raw honey

Interview with LHM

Do you remember that I wrote about raw honey and my visit to the Local Honey Man a few months ago?

Turns out the interview we did has been up on their website for a little while and I completely missed it! You can read the interview here and we also made this little film.

All this reminiscing has awoken my sweet tooth, so excuse me while I go eat a jar of honey...

The year's last, loveliest smile

"Autumn – the year’s last, loveliest smile"
William Cullen Bryant
 

My favourite season is here!

Time to tidy the wardrobe and pull all the cosy sweaters out from their hiding places, to kick leaves in the park and to sample the best vegetables nature has to offer.
At the farmer’s market the stalls are creaking under the weight of the loveliest things around: lingering summer flavours such as strawberries, courgette flowers, lettuce, curly leaf kale and cucumbers are mixing with pumpkins, apples, beets and carrots, the first winter vegetables of the season.
It is such a joy to follow nature as she dances on through the seasons.

In my last post I discussed the health benefits of raw honey and promised to share some autumnal treats with you after experimenting a little. Now is the time!

Using raw honey from The Local Honey Man I have made two autumn treats, although both are so healthy you could even have them for breakfast if you so wish. In fact, the tahini date balls are ideal before a workout!
So without much further ado, here are two recipes to take with you into the new season.


AUTUMN HONEY CAKE


As the initial excitement over the arrival of the winter squashes slowly fades into frustration over the course of the cold season (my man calls this state of mind “squashed out”), it is nice to have some recipes to hand that offer an alternative take on these colourful bubbleheads.

For this recipe I have used butternut squash, but it is perfectly okay to use pumpkins, hokkaido squash, or a mix of orange and green squashes – whatever you have on hand.
Butternut squash is one of the most powerful sources of the antioxidant betacarotene in the plant kingdom, which out bodies convert to vitamin A.
As betacarotene is fat soluble, a good source of healthy fat (coconut oil in this case) alongside any orange vegetable aids the body in the uptake of nutrients.

I used borage honey from the Local Honey Man in this recipe as it is sweet, but still with some flavour to it.
I also chose to decorate my cake with a pumpkin flower from the garden, but if you can’t find one the cake can also be decorated with chopped walnuts, desiccated coconut, seeds, bee pollen, honey swirls… Whatever takes your fancy!

For the base:
140 grams walnuts
50 grams ground almonds (left overs from nut milk is fine!)
190 grams pitted dates
2 tbsp coconut oil
a pinch of sea salt

For the cake:
600 grams butternut squash
200 ml orange juice (fresh is of course best)
140 grams raw honey
180 ml coconut oil, melted and room temperature

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Peel the squash, half it lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, cut into cubes and roast for 30-40 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, blend all the base ingredients in a food processor or with a hand mixer to a crumble-like consistence that holds together in a pinch.
Line an 18 cm spring-form baking tin with baking paper, spoon the base mix into the form and press it down with your fingers, making sure that it is of even height all around.
Refrigerate the base.

Once the squash is roasted, leave it to cool before adding it to a blender with the rest of the cake-ingredients and blent until completely smooth.
Remove the cake tin from the fridge and pour the cake filling over the cake base.
This is the time to decorate the cake if you so wish.
Then place the whole thing back into the fridge to set: a couple of hours will do, but overnight is better.

To serve, open the spring form and either cut the paper around the cake base or, if you are brave, carefully transfer the cake from the baking paper to a serving plate with the help of spatulas.
 


FERMENTED HONEY ENERGY BALLS

 

I got to try something very special when I let visited the Local Honey Man, namely fermented honey!
As you may know if you have ever read anything on this blog at all, I am ever so slightly obsessed with fermented foods, so this honey was right up my alley. It is sweet yet fermented, bitter, malty, almost a little bit like honey-beer.

Energy balls, bliss balls, raw balls; you’ve probably had one somewhere lately.
These things are all the rage these days and as there are so many wonderful recipes out there this is the first time I have seen any reason to create a recipe myself.
Why add another one to the pile?
Firstly, because I wanted to create something special in honour of the fermented honey instead of having to make this unique flavour fit into an other recipe and secondly because I find many energy balls too sweet for my liking.

