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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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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The Incredibly Tasty Tulip: Chèvre Cheese Balls

I’m not sure about you but Vancouver Island is awash in tulips! From pale yellows, crimson reds, pumpkin oranges, deep purples, lustred pinks and snow-white, their luminous colours are stunning. The most unsung of tulips many spring charms, however, is her edibility. With flavours and textures as diverse as her colours, her blooms offer not […]

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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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Lavender & Rosemary Mascarpone 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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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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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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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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