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July 2011 Issue
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Bumble bees

Bumble bees ready to eat. Photo: Ruth Henderson

If you come from a large family then refrains such as ‘Two four six eight, bog in don’t wait” or ‘First up best dressed” will not only be familiar but have depth of meaning. Self serve does not work with greedy brothers, nor flatmates or fellow trampers who blithely pile their plates high and swipe the lion’s share of the meat in the stew or take fist-fulls of scroggin at a time.

Dishing up individual portions is the only fair distribution of food in these dinner time situations. Individually wrapped dried fruit and nut energy bars that line whole shelves of supermarket isles sort out the snack or scroggin issue. Or does it? If on apprenticeship wages or saving up to put a deposit on a house or a new car then bought biscuits and energy bars will be deemed a luxury. The solution is as old fashioned as large families: make your own health biscuits or try these Bumble bees.

1 tin sweetened condensed milk
200g shredded coconut
200g raisins or sultanas
200g dried diced apricots
200g pitted diced dates
Handful walnuts (about 100g)
Handful glazed ginger (about ½ packet or 75g)

Chop up the apricots, dates, walnuts into small chunks and slice the ginger cubes into slivers. Pour the tin of condensed milk into a large mixing bowl and gradually add the dry ingredients, turning them into the milk so everything gets coated and sticky.

Roll the mixture into balls a bit bigger than a golf ball and lay them on a baking tray covered with baking paper. You should have around 35 bumble bees. Cook for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven (180°C).

Other dried fruit and nuts can be substituted and ratios varied slightly. Basically use 900g of fruit/nuts per tin of condensed milk, plus half a packet of ginger.

– Ruth Henderson