Small sweet gestures …

Posted: October 22nd, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: garden | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

This morning on the way to the post office we noticed that one of our neighbours roof tiles had come free leaving a gaping hole is his old barn. Inside this barn are hanging thousands of onions from the summer harvest, a leak could have been devastating to his curing crop. He is 85 years old our neighbour, and upon return of the run-away tile asked Aris if he would mind climbing up through the rafters to re-set it. In return for this tiny deed he handed over a small paper bag with four fresh eggs inside. These moments are precious, nothing could be warmer than the sharing of fresh produce, sweet barter! I hope you all have a great week …


Τσάι του βουνού – Greek ‘Shepherds Tea’

Posted: September 18th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: cooking, garden | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Τσάι του βουνού, Greek 'Shepard's tea'

I lived in Greece for just over four years. I learnt to cook there … and learnt to eat there! Food is celebrated by wild and wonderful get-togethers, dinners and parties. Bakeries, patisseries and sweet shops have some of the most unique and truly pleasurable indulgences which are, without a doubt,  labours of love in preparation and process. My time in Greece certainly taught me the art of soul food and the value of using good, fresh, and wherever possible, organic ingredients. But amongst all of the rich food experiences I had during my time, there is one thing that stands out above the rest, one thing that has imprinted heavily upon my senses. It is the modest plant called Ironwort. Τσάι του βουνού (tsai tou vounou), is a tisane, a herbal tea brewed from the flowers and stems of the plant Sideritis (aka Ironwort). It grows wild upon the mountains of Greece and for hundreds of years been brewed by shepherds on the hills and cliffs of Greece’s ancient and glorious landscape. To me the scent embodies ‘nurture’. It is intoxicating. Traditionally thought to have magical powers, Sideritis has been used to treat all number of common ailments including cold, flu, sinus, fever and allergies. Today it is additionally known to function as both an anti-inflammatory and an anti-microbial. While current research is being carried out into the plant’s ability to aid in the prevention of cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. I am going to try growing it next season, I would certainly enjoy a year round supply!

Τσάι του βουνού, Greek 'Shepard's tea'


not saffron.

Posted: March 15th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: garden | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Crocus

Towards the end of Summer last year I bought some bulbs. The man at the garden store assured me that these bulbs were saffron or safran in French. I planted them and waited so patiently for them to show some growth but October passed and then November passed and I thought for sure that I’d been misinformed. They finally popped up their purple heads about 12 days ago and opened four days ago and as expected the three vibrant saffron threads were missing. Such a shame. I’ve been looming over them for five months, so expectant. This year I am going to try again with bulbs purchased from a French producer and hope that I have better luck.

Crocus

Crocus

Crocus

Crocus

Crocus


street flowers in Aire-sur-la-Lys.

Posted: September 15th, 2011 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: garden | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

The village of Aire-sur-la-Lys is where we do our grocery shopping, use the post office, get a kebab, those sorts of things. Like most French villages around France the local commune does a wonderful job of placing flowers around the place and effortlessly maintaining them through the growing season. Usually the pots that are permanently placed along the streets are rectangular or square but in Aire sur la Lys, they have installed very high pots of flowers above the footpath. They last significantly longer than the street level planters because they don’t get attacked by playful children and they get a great deal more light up high. Some of these pots have been mounted, hanging from the facade of buildings and they look really wonderful, beautiful balls of flowers that bring loads of colour to the street.