The Last Days of Summer…….
Home-Made Lavender Honey
|A Stack of Home-Made Pancakes with Lavender Honey|
Thursday 11th August 2011
Jeudi 11 Août 2011 ~ Ste. Claire
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a marked change in the weather lately ~ it is definitely cooling down. I am sure that I can smell Autumn in the air lately……it’s probably enhanced by my neighbour’s wood-burning fire; the smell of burning aromatic fruit wood wafts through our back doors in the evening and is still lingering in the morning, like a cloud of scented mist in the garden….now, I am a LOVER of seasons, and seasonal food, feasts and festivals, and I like to think I embrace the seasons as they change, but there is always something rather sad about the change from Summer to Autumn…….maybe it’s the thought of not being able to sit under the cherry tree with a book, or that the evenings will soon start “drawing in”…..who knows, but I do feel a little despondent….. only fleetingly however as Autumn is my favourite season with it’s rich colours and abundance of fruit. I’ll soon be starting to ponder and deliberate over recipes for stews, casseroles and dumplings, to be eaten by a roaring log fire, that will soon get me in to cold weather mood, that and kicking through the fallen leaves!
|A jar of my Home-Made Lavender Honey|
With the fading light just around the seasonal corner, it is imperative that I start laying down plans to capture the last of summer and bottle it……..easy! And this is where my lavender honey comes in; I make a batch every year ~ it is the first of my late summer and early autumn preserves and the easiest. I am going to be very busy soon, as the apples will soon be ready to harvest and my quince tree is groaning under the weight of fruit this year; my fig tree is also looking very pleased with itself, and there will be kilos and kilos of figs this year……I also have a pear tree which has some fruit this year, so if I make my lavender honey now, it leaves me plenty of time to make my annual batch of jams, pickles and chutneys in the jam factory……the jam factory being a small room with a gas burner at the back of the house!
|Summer in a Jar ~ Lavender Honey|
I get my honey from a French neighbour who has bees, in fact I know his bees quite well ~ not well enough to invite over for supper and a few drinks, but fairly well; the fact is that they love our garden with all its herbs and plants……especially the lavender……so I fancy I get my honey at a very reasonable price when I buy it from him,I think he gives me discount for the rental of my flowers and herbs and his bees! I used to buy lavender honey, but then I thought it was about time I made my own ~ given that I have about 30 lavender bushes. As well as giving an amazing and subtle flavour to your recipes, it also makes a wonderful gift for a fellow foodie. I plan on making my own lavender honey all the time now, as even in France, it is quite expensive to buy, and it so easy to prepare.
I will give you the method of how to make your own lavender honey first, and then I will share a pancake recipe with you, as this honey is just divine when poured liberally over fresh fluffy home-made pancakes…….with a knob of butter too of course!
You can increase the quantities to make more jars – just remember to keep the flower to honey ratio the same.
8 ounces (225g) light honey, such as flower honey or clover honey
4 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
- Heat honey in a heatproof bowl over boiling water (a bain-marie) until very hot, but NOT boiling, then add the lavender flowers and stir well.
- Continue to heat over a low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before covering with a net or fly cover and placing in the sun for about 3 to 4 hours.
- Pour the honey through a mesh sieve and discard the cooked lavender flowers.
- Pour the honey in to a sterilised jar, cover tightly and label. Keeps like normal honey, but is best in a cool, dark and dry place.
Now to the pancakes, these are not the usual British style pancakes like a small crepe, but they’re a bit like Scotch pancakes only bigger ~ thick and fluffy ~ or like an American style pancake. They are our own “Auberge de la Fontaine” Lavender Pancakes ~ and are made with home-grown organic lavender flowers from our garden here in SW France, where we often serve them for breakfast to the guests. They also make a very elegant dessert when served with cream and fresh fruit. If you can’t get hold of culinary lavender, these pancakes are just fine if made without the lavender flowers, still served with the lavender honey though, and butter and/or cream and fresh fruit.
The recipe makes about a dozen large pancakes, I usually serve three per person, but you can make them smaller if you wish.
8 ounces (225g) plain flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered dried lavender flowers
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly
cooking spray or butter
lavender honey, to serve
cream, to serve
butter, to serve
In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients together.
Add the milk, eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.
Whisk in the melted butter until the batter is thick and very smooth.
Heat frying pan or griddle over medium heat, and spray with cooking oil spray or grease with a knob of butter.
Spoon the pancake batter onto the griddle in equal amounts and cook until bubbles come to the surface of the batter and the edges start to curl up.
Flip pancakes with a spatula, and cook for a few seconds more on the second side.
Check underneath for a golden brown colour– if they are too pale; keep cooking them a bit longer.
When they are done, remove them from the griddle/frying pan and put on a large heat-proof plate in the oven to keep warm and continue until all the batter is used.
Top with Lavender honey and cream, or butter and Lavender honey.
Great with fruit also!