Marchpane Cookies for the Rose Queens

Marchpane was one of the most popular Tudor confections  – at least for those who could afford it.  Created from costly ground almonds, sugar and rosewater, moulded into shapes and baked, decorated with coloured glazes, gilded fruit and “comfits”,  then assembled into elaborate centrepieces, it was found only on the most aristocratic and royal tables.  […]

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A Passion For Violet: A Video Preview

I’ve been busy making videos on foraging & eating wild spring greens over at Gather Victoria Patreon but in April with the entrance of Venus, Goddess of Beauty and Love, I’ll be paying homage to her flower. Yes, that spring seductress of the wild woodland –  violet. Used in perfumes, enchantments and love-spells throughout the […]

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Chunky Rose Petal Pesto: Summer Savour

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” Maud Hart Lovelace It’s been a whole year since I first started working on the “Gather Cookbook” for Gather Patrons. And since I’m going to be adding some new summer solstice recipes to the cookbook this […]

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Drinking in Joy: Red Flowering Currant Elixir

Right now in my back garden, a Red Flowering Currant Bush (Ribes sanguineum) is in full radiant bloom. Her drooping clusters of “soul-piercing pink flowers” are sending out an entrancing floral, fruity and spicy perfume. Which is probably one reason ethnobotanist and author Abe Lloyd describes the blossoms as “capable of transforming winter sodden pessimists […]

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Foraging & Cooking with Plum Blossom: Spring Floral Confections!

For me, the heady sweet almond-like fragrance of plum is the very essence of spring.  Standing beneath their sensual pink and rose flower-laden branches on a sun-warmed afternoon is an absolutely swoon-worthy experience. Sadly underutilized as a culinary ingredient, plum blossom has a unique flavour which infuses beautifully in cream, syrups and processes into a […]

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Imbolc Lavender & Rosemary Seed Cake

There is nothing like cake to celebrate a special occasion and Imbolc (on February 1st) is no exception. And I think this “naked” sponge cake would be a wonderful addition to any Imbolc Feast! It’s kept gorgeously moist with brushings of lavender and rosemary syrup (between cake layers)  but the slight tang of the Mascarpone […]

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Lilac Madeleine Cookies: Remembrance of Fragrances Past

These legendary sponge-cake cookies were immortalized by French writer Marcel Proust. In his book Remembrance of Things Past Proust’s narrator tastes a Madeleine dipped in tea and is immediately swept back in time to his childhood. “No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me […]

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Purple Plum Blossom & Wild Violets: White Chocolate Truffles!

As promised, for this April’s Gathering Diary Sneak Peeks I’m starting off by sharing this delectable melt in your mouth, spring blossom infused white chocolate truffle. I’ve made sinfully good Plum Blossom Dark Chocolate Truffles for several years now – but this year my sister-in-law made a batch of the chocolate, so I decided to alternately try […]

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A Bounty of Spring Recipes: A Gathering Diary Preview!

I want to deeply, from the bottom of my heart, thank all of you for your continued kind messages and gestures of support. I want to especially thank Gather Patrons as your generous financial support means I’m now not only able to spend more time cooking up recipes, but that I’m nearing my goal to […]

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Primrose and Pansy Coconut-Oat Balls: Pretty & Good for You Too!

Soon it will be officially spring – but here in Victoria the pansies and primroses have been blooming for quite a while! So of course, for the past few weeks, I’ve been plotting how to best eat them. The pansies delicate sweet scent and pretty colours make them popular as candied blossoms or garnishes, but […]

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Pour some sugar on me: A candied flower tutorial

I’m racking my brain, but I actually cannot think of any confection more fanciful than candied flowers. Blossoms covered in sparkly sugar make everything better. For example: Place an expertly frosted cake on the table and you’ll hear, “What a perfectly lovely cake”.  Sprinkle a few candied violets on top and you’ll get, “This cake is so […]

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Wild Violet Ardor: Whipped Honey Butter

