Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kasper

There isn’t much to do in the apiary in Winter months, mainly preparing for the next season. However, here is my advice for what to do in the apiary at this time of year.

Make sure entrance blocks and mouse guards are set in place correctly. This will prevent any rodents from getting into the hives and destroying or weakening our stock.

As the winter weather is approaching us, I would advise strapping the hives down with our ratchet strap or weighing them down with heavy stones or concrete blocks. Make sure hive stands are in good condition.

Winter is a good time to go through all the spare hive parts. make sure they’re ready for the next season. All wooden parts can be scraped and then blow-torched to ensure all pathogens are killed.

Autumn was very mild this year and queens have been laying a lot of eggs which means lots of stores have been used to feed the brood, so it is essential to heft the hives in December and make sure there are enough stores. Ambrosia feed paste will be my choice of feed to replenish stores this time of year. Simply cut through the plastic bag and place the fondant on top of the top bars so bees have good and easy access to it. A spare super or eke with cover board should be used to prevent the bees from going into the roof space.

It is a good time to melt any old frame wax and cappings from the summer. Clean the wax and make candles out of it in time for Christmas.

There’s currently £5 off all our candle moulds, so make the most of this Christmas promotion & create some wonderful candles! You can follow our candle-making tutorial below.


December Honey Recipe by Gill Meller:

If you like the peppery, herbaceous qualities of a good extra-virgin olive oil and the sweet, clean taste of fennel seed, then you’re sure to like this cake, too. It’s a dairy-free cake, so has a different feel from a classic sponge made with butter. It’s denser, richer and full of that distinctive, gritty texture dates bring; they are extraordinary in this way. I like to make a quick syrup of honey and olive oil to trickle over the cake as it comes out of the oven, which the cake greedily soaks up the way a freshly baked focaccia soaks up sweet balsamic vinegar and grassy olive oil. This cake is amazing served warm with whipped mascarpone.

Goat's Cheese with Rhubarb & Lovage

Servings: 4
Author: Gill Meller


  • 2 or 3 rhubarb sticks
  • 50g (1⅓oz) golden caster sugar
  • 4 or 5 lovage leaves, finely chopped, plus a few whole leaves to serve
  • 4 tsp runny honey
  • 4 slices malted bread
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200g (7oz) fresh, soft goat’s cheese, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Trim the papery bases from the rhubarb sticks, then gently wash the sticks. Cut each one into 3-4cm pieces and place the pieces in a single layer, if possible, in a large heavy-based pan.
  • Scatter the sugar and the lovage leaves over the rhubarb. then drizzle over 2 teaspoons of the honey and 2 tablespoons of water. Shake the pan and plan on the hob over a low-medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook for 3-4 minutes or until the rhubarb is just beginning to tenderize and the syrup is thickening slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  • Toast the bread slices on both sides, then place them on a grill pan and drizzle over the olive oil and the remaining honey. Top with an equal number of goat's cheese slices and place the toast under a hot grill for about 4-6 minutes, until the cheese is lightly brown and bubbling. Carefully remove from the grill and place a slice of toast on each of four plates. Top each slice with some of the warm rhubarb mixture, dividing the mixture equally between each slice. Season with salt and pepper, then finish with scattering of fresh lovage leaves to serve.


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Photography: Andrew Montgomery (recipe), Paul Hayes Watkins

Header Image by Robin Sergi.