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Sweet Chestnut & Parsnip Risotto

Sweet Chestnut and Parsnip Risotto

I learned on Saturday, from one of my Willow apprenticeship group, that many Japanese cooks like to peel Sweet Chestnuts when raw and add them to rice whilst it cooks. So today I tried it out and wow – what a sensation this cooking combination can create! I intended to take a huge portion of . . . → Read More: Sweet Chestnut & Parsnip Risotto

Autumn Street Treats and Tricks

Turkish Hazelnut Case

The past few weeks have seen a bounty of free street food falling from trees in Amsterdam. I’ve been enjoying Hazelnuts, Hawthorn berries & Sloes (plucked rather than fallen) and Sweet chestnuts – all absolutely delicious when prepared! The nuts and fruit are still there for the taking in many places but if you have . . . → Read More: Autumn Street Treats and Tricks

Let’s Make Hawthorn Tincture!

Let's make Hawthorn Tincture!

What a perfect day!

I finally found time this morning to have a leisurely wander through the woods of Frankendael, seeking out the most pleasantly scented Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) trees.

I was not disappointed! The flowers and leaves of this heart toning tree always taste good to me. Munched on a late spring walk, . . . → Read More: Let’s Make Hawthorn Tincture!

Love your Elders!


Love Your Elders – Plant Your Elders! Sunday 7th April 11.00-12.30

Time to join me to either plant your Elder cuttings from last year, or to learn how to take cuttings and propagate this medicine chest of the European hedgerow. Native Elder (Sambucus nigra, NL:Vlier) grows easily and offers familiar flowers and berries each . . . → Read More: Love your Elders!

365 Frankendael day 327


Walking home from work today, I found some stunning catkin laden branches, lying beneath a street tree. The male catkins of this tree are very long and very colourful. I decided to take some of the fallen branches home. I then removed most of the catkins (to preserve the energy expenditure of the branch) . . . → Read More: 365 Frankendael day 327

Earth Pathways


I gave an Earth Pathways 2013 Diary to each of my apprentices at the end of last year. It’s a rich, inspiring and beautiful publication, created by a wise group of environmentalists, artists, writers and activists. The diary contains key information and creative ideas for urban and rural herbologists alike. I highly recommend it.

. . . → Read More: Earth Pathways

More Ginkgo Harvesting!


Today I was joined by two more groups of eager urban foragers, to harvest some more of the strange fruit which currently fall on several Amsterdam streets.

We harvested from Albrecht Durerstraat mainly. Although the enormous glut of fallers from last week, had already been removed by the council street team, we still . . . → Read More: More Ginkgo Harvesting!

Ginkgo Harvesting in Amsterdam


For some years, each autumn, I have trudged through putrifying Ginkgo fruits, fallen amongst fossilesque golden Ginkgo leaves, on Albrecht Durerstraat in Oud Zuid, Amsterdam. It is where I work and is a street that the local council chose to line with this amazing tree herb, many moons ago.

Ginkgo biloba is a . . . → Read More: Ginkgo Harvesting in Amsterdam

365 Frankendael day 150

Elderberry and honey syrup

Thank you to the group of Urban Herbies who joined me For the Elder Workshop today. We harvested Elderberries, Elder leaves and Elder branches. We learned about and concocted Elderberry syrup and numerous other Elder based remedies. I had a lot of fun with you all, and the plants!

I was so busy enjoying the . . . → Read More: 365 Frankendael day 150

365 Frankendael day 146

Hazelnuts from Oosterpark and Pythagorastraat Amsterdam

In case you haven’t noticed, city nut foraging season is upon us.

I passed by Oosterpark today and noticed a middle aged chap, ferreting around in the undergrowth at one corner of the park, with his young son calling directions to him from outside of the fence. Ah ha Hazelnuts!, I thought and . . . → Read More: 365 Frankendael day 146


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