Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sucré salé: salted caramel macarons

Caramel is a tricky filling for macarons; it's a little too gushy on its own. Caramel flavoured frostings are often a little anemic and flavourless. I tried to make these strongly flavoured, deeply caramely and pointedly salty. You can reduce the salt if your sucré-salé tastes lean a little more to sucré. I like to taste the salt.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Masa harina pancakes for cosy Sundays

I love masa harina for tortillas  and tamales and lots of other things. It's a great substitute for breadcrumbs, like for coating fish to fry it up (best fish tacos!) or to thicken up chili or stew. It can be a little hard to locate, depending where you live. In Victoria, I get it at this great little Mexican grocery, which is an awesome resource for spices and ingredients that are tricky to find. Lots of regular grocery stores stock this flour now too, and if you live somewhere where they don't, it's available lots of places online.  It's worth hunting around for, homemade tortillas are so good, in a whole other tortilla realm from store bought.

 These pancakes are really fluffy and light and mildly tortilla-y and a little crunchy from the cornmeal.

 Masa harina pancakes:
adapted from Bon Appetit

3/4 cup masa harina flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbs cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbs butter melted, plus a little for the pan

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add egg and buttermilk and slowly add melted butter while stirring; mix until just combined with no big lumps. Drop half cups of batter into a buttered skillet over medium high heat. Cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes per side. Serve immediately with butter and syrup. And probably some bacon. And hot milky coffee.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lentil soup shepherd's pie

My sister made me this dish a couple weeks ago when I had dinner with her and I was surprised how much I loved it. Not that I should ever be surprised by how much I like stuff she feeds me; she is a fantastic cook and she constantly makes dishes I would never think to make and then I love them. Just like this one. I have made it a couple times since then. It has that perfect comfort food, wintery casserole heartiness but it is still really healthy and packed with vegetables. Perfect fall hibernation food.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nutritional yeast and truffle popcorn

A couple weeks ago I sort of unthinkingly threw together a few things I had never combined on popcorn before and I was totally hooked. I have been eating it more than is probably reasonable. Very nearly every day. Oh well, popcorn is practically a vegetable, isn't it?

I put a little melted butter, a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast, garlic powder, smoked sea salt and a teeny bit of truffle oil on my popcorn. Sometimes I saute a little minced garlic in the butter instead of the garlic powder. Either way, I can't stop eating it. If you become similarly addicted, I recommend adding some crushed kale chips-that's practically a meal. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Squirrel life: foraging acorns for dinner

I didn't know you could eat acorns until I read it in The Urban Homestead. They are edible but they need to be processed because they contain too much tannin to be eaten otherwise. They can make you quite sick in their unprocessed state, but they are so bitter from the tannins that you aren't likely to eat enough to be a problem.

Once I knew they were food, I was sort of floored looking around at all the acorns sitting around, crunching underfoot, going to waste. My environment seemed more productive, more fertile, more useful. I started to forage through the city for acorns when I was looking for apples and blackberries. I thought I would share the preparation method with you; I will post some recipes using the acorns in the next couple weeks. This a nice fall activity especially if you can rope in a few friends to help you work; have an acorn shucking bee.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gleaned panzanella

M and D pick berries
Last weekend I went foraging around the city with a few friends. It's amazing how much food is hanging around if you look for it. We gathered acorns, apples and blackberries growing wild at the beach and the last of the raspberries and tomatoes from a friend's garden. Everywhere we went there was that perfect, dappled, fall sort of light that is so pretty you can't quite believe it's real.

S with blackberries
I got a lot of tomatoes from my friend's garden-big chunky, variegated, red-brown and rust coloured-and quite a lot of tiny, pea sized cherry tomatoes from my best tomato plant from the summer. I wanted to make them the center of a salad. 

Everything else in the recipe is just a suggestion. Panzanella is one of the many brilliant Italian ways of making frugal home economics delicious. They do brillant things with stale bread and you should never throw out bread just because it has gone stale. Panzanella is an improvisation, a showcase of leftovers, of whatever vegetables are around and bits of cheese and maybe a crumble of pancetta or nuts. 


