Food for Thought: Honey

I really love honey and until a couple of years ago I didn’t realise that I wasn’t eating the real thing!

Under pressure from consumers and retailers, a large portion of the honey industry made a decision to give us a smooth and runny honey, reminiscent of liquid gold, but in fact, the value is as far from gold as can be. Honey is an example of natural perfection; it is reported to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and even anti-fungal properties. Honey is also full of powerful enzymes, antioxidants, natural vitamins and nutrients. Unfortunately, this is not what is readily available to us on a consumer level. It is often heated to refine the texture and increase the shelf life but a consequence is the removal of nearly all of the health benefits that were once naturally present. You have to wonder when and/or who made the decision to sacrifice the health benefits so that we could spread it on our toast. Clever advertising campaigns, such as runny honey in a bear shaped squeeze bottle (now I think about it, not so clever) kept us wanting more. Lets face it, honey can be messy and sticky; the ease of it almost spreading itself on our toast is an extremely tempting ploy. But now we know what we are giving up, it almost seems unfathomable that such an option was even considered. Bees still pollinate one third of the world’s food supply and they have been successfully thriving on Earth for around 50 million years. There is even evidence that we have been gathering honey for around 8,000 of these years. It is safe to say that bees and honey are an extremely natural and important part of our evolution but the question is – what role will it play in our future? Look for raw and/or low-temperature processed honey and be careful of the ‘organic’ label, it doesn’t always mean that the honey hasn’t been heat-treated. And, if you feel so inclined, plant beefriendly flowering plants. This will help keep natural pollination of our food supply going and also contribute to the creation of one of earth’s most natural, nourishing and delicious foods – honey.

Baked Honey Cheesecake

Baked cheesecakes can be intimidating, as they have a tendency to crack when baked but the addition of a sour cream glaze hides all imperfections! Ingredients • 200g Nice biscuits or equivalent • 30g butter – melted • 875g block cream cheese – room temperature • 150g sour cream • 4 eggs • 2 tablespoons plain flour • 4 tablespoons raw honey • 250g sugar • 2 egg yolks • 100g (extra) sour cream • 2 (extra) tablespoons raw honey Method 1. Line a spring form base cake tin with baking paper and for extra security, lightly grease the base with some of the melted butter. 2. Process the biscuits until the consistency of fine sand. 3. Add the butter and pulse until combined. 4. Press the mixture into the base of the lined tin. 5. Bake the base at 180 degrees for 12 minutes and then leave to cool. 6. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees. 7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth. 8. Add the sour cream, eggs, plain flour, honey and sugar, beat until well combined and a smooth consistency. 9. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time allowing the mixture to combine between each egg. 10. Pour the mixture into the tin and tap gently to remove any air bubbles. 11. Bake for 60 minutes or until just set and slightly golden brown in colour. 12. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. 13. Combine the extra sour cream and honey until a pouring texture. 14. Pour over the cooled cake and leave to chill in the fridge overnight. 15. Remove from the tin and garnish with seasonal fruit. twitter.com/annabelleats

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