Honey is such a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It’s not surprising, really, given how many forms it comes in, though some are more suited to heating than others. “Single-estate” honey – the kind that comes from a particular plant (acacia or manuka, say) – won’t survive much heat, so save that for spreading on toast, drizzling on yogurt or making the sort of dressing that steals the salad show. Honey is often the secret behind sticky meat marinades, and is also used to tease the sweetness out of roast vegetables and to add a complex sweetness to all sorts of desserts. The bee’s knees indeed.
Grilled and fresh vegetables with honey-and-soy dressing
The dressing does a great job of tying together the fresh and the charred flavors of the vegetables, and also works well on meat and fish.
Prep 15 mins
cooking 25 mins
serves 4 aces starter gold part of a spread
80g sugar snap peasstringy bits removed
1 pak choi (190g), quartered through the stem
4 spring onions (80g), trimmed
80g baby carrotspeeled
60g breakfast radisheshalved
For the dressing room
3 tbsp runny honey
1½ tsp soy sauce
1½ tsp wholegrain mustard
1 filezest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then juiced, to get 2 tsp
3 tbsp olive oil
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
Put a griddle pan on a medium-high heat and ventilate the kitchen. Once the pan is hot, lay in the sugar snaps and grill for three minutes on each side, until slightly charred. Transfer to a plate, then lay the pak choi cut side down in the hot pan and cook for three minutes on each side. Transfer the pak choi to the sugar snap plate, then put the spring onions in the pan, griddle for two minutes on each side, then move to the same plate and leave all the griddled vegetables to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put all the dressing ingredients in a small jar for which you have a lid, add a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, seal shut and shake vigorously to combine.
Put all the grilled and raw vegetables in a large bowl with three tablespoons of the dressing, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, then toss gently to coat. Transfer to a platter, for the remaining dressing into a small bowl and serve alongside the salad for dipping.
Crisp chicken with ginger and oregano hot honey
The honey mixture is the star in this, and is as at home on cheese or grilled vegetables as it is on this chicken. Make extra, if you like, without the lime and vinegar (add those just before serving), and keep it in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Prep 20 mins
cooking 30 mins
For the chicken
4 garlic clovespeeled and crushed
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
500g skinless and boneless chicken thighscut into quarters
Fine sea salt and black pepper
250g plain flour
3 tbsp tapioca starch (30g), cornflower gold
350ml vegetable oil
For the hot honey
80ml running honey
½ tsp chipotle flakesor chilli flakes
30g piece fresh gingerpeeled, 10g finely grated, the rest julienned
1½ tbsp oregano leaves
2 files1 zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp, the other cut into quarters
1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
First, marinate the chicken. Put the first six ingredients in a bowl with a teaspoon of salt and mix well, cover and leave to marinate for an hour (or, if you want to get ahead, refrigerate and marinate overnight).
Meanwhile, make the hot honey. Put the honey, chipotle, ginger, lime zest and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt in a small pan on a medium-high heat. Cook for four or five minutes, until bubbling and thickened, then take off the heat and stir in the oregano. Leave to cool slightly, then stir in the lime juice and vinegar.
Put the flour and tapioca starch in a medium tray and mix with a half-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Dip the chicken pieces one by one into the flour mix, making sure they are completely coated; leave any excess marinade on the chicken, because it will make the coating raggedy and crisp up nicely (if need be, dip the floured chicken pieces back in the marinade and then back in the flour mix again, to ensure the coating is suitably scruffy) .
Put the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan on a medium-high heat and, once it’s hot, fry the chicken in three or four batches for seven minutes on one side and three or four minutes on the other, until golden and crisp all over . Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will drop too low. Drain on a rack set over a tray, so the oil drips off and the chicken stays crisp.
Arrange the chicken on a platter, spoon over half the honey mix and serve with the rest in a bowl on the side.
Burnt honey and lime creme caramel
The comforting childhood favorite gets a very adult treatment here with the lime salsa and urfa chilli. Make these a day ahead, ideally, to give the cremes time to set thoroughly.
Prep 20 mins
cooking 40 mins
Chill 3 hrs+
190ml runny honeyplus ½ tsp extra
Flaked sea salt
60g soft brown sugar
130ml double cream
450ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 fileszested, pith removed and flesh finely chopped
3 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (save the excess whites for another use)
½ tsp urfa chilli
First, “burn” the honey. Put 150ml of the honey in a large saucepan with an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, turn on the heat to medium-high and leave to cook for five or six minutes, until dark amber and bubbling furiously. Working quickly and carefully, divide the burnt honey between four ramekins, then quickly but carefully swirl it around so it coats the insides of the ramekins. Set aside to cool.
Wash out the pan, then add the sugar, remaining 40ml honey, the cream, milk, vanilla, lime zest and another eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Put the pan on a medium-high heat, bring up to a boil, then take off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan)/325F/gas 3. Stir the eggs and egg yolks into the infused milk, then pour the mix through a fine sieve into the honey-lined ramekins. Put the filled ramekins in a large oven tray with a lip, transfer to the warm oven and carefully pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes, until the custard is set but still has a slight wobble in the middle, then take out of the tray and leave to cool. Once cool, chill for at least three hours and up to overnight.
Just before serving, make the lime salsa by mixing the chopped lime in a small bowl with the extra half-teaspoon of honey and a quarter-teaspoon of salt.
To release the cremes, carefully run a knife around the edge of each ramekin, put a serving plate on top and invert it to release. Spoon some lime salsa on top and serve sprinkled with the urfa chilli.