The bear and the bees

Categories: Reflections and opinions

Borough Market staffer, expert baker and author of Cakeography Lucy Charles channels thoughts of honey and cake ahead of one of our favourite dates in the calendar, Winnie-the-Pooh Day

Words: Lucy Charles
Image: David Griffen

“If bears were bees, they’d build their nests at the bottom of trees…”

When the opportunity to write a recipe for Winne-the-Pooh Day arose, it was a wonderful excuse to revisit my childhood and explore the adventures of this famous little bear. It had been some years since I last took in these tales and I realised we have one major thing in common—we are both gluttons; Pooh for “hunny”, me for, well, everything! He may have been a bear of “very little brain” and a tad forgetful, but if you’re going to be fanatical about one food then honey is a cracking choice.

Working at Borough Market means I’m lucky enough to be constantly surrounded by some of the best food available and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of wandering around to see what each stall has to offer. I’m quite sure Pooh would not have been disappointed with the variety of honey available—British, Greek, Italian, Spanish, the list goes on. We are spoilt for choice here and there are still so many other honeys besides.

Used the world over, honey is extremely versatile, lending itself to numerous dishes both sweet and savoury. The colour and flavour can vary hugely, depending on what the bees have been feeding on. It’s worthwhile trying different types to get a feel for what you like best, be it for spreading, drizzling, marinating, or accompanying cheese. The possibilities are endless.

Golden nectar
With Christmas just passed and seasonal treats still a recent memory, I wanted to share a recipe that celebrates both Pooh’s love of this golden nectar and my love, and longing to hold on to, all things festive. Like Pooh, most days at Christmas I enjoy over-indulging. I imagine my post-Christmas lunch feeling is akin to how Pooh felt when he was stuck in Rabbit’s doorway! My jeans would certainly still testify to this.

However, I am not a believer that January, with its bleak, cold evenings and lack of sparkling lights adorning streets and living rooms, is a time for abstinence and suffering. Pooh would surely agree. As such, I call on my ultimate weakness: cake. Born out of a no-waste policy, this recipe makes perfect use of a pile of surplus parsnips following Christmas dinner.

As Pooh would say, “Company means food”, so gather friends and family and enjoy this delicious tea-time treat together.

Read Lucy’s recipe for honey roast parsnip cake