The “Herstory” of Food: Gone Missing

“When we learned to cook is when we became truly human, but we’ve lost touch with how that food got to our plates.” Michael Pollan in Cooked. As is so often the case with history, the “herstory” tends to get left out – and food is no exception. While there are as many books on…

Reclaiming The Radical Legacy of The Witch

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about witches. Not just because top ten lists of hot tv witches and sexy Halloween selfies currently swamp my social media feeds, but because my tables and shelves are currently so laden with herbs, plants, berries, phials and bottles that if an inquisitor of old were to enter,…

Fudgey Burdock & Rose Brownie Cake

Last spring, I tested out a batch of Burdock & Rose Brownies at Gather’s “Botanical Sweet Treat” bar. And they were the first to go. Their dark fudgey icing drew peoples eyes like a magnet – and no one cared a whit about warnings that these brownies were a little more “earthy” in flavour than…

Beautiful Venus Vinegar: Autumn Medicine & Magic

Behold the fruit of my autumn equinox harvest! A magical Venus Vinegar composed of the most vitalizing wild foods, herbs and medicines offered by mother nature this season. And it is no ordinary herbal vinegar, but a nutrient rich, beautifying, fortifying tonic that is fruity, tangy, spicy and earthy all in one. And a splash…

Boozy Preserves: Wildcrafted Berry Compote

Yes, the cold snowy nights of winter may seem a long way off, but you can be sure, they’re coming.  But if you get picking now – I guarantee this boozy, dark, thick wild berry compote will bring the heady luscious flavours of high summer back to your winter table. Using alcohol and sugar to…

Summer Heat: Nasturtium & Sumac Hot Sauce

Every summer I fall in love with the flavour, aroma and healing properties of a particular plant. Last year I swooned for the anise scented lacy blossoms of wild fennel and put them in everything from crackers, cookies and cakes, infused honey, ice-cream and vodka. But this year I’ve fallen hard for the spirited peppery bite of…

Sweet Magic: Summer Solstice Honey Cookies

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer… Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape Lay as if newly created in all the freshness of childhood. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Looking for a festive way to celebrate the upcoming summer solstice? Well, these aromatic sunny cookies may be just the ticket.  Made with…

Wildcrafting the Shrub: Osoberry Delight

Originally posted on gather:
This year our warm and early summer not only brought us an abundance of Osoberry but unusually luscious ones. Trailing branches over every roadside, every forest path, and every park trail, were hung so fat with plump blue-black clusters that they practically begged to be picked. But the big question –…

Springtime in a Bottle: Plum Blossom Cordial

Sweet and fair, she craves not Spring for herself alone, To be the harbinger of Spring she is content. When the mountain flowers are in full bloom She will smile mingling in their midst. Mao Zedong As a prairie ex-pat, the early spring blossoms of the Pacific Northwest never fail to amaze me. Flowers in February?…

Ending the Toxic, Costly and Unnecessary War on Invasive Plants. Now.

This investigative series follows my personal exploration into a big question – is the toxic chemical war we are waging on invasive plants doing more harm than good? I’ve had it. On a recent dog walk into Uplands Park, I was horrified to discover the landscape literally dotted with notices of herbicide applications of Glyphosate…

Nature Spirits: How to Wildcraft Vermouth In Three Easy Steps

Recently Gather had the great pleasure of presenting a wildcrafted aperitif for Moonrise Creative’s first Eat Together Dinner. And it was such a magical occasion! Seeing the guests laughing and chatting together in the beautiful setting of field and forest—while sipping our sparkling summer elixir—nearly brought a tear to my eye. Really. After all, this…

White Clover Pudding: A Recipe for Comfort & Healing

Little did I know when I first came across an old pioneer recipe for “White Clover Snow” that it would be my solace during dark and hungry times. But after a recent dental pummeling that left me aching and unable to chew, it was this sweet unassuming little ‘pudding’ that rode to my rescue. Spooning its…

Sweet & Savoury Dandelion Rosemary Shortbread

Growing up with Scottish grandparents, shortbread featured heavily in our family celebrations—Christmas, mainly. Each aunt made a version of my grandmother’s standard recipe, while my mother (a defiant non-Celt) makes a light whipped cookie with neon green and red cherry centres. I like my shortbread dense, crazy buttery and undecorated. Not quite like my grandmother’s,…

