I just adore the seasonal foliage at this time of year; Evergreen leaves, seed heads, pine cones, berries and even feathers are making a show this Christmas. Fortunately I’ve collected a wide array of such seasonal such treasures, especially for such a purpose as this.
my table decoration and wreath class is held at Love Gift Vegan Cafe, on Sunday 15th December for 3 hrs. Drop in during the afternoon to create a decoration to delight your loved ones from a mixture a natural foliage, along with a glass or two of festive fruit punch and whichever Caribbean dish takes your liking from the extensive made onsite, freshly prepared menu.
tickets £30.00 or £15.00 concs. (Please ask in advance if you require a reduced fee)
Monday nights will never be the same again! Since the introduction of the SLBI talks, lead by the local experts. This week was the final session in the season and we held a quiz ‘Guess the fungi’ which was more of an invitation to discover more about the world of fungi through researching in the manly books and asking pertinent questions. Much like a game of ‘Guess Who’ from the 1980’s, except instead of asking questions surrounding features “does your person have a moustache/wear glasses” it’s a question of defining fungus features! Identification through key features: the spire colour (from spore prints/gills), Gill formation, The Cap colour and texture or design, the feel to touch, size: height, cap width and diameter, Stipe (stem) length, base size and The area /favoured location; where it grows. hence 3.5 hrs later I’d identified approx 10 mushrooms and as a group, we’d identified approx 25 species. A foraging walk is planned in mid December.
the SLBI is a lovely old converted house in Tulse Hill, with an astonishing botanical back garden. Over the past month, a seasonal Mushroom identification activity has takes place, whereby you take a mushroom collection to be identified by an expert in the field. Fabrice and Mario presented the night. On the promise of observing other’s fungi, I attended with photos to identify from another’s recent discovery in Downham. Hence I arrived with images and my favourite books on the subject including my inherited Geoff Kibby’s original which is over 30 years old.
As I entered the room An amazing variety of very brightly coloured fungi covered the table on display in groups: A whole forest of wax caps! All have these distinguishing features: waxy caps (!) plus are slimy/clammy or cool to the touch. A Snowy wax cap is edible but looks similar to the common poisonous death angel. A Parrot wax cap displays a flash of blue upon stem. A Meadow wax cap is edible and is found by streatham common near the house at top. A Crimson wax cap has yellow gills and is edible.
A Clitocybe (sloping head) has purple gills and white spores. it’s found around trees and is related to Lepista the Field blewit.
My images depicted Infundibulicybe geotropa the Monks head mushroom.
Back last summer we found a Ganoderma bracket fungi at buddhafield camp in Dorset which has a cocoa like dusting of spores.
A Russular has deep pink tops with delicate white gills.
Web caps with open gills are with little web bits instead of a ring.
We were an interesting group; a mix of enthusiastic gardeners and an environmental journalist. We discussed food security issues and new insights into land use and ownership. Beyond id Fabrice discussed how Peat bogs which are naturally wet had been affected by drainage for grouse hunting and is bad for carbon emissions. Sheep rearing on Yorkshire land which holds water like sponges. Now this land is being drained and over grazed by sheep which has meant flooding in other areas; As a direct result from sheep over grazing. Plus Peat land burning.evolution now!
The Best Method to Use-for collecting fungi? a good French mushroom knife to cut mushrooms or even a pound shop version on a string!
What will you be doing on the evening of Thursday 12th December?! If the answer is trying to avoid the election results for 5 minutes, then you’ll love to attend One World Choir’s Christmas Concert at the Baptist Church, in Kings Cross. A compilation of traditional Christmas songs plus a beautiful blend of chants from around the globe eg. African traditional songs celebrating mother Earth, sacred landscapes with a feminine touch.
With over 50 singers of all ages, performing acapella with Choir leader Helen Yeoman whose mixed choirs recently performed at locations across London during the Extinction Rebellion events in October. I learnt about the performance at an X R event in Trafalgar Square one night and went along to the next rehearsal.
Before the leaves truly began to fall I was treating a patient for fibromyalgia. In response, she kindly invited me to visit her allotment and I found myself the proud recipient of a range of fresh organic produce: home grown watercress to garnish, apples – pickled, pulped and whole for breakfast plus a huge butternut squash, which I had a job to carry back home. I collected Amaranth seeds and picked a few apples from the tree. She had also saved me A year old bottle of fresh, sparkling apple juice.
Thus begins the task of creating as many new and interesting meals as possible with these ingredients. Utilising left over vegetables, fruit and foraged herbs and seeds, I have begun to weave magic at my mealtimes.
Here are 3 ways with these ingredients. All washed down with a natural, appletize!
Spinach, Mushroom and squash Tarte. My first gluten free (pre made) puff pastry tarte! Made with a wild pesto dressing. Good served with fresh bean tips and slices of avocado.
