La Befana Cake: Honouring The Old Witch of Winter

Inspired by the many Italian cakes baked on Epiphany Eve as offerings to “La Befana”, this fruity golden cake (with a dash of spirit) is a Witches Cake. According to legend, Befana is an old witch who flies through the night of January 5th on her broom delivering presents to children. And as they lie […]

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Dark Chocolate Cheesecake: An Offering For Hecate’s Night

“O night, faithful friend of mysteries; and you, golden stars and moon, who follow the fiery star of day; and you, Hecate, goddess with threefold head, you know my designs and come to strengthen my spells and magic arts; and you, earth, who offer your potent herbs to magic; and airs, winds, mountains, streams, and […]

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Crabapple & Rosemary Hand Pies: Ancestral Offerings

A couple of years ago, completely hidden in a dark thicket of trees, I discovered a beautiful gnarled crabapple – gleaming with clusters of hundreds & hundreds of rosy, autumn fruits. I was thrilled! I love crisp truly tart apples (which are getting harder to find) so the crabapple fits the bill perfectly. Crabapples are […]

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Doe, A Deer, A Female Reindeer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas

Oh wondrous headed doe… Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun…” Hungarian Christmas Folk Song Long before Santa charioted his flying steeds across our mythical skies, it was the female reindeer who drew the sleigh of the sun goddess at Winter Solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of […]

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Spicy & Sweet Hawthorn Ketchup: Reviving a Traditional Recipe

Thick and robustly tangy, my all-time favourite condiment is good old fashioned “Haws Ketchup”. Made from the bright crimson berries of the Hawthorn tree (which you can find a stone’s throw away from wherever you stand in Victoria) it compliments roasted meats, scrambled eggs and a big basket of steaming homemade fries equally.   A […]

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Citrusy Spruce Glazed Shortbread: Flavour Of The Forest

This recipe was inspired by an incredibly lovely and vigorous Sitka Spruce tree that lives in a woodland area near my neighbourhood. Standing out amongst the other conifers, her bluish-white branches positively sparkle on dreary rainy days. At first, I was sure she was a Blue or White Spruce, but on closer look, I now […]

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Aromatic & Spicy Juniper Berry Sugar Stars

Juniper Berry is simply divine. Aromatic and perfumey, it is just the perfect spice for a buttery cookie. Growing on Vancouver Island, and all over the world, common junipers gorgeous blue-black berries (actually tiny cones) are best known as the taste ingredient of gin. For those who have never encountered the juniper berry, imagine the […]

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Grand Fir Dark Nougat: Winter Solstice Sweets

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 was caramelized down into a dark, delectable, chewy brittle known as Black Nougat. Well, I was enchanted. Not […]

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Winter Woodland 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 conifers, wild berries, tonic plants and adaptogenic herbs, honey and warming spices. And not only will they help […]

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Protectors Of The Earth: 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, […]

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Beautiful Venus Vinegar: Autumn Medicine & Magic

This magical Venus Vinegar is 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 of its beautiful zesty flavours will not only bring […]

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Cranberry & Peppermint Honey Cake: Hail To The Mothers!

It’s no secret that baking confections, cookies and fruit cakes have long been part of feminine customs surrounding the winter holidays. But one beautiful baking tradition is now almost entirely forgotten, and it served as the inspiration for this fruity, dense Mother’s Night Honey Cake. And while it may be a bit rustic, I tried to […]

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A Guide To Conifer Magic

When days darken, cold winds blow, and the damp settles into our lungs and bones, we can turn to our ancient plant allies, the evergreen and ever vital, conifers. Towering over the forest canopy, their top branches are always nourished by the sun but their roots extend deeply into the earth. And when winter makes […]

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