Wild Bewitching Pesto: Conjuring Culinary Magic

Fresh, vibrant, tangy, zesty, spicy and garlicky are only some of the adjectives used to describe wildcrafted pesto. But how about spell-binding? From dandelion, garlic mustard, sorrel, and lemon balm, these “weeds” and herbs not only have a long magical history, they can be transformed into tasty and nutritious sauces, dips and condiments—and served with…

Recipe: Mason Jar Grand Fir Pots de Creme

Grand fir (Abies grandis) has more Vitamin C (among other things) than you can shake a stick at AND it smells like oranges and Christmas. Combine that with farm fresh eggs, heavy cream and sugar and you have yourself heaven by the spoonful. We experimented with this recipe at our first Urban Wild Foods Walk and…

Nettle Seed & Dandelion Blossom Energy Bars: Wild Superfood Goodness

My sister-in-law Gloria is an avid rower who races frequently with her Dragon Boat Team. Last year as a special request, she asked for a wildcrafted energy bar. I knew I wanted to make something with nettle seeds (tell you why shortly) but I could never find enough seeds on hand without decimating entire nettle…

Lavender Tea Milk Punch: A Libation to Toast the Returning Light

For my ancient ancestors, February was a time of great anticipation for the coming growing season. To ensure bountiful crops, productive livestock and healthy mothers and babes, they practiced fertility and purification rites—many of them featuring milk. Recreate some of this intention for your own feast day with a creamy, decadent libation fit for dairy-loving fairies, goddesses and the rest of us. Cheers!

Rosemary & Lavender Lemon Curd “Tassies”: Here Comes The Sun!

Nothing says Imbolc better that the bright yellows of lemon, butter and egg yolks. So what happens when you infuse a sweet, zesty, creamy, lemon curd with the aromatic herbs of the sun? Glorious food magic is what! Lemon Tassies are old-fashioned dessert tarts filled with easy to make citrusy curd. And while no one…

Infused Wassail Cider: A Recipe For Blessing The Earth (and Ourselves)

Yes, the sun has begun her official return. But as I write this, frost shimmers, the ground is frozen and every footstep crunches. And it’s easy to understand why our ancestors, as the pantry grew lean, wanted to give mother nature just a little loving nudge in waking up. So to me, in the barren starkness of…

Tea & Bourbon Barmbrack for a Midwinter Festival of Light

I’m relatively new to Imbolc. In fact, I’m not even 100% comfortable calling this ancient February festival by it’s Gaelic name despite my Scots/Irish heritage. Gaelic blood hardly makes me privy to old customs. The geography of my foremothers aside, I am drawn to this midwinter festival of light with it’s irresistible magic, food and lore. For my…

Woodland Shortbread: Two Recipes for Foraged Fir Biscuits

“For the first time since he had entered Narnia he saw the dark green of a fir tree.” Since childhood, I’ve had a powerful affection for conifers. Growing up in Saskatchewan, these motherly trees provided deep dark refuge from the summer heat. We would travel five hours to spend two weeks among the Jack Pine,…

Grand Fir Dark Nougat: A Touch of Solstice Magic

I found the recipe for this “extraordinary and irresistible traditional Christmas candy” in a treasured old cookbook “The Auberge of The Flowering Hearth”. Created with only three ingredients, pine honey, toasted almonds and a pinch of thyme, it is caramelized down into a dark, delectable, chewy brittle known as Black Nougat. Well, I was enchanted. Not…

Winter Medicine: Delicious & Warming Tonic Syrups

When dark, winter days challenge our bodies as well as our spirits, nothing makes a better remedy than old-fashioned tonic syrups. Time tested & true, these potent preventatives and remedial healers call on the nourishing, medicinal powers of tonic plants and adaptogenic herbs, berries, honey and warming spices. And not only will they help fortify…

“Soul Cakes” for an Old-Fashioned All Hallows Eve

“A soule cake, a soule cake, Have mercy on all Christen soules for a soule-cake.”  John Aubrey, 17th century I’ve been researching old world recipes in search of Halloween food inspiration, and these sweet little barmbrack “soul cakes”  are the result. And while we may think of all things pumpkin when it comes to Halloween,…

Chestnuts, Neruda & A Recipe For Crème de Marrons

I adore chestnut season. And by season, I mean post-windstorm sometime in mid-October. There’s just something so cheering and magical about fallen chestnuts. I know of only a few trees here in the city—tall, stately ones lining a couple of boulevards in older neighbourhoods. Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground ~ Pablo Neruda From bristly foliage you…