Known as the iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, the Pohutukawa has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. Unique to New Zealand, its vibrant crimson red flowers bloom from November through to January. I love them so much, one of my best buddies tracked one down and gave it to me for my birthday.
My Pohutukawa at Christmas-time
I know it’s not Christmas but as I was checking on my poor wee potted pohutukawa (its been getting buffeted by all this wind and rain) AND because the temperature has taken such a massive dive overnight that I’m considering making myself a hot lemon and honey beverage, I thought I should introduce you (if you haven’t already met, that is) to the award-winning J.Friend & Co., artisan honey providores.
J. Friend & Co was created to return life to honey and dignity to the artisan beekeeper. We want to introduce food lovers to the complex flavours of vintage organic honey, a taste experience without equal. (Jeremy Friend, Co-owner)
Most honeys already available more often use pasteurising creaming methods that strip out all the goodness and regional distinctiveness as they were blended together. J.Friend & Co. offers a range of New Zealand honeys with differences in flavour driven by the individual honey varietals. In addition, they are certified organic and strive to be carbon neutral. Most importantly, they taste bloody good!
Naturally, my favourite is the Pohutukawa honey.
The J.Friend & Co. website even has a recipe section with some very more-ish looking yummy stuff.
I’m keen to try the Baked Camembert with Honey, Walnuts and Crackers
J.Friend & Co. Baked Camembert with Honey, Walnuts and Crackers
(Adapted from a recipe published in NZ Taste Magazine December 2011)
For the Crackers:
2 cups plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
90gm unsalted chilled butter cubed
Approximately ½ cup cold water
Freshly ground pepper
Salt, for sprinkling
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 camembert, (any size)
¼ cup J. Friend and Co Beechwood Honeydew Honey
1/3 cup walnut halves toasted
1. Make the crackers first. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in freshly ground black pepper. Gradually add enough water to make a pliable dough.
2. Form the dough into a cylinder shape, wrap in cling form and place into the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes. Cut slices approximately 2 mm thick from the cylinder and place onto a baking paper lined oven tray. Prick each slice several times and sprinkle with salt.
3. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5. Reduce the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the thyme sprigs on the top of the camembert and secure with kitchen string. Place the camembert on a baking paper lined oven tray.
6. Bake for 10 minutes then transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with honey and scatter toasted walnuts over the top. Serve immediately with the crackers.
You can buy J.Friend & Co. honeys online here.