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Let there bee snow!

Happy December everyone, on account of snow today I’ve decided to write the blog and unusually it’s not the day before it’s supposed to be published…but not far off! November is traditionally a quieter time in bee farming and I was very lucky to get away for a weeks holiday early in the month coming back ready and refreshed for getting orders out in the run up to Christmas and starting prep for next season.

As we usually see during the winter months we have had a slight uptick in honey packing orders (that’s jarring for other people) which at least means you get to stay out of the cold in the honey room which stays lovely and warm year round!

The bees are all well and keeping warm and most importantly dry in their hives! Over the next week or two we will be adding fondant to each hive as an extra safety measure to make sure that they always have enough food as winter into early spring is the riskiest time of year for honey bees!

Many of you will have seen the black and white image on our social media, I was very excited to find this photo as I’ve known its existence for a couple of years but without being able to find it. The man beekeeping in the photo is my Great Great Grandpa, Charles! We think this photo would be around 70 years old but maybe even older and what’s even more amazing is that these beehives are only about 20m from where I first started beekeeping quite by chance!


I thought with 25 days left until the big day I would show off our top 5 Christmas gifts for anyone looking for a bee lovers present or stocking filler!


This Months Recip-bee

Honey Lovers Gingerbread!
(Adapted from BBC Good Food)

In the run up to the festive season what could be more perfect than gingerbread! These biscuits are perfect and only require the cupboard staples! I iced these with royal icing, but it took all my willpower not to eat them as they came out the oven! They will leave you with a wonderful batch of biscuits and a festive smell in the kitchen! You can use either ginger Infused or festive spiced honey for a wonderful flavour!

Ingredients

  • 100g salted butter
  • 3 tbsp Holt Hall Apiary Honey
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 225g plain flour
  • 50g icing sugar

Method

  • STEP 1 Heat the butter, honey and sugar together in a small pan until melted, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • STEP 2 Mix together the bicarb, ginger, cinnamon and flour in a large bowl. Pour in the buttery syrup mixture and stir to combine, then use your hands to bring together to form a dough. The dough will be soft at this point, but it’ll firm up in the fridge.
  • STEP 3 Put the dough on a sheet of baking parchment, shape into a rectangle, and lay another sheet of parchment on top of it. Roll the dough out to a thickness of ½cm. Transfer to a baking sheet to keep it flat, leaving the parchment in place, then chill in the fridge for 1 hr.
  • STEP 4 Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and line a large baking sheet with more baking parchment. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut out shapes using a cookie cutter. We used some amazing bee themed cutters but any shape will do!
  • STEP 5 Place the shapes, spread apart, on the lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 mins. (Depending on the size of the cutters you use, they might need a few minutes more or less cooking in the oven). Leave to cool completely on the baking sheet.
  • STEP 6 Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar with 1-2 tbsp water – you want to create a consistency that’s thick and pipeable, and not too thin or it will run. Decorate the cooled biscuits with the icing using a piping bag with a thin nozzle.

This month we have two markets so please make sure you come along and see us for Christmas gift inspiration!

4th & 5th December – Ashby Food Gusto, 10am – 5pm
19th December – Market Bosworth Farmers Market, 9am – 1:30pm

Thank you all for reading our blog, hopefully you have enjoyed seeing our amazing old photo, and got a few Christmas gift ideas too! If you do decide to make the delicious recip-bee do send us a picture or post it on social media!

Matthew Ingram
Holt Hall Apiary

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