Honey & Pistachio Sake with Brandy Cream

Honey – what a magical ingredient. Over the years we have found ourselves using it more and more in cooking. It is so versatile with so many different flavours – all dependent on what flower the bee has visited, and to what time of year. It is fantastic in dressings (our simple go to – olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper), spread over sourdough toast in the morning with salted butter, drizzled over porridge, ice cream, cheese, yoghurt and berries, works well in marinades and even can be used in baking too. We don’t mean to be biased but our favourite honey is from Lucy’s Farm in Northumberland – Jemima is the honey monster out of us two (consumes about a jar a week) and even she has fallen for the wild heather honey of the cheviot hills. We recently visited the bees with Ian Robinson, the bee keeper, who took us through the whole journey of honey making. Hats off to the worker bee who will fly around 75,000 miles in their lives, collecting nectar in order to make the wondrous honeycomb. And did you know the queen bee can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day can live up to 4-5 years, whereas the poor worker bee will only make a mere 40 days. In recent times we have really taken to substituting honey for refined sugar, if you are going to do this keep in mind the flavour, taste the honey and make sure it will work with your dish. If using in baking like we are here then be aware that most honeys are sweeter than sugar so you will need less. Something else different in this cake is that we have opted to use olive oil instead of butter, which leaves it (the dreaded word) – moist in the middle. This cake makes a lovely light dessert and couldn’t be more festive with a dollop of brandy cream. We are delighted to say that our honey will be soon available to buy for us, thanks Ian!


    Serves 8 – 10

    225g honey – good with a strong heather honey
    170g olive oil 
    115g ground almonds 
    115g Self raising flour / Gluten free self raising flour 
    2 tsp baking powder
    4 free range eggs 
    2 lemons – zest and juice 
    1tsp vanilla extract 
    pinch salt 
    100g pistachios, roughly chopped 

    Brandy cream 

    Crème fraiche
    For the brandy cream :
    300g crème fraiche
    1 vanilla pod (seeds removed)
    2 tsp honey 
    2 tbsp brandy 
    Zest of one lemon 


1. Pre heat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 9inch round cake tin 2. Put the ground almonds, self raising flour, honey, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix together with an electric whisk 3. Slowly add the olive oil while mixing the mixture with the electric whisk. 4. Add the majority of the pistachios (keeping out a handful) and gently stir in. 5. Pour into the tin and scatter the remaining pistachios over the top. 6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. 7. While cooking make the brandy cream