Pack a man-jack, honey!

Pack a man-jack, honey!

Honey…

As long as I can remember I’ve loved it, but not in the conventional way of spreading it on toast for instance. Eugh, no thank you! The thought of that contorts my face and the merest hint of it on my fingers ends up with me flapping my tongue about like a dog who’s just unknowingly devoured a sticky toffee (I know, Why lick your fingers?  you say. Because I’m still like a child and everything ends up in my mouth!)                                                                                                                                                         honey jars

I go through at least one (large) jar a week, dolloping the sticky, golden liquid into my cups of tea. My mother heard it was good for babies in their milk and there the love began. I’m not advocating this you understand. That was eons ago and ideas on what to feed children are very different now (I believe it is best to wait until after the first year) – I mean, it was a regular occurrence for children to be given a soother dipped in whiskey, or mustard, depending on the desired end result! Helloooo child services…

Honey gives the tea a gorgeous, silky texture and has a much smoother sweetness than sugar. Plus, honey is much healthier than sugar, something I continue to remind myself when I drop in 3 spoonfuls a cup! The downside? It turns the tea grey…

Although I’ve converted some to use this elixir in the same way, I’ve only ever met one other person, my high school art teacher, who independently did the same. We’d sit and share a flask of this calming grey liquid whilst he critiqued my latest piece of creativity. I think the rest of the class thought I had the hots for him but I just wanted his tea!

And along with not liking to eat the stuff, I’m not really that adventurous when it comes to different flavours. Bog-standard, mixed honey is my favourite, in fact I’ve been bought ‘special honey’ in the past and it tastes foul in tea! But one type I do always now stock is manuka. A friend introduced me to this variant, full of praise for its miraculous properties. Produced from pollen originating in the native Manuka bushes of New Zealand, this ‘wonder honey’ comes in varying strengths – you can read more about its health benefits HERE and HERE.

Whilst manuka was a new experience, I’d always known that honey was full of health promoting goodness, such as antibacterials and antifungals. Most people have heard of the benefits of lemon and honey to relieve the symptoms of colds. However, spreading a cut or graze with honey can have similar soothing and healing results. It’s this area that manuka honey really surprised me.

S has suffered with severe eczema all his life, to the point of being hospitalised on more than one occasion. It was during one of these nasty outbreaks that my friend suggested the use of manuka. I was skeptical and not at all pleased with the price tag (it can retail anywhere upwards, waaay upwards of £15 for around 350g,depending on its strength), but he was in so much pain, we were willing to try anything. Daubed in the a thin layer of healing goo and wrapped in bandages, it wasn’t the sexiest look and we didn’t hold out much hope.

However the next day, after we’d separated my mass of hair now stickily attached to his chest and arms, we believed he’d developed self-healing powers worthy of Wolverine. The lesions had already begun to heal over and there was little sign of infection – amazing! We decided to continue with the super-honey treatment and although he still took his prescribed medication (I would never disregard conventional medicine over herbal or organic without a lot more knowledge), the honey was the one giving the more instant results.

Man Jacks

So when this little tub, that has been used countless times for different ailments, was nearing the end of its shelf life I didn’t want it to go to waste. What to do with it? Bake of course! There wasn’t that much left, therefore I needed something that required little and as it was spur of the moment, something quick. In other words, I was being lazy!

I realised I had all the ingredients for a batch of flapjacks, if I replaced the golden syrup with honey. 5 minutes to make and 20-30 minutes in the oven – my kind of baking!

What you’ll need:

  • 200g of porridge oats
  • 100g of soft brown sugar
  • 100g of butter or margarine
  • 100g of manuka honey (* or replace with regular honey / golden syrup)
  • 50g of dried fruits / nuts (I used raisins)

Method:

Put the sugar, honey and butter in a pan and melt over a medium heat until well mixed and sugar has dissolved. Add the oats and any additions, mixing until well coated. On a covered baking tray (foil or parchment), spread the mixture out until about 1cm thick. The beauty of flapjacks is that the edges don’t have to be pristine!                                                                                      IMG_3993

Bake in an oven on Gas Mark 4 (180 degrees) for around 20-30 mins. They’re ready when the edges look more golden and crispy, but the middle is softer. Let it cool in the tray then turn out to cut. This thickness produced about 20 square ‘thins’, but you could spread it thicker and have less, but chunkier, jacks.

Et voila! An already healthy snack, thanks to the power of oats, supercharged with miraculous manuka! This honey gave the flapjacks quite a distinctive, almost smoky toffee taste. I really liked it, though it might not be to everyone’s palette, but easy enough to swap for other sticky stuff!

I can’t advocate the greatness of manuka honey enough, but this is from a personal experience and may not work for everyone. So please, if you’re thinking of trying it out for medicinal reasons, as with anything in life, always read the label, do your research and get some advice from someone more knowledgeable than me!

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