Sunday, December 6, 2015


Weekend cocktails of a dark evening: martini for him, with lemon-garlic olives. And an Inverroche gin, Northeast Vermouth No. 1 (raspberries made it pink) and quince syrup concoction for me (still nameless).

That first vermouth is one I made last summer in Harlem, and we still have one bottle - it is packed with herbs and spices, including the indigenous American ones I have come to love: sumac, bayberry, spicebush. The syrup was a pretty gift from a Japanese lady who attends many of my forage walks and who is a delightful source of treats such as pickled ume plums, ume syrup, and this seasonal syrup. Maybe the cocktail should be a Quince Kiyoko.

The cauliflower I steamed, then pureed in the food processor with a little butter and a splash of cream. You have to work it quite a while before it is perfectly smooth. It was a bed for slices of a Friday night roast chicken and its delicious pan juices.

The hazelnuts became a cake:

In early autumn I went to a house warming party in Harlem, given by our former upstairs neighbor and friend, Wolfgang, who also had to move, and who relocated further north. Along with bubbly and Campari and fresh rolls topped with smoked meats he served the most wonderful hazelnut cake; I had just led a long forage walk in Central Park and wolfed my slice - moist, nutty, an aroma of orange. He was kind enough to give me the recipe, which is his mother's. My chocolate icing was not as beautiful as his but I know what to do next time. I added the cranberries that I candied last week (it took six days - gentle heat, fridge, gentle heat, fridge, increasing the sugar every time), and took the cake to dinner with friends last night, a 10 minute walk, door to door, whereas before it would have taken an hour's subway ride from Harlem).

Today is all about plants (at least for me; the Frenchman is building himself a new computer from scratch - hey, he likes it). A very generous gift of plants and pots from a gardening neighbour arrived yesterday, ranging from echinacea and columbines to a tall potted willow. And there are some goodies waiting for me at the Gowanus Nursery.

I must get them into the ground and into place.



  1. Delightful link to your gardening neighbour. Looking forward to seeing your new garden in all seasons.

  2. I love that you are settling into your cozy new home - it's amazing to me that you are still planting in December but then again, this has been a very weird season thus far!


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