women's Weekly 'Sweet Old-Fashioned Favourites'

Honey Joys
100g butter
1/4 cup castor sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
4 cups (120g) Corn Flakes

1. Combine butter, sugar and honey in large pan. Stir over low heat, without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil. Remove from heat.
2. Add corn flakes to honey mixture. Stir gently to combine.
3. Spoon into patty cases in a muffin tray (or similar) and bake in moderate oven about 10 minutes.

Makes 24.

Honey Butter Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add honey and lemon juice. Stir. Use it to glaze chicken after it has baked for 30 mins (or use a little on veggies).

Week 9 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 challenge:
Store 1 kg honey

$20 challenge:
Store 2 kgs honey


Using Honey

Honey can be used in many ways. It makes a good spread for breads, muffins and biscuits and a tasty sandwich filling when mixed with dried fruits, peanut butter or cottage cheese. Honey can be used as a sweetener for fruits and beverages. It also can be used in any food that is sweetened, including frozen desserts, baked products, meat glazes, custards, frostings/icing, pie fillings, cobblers, puddings, candied vegetables and salad dressings.

Some recipes use honey as the main sweetener; other use sugar. Honey can be used to replace some of the sugar called for in many recipes. Use these guidelines for cakes and cookies:

Cakes: one-half of the sugar in a cake recipe can be replaced with honey. For every 1 cup of sugar replaced, leave out 1/4 cup of liquid.

Cookies: The amount of sugar that can be replaced with honey varies with the kind of cookie being made. For brownies, half of the sugar can be replaced. For fruit bars, honey can replace two-thirds of the sugar called for in the recipe. Only one-third of the sugar can be replaced in gingersnaps.

When making either cakes or cookies, first mix the honey with the fat or the liquid. Then mix it thoroughly with the other ingredients. If this is not done, a soggy layer will form on the top of the baked product.

Products made with honey brown faster than foods made with other sweeteners. So when you bake products made with honey, set the oven temperature 15 degrees C lower than what is indicated in the recipe.

Storing Honey

Honey keeps best in a dry place at a cool temperature between 10 and 20 degrees C. Keep it in a tightly covered container so it does not absorb moisture or odors from the air. Honey will start to form crystals as it gets older or if it is refrigerated (or if it is cold pressed - see the bottom of this post). To make it liquid again, place the honey in an open container in a pan of warm water until it is clear. Do not have the honey in a plastic container when you set it in the warm water. If you need to, you can also microwave it on a gentle setting, but it must be used immediately after this. I try and avoid microwaving it though as beneficial bacteria may be killed.

Health and Honey

Honey provides energy to the body. The amounts of nutrients in honey, however, are small when the number of calories in honey are considered. Honey cannot be used as a substitute for cane or beet sugar in a sugar-restricted diet. Honey is composed of the same basic parts as regular sugar, and the body uses it in the same way. Honey and products made with honey must not be fed to infants younger than one year, because honey can cause "infant botulism". Spores of the bacteria that cause botulism are present in honey. When these spores get in to the intestinal tract of an infant, they grow and produce a toxin that results in a serious illness and death. Remember that these spores in honey are not destroyed by regular cooking or baking methods.

The best type of honey to get is raw, pure and not heat treated. This information is from the Co-Op Stop (

The honey we purchase in bulk for the Co-op is cold extracted, raw and organic. Meaning the honey is not heated up to make it super runny for fast production (where important friendly bacteria, nutrients and trace minerals will be lost), it is not heated at any stage of the extraction process. You know it's raw when it candies quickly. The hives are placed in the bush well away from any sniff of civilisation, farms (that spray pesti/herbi/fungicide) or roads. No pesticide strips are used inside the hive and only natural (non chemical) fuels are used (wood/bark etc) for the smoking cans to calm the bees while the combs are removed, thus keeping organic standards.

The processing of Capilano honey is a real eye opener. Our suppliers also provide honey to Capilano. They heat it first of all and keep it at a a constant temperature for some time to ensure the honey won't candy. This removes all the beneficial nutrients, antibacterial qualities and trace elements (everything!) from the honey. Then they mix it with a glucose syrup and colouring - so they can stretch it further, sell it as 'blended' honey and get a premium for it.

I had a 5 kilo tub of the stuff from years and years ago. It had finally candied and what I saw was the original honey had tried to candy and sat down at the bottom. The glucose syrup and colouring had risen to the top (split like a curdled cake batter).

I am personally going to say though, that cold extracted honey is more expensive, and I would rather you purchased honey that is within your budget and be able to feed your family in a crisis situation rather than stressing about having to save for 'more expensive' honey.

I was able to purchase my honey a few years ago (cold extracted) before honey prices went through the roof. I also purchase a kilo tub each time we stop at The Honey Place on our way to the Gold Coast. The bonus is that we are able to taste test all the honey and see which one we like the most.

Friday, February 25, 2011

This is what happens when...

