When your mind’s a-jumble, add a touch of honey!

It’s a crazy time of year for us Australian academics – grant writing time! Each year from January to March, we are madly crazily frenetically trying to come up with ideas and apply for funding through the two biggest schemes in Australia. So, while I’d rather have been cooking up a storm and posting pictures on here, instead I’ve been cooking up ideas. If you can imagine those old books from primary school with pictures of witches standing around a cauldron, well, that’s what I’ve been doing in my head 😉 Or, at least, that’s what I feel like I’ve been doing. I found a picture that illustrates what I’m trying to describe, thanks to http://www.printactivities.com .


Like grant writing, cooking often involves bringing together disparate things (ideas or ingredients) and mixing them together in various proportions or orders, in order to make something that is, if not brilliant, fairly palatable. But grant writing and cooking kind of go together, as I found yesterday: while I was happily (sort of) reading and writing, my tweenage neighbour (Kat) came over and watched H while the Bubaloo had his nap. She was not only a lifesaver in terms of giving me space to do work, but also did some baking with H and in this way, kept me sugar-fuelled.

H is a bit of a honey fiend; on Saturday mornings, we like to go to one of the local farmers’ markets. There’s always a honey stall, with their jars of rich golden ambrosia glinting at us. Glinting especially at H. The stall holders are generous types and they always have little icypole sticks for tasting the different types. My favourites are the darker ones: stringybark or red gum, but H is partial to yellow box or creamed honey. This week, we went with his choice and brought home a lovely tub of pale golden honey. When we got home, Kat came over and, indulging H, made him a recipe with the honey. Tooooo good!

Here they are, honey jumbles. It looks like there’s a lot of ingredients, but most of them are the sorts of things that will be lurking in your pantry.

Gorgeous neighbour honey jumbles

You will need:

1/3 cup honey

45g butter

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp ground cloves (we used Chinese 5 spice, improvising as we had no cloves)

1 tbsp milk

1. In a small saucepan, heat honey and butter over low heat until melted and simmering. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

2. Sift flour, ginger, mixed spice, bicarb soda and cloves into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in honey mixture and milk. Stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

3. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper (I love that stuff!!!)

4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead, gradually adding a little extra flour if needed, until the dough is no longer sticky.

5. Divide into two pieces. Roll each into a sausage shape about 4 cm thick. Cut into 5mm (1/2 cm) widths. Arrange on trays and press into oval shapes.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until they begin to crack. Cool on trays.

7. You can also put icing on them: Place 1 egg white into a bowl and whisk until frothy. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of sifted icing sugar, blending until smooth. Stir in colouring, then spread evenly over the biscuits.

As you can see, when you mix all the food colours together, you get a khaki green… Which brings us back to the witches brew (or at least it looks like something that might come out of a cauldron!).

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