If you read my post about foods to eat before exercise, you may recall that the ideal thing to eat before a workout is a high carb snack that will replenish your glycogen storage (=energy) while at the same time not being too fibrous so that it will linger in your stomach and make you queasy.
Dates are ideal as they are taken up by the bloodstream quickly to give you a burst of energy before physical activity.

If you can’t find fermented honey, another more bitter honey such as chestnut honey will do the trick here. Or, if you like it sweeter, feel free to substitute with any regular (RAW!) honey you can find.

50 grams ground almonds (left overs from nut milk is fine!)
3 tsp tahini
2.5 tsp raw honey
50 grams pitted dates
small pinch of sea salt
sesame seeds

Mix all the ingredients except for the sesame seeds into a paste in a food processor or with a hand mixer.
Pinch off enough dough to make a roughly 3cm ball and roll it in the sesame seeds, refrigerate for minimum 1 hour and enjoy.
Makes approx. 10 balls.

Local Honey Man

A little while back I was incredibly lucky to be invited by The Local Honey Man to see their honey production behind the scenes first hand and to sneak a peek at their new and beautiful products and logo.

The Local Honey Man (LHM) produces raw honey in Essex and London and is run by Curtis who learnt the bee keeping trade from his uncle.
LHM works tirelessly to better the situation for the world’s bees, who are nearing extinction because they have nowhere to feed in an increasingly urbanised world and because big agro are fond of using bee killing pesticides. (Which can also produce cancer in humans by the way… Choose organic!)

Bees, while being beautiful beings in their own right, are also vital to the ecosystem in that they help pollinate the plants that all species need in order to live.
This is why, in addition to selling raw honey and beeswax products, LHM also sells bee keeping equipment and holds bee keeping courses so that anyone who is interested can take up a rewarding hobby and help save the planet at the same time!

Personally I am not sure if I am ready to take on a hive for myself just yet, but at home we have planted a wildflower meadow in order to give the bees a safe feeding ground and I urge everyone who has a garden to do the same. Not only will you help the quickly diminishing bee population, but you will have gorgeous (and some edible!) flowers all summer to cherish outside or to pick and display on the dinner table.

The beeswax of the LHM honey is scraped off by hand before the honey is sucked out of the honeycomb in a centrifugal machine.

The beeswax of the LHM honey is scraped off by hand before the honey is sucked out of the honeycomb in a centrifugal machine.

As raw honey is unpasteurised and unfiltered it contains an incredible amount of beneficial enzymes, phytonutrients, macro- and micronutrients.
Honey is often heat-treated and “purified” before reaching the market and this strips off its natural anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. This is why raw honey is excellent ON the body as well as IN the body! More on this later.

The nutritional content of honey varies with the floral source, but often include the B complex vitamins and vitamin A, C, E and K, minerals like copper, zinc manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and an abundance of amino acids.
In comparison to “purified” commercially sold pasteurised honey, raw honey is incredibly more nutritionally beneficial. For instance, raw honey is alkaline forming in the body in contrast to pasteurised or refined honey which is acidic.
Raw honey also has a relatively low glycemic index score (how quickly the sugar is taken up by the bloodstream – the higher score, the bigger spike in blood sugar) of 30 to 40, while pasteurised honey can reach up to 80.
Raw honey has been linked to treating candida overgrowth, aiding the digestion, boosting the immune system and relieving infections and hay fever.

Scraping beeswax: surprisingly meditative

Scraping beeswax: surprisingly meditative

Raw honey is antiseptic and anti-bacterial, it minimises the chance for inflammation of the skin which causes redness and blemishes and this is why it is great as a face mask.
My favourite facemark and scrub consists of raw honey only. The true mark of raw honey is that is crystallises when it gets cold, so if you keep a small jar in the fridge it is great as a scrub and then it can be left on the face for 30 minutes after. Rinse with warm water and you are good to go! I use this scrub/mask at least once a week.

LHM has also released a raw honey lip balm in their product range. As we eat most of our lip balm throughout the day, I think it is only logical to opt for a natural option and this one is lovely.
 


