About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 9 March 2012


Hello everyone, I'm back! Did you miss me? No? Oh well, never mind. I've actually been back for a few days, but it's taken me a while to recover from the trip. I went to Cornwall to help my dad. He has a house there that he's been renting out, and the last tenant was terrible and trashed the place. As soon as she left, he and I went down there to get it ship-shape for sale. Due to various constraints we had just a week and let's just say, it made replacing all the floors in my house feel like a walk in the park by comparison.

Anyway, that's not what I'm talking about today. Although I didn't have time to cook while we were there (all takeaways and pub meals - that was a bit of a shock to the system), I did manage a bit of foraging. I have mentioned that I'd like to try alexanders*. I've seen plenty of pictures of it, so it was just a matter of spotting it in the wild and putting name to plant. In the coastal town of St Ives it was growing everywhere, even by the roadside.

The darker green plants at the bottom of the picture are alexanders

Here's a closer view:

Alexander plant, with flower buds

I tried eating some (not from that roadside, from a more rural spot) and found that the stalks have a strong flavour, somewhere between celery** and fennel, if you can imagine that. I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise, since all three plants belong to the same family. (Wikipedia reckons the taste is between celery and parsley, but I think there's a definite hint of aniseed).

The stalks were tasty but I didn't like the flower buds much, mainly because of the texture. I didn't try the leaves. The thin stalks were a bit stringy, like celery, but the stalks with flowers on had a fat fleshy centre to them. I sliced a few of these onto pizza (take out of packet; put in oven. I do not count this as cooking, even if I did slice some greens onto it) and it was very nice. The flavour wasn't so strong cooked as raw.

Although we were busy, we did snatch the occasional lunch break by the sea, so here's a nice picture of one of the St Ives beaches (I forget which one, not Porthmeor or Porthgwidden - we didn't get to either of those - and it can't be the harbour because there are no boats. Must be Pothminster, then, unless there's one I don't know about).

A St Ives beach. Probably Porthminster.


* I've decided that this plant doesn't warrant a capital letter, whatever Google's spell checker may think.
** I'm talking about celery that actually has flavour, not the insipid white stuff found in supermarkets.


  1. Try dipping the Alexander flower heads into batter and then deep frying them - they are delicious this way. Lorna x

  2. That sounds nice. I being covered in batter would change the texture of the flowers. Cheers, Lorna :-)

  3. That would be "I *guess* being covered in batter..."

    Now why can't I delete my typos any more?


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