1 stale baguette or crusty loaf
as many good tomatoes as you can get your hands on
1 cup shelled edamame or peas, boiled in salted water until tender
2 cups arugula
1/2 english cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup crumbed feta
1 large bunch parsley
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
lemon juice
red wine vinegar

Roughly tear bread and toss with tomatoes, cucumber, edamame, arugula and feta. Drizzle oil and lemon and vinegar over to coat. Finely chop parsley and garlic into a paste and toss that into everything. The bread should be soft and slightly mush into everything and soak up the salad dressing. If the bread is still  a bit hard, add a little more dressing let it sit for a minute to soak it all up. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A few things I love

I wanted to share some stuff that I really love right now with you guys, some of it fall-ish because it's fall now for real. Some of it not really fall-ish, but still great.

My new Tesla replica light bulbs. I bought them here. I wanted to bring some light to a dark corner of our living room. Instead I got some very pretty, rather dim, not very practical or bright lights. I like 'em pretty and dim I guess. They been mesmerizing everyone who walks by them.

The thickest, warmest tights. With a high cotton content, not wool it's too itchy. Cotton tights make wearing summery skirts and dresses possible in the fall and winter, for which I am very grateful. I highly recommend that locals (and tourists) head to Fan Tan Alley and pop into Heart's Content for warm tights. I recommend that everybody head to Fan Tan Alley even if they don't need new tights. It's awesome, just go.

Truffle oil. Truffles are one of these things that seem awfully snobby and intimidating and I have always been a bit afraid of them. I have been considering buying truffle oil or truffle salt for a while and having heard lots of opinions about what is and isn't worth buying. I was a little overwhelmed. The other day I just bought one that liked the look of. My roommate L came home with another bottle of truffle oil the next day. We are replete with the stuff now. It is topping popcorn, potato gratins and pasta in our home. The oil is expensive but I feel it's worth it. Use sparingly.

This book I found for my friend D. He is a Tintin fan and I saw it and thought he would love it and he did. If you have one of those Tintin lovers hanging around you might want to pick up a copy. It's pretty great.

Bulbs. I bought white tulips, white daffodils and white crocuses. All white. I love the way bulbs just hang around all winter, waiting for spring, waiting until I forgot I ever planted them and then they surprise me. Same goes for garlic. I am planting lots and lots of garlic, it just waits patiently, through the cold and wet. Very reassuring.

The brussels sprouts at Stage. Obviously everything on the menu here is great, but these sprouts are exquisite. If you are nearby you owe it to yourself to eat some.

Berets. Little known fact: berets are a habit forming substance. Charcoal, red, navy, camel, mint, black really can't stop at just one.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A birthday cake for miss C

This weekend we had a birthday party for my friend C at my house. The party had a quite morbid  theme, it was a memento mori party-a death party. I realize that's not the sort of theme that everybody wants for a birthday party, but if you have a particular macabre bent it's lots of fun.

I have made a few cakes from the Baked cookbook. Every single one of them has come out lovely. I wouldn't recommend a book I didn't really use or love and I can't recommend this book enough. The cakes are perfect templates for endless variations. Sometimes I use Deb's swiss buttercream instead of their frosting because it is so rich and buttery and not too sweet so that flavours other than sugar can really shine. For C's cake, I used the milk chocolate frosting, which whips up so light and fluffy and somehow so rich. It is not a recipe for anyone timid around butter or chocolate. Be bold and fearless.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not Juicing: Drinking Whole Foods

I don't drink much juice. I love smoothies but I try to use whole foods rather than juices in them. I think that juice is a somewhat less healthy way to consume fruits and vegetables. Juicing removes fiber and speeds up the digestion of sugar. I prefer to eat these foods whole.

This drink is quite like a juice, thin and juicy in consistency, but it contains whole wheatgrass and whole kale, rather than juices of these greens. It's very spicy, which I like because it is invigorating and because it covers the taste of spirulina, which I hate. Take out some of the ginger and chile if you want to tone it down.