You cross a Miss Pepper bunny with a Mr Charcoal...

and this is what you get. A nest full of little ones. Now here's the part that made me freak out. Charcoal WAS taken to a vet when he a much younger bunny. Turns out the vet didn't do the job properly, and somehow, an 11 year old bunny who usually lounges around and doesn't do much, was able to chase after Miss Pepper and impregnate her rather quickly. The lesson to be learned is...double check that your boys have been desexed. :( You still need to keep them separated for at least 2 weeks afterwards as the boys can still have 'leftovers' and accidents can happen. Was a great educational experience for our family, I can tell you!

A female bunny can have LOTS of babies in her litter. This time Pepper had 7 live and one that didn't live for very long. Because her previous litter were still nursing (can you see why I felt so bad?) we couldn't keep all the babies. They were sadly put down humanely (professionally) by a friend as Pepper's health would have been in danger as well, and we didn't want to lose her. We kept 3.

So here they are. Rather fat roly poly looking babies, which is a good sign. One Havane Blue, one Havana Black and a smokey grey Havana we named 'Smokey' (funny that!)

This lot of bunnies were cute, but not as friendly as the white Havanas (that looked like Himalayans) of the first litter. I think they have their Daddy's stubborness in them.
I did let Charcoal have a sniff of his babies, under my ever watchful eye of course. Most of the time I had one hand on him ready to hold him back. He didn't like that so much. Rabbits can do unexpected things - they have a mind of their own, and I certainly didn't want him harming them. He didn't, but he was VERY curious.

So you can try and be as a responsible bunny owner as much as you can, but accidents can still happen. We have 8 bunnies now and each one is loved, and knows it. They are each so different with their own individual personalities. And yes, I did have to purchase another two large rabbit hutches to house them all separetely in. Lesson learned.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dear Integral Energy,

If I could write a letter to Integral Energy and send it off today, I would! Common sense prevails and tells me that absolutely nothing good will come out of this but typing this up will certainly make me feel better.

I received an 'official' looking document from Integral Energy telling me that I have trees in my yard that are growing into overhead service lines on my property.

Dear Integral Energy,

Thank you for your deep concern as to the clearance space of the trees on my property to the overhead service lines. I am probably also aware that the trees growing under/around these service mains can result in a fire or electric shock (poor trees) or cause an interruption to my electricity supply.

As YOU no doubt are aware, services provided by Integral Energy have increased in price recently and therefore it is going to take me a little while to scrape the money together to organise for the lovely green friends on my property to be chopped. You see, the money I previously spent on maintaining my garden is now spent on the increased electricity costs. Even though my usage is lower.

The thought even occurred to me that perhaps you might like to move the wires away from the trees, problem solved. Surely the criminal price I am paying for electricity would cover that!

I am going to have to wait until the leaves fall off the tree anyway due to safety reasons for the tree trimmer.

Who on earth needs to "pay for the services of an accredited service provide to relocate the point of attachment of the service line away from vegetation, or to convert the existing electricity supply to an underground service if this is viable? What exactly am I paying for at the moment?

In the meantime, do you also recommend I fit the tree with a smoke detector/fire alarm?

Kind regards

Week 8 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 challenge
Store 2 kgs powdered milk

$20 challenge
Store 3 kgs powdered milk and 1 kg custard powder

Yes folks, we're storing powdered milk again. The reason for that is most emergency situations where you would have to use powdered milk would generally mean that you can't get fresh milk easily. Sadly we've seen that happen in flooded and storm damaged areas. Especially if you have younger mouths to feed, it's a good idea to store milk powder for the calcium benefit.

The custard powder is a way to use up some of that milk powder and to add variety to your food storage. It's great as a snack or a dessert.

You can use your milk powder for bread baking, in cakes and other baking, potato bakes, hot chocolate/coffee, rice pudding and well...there's 381 recipes with milk powder alone here:

I was given a hot chocolate mix using powdered milk that you can keep in a big screw lid jar and use as you go along, or seal in smaller foil pouches for 72 hour kits. Here it is:-

Mary's Hot Chocolate Mix
2 kg powdered milk (skim or regular - doesn't matter)
500 grams coffee whitener
810 gram tin Nesquick (or the equivalent)
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
To make up the drink: to 1/3 cup chocolate mix add 2/3 cup hot water.

I have no idea who Mary is. This recipe was given to me by the wonderful lady to helped start me on my journey with my food storage. Sadly she passed away last week and I've been a bit of a stunned mullet since. I had some questions I wanted to ask her about food storage. I know she had some she wanted to ask me about music too . I'm sure we'll meet up again at some point.

Something I learned - did you know custard powder is an explosive? Apparently, all fine dusts are (sugar, flour etc). I informed my husband, who shrugged his shoulders and said yes, he knew that. My son piped up "That's cool. Mum doesn't need to use Molotov Cocktails any more, she can use custard powder". Yeah - 'cause I use Molotov Cocktails every day! (sarcasm intended).

Here's some interesting information on custard powder: