Honey Glazed Ham

Another lovely recipe for Easter!

Ingredients:

1 fully-cooked shank half ham , bone in (pre-sliced is best)

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1⁄8; teaspoon paprika

1 dash ground ginger

1 dash ground allspice

Directions:

First you must slice your ham, if it is not already sliced. Use a very sharp knife to cut the ham into very thin slices around the bone.

Do not cut all the way to the bone or the meat may not hold together properly as it is being glazed. You want the slices to be quite thin, but not so thin that they begin to fall apart of off the bone.

You may wish to turn the ham onto its flat end and cut around it starting at the bottom. You can then spin the ham as you slice around and work your way up.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. (I like to make double this recipe for a nice large ham).

Lay down a couple sheets of wax paper onto a flat surface, such as your kitchen counter. Pour the honey/sugar mixture onto the wax paper and spread it around evenly.

Pick up the ham and roll it over the sugar mixture so that it is well coated. Do not coat the flat end of the ham, just the outer surface which you have sliced through.

Turn the ham onto its flat end on a plate. Use a kitchen torch with a medium-size flame to caramelize the sugar.

Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movements, so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Spin the plate so that you can torch the entire surface of the ham.

Repeat the coating and caramelizing process until the ham has been well-glazed (don’t expect to use all of the sugar mixture).

Serve the ham cold or re-heat.

Objects Of Desire

One of my favorite things about English gardens is the inclusion of decorative features, whether they be watering cans, wheelbarrows or classical statuary.

And, of course, my favorite decorative features of all!

4th Honey bee Management revision post: good apiary hygiene

I started my own post on apiary hygiene, but then decided this one was so much better! This is great advice for all beekeepers!

Adventuresinbeeland's Blog

A 4th revision post for the British Beekeeping Association’s Module 1 exam, Honey bee Management, which I’m taking in March. Skipping forward a little again, onto 1.9 on the syllabus:

“The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account of:-

1.9: good apiary hygiene

This is one of the points I feel a little more confident of, because we are lucky enough to have fantastic teachers like John Chapple and Andy Pedley down at the apiary, and they often talk about good hygiene.

Why try to be hygienic? The answer is obviously to try to keep your bees as healthy as possible, and avoid the spread of diseases such as Nosema, European Foul Brood (EFB) and American Foul Brood (AFB). It can also help ensure your honey doesn’t become contaminated in any way.

Here are a few points to consider:

Clothing

  • Bee suits

How clean is your bee…

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Honey Rosemary Roast Leg of Lamb

It’s almost Easter!  Time to start thinking about menus.

What better combination than honey, rosemary, and lamb! This is a delicious recipe, and perfect for any spring dinner.

Ingredients

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 pounds whole leg of lamb
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the honey, mustard, rosemary, ground black pepper, lemon zest and garlic. Mix well and apply to the lamb. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Place lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and roast for 55 to 60 more minutes for medium rare. The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Let the roast rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Another Reason To Love Starbucks

Look what I got yesterday for free at Starbucks!  The whole bag went directly into my compost pile, soon to be applied to my garden.

In compost jargon, coffee grounds are a “green,” meaning an item that is rich in nitrogen.  They’re like grass clippings, not leaves or biochar.

Coffee grounds are approximately 1.45% nitrogen. They also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other trace minerals.

There are several ways you can put used coffee grounds to work in your garden:

  • Put coffee grounds in your compost bin. As noted above, they are a valuable source of nitrogen.
  • Add grounds directly to the soil in your garden. You can scratch it into the top couple inches of soil, or just sprinkle the grounds on top and leave it alone.
  • Create a slug and snail barrier. Coffee grounds are both abrasive and acidic, so a barrier of grounds placed near slug-prone plants may just save them from these garden pests.
  • Make coffee ground “tea.” Add two cups of used coffee grounds to a five-gallon bucket of water. Let the “tea” steep for a few hours or overnight. You can use this concoction as a liquid fertilizer for garden and container plants. It also makes a great foliar feed.
  • Add coffee grounds to your worm bin. Worms love coffee grounds! Add some to your worm bin every week or so. Just don’t add too many at once, because the acidity could bother your worms. A cup or so of grounds per week for a small worm bin is perfect.

I’m going back to Starbucks tomorrow for more free grounds.  I drink tea…

How to make Hypertufa Troughs

Beautiful in a cottage garden and perfect for your bees!

The Adventures of Thrive Farm

What are hypertufa troughs? Hypertufa (pronounced hyper-toofa) is a mixture of peat moss, perlite, cement and water.

Old stone watering troughs in England could be found in farmer’s fields, sometimes built into stone walls to provide water for two fields of livestock.

Traditional Stone Water Trough  in Britain

Traditional Stone Water Trough in Britain, Wikipedia Commons Photographer Roger Nunn

These troughs are usually one-of-a-kind, and very rare and desirable to alpine gardeners and plant collectors and are very expensive and heavy, as well.

There is a natural volcanic rock called tufa, which has also been used by gardeners. There are a few natural deposits found around the world, some in Britain, some in North America and various other areas. In the 1800′s, English gardeners found that by mixing certain ingredients they could make a light weight version of stone troughs. In time, hypertufa will develop the look of weathered stone.

For those who like miniature plants which often get lost in…

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Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy in Spring

I know it’s really spring because I have my first case of poison ivy.  It’s hard for me to believe, though. The weed I pulled up was so darn tiny I wasn’t sure it was really PI.  But it was.

I’ve come up with a new method of weeding as a result.  I’m putting my hands in plastic bags, pulling up the PI, then throwing it away, bags and all. I’ll let you know how it works.

The Bad News  –  According to the Wall Street Journal, research indicates that poison ivy has gotten MUCH nastier since the 1950’s. Leaf size and nasty oil content are way up.

The Good News  –  Poison ivy absorbs more than its share of CO2, so it’s helping combat climate change. Amazingly, there IS something to love about this plant.