Very very green whole juice:
1/2 cup wheatgrass
2-3 leaves kale
1 tbs spirulina
1 tbs hemp hearts
1 tbs ground flaxseed
Juice of one lemon
Thumb sized piece of ginger, no need to peel
Large pinch of chile flakes
Ice cubes

Blend everything but water for around five minutes, until well pulverized. Thin with water until the consistency is as you like. I add a cup or so of water.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kale and Wheat Berry Salad

This salad is very simple, easy, fast to make. It is also surprisingly filling, almost meaty. The kale is more dense and filling than a lettuce and the chewy wheat berries make this salad a meal on it's own. It also can stand being made ahead of time and still tastes great after a day or two in the fridge.

Kale Wheat Berry Salad:
Two large bunches of kale, any kind
Two cup cooked wheat berries
Pesto, thinned with a little olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Chop kale roughly, toss with wheat berries and pesto until coated. Top each serving with a few shavings of parmesan and a generous sprinkle of black pepper.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pineapple Reborn (Hopefully)

I have become obsessed with plants that can be grown from the remnants and scraps of groceries. I have planted several celery stumps and they are all growing well. I have stuck a few other bits and pieces into the ground with varying results, carrots, bok choy, onions. I am not too worried about whether or not they grow into new plants since I already ate the vegetables, but if I can manage to get another plant out of their remains, that is a bonus.

One of these projects which is a little less practical perhaps, but maybe more exciting, is my new pineapple plant. I twisted the top off a regular, store bought pineapple and peeled off about an inch or two of the bottom leaves. The pineapple roots are already growing, waiting for you to discover them. I had no idea that pineapples had roots lurking under their leaves.

I stuck the roots in a jar of water for a few days and then I potted my pineapple plant in a pot. It is living on my balcony at the moment, but in the winter I will take it inside to the sunroom. Pineapples grown this way take a year or two to produce fruit, and sometimes never produce fruit, so this project is more of a novelty than a serious food production endeavor. 

It was so easy and fun though, I think that I will start a couple more pineapples so that hopefully at least one of them might grow fruit eventually.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Salad Rolls with Peanut Sauce

It has been really hot for a few days and I have been eating salad rolls a lot. I have had them for lunch and dinner for maybe three days in a row. I love that they are cold and they are full of vegetables and they are waiting for me in the fridge.

I like to put a lot of garlic and chile flakes in the peanut sauce.You don't need to make your sauce so spicy if you don't want to, but I like the spice in contrast with the cold, mild vegetables.

Salad Rolls:
Large rice paper wrappers
Shrimp/Prawns if you like

Finely chop or shred the vegetables and toss together in a bowl. Add shrimp if using and mix everything up.
Fill a large bowl with hot water. Place a rice paper wrapper completely underwater until it is soft and flexible. Take it out, letting excess water drip over the bowl. Spread out the wrapper over a cutting board and put a big spoonful of the vegetable filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the sides over the filling, and then roll the top and then the bottom over the center. Repeat until you run out of filling or wrappers. 

Peanut Sauce: 
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
5-6 cloves garlic 
large pinch chile flakes
2 tbs lemon juice
black pepper
vegetable or chicken broth (or 1/2 bouillon cube and water)

Blend all ingredients in the food processor. Adjust the liquid until the texture is dippable but not runny. Or until it is however you like it. 

Dip a salad roll into peanut sauce and eat. And again and again and again until it isn't too hot to actually cook anymore.

A Little Party for a Birthday

Birthday Girl and birthday balloons
It was my roommate L's birthday last week and we had a little party.

We decide that the party decorations would be all white and cream. We made mason jar tissue paper lanterns for candles. We hung strings of white Christmas lights and little white lanterns from Chinatown.

We bought white and cream balloons.

 We foraged and bought lots of different kinds of white flowers.

I made some cakes. Chocolate-salted caramel, browned butter and pistachio. I'm not good at choosing just one flavour. Then we filled our small home with more people than it could reasonably accommodate. 

Happy birthday love.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Protein Balls

I have some hemp protein powder that I really hate. It is vile. I bought it because I thought it was another hemp protein powder from the same company, but it was in fact not the one I normally buy and it is too gross to eat in smoothies. I have been attempting to smuggle it out of my fridge by adding it to baking recipes. When I make muffins or cookies I add a tablespoon or two. I can't bring myself to throw it away because that stuff is expensive. I realized that I might be able to disguise the horrible taste by mixing it with enough peanut butter and chocolate.

If you are using a protein powder that you like, or at least one that isn't actually repellent, you can increase the protein powder in the recipe if you like.

Protein Balls
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs protein powder, chocolate, vanilla and unflavoured types work well
3 tbs cocoa
1 tbs ground flaxseed
1 tbs hemp hearts
2 tbs chocolate chips
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix all ingredients in a food processor. If the dough forms small moist clumps, it is probably the right texture. It should be about the texture of playdough. If it isn't clumping together add a little more peanut butter until it does.

Form the dough into balls; I make mine about the size of ping pong balls. It can be quite greasy while you're rolling it but after it sits in the fridge it firms up and feels less greasy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Celery Reborn

I read recently that you can regrow celery from the bottom of a bunch of celery. I love any way I can grow food inexpensively or for free. I also read that you can keep doing this over and over, possibly indefinitely. This may be the best thing I have ever heard. Celery is now infinite. Maybe.

I cut the base off the last bunch of celery I bought and set it into a saucer of water, cut side up, for a couple days. I looked into the center of the tightly coiled celery stalks and there was a few small, pale leaves coiled up, new celery already underway. After a couple days sitting in water, these leaves started to grow above the cut stalks.

Then I stuck the celery into one of my pots on our balcony. The leaves are growing more quickly, they seem to enjoy this little burst of heat we are having. I cut this celery base about a week ago and it has been in the soil for maybe four days. It hasn't got any root growth that I can see on the bottom, but it's new leaves look really healthy.

When it gets a few new stalks growing up a bit, I am going to plant it in my front yard garden bed and burry the older, dead parts so just the new growth is showing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Overfull Garden Tart (or How to Eat Your Greens)

I have too many greens in my fridge. I have a bag of chard, a bag of kale, a bag of arugula and a big bag of lettuce. My garden is overflowing and I am having a hard time keeping up with it. Green smoothies, big salads and pasta tossed with just wilted greens and slightly melted cheese are daily fixtures, but my greens are outpacing my eating ability. Plus my roommate L brings lots of fresh, local vegetables home from the little market where she works.
I have been trawling for recipes into which to insert the maximum amount of greens. The idea of a tart kicked around my brain for a week or so. Something eggy and cheesy and maybe bacony, with some sort or flaky crust and nestled under all that eggy cheesy loveliness, a layer of garlicky greens.

I used Deb's pastry, it is absurdly easy and delicious. It came out flaky and buttery and it doesn't need any blind baking and it didn't shrink. Lazy, tasty pastry. If you are feeling less inclined to make it from scratch, some store bought puff pastry would be great too. This basic plan for a tart is infinitely variable, it is an awesome way to use up bits of things, things no longer in their peak, greens left a little too long in the fridge, a leftover potato, odds and ends of cheese, the very end of a tub of yogurt, buttermilk that you bought for a recipe that needs using up. This tart takes care of these pesky bits that I always save and then forget to use and let rot in the fridge. It seems perfectly comfortable at any meal, breakfast with a piece of fruit, lunch or dinner with a leafy salad or bowl of soup.

Overfull Garden Tart

5-6 Cups swiss chard, roughly chopped
6 large cloves garlic
large pinch of chile flakes
splash of olive oil
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
4 eggs
splash of milk
1/2 cup grated cheese, cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan
1 recipe tart dough

Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out the dough to fit in a tart pan. Sauté the chard, garlic and chile in a splash of olive oil until it is wilted. Stir yogurt, eggs and milk in a bowl. Spread greens over the bottom of the tart, pour egg mixture overtop and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake until the tart is no longer wobbly and the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Green Smoothie

After any sort of excess or binge, a weekend of parties or a particularly hedonistic meal, or at the first hint of getting sick I try to have a  green smoothie for a breakfast or lunch for a couple days. They make me feel like I am concentrating nutrition and I eat more greens vegetables that way than in most other meals. It makes me feel so healthy. This weekend I had a little tea party with scones, clotted cream and lots of jam. It was great but I have been feeling slugish ever since. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homemade Shaving Cream

My friend C came over to help me make shaving cream. It's nice to do these projects with a friend,  have a cup of tea, listen to music and talk while you work. It makes it feel like a knitting bee or a shucking bee (did people used to shuck things in bees? Probably) or a barn raising. Having company takes the work out of work, and it gave me a break when my arm got tired of grating soap. Also, C is responsible for some of the most charming (and slightly terrifying) artwork going and she made several adorable labels for the shaving cream we made together.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash Brown Butter and Sage Pasta

Brown butter is alchemy as far as I am concerned. It takes something that is already good-butter-and turns it into something glorious, nearly unrecognizable. When I served dinner my friend L said "What's in this sauce?" and I said "Butter"and she said "Yeah, butter and what?" and I said "Butter". We went on like this for a while. The transformation from butter, creamy, slightly sweet and mild, and brown butter, deep, nutty and salty is a little unbelievable; she couldn't believe that there was only butter in the sauce. 
Some recipes call for brown butter to be strained and remove the milk solids, the little brown, crunchy, salty wonderful crumbs. I think this is crazy. Those caramelized milk solids are what make brown butter nutty, complex and a little magical. I cannot endorse straining brown butter. 

Roasted Acorn Squash Brown Butter and Sage Pasta

-Acorn or similar squash
-1/2 cup plus 2-3 tbs salted butter
-1 bunch sage leaves 
-pasta, any kind you like
-salt and pepper

Halve an acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside with olive oil  and sprinkle with salt and coarse pepper. Roast in a 400° oven for about 40 minutes. 

While the squash is roasting, melt the butter over medium high heat. Pay attention to the butter, it can burn quickly and it turns into disgusting black char. I have field tested tested this myself. After the butter melts it should boil and spit as the water in the butter evaporates. Then it should settle down and get foamy and frothy. Swirl the butter in the pan, watching for the colour to develop. The goal to get the milk solids in butter to turn a nice toasty brown. The milk solids hang out at the bottom of the pan, so check on their development by taking the pan off the heat every so often and letting the foam subside to check out the colour. Scrape them off the bottom of the pan occasionally so they don't burn. When the butter is a deep nutty brown pour it into a small bowl and set aside.

Add a couple more tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt on quite high heat. Fry the sage leaves for a minute or two. Test them for crispness pretty quickly after you start to cook them; let one cool for a moment on a paper towel to see if it is crispy once it cools. As soon as they are crisp remove them from the butter with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper towel. If the butter is brown you can add it to your sauce, if it got a little too burnt, toss it out. 

Set a large pot of salted water to boil; once it is boiling vigorously cook the pasta. When the squash is roasted let it cool until it isn't too hot to handle. Cube and peel the squash and set aside. 

Toss the steaming hot pasta with squash cubes, brown butter and a generous pinch of flaky salt and pepper. Smoked salt is particularly good but any nice sea salt is great. Plate the pasta and top with a crispy sage leaves. This pasta wants a leafy green little salad to take some of the edge of the richness and the edge off of my guilt for eating quite that so much butter. Because everyone knows salad cancels butter. That's science. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dry Shampoo

I use this all the time. It is great for mornings when I can't manage to get out of bed and into the shower, when I have to go to an appointment right after I go to the gym or when I get called into work unexpectedly. I was most grateful for dry shampoo when I stopped shampooing my hair. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver in the icky inbetween time when the baking soda and vinegar doesn't seem to be working yet. For a couple weeks my hair never really felt clean and using dry shampoo really helped me stick to the no shampoo method instead of just giving up.