“Don’t let love interfere with your appetite. It never does with mine.” Anthony Trollope For those in the mood for amour, there is a lovely little woodland aphrodisiac blooming right now – the violet. Today we associate this demure little beauty with primness and old lady perfumes – but it has not always been so. In […]

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Queen of The May: Enchanting Hawthorn Blossom Cordial

“May, queen of blossoms, and fulfilling flowers,  what pretty music Shall we charm the hours? Wilt thou have pipe and reed, Blown in the open mead? Or to the lute give heed, in the green bowers.”— Lord Edward Thurlow Sacred to fairies, witches, and the goddesses of old, no tree is more central to “Going a […]

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Lavender & Lovage Oatmeal Digestive Biscuits: A Calming & Relaxing Treat

The great thing about digestive biscuits is their simple, gentle nature doesn’t make overt demands on the palate or the stomach, yet they make a sweet and satisfying snack. And the good news is, giving ourselves a pleasurable treat actually encourages a physiological relaxation response. And what better ingredient to enhance pleasure and digestion but […]

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Pineapple Weed Comfort Cookies: A Wildly Loving Treat

Everyone knows comfort foods are a great coping mechanism for soothing negative feelings – which is why these Pineapple Cookies will be served at my Herbal Yoga Workshop for Anxiety & Depression.  Their sweet gentle aroma and flavour (a cross between zingy pineapple and soothing chamomile) make a perfect treat for when we’re feeling down […]

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Nettle Seed & Dandelion Blossom Bars: Superfood!

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 […]

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Calming, Cleansing And Rejuvenating Herbal Treats For Yoga (or just anytime!)

This Lemon Balm & Wild Rose Tea and Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites are just a couple of the herbal treats I’ll be serving for Cultivate Your Calm.  In this upcoming workshop we’ll be marrying calming and grounding herbs with gentle restorative yoga postures to empower our body to do what it’s been designed to do […]

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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!

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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 […]

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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 […]

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A Super Easy Old-Fashioned Creamy Dessert: Honey Lilac Posset (Or Rose, Elderflower, Lavender…)

“Be cheerful knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house”  William Shakespeare, Hamlet Dating back to the middle ages, the posset is making a comeback. Like a custard crossed with a pudding, it’s perfect when you want to whip up a special dessert with minimal effort. It’s made with three ingredients, honey, lilac-infused cream and lemon juice – […]

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Spell-Binding Fairy Beauties: Lilac Cream Tarts

Oh yes, lilacs are glorious to harvest – but they’re not so easy to prepare. Lilac is tricky and time consuming (you need to remove each tiny stem from each tiny blossom) but the good news is you’ll have plenty of time for working in a little magical intention. Lilac is a potent spell-caster with the power […]

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Piquant and Pretty: Daisy Flower Capers

“Oh, dear little daisy, come whisper me softly, And tell me a secret I’m longing to know…Oh, say does he love me, and whisper it low.”—Burton Egbert Stevenson,“He Loves Me, Loves Me Not” The traditional British recipe for Daisy Capers uses the tall Ox-Eye Daisy that blooms in grassy fields each summer — but the […]

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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? […]

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Sweethearts: Wild Violet Sugar Valentines

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, violets are likely popping up their lovely blue, pink or even white little heads somewhere near you – right now.  And if you’ve left your Valentine treat to the last possible minute (as I have) well, violet sugar is the perfect solution! No fussing, no cooking, no baking, […]

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Stoke Your Digestive Fire & Nourish Your Third Chakra with Yoga & Herbal Tea

Well, it’s no secret that digestive disorders are epidemic. Which is pretty serious considering that 80% of our immune system is housed in our gut and that digestion shapes every aspect of our physical and emotional well being – even depression has been linked to poor digestion. But the good news is that both yoga and […]

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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 […]

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Wildcrafted Summer Libations: Herb and Blossom Infused Sake

What can be more delicious, cool and reviving on a warm sultry evening than Herb & Blossom Infused Sake served chilled over ice? Who knew that Sake, a dry Japanese rice wine, made such a gracious host for herbal and floral infusions? Well, the Japanese of course – but more on that later. Infused Sake […]

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