Nearly back to school

lemon-balm-cake-MediumIt’s the 2nd January. The kids go back to school tomorrow. I can’t help but feel smug, knowing I have another week off before I go back to the fray.

Wouldn’t it be nice to bake a cake for their lunchboxes? I’m having a look around my larder, there is still so much Christmas fare.

And then I spy a massive bunch of lemon balm. Yay! Let’s combine a bit of Scandi with some remnants of summer days.

Lemon Balm Cake


  • 250g butter (room temperature)
  • 250g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • juice of 12 lemon
  • 130g plain flour
  • 120 g potato starch/ cornflour/ arrowroot
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g crumbled dry lemon balm (or 100g fresh chopped leaves)


  1. Preheat oven to 165C or gas mark 3
  2. Grease and line a 9″ cake tin (or anything that will hold about two and a half litres of liquid)
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add lemon juice, stir to combine.
  6. In another bowl, combine potato starch (or alternative) and baking powder; sift the flour mixture onto the butter mixture, stir to combine.
  7. Add lemon balm, stir to combine.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a metal skewer comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool in the pan for a while; after inverting the cake, rinse the cake pan, dry it and place back on the cake. Allow the covered cake to cool completely.

In the Bleak Midwinter…

… I came up with a good idea.


Last year, I managed to eat something from my garden pretty much every day (apart from the days when I was away). This year, I want to chart it. I’d really like to try to quantify exactly how much food I have been able to grow/ preserve/ consume myself and make some sort of analysis as to the benefits of home growing.

I have been involved in permaculture design and implementation for the last 18 years, having completed my PDC (Permaculture Design Course) in Brighton back in 1999.

In that time I have managed farms, kept livestock, been a founder member of both Brighton Permaculture Trust and Paramaethu Cymru (Permaculture Wales), lectured and taught on Patrick Whitefield’s Sustainable Land Use course, run a landscaping company Edible Landscapes Ltd and small scale enterprise The Pesto Manifesto, and work with the Zero Carbon Britain team at the Centre for Alternative Technology, as well as raise my three lovely children. In my spare time, I co-ordinate the permaculture areas at the Glastonbury Festival, Green Gathering and Buddhafield.

This year, I’m hoping to