The proportions of ingredients are not exact, I more or less make it up as I go along each time. In a pinch I just use cornstarch, which make a perfectly good dry shampoo all by itself. Since it's white, it takes a little more brushing to make it blend well with my hair. This recipe is the dry shampoo I use most often, cocoa and red clay make the powder blend in better with brown hair. If you have red hair you could use less cocoa and more red clay, if you're blond you may not use either, or add a teeny tiny bit of either to just take the stark whiteness out of the powder. Just experiment until the colour works for you. It doesn't actually need to match your hair colour.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

(Not Quite) Spring Garden


Despite the fact that it snowed on Sunday, despite the fact that it's so windy and cold right now that I just walked home clutching my hat so it didn't blow away the windows are rattling in their frames, despite the fact that our birdbath is frozen over every morning when I get up, I am already so so excited about gardening. I have started a lot of seedlings in the sunroom, which is a nice cozy thing to have; it's soothing to see the little shoots growing and reminding me each day that spring is coming. But even more than the seedlings, I am excited about what my garden has done on its own, unsupervised. Things I left untended, things I forgot about, things I never knew about, are coming to life. 

I was thrilled to discover that one of my purple sprouting broccoli plants is sprouting some purple brocoli. I went into the garden to pick some kale and there it was-a tiny, tightly coiled little mass  of broccoli flowers at the top, and another, tinier one at each branch all the way down. I hadn't forgotten it exactly; I vaguely remembered planting broccoli there, but it was still such a nice little surprise. 


I really enjoyed seeing the first signs of rhubarb coming back to life, tight pink skin stretched over the packed leaves. The whole thing reminded me of a brain when I first saw it. When I poked around I saw that it has a few new crowns around it. I planted it last year and harvested a little rhubarb, but I'm hoping this year will have a more substantial harvest. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

No Shampoo Success At Last

I have tried several times to implement the popular no shampoo technique without success. I found ordinary shampoo too drying and I had a hard time finding a shampoo that I thought was safe and non-toxic enough. For a long time I was using an organic shampoo diluted with an equal amount of water. That was less expensive and drying than using undiluted shampoo. I tried washing my hair with Dr. Bronners soap, which I love generally and I know lots of people like to use it for shampoo. It always left my hair feeling filmy and somehow greasier.  I tried the baking soda and vinegar no-shampoo method a few times, but I always broke after a few days when my hair never seemed to get clean and went back to shampoo. This is the gross first phase, when your scalp keeps on producing as much oil as when the detergent shampoo was stripping it away. This phase is the major no shampoo stumbling block. It has foiled some of my friends and it bested me more than once.

I finally cracked it though. It takes determination to get through the first phase, and it takes dry shampoo. I had been using dry shampoo way before I decided to cut out shampoo entirely, but at first I didn't think to use it to fix the gross early no shampoo phase. Dry shampoo is the answer. It makes up some of the difference between shampoo-clean and no-shampoo-clean while you and your scalp adjust.

The no shampoo things can take a few tries to get right and that it works differently for different people. Some don't like to use the vinegar wash, others just use vinegar apparently. And, the no-shampoo-holy-grail: some people use nothing but water. Do some experiments, see what you like. If nothing else, you can use hair powder to extend the life of shampooed hair. This process was really gradual for me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rich Cocoa Butter Cream

Cocoa Butter Cream

My skin has decided this week to freak out about winter. It's practically the end of January and my skin apparently only just noticed. Maybe it was the big snow (well big for Victoria) we had last week, but now my skin is all dry and thirsty. It reminded me that I had been meaning to make some cocoa butter cream for ages. It's really rich and moisturizing-it's the moisturizer equivalent of hot tea on a snowy day. It smells wonderful, light and cocoa-butter-beeswax-y. It'll fix you right up. It is oily and greasy though, which is something that you might not be used if you normally buy comercial skin creams. It took me a really long time to think it was a good idea to put oil on my skin after reading that it causes acne when I was younger. I am converted now though. 
Bees Wax
I love working with bees wax; it smells so good it makes me a little giddy. I usually buy it in large blocks and shave it with a vegetable peeler. You can buy it in little pellets that are easier to work with as well.

Coco Butter

I use almond oil in my cream, it is light and has very little scent. You can use any mild oil you like,  olive oil makes very nice cream as well. Use light olive oil, not strong flavoured, darker, fruity olive oils. Their smell is really overpowering and drowns the mild sweet cocoa butter-bees wax smell. You can use rosewater or a hydrosol in place of the water and you can add essential oils if you like. This recipe is just a guideline; you can trick your cream out any way you like.