Cudal-based beekeeper Darcy Callan is a pragmatic sort of fellow, not one to cause a fuss when silly visitors bother his bees and sustain a sting or two on the face. Just stand still and eventually they'll leave you alone was the advice he gave last week when Darcy's bees told me in their special, painful way, to get back from their hive and bee-have.
In any case, my morning with Darcy was fascinating, albeit painful. He is, like all apiarists, almost reverent of bees and their complex social structure and I've just posted a whole story about him (and it) over on One Farm Day. You can find his Pure Bush Honey at farmers markets across Sydney.
The kids and I have since been doing some of our own research on the world of honey. We've been finding bees in the garden, infusing honey and eating honeycomb. The discovery that excited them most was this - once you've sucked all the honey from a piece comb, its wax makes excellent chewing gum. Really it does.
We used the honey itself for a batch of granola (recipe below) and infused the rest with lavender, orange thyme and finely chopped ginger. I took my cue in this from this article by the UK's Herb Society's, and this blog also had some great ideas for infusing honey.
Honey granolaI make this recipe at least once a week. The kids take little bags of it to school for morning tea, I have it for breakfast and we all seem to grab handfuls of it during the day. It’s absolutely beautiful with some natural yogurt and some warm raspberries (just bung a few from the freezer straight into the microwave for about 40 seconds and they turn into a warm, jucy sauce). My original recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s fantastic book Feast but I have changed it quite a lot over the years.
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup pureed apples (or bought apple sauce)
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Preheat oven to 180C. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and then spread out onto two baking trays. Bake for about 15 minutes, then toss it all about so the granola cooks evenly and pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so. It’s probably a good idea to check every so often as sometimes my oven burns the bottom tray and that can be incredibly annoying.