A taste of honey in hoisin chicken and more

A little honey goes a long way. (Courtesy of Spicie.com)

A little honey goes a long way. (Courtesy of Spicie.com)

Elizabeth Baird, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

When the famous band Abba sang about how honey thrills them, I don’t think they were talking about the golden sweetener. But a passion for real honey, the origin of those terms of endearment, goes far back. Prehistoric cave paintings depict honey gatherers, up on rope ladders scooping wild honey out of rock crevices into stitched hide bags, their bodies circled by angry bees.

Since then honey has gone from this rare foraged wild crop to the product of managed hives, many rented out to pollinate crops like blueberries or apples, and available in plastic squeeze bottles in any supermarket.

But, honey is still a taste thrill - swirl a little over a warm buttered scone and bite in. Could have you singing, “Honey, honey…”

Honey Hoisin Chicken

A honey-based marinade bakes into a golden gloss on chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) liquid honey
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) hot pepper sauce
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) grated gingerroot
  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs, about 3 lb. (1.5 kg)

In bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, onions, garlic and ginger. Trim any obvious fat and loose skin from chicken. Add to bowl; turn to coat chicken. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours, turning chicken a few times if convenient.Arrange chicken, skin side down, in foil-lined shallow roasting pan. Pour half of marinade overtop. Roast in 375F. (190C.) oven for 30 minutes. Turn, drizzle remaining marinade over chicken. Roast until juices run clear when pierced, and skin is golden and glazed, about 30 minutes, basting 2 or 3 times with pan juices. To crisp skin, broil a few minutes, watching the chicken like a hawk.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Honey Rum Fruit Salad

Very simple, but delicious, to serve with ice cream or whipped cream lightly sweetened with honey and the smallest dash of vanilla.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) rum
  • 1 prepared pineapple
  • 2 Cara Cara or Moro (blood) or navel oranges
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 mango

Directions:

In a serving bowl, stir honey and rum until blended. Cut pineapple into bite-size pieces. Pare skin off oranges, trimming off outer membrane. Cut between membranes to remove orange sections neatly. Peel kiwi; cut in half lengthwise and cube. Peel mango; cut flesh off centre pit, making pieces as cubed as possible. (The cook gets to nibble off any juicy bits from pit.) Add all fruit to honey mixture and toss gently. (Make-ahead: cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Makes 8 servings.

Honey Whole Wheat and Currant Tea Bread

This is an adaptation of the honey tea bread in Ken Haedrich’s Country Baking, (Bantam; 1990). Honey helps to keep a sturdy loaf like this fresh. Enjoy a slice with cream cheese or soft butter for breakfast or snack, or with fruit for dessert. The butter, eggs, milk and sour cream should all be at room temperature.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) liquid honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) vanilla
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) each finely grated lemon and orange rind
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) currants or golden raisins

Directions:

Line 9- x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter until light. Beat in sugar and honey, beating until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla, lemon and orange rind. In separate bowl, whisk to combine all-purpose and whole wheat flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and baking soda. Stir one-third into butter mixture; stir in sour cream. Stir in half of remaining dry ingredients, milk, then remaining dry ingredients. Sprinkle currants over batter; fold in.

Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Tap pan lightly on counter to eliminate bubbles in batter. Bake in centre of preheated 350F. (180C.) until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean and top springs back to light touch, about 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack to finish cooling. Remove paper. (Make-ahead: wrap and store at room temperature for up to 4 days or place wrapped tea loaf into airtight container and freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 12 slices.

Honey Butter

So good on toast or scones, delicious on pancakes and waffles. Just combine equal amounts of softened butter and honey, creamed honey if you can find it and pack it into a handy serving jar. Add the merest dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg. Store in the fridge.

The Best Greek Breakfast: Top Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and imagine you’re on the island of Syros. No Greek Yogurt? Drain plain yogurt in a cheesecloth lined-sieve or coffee filter set in the refrigerator until the yogurt is thick. You can discard the liquid – or use it in a batch of muffins.


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