Yemi Adelekan is a food writer and blogger who was a semi-finalist in last year’s BBC TV’s Masterchef competition. Every Saturday Yemi will be writing on the Stray Ferret about her love of the district’s food and sharing cooking tips– please get in touch with her if you want her to review a restaurant, visit your farm, taste the produce you sell or even share a recipe.
The past couple of weekends have been full of food adventures involving honey which is always a staple in my kitchen, given its many health benefits.
From having lemon-ginger-honey drink to stave off a chest infection, drinking honey and balsamic vinegar water before bed, to replacing sugar in many savoury and sweet dishes.
Louisa’s honey has been a feature in my past two weekends as I got to work with other chefs to create dishes using their many varieties of honey including the Acacia Ginger, Coriander, Lime, Citrus, the award winning Bosco, Acacia and Chestnut honey.
Food allows one to be creative and there’s nothing better than creating on the fly without recipes. The first event required the chefs including Gennaro Contaldo, of ‘Two Hungry Italians’, to create dishes from a range of different vegetables and meat with access to wood fired pizza oven, multiple wood fired grills and stoves.
The beetroot immediately caught my eye. I put some beetroots on the open fire and while they were roasting, I finely sliced some red onions and cooked them in olive oil with grated ginger and some pink Himalayan salt. Once the onions were deeply caramelised, I grated and added the roasted beetroots and finished this with black pepper, whiskey balsamic vinegar and ginger honey.
This is a simple and quick relish to make and goes really well with grilled meat, burgers, hummus and flat bread.
I then cooked a spatchcock quail dish using a simple marinade of Bosco honey which has a woody and intense flavour mixed with fresh oregano and thyme, lemon juice, grated habanero chilli, salt and olive oil. This was a real crowd pleasing dish ( see image below) and all it took on a really hot grill was about 9 minutes depending on the size of the quail.
My final savoury dish was squid cooked with some shallots, roasted peppers, Louisa’s lime honey, chilli, lime juice and fresh herbs. This was a really quick dish and one that I would recommend for a mid week dinner. Squid is a protein that needs to either be flash cooked in 2 – 3 minutes or slow cooked for hours.
This would be perfect as a side dish, topping for salad, couscous, rice, or an appetiser whilst waiting for the main meal. It’s a healthier alternative to battered squid rings.
The following weekend found me and a few other chefs at the BBC Good Food show in Birmingham, where I created a couple of honey inspired savoury canapes – toasted sourdough topped with prosciutto, drizzle of acacia honey, fresh thyme and micro herbs. The second one was toasted sourdough topped with labneh which is a strained cheese, sundried tomatoes, a drizzle of acacia honey and micro basil. I find the saltiness of the tomatoes and the sweetness of the honey make for one of those marriages made in heaven.
My dessert creations included carrot, ginger and coconut cake using Bosco and Ginger honey, strawberries and cream canape with ginger honey and chestnut honey crumb, whiskey balsamic and citrus honey macerated strawberries served with mascarpone on sourdough cracker.
My final creation inspired by middle eastern flavours was sourdough cracker topped with mascarpone, roasted pistachios, citrus honey and rose petals and this was tasted and complimented by Katy Truss from Fabulous Food Finds.
I hope you do more with the honey in your cupboard and you don’t just relegate it to being a drinks sweetener or toast topping. Try some of the amazing honey products that our local shops have to offer and have a go at making marinades, cocktails, sauces and bakes.
If you want to catch Yemi in action she will be giving a demonstration at The Harrogate Food Festival today at 4pm.
- Yemi’s Food Stories: Making a good chicken burger
- Yemi’s Food Stories: a range of exotic sausages in Knaresborough