I cook with raw honey all the time and it is not only for desserts!

I love playing around with it in the kitchen and this is why I would like to share with you three everyday-recipes using raw honey as well as dedicate my next post to the perfect raw honey autumn dessert. Stay tuned…
Meanwhile, enjoy these inspiring and simple ideas for using raw honey!
 

ON ANYTHING ANYTIME SALAD DRESSING

This is so easy that it is hardly a recipe, but I find that this salad dressing can liven up even the most bitter-tasting wilted salad (old dandelion greens laying around, anyone?).
It is sweet, sour, salty and pungent all at the same time, which is why it goes with anything. I also adjust the ratios to suit the salad in question: a sweet salad with root vegetables need less honey for example, while a sour salad with sorrel can use a bit more mustard and honey.
The key is to have the best ingredients available and because you only need to use a little bit of everything each time it is cost-effective in the long run.

1/2 tsp strong mustard
1 big tsp raw honey
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 good pinch pink himalayan salt
2 good grinds of black pepper

Mix everything together in a glass or small cup and add to any salad. Suitable for a salad serving 2-3 people

TURMERIC RAW HONEY SHOTS    

I recently started making these shots after visiting Boulder, CO, where it is all the rage and so I won’t take credit for inventing them.
What I will say though is that this is the ultimate cold and inflammation fighter!

Raw honey is, as you know by now, anti-inflammatory and alongside turmeric and ginger this is a very powerful shot for the immune system to kickstart the body’s anti-inflammatory response. The carrots sweetens this powerful drink and the black pepper aids the uptake of curcumin (the main curcuminoid in turmeric).
When my man suffered from an inflamed achilles after too much running I fed him this daily.

4 finger sized pieces of fresh turmeric
3 large thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger 2 carrots
1 tsp raw honey
Freshly ground black pepper

Juice the turmeric, ginger and carrots in your juicer. Mix in the raw honey and add a few good grinds of pepper. Swirl and drink.

This makes one very powerful shot, so you may want to sip it rather than shoot it!

SUPER POWER OATS

This is my favourite thing to eat after a hard workout as these oats contain a fine balance of everything you need after a training. Carbs, anti-inflammatories, calcium, iron, protein, antioxidants and healthy fats… It’s all in there. And you can make it the night before so that you can hit it straight after you finish your training!

To recap from my post on exercise and diet:
the oats provide healthy carbohydrates to replenish your energy storage and promote metabolic hormone function; the anti-inflammatory functions of the raw honey help prevent damage to ligaments and muscles; the chia and flax seeds provide a healthy dose of omega 3 and protein; bone and blood minerals are supplied by chia seeds (calcium) and maca powder (iron); antioxidant heavy goji berries prevent inflammation and the ghee supplies the body with healthy building blocks for cells and hormones in the shape of saturated fats.
In short, the perfect recipe for promoting metabolism, building the body and preventing damage. Raw honey is particularly great for this dish as an enzyme present in the honey called amylase has the ability to pre-digest grains and make them easier on your digestion.

(For 1 person)
70-100 grams oats (depending on the intensity of your exercise regime)
1 tbsp goji berries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp maca powder
1 tbsp flax seeds (if you have the time and patience, grind them up beforehand: this allows for better assimilation)
1 large tsp raw honey
1 pinch himalayan pink salt/unrefined sea salt 200-250 grams almond milk (depending on how much oats you are using)
1 large tsp ghee

In the evening before bedtime find yourself a jam jar or an old coconut oil jar (I have quite the selection) and add the oats, goji berries, chia and flax seeds, maca, honey and salt.
Mix everything with a fork before adding the almond milk and stir as you go.
Pop the lid on and leave in the fridge overnight.
In the morning after your exercise (or no exercise!) add the ghee, stir and enjoy!

Super power oats

Super power oats


The next post will tackle the perfect autumn treat as well as looking into fermented honey and how to cook with it.
I want to thank The Local Honey Man for giving me such an educational experience and I hope this post has inspired you to incorporate more raw honey into your diet!

Ready steady scrape!

Ready steady scrape!