NOT one for promotions nor sponsored posts, this site has always been ad-neutral. However, we were so taken with this promotion by Thames & Hudson that we couldn't help ourselves. So we are promoting it off our own back as we are a big fan of Jensen's Gin and we think partnership such as these support local businesses and that's a good thing. Anyway, this is their description of the book:
"Here's all about the book which just sounds extraordinary:Award-winning designer Caz Hildebrand’s Herbarium is a 21st-century reboot of the traditional herbal compendium. The visual genius behind the international bestseller The Geometry of Pasta, she has created abstract forms and vibrant colours to illustrate 100 essential herbs and to reveal their hidden properties. From bergamot, comfrey and dill to sassafras, vervain and wasabi, all types of herbs are covered; each is explained through the fascinating history of their uses and symbolism. There are tips on how to use them as seasonings and how to create healing potions, as well as advice on when and how to grow them."
Anyway, to celebrate the launch of Herbarium, Thames & Hudson has teamed up with Farmdrop to offer this compendium, a bottle of Jensen's Old Tom gin (that is gloriously awash with botanicals) and a poster celebrated the book. To enter, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Farmdrop' in the subject heading, and tell them your favourite herb. (Conditions are: Competition closes on 5th September, and Entrants must be UK residents and 18 or older. )
Sarah Irwin introduces us to the wilds of Walthamstow and the meadows and marshes that inspire her botanic ice creams.
“IT is a very special place for wild life as it is in-between the marshes and the forest” is how Sarah Irwin describes Walthamstow, north-east London. "I use a lot of flowers and leaves in what I do and there is an amazing wealth of ingredients here to stumble upon. I like the idea that I share the environment with the things that I am cooking with.”
Since launching Osinsky Ice Cream two years ago, Sarah has created flavours that pay homage to the romantic and magical world of botanicals. Field camomile, blackcurrant leaves, lemon balm, cobnuts, rowan and sloe berries find their way into her forager’s basket. “I feel absolutely that smell and taste, vision and touch are all so connected. If I am walking along the pavement and see a privet hedge, I'll pick some to squash between my fingers. It has the most incredible scent of pears.”
Growing up in Oxford in a house built on what was once part of the University’s orchard, Sarah’s interest in edible wild food was fostered early. “In the garden there were apple, plum, quince, cherry and pear trees, lots of berries and different herbs. So as children we would go into the garden and pick everything that was in season like wild strawberries, raspberries and currants and then squash them all together and freeze them in cupcake cases, like little fruit lollies.“
Today, her favours are more refined, while retaining the whimsy of her childhood imaginings. Ask her about her range of ice creams and sorbets and she immediately shares that “chamomile ice-cream is my favourite; it is like being cuddled by sunshine. It is so warming and romantic.” Or her rose hip sorbet that she says has “a slightly medicinal taste - they don't taste as red as you would expect them to“. Other flavours have included bay leaf, sage marshmallow, elderflower and fromage blanc, and Walthamstow honey and sesame. She has even used honeysuckle and lilac, making floral syrups to be added to her ice-cream base.
IT'S been quite a while since we posted under the headline of weekend inspiration but you can hardly blame us for this return to our regular column when we spotted cocoa runners at Prufrock Coffee. Now Prufrock on Leather Lane is one of our all time favourite independent cafes. We have always admired their dedication to the dark arts with a line of coffee from local roasters Square Mile as well as special roasters like Five Elephant. Proving their credentials in assessing the fragrance, aroma, nose, and after-taste of coffee, we love their selection of independent chocolate. Now we're tasted Marou - the French chocolateurs specialising in single-estate chocolate grown in Vietnam as well as Rituals chocolate, that we discovered in San Francisco. However, this line-up of cocoa runners gives us a shopping list of new ones to try and the great thing ... they're done the sourcing for us. 23-25 Leather Ln, London EC1N 7TE
Dale Gibson of Bermondsey Street Bees talks to us about life on Bermondsey Street and his ongoing campaign for sustainable beekeeping in London.
Dale Gibson is a true locavore. Ask him about SE1 and you'll get an account that spans its history as the 11th Century causeway between London Bridge and Bermondsey Abbey to its most recent incarnation as one of London’s most exciting and innovative food destinations.
The common theme is of course honey and Dale’s passion, commitment, and enthusiasm for this most ancient of crafts. “There is a long history of beekeeping in this area and we intend to promote sustainable beekeeping in a way that it won’t just have a long history but have a long and happy future,” says Dale.
The winner of multiple awards including two Great Taste Awards last year, Dale has been keeping bees on his rooftop in Bermondsey for ten years and championing the importance of responsible beekeeping. With over 3,000 hives registered within a ten kilometres radius of his own rooftop apiary, he is committed to ensuring that London bees are well cared for.
”Beekeeping is a local business, so the development of forage in London has to be local. As a city we are not making any more green space. Therefore we have to optimise the green space that we have now,” he explains.
AS, you know at London Food Essentials, we're true locavores. Ask us what we like to do best: it's easy, we like nothing better than exploring London on foot to discover its local food and artisans. This is why when we were approached by Harper Collins, we were more than happy to promote this great short film.
Anna Jones is a food writer, former member of Jamie Oliver’s food team, and the bestselling author of A Modern Way To Eat and A Modern Way To Cook. She's also a long term resident of Hackney and good friends with Elly Pear.Elly is also a food writer as well as owner of the Pear Café in Bristol. She's just published her first book, Fast Days & Feast Days.
Watch this film as Elly and Anna explore Hackney visiting their favourite places from famed E5 Bakehouse to whole leaf tea specialists, Tiosk.