So, we happily finished our first day of our bee-keeping introduction session–a fitting for our combinaison (yes, bought!) and a 3 hour lecture on a general outline of the art of apiculture. Not only is the practice of moving our hands important, but also the theory. Although quite scientific (which can be difficult for me at times), it’s quite interesting to learn the anatomy of bees (apis millefera millefera—to be exact) we will be handling, and much much more. The 3-hour intro was insightful, thorough but compact, as the presenter ended saying ‘we can still go on for hours’. At least, this thick bible of apiculture we have at home seems a bit more accessible now… more to come!
Book: Le traité d’apiculture (Rustica)
We popped into a magasin de bio (an organic shop) to find some nice medjool dates. These actually needed a good soak in water, but after that they were ready to use for a new recipe. I took out randomly, all ingredients in our pantry that might be interesting for this recipe, whipped them together, and I think I have a new favorite snack maison. Here’s the recipe:
- 4 Organic Medjool dates
- A handful of crushed pecan nuts
- 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
- 2 raw cacao feves crushed, or cacao nibs
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 2 pinches of salt (fleur de sel)
- 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut
Cut up the dates (soaked in water and drained), mash them up with a fork in a bowl. Add ALL the ingredients, mix them up, and spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper. Let it solidify in the freezer for 15-30 minutes, and voilà!, ready to cut into bar shapes of your preference!
Create the spice mix by blending the below ingredients:
- onion powder 3 tablespoons
- garlic powder 3 tablespoons
- dried coriander leaves 2 tablespoons
- Himalayan salt 1 tablespoon
- pepper 2 tablespoons
- cumin powder 2 tablespoons
Place the cooked chickpeas and cut carrots on parchment paper and spread the blend mix and olive oil evenly. Blend it all in with your hands and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees. Bon apéro!
Back in Japan, I searched around for a non-heated (非加熱) raw honey and found a bee maker who makes small batches in the countryside. Let’s just say, when you taste this kind of pure honey, you can never go back to any other kind.
There on, we traveled to Greece where we found les ruches (bee hives) in the mountains all over, and were amazed by their local honey.
Getting back home, keeping our eyes open in the big city life of Paris, we found that there are lots of opportunities here as well, for finding—and cultivating local honey. The art of this is called apiculture, bee-keeping. After contacting several associations, we will start our journey of a year and a half to learn the art and hopefully, one day have our own ruche to make honey of our own.
In the meantime, a collection of our honey at home:
- Miel de bruyère from an apiculteur found at a morning local marché in Bandol
- Honey from Le Rucher de Malakoff, made in the banlieu of Paris
- Miel de Fleurs d’été from the Rucher de Balard, made on a rooftop right in Paris 15
- Homemade honey from an old man on the island of Paros, Greece
- Local market honey from a small island of 300 people in Greece, Schinoussa
- Honey from a small local supermarket (who have their own organic garden) in the island of Amorgos, Greece.
- Manuka Honey 18+ from New Zealand
- Meli, heather honey from Ios island, Greece
- Raw thyme honey from a village Kostos in Paros, Greece
- f/z heather honey from Greece
I always thought granola was something to “buy”. But boy was I wrong– it’s so simple and a homemade granola can taste like (or better!) than a store-bought. Here’s the recette:
- 1.5 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup of crushed pecans
- 2 pinches of salt (fleur de sel de guerande)
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder
- 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mix everything in a large bowl, lay it on parchment paper and put it in the oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes! Turn it around and let it cool.
This is one of the easiest snacks, and upgrades your dates into a delicious dessert. The first time I soaked dates (non-medjool) in water overnight so that they were easy to mix into a paste. The second time, I used soft and ripe, melt-in-your-mouth Medjool dates, which in fact, doesn’t require the overnight soak! So I highly recommended the Medjool-kind, also of course for its mouth-watering texture.
- 4 dates
- coconut oil 2 tablespoons
- cacao powder 2 tablespoons
- crushed pecans, cashews or almonds
- shredded coconut
Start mixing the softened dates with a fork until they are in paste-form. Then add all the other ingredients. Use two spoons (so that they don’t stick to your hands) to create round balls and drop them in a plate of shredded coconut. Cover all sides with the coconut and now use your hands to clean them up into a nice round shape. Keep them in the fridge for a few hours before devouring!
‘Savon à main liquide maison’
After a greenweez online order for ingredients, I am ready to dive deeper into the DIY home products journey. First up, liquid hand soap! Since this is the first attempt, I will be making a small quantity and then hoping to improve the recipe petit à petit.
- 15g Savon de Marseille (here, Fer à Cheval soap, 72% olive oil)
- Olive oil 1/2 tablespoon
- Essential oils – Niaouli 3 drops & Lemon 3 drops
- 300ml Hot water
- 10ml Savon noir liquide (Fer à Cheval)
In a glass jar, add the olive oil and essential oils. Add the grated savon, and add 1/3 of the hot water. Mix or shake with the lid firmly closed. Add another 1/3 of the water, and add savon liquide noir. Another shake and add the rest of the water. Mix and fill up your (pump style) container when cooled down. Voilà!
For now, I am loving the smooth moist texture it leaves on my skin. I personally enjoy the raw-like herb aroma of the olive oil, but if you prefer a more citrus-fruity fragrance, you can add additional essential oils of your preference.
*update: I had a request for it to be a bit thicker in texture, so tried salt. Not a good idea–so it seems like vegetal glycerine will be the next try for the épaisseur!
*update#2: adding 5 teaspoons of salt actually creating a store-bought like firm texture, but still working on finding a solution to doing this without creating lumps forming at the bottom (due to a reaction with the soap & salt)