The other day, maman and I spent an entire day in the kitchen baking bread, cookies, cake and making sesame snaps. Maman loves to share food stories and talking about my grand-father. She often tells me that her dad was not only a super-talented DIY master and everyone's go-to person, he was a farmer, a hunter, a traditional folk singer, and a flutist. She told me how he used to harvest sesame capsules in the summer before they turned slightly yellow. Sesame pods were then sun dried and the little white seeds were collected and stored in a dry place. I had a picture of a sesame tree in my head for so long that I was so devastated to find out the truth about where sesame seeds came from.
Maman still makes our favourite foods and like every good mother, she cleverly alters them to make them very hip and be better for our health. I just got back from Alice Springs and my body must have reacted to the massive change of climate and I came down with a mysterious flu. She added two heaped tablespoons of manuka honey to the melted sugar before adding the sesame seeds while she was telling me about the magic of manuka honey. The name of sesame snaps in Persian is posht-eh zeek meaning the back of a little spotted bird.
New Zealand is blessed with beautiful varieties of honey. Twenty years ago when we settled into our new life in New Zealand, we ate our way through few jars of honey before we picked manuka honey as our household's favourite honey. Like a childhood favourite, manuka honey has embedded into our minds that without thinking we reach for a jar of manuka in the supermarket. Last year, maman and I arrived on a very early flight to Zurich and made our way to the airport lounge for a lie down and breakfast. Naturally, I piled up my plate with cheese and plenty of chocolates, and maman with honey and fancy fruit preserves. Maman never judges anyone's food (unlike me!), but on that morning eating honey on gourmet bread, very puzzled she asked "how did the Swiss get honey so wrong?" ... well, NZ honey does not compare to anything in my opinion.
This week is national honey week and no better way to celebrate it but with manuka honey I say! This is maman's recipe which is a National Honey Week Recipe for you to enjoy.
1.5 Cups Sesame Seeds (mixed with black sesame optional)
Half Cup White Sugar
2 Heaped Tablespoons Manuka Honey (other honeys will do)
- Place sesame seeds in a large fry pan. On low heat toast the sesame seeds until golden (takes 10-15 minutes). Stir continuously when the pan is very hot to avoid burning the seeds.
- Butter a large chopping board, rolling pin and a knife.
- In a fry pan, melt the sugar until golden.
- Add butter and stir to melt.
- Turn the heat off and add honey, stir to mix.
- Add sesame seeds and combine with the syrup.
- Turn the mix onto greased chopping board and roll it to about 2mm thickness.
- Cut the sesame snaps to any size or shape you like.
- Lift each sesame snap with the same knife (this should be easy if the board is greased well) to stop it from hardening onto the board.
- Alternatively, you can roll it between two sheets of baking paper.
- Allow to cool and store in an air-tight container.