2. Squash and watercress risotto
3. Squash & Winter veg soup To pre cooked potatoes and parsnips, I added chunks of squash, nigella seeds, broccoli and coconut oil into a blender with enough hot water and a lemon and ginger tea to form a creamy smooth consistency when blended. Then warmed gently for 10 mins whilst I made an avocado on rye toast. Finally, adding seasoning and pumpkin seeds for garnish. Minimal cooking of squash retains its juicy form.
A couple of years ago, I received a very positive response to my first Kitchen Buddy at VegFest UK Raw Nutrition for Health talk, which I delivered to an audience of over 100 at Olympia Grand Hall, London. One of the highlights of last weekend (infact 26th October) was visiting the show again as a volunteer on behalf of the Vegan Organic Network.
On our Veganic Gardening stall we discuss ‘stock-free’ (non animal fertiliser eg. horse manure) and Permaculture gardening techniques, provide visitors with educational materials for seasonal recipes to read and purchase, welcome new subscribers to the Growing Green membership and an opportunity to attend an enjoyable seminar series with experienced VON presenters including Jon Dale and Tony Martin.
VON supports new first time gardeners and growers and on the day ran a competition for an eco pod – a new design portable raised vegetable bed, which resembles a small moveable polytunnel, on legs (with wheels).
Situated up on the third floor, our space was a calm oasis amongst the hubbub of the other fast food areas. For more details on Veganic Growing and gardening in a sustainable fashion contact VON https://veganorganic.net/
At the XR Demonstration, completely by accident last Wednesday night.
Heading towards Charing Cross to get a train back home and my eyes were drawn down towards the Mall, where bright colourful banners lined Trafalgar Square. I couldn’t go home without an investigation. I immediately realised that it showcased a very developed XR demo with the hearse surrounded by police, a DJ booth, music pumping out of speakers and food tents to nourish the masses. More like a festival than any Criminal activity. I searched for a familiar face in the crowds and was met by Kenny, who showed me around the other occupied sites. It’s unlike the general media reports: music boomed out from speakers with several DJs and I heard that Orbital had played there the previous night. Spontaneous Public dancing, in the street and square itself went on for hours. I placed my bag down for kenny to guard and was invited to join a fish group dance which involved becoming like a school; a collective, of human /fish moving as one, dancing and twirling together.
These sites of protesters were peacefully put together including many pensioners forming a blockade by St James Park, others along Whitehall and a full camp outside Westminster abbey area. There We witnessed several arrests, observers wearing orange hi vis vests (to record the legal rights) and heard reports of police brutality (breaking bones). To my right, a man in his sleeping bag was physically removed; carried along the road by 4 other officers. We had spoken to a WPC (who is on time and a half) who remarked that she really just wanted to get back home to her children. Sadly the entire london wide Met forces has been enlisted to patrol the camps meanwhile the gang lords on Hackney were dealing in knife crime, where the police presence is more needed.
Walking back up towards the square I felt like stretching out so we stopped for a yoga session and to dance on the raised blockades to techno music. Back at the square I learnt that kenny had formed part of a Choir singing earth chants and lines like: “We’ve got all the chocolate; the chocolate we need, to help the world, Hallelujah! We’ve got all the chocolate, all the chocolate we need, blessed be” we chanted.
We shared a meal picnic snack style at the outdoor dining area towards the back steps of oatcakes, mange tout, nibbles and chocolate, snug from the wind, sharing our ideas on Conscious Plant based foods for the future. #PowerToThePeople.
By Nelson’s column, dancing in the crowd; the DJ tells us that the food tent is so full the crew needs more volunteers; could some the crowd go to assist? In that moment I felt a minor dilemma – I asked myself- should I offer my time, to do this, to serve..?! (having come from a 10 hr shift myself…) did they mean me? In that moment, the crowd parted, like waves and approx 20 or so youngsters filled off, in the direction of the food tent, to join the service team. Volunteering support without a question; teamwork. Following that moment of movement, my eyes fell upon another bystander, who turned out to be … a French chef, interested in learning about vegan nutrition and menus… we smiled softly and a few days later, I found out who the lead chef was, our kitchen supervisor from Buddhafield festival retreats; who we’d be catering alongside in the kitchen at Buddhafield in the City (26th Oct). #smallworld scenario.
All of which only leaves me to conclude that ‘these protestors’ have more in common with Buddhist Monks, than ‘anarchist’ punks. #peaceful #positive #protestors
This season, these Colourful wild berries add a pop of vibrancy to any meal.
Arbutus or the Strawberry fruit tree, is a tree with strawberry coloured berries. During the summer They turn from hard, green little berries into rich, red, soft berries by mid to end September through the autumn. Surprisingly, These berries contain a mild flavoured, bright orange flesh, with small insignificant seeds. Pick them directly from the tree and wash to remove any cobwebs (a familiar sight at this time of year!) Eaten fresh and raw, They make a nice addition to breakfasts, fruit desserts and as a garnish on any cake/tart/pie, with a dairy free cream or yogurt. A rich source of vitamin C.