Plum and acorn custard tart

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As I write this, I have my back turned on my office and kitchen, both of which have been completely devastated by my tornado-like working methods, which go something like this: ‘start one thing then another then another then another then forget what you were doing, make a snack, then decide to write a blog [...]

Elderberry Chutney

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(in which I get a bit bossy) Gathering with friends is only fun if its an enhancement of gathering alone. Because alone, gathering is a holy experience. You sink into a rhythm, a quiet calm. Snip, pluck, drop, move, repeat. That rhythm becomes a background humm, that turns into a moving meditation. By the time [...]

Essentially…

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(a recipe for braised fennel yum and exploration of what it is we all do) Often, while sitting at my little market stall, I am approached by people who want to know what a herb DOES. People are always interested in the function of person, plant or object alike, because we want to know how [...]

Elderflower cordial

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(dancing on the edges of things) I remember the day I first fell in love with the elderflower: it was a hot Glaswegian summer day. I was sitting on my favourite grassy knoll, in the shade of a big craggy old hawthorn bush, with a bounty. All of my adventures involved a bounty of some [...]

Mequite biscotti

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It was a hot desert summer day- the kind of day where you really don’t want to go outside between 9am and 5pm. The kind of day where having a regular day job in an air conditioned building doesn’t sound so bad after all. We were in Palm Springs, at Jam’s parents’ house, and it [...]

Lonely tower cove

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I do not sleep well at anchor. En route to Alicante, we sailed into a little cove- a magic cove really- that Jam has named “cala de torre solamente” (lonely tower cove). He spotted it from a mile out, and insisted we sail in to explore it. Some people would call it luck, but I [...]

Cornmeal muffins

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A vendor handed me a big bunch of lavender at the Farmers Market on Wednesday. Since I was already so close to Malibu, I decided to head up into a favourite canyon and look for some elderberries. Last year I missed them completely- came home dejected and empty-handed, with sunstroke and eventually had to drive [...]

Yucca syrup

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I was out wandering in the hills at sunset the other night. The clouds were rolling in from the Pacific below me, blotting out most of the signs of civilisation. And I climbed- up to the area that I call the dragon’s back, though it has another name that is much more boring. I much [...]

Tomato tart

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Have you ever tried camping in California in the summer without a reservation? I don’t know if this applies to the rest of the country too, but people here book campsites a year in advance. One whole year. I have a hard time booking plane tickets one MONTH in advance, so when Lu and I [...]

Blackberry and elderflower mojitos

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I’ve been getting into this whole ‘drinking’ thing lately. I’m not a big drinker in general, usually- I mean, 4oz beer is enough to make me start acting very silly. Last time I had 2 beers I think I danced on a table. And the last time I had 3 beers I actually threw up [...]