As an avid supporter of sustainability, small businesses and one of a kind products, I love to share my findings, knowledge and favourite people with the world. To me, it is imperative to support the welfare of our planet, species and the hard work of the humble people that live on it.

With globalisation and the mass producing of almost everything; we have come to detach ourselves from our day to day – we have stopped getting to know our neighbours, contributing to our communities and most important of all, stopped caring about where our food comes from.

I don’t know about you, but my level of laziness knows no limits. I must stress that I’m far from perfect and I do still shop at supermarkets (out of convenience), which probably has you questioning why I am writing about supporting local businesses and not practising what I preach. We can’t all be perfect, although I do purchase a lot of my goods from smaller, more specialised traders, I have a long way to go. We all have to start somewhere. What I hope to do is inspire you to think small – yes! Think small! Open your eyes, next time you walk down the road, look around, see that tiny artisan bakery? Get your sliced morning loaf from there and think how you’ve supported a business owner and their passion to deliver fresh baked goods. As an added bonus, you will be consuming something that (probably) has no additives or unnecessary ingredients – just great artisan bread that is bursting with flavours, not chemicals.

Before I get into my rant on how much I love carbs… I want to tell you about a small company that ticks all those boxes above in being sustainable, local and above all, providing really tasty products that I absolutely love. Earlier this year, I came across an episode on Borough Market’s podcast about Local Honey Man, a London-based company that specialises in raw unpasteurised honey made by British Bees. How amazing is that?

Curtis, the original Local Honey Man, agreed to spend some of his precious time with me to share some of his knowledge and passion for this incredible business.

After working in finance and banking, Curtis realised that his values didn’t align with those of the industry, and so Local Honey Man was born out of his need for a more purposeful life. So why beekeeping? Well, as it turns out, it was something he was already interested in as his uncle would ask him to help out with his own beekeeping every now and again.

We talked about why a lot of people don’t shop locally and we both agreed that although most are interested in buying from local and more specialised businesses, at the end of the day, convenience wins the battle – but at what cost? When it comes to honey, the jars you get from the supermarket are galaxies away from the quality you get in a Local Honey Man jar of honey. For starters, Curtis is not only remarkably knowledgeable about honey bees but he is incredibly passionate about his work, the product he produces and the positive impact of his work. The generic honey you find at supermarkets has not only been pasteurised (treated with heat which ultimately takes away a lot of the its benefits) but mixed without regard to where it’s come from to create a homogenized look and taste. The honey that Curtis carefully collects from hard working bees has a flavour profile unlike any other. The beehives in London produce something so incredibly unique as its taste comes from all the flowers and borage located near the beehives. Did you know bees will travel up to 3 miles radius from their beehive? But most of the time they’ll find just what they need closer by. Clever bees!

To celebrate my love for Local Honey Man’s incredible product, I selected my favourite jar of honey from their selection and went home to create delicate madeleines that match the honey’s wonderful flavour.

Mini Honey Cakes with Orange Zest Drizzle

Serves 8-10
INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 90g light brown or white sugar
  • 20g Local Honey Man’s Borage Honey
  • 2 tsp Orange Zest
  • 120g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 60ml melted butter
  • 1 tsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

METHOD

Begin by measuring all your ingredients, have them at hand ready to be used.
Beat the sugar, honey and eggs together until well combined. Add the orange zest and mix again.
Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix together so that everything is well distributed. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture a little at a time until everything’s well incorporated.
You can now add the melted butter and mix once again. Cover the bowl with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 150°C and grease your little ramekins with melted butter. You can also bake them in cupcake or muffin tins. As long as you don’t overfill them, it’s all good.
Take the mixture out of the fridge and fill the ramekins ⅔ way up. Remember that if you have bigger ramekins, the cake might take a little bit longer to cook so you will have to keep a close eye.
Bake for 10 minutes until the sides are golden and crispy. Do not even think about over baking these!
To make the orange drizzle: mix one tablespoon of icing sugar with 1 teaspoon of fresh orange juice and orange zest. Mix together until it becomes a paste. You may need to add more juice or more icing sugar to achieve the desired consistency.
Remove from the oven and let them cool completely before finishing them with the orange drizzle.

I hope you enjoy making these! They are an all-year round treat and so easy to adapt in terms of flavours. Feel free to use different honey too for a different flavour profile. I’d love to hear about your creations, let me know if you give these a go!

You can find Local Honey Man online at localhoneyman.co.uk or around London’s best farmers markets like Borough Market.

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Photography: Julieta Lucca, Post-processing: Rae Tilly

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Julieta Lucca

Julieta is an Italo-Argentine writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. She currently lives in London with her boyfriend and two Siamese cats Penny & Olive. She loves food, tequila and the show Brooklyn 99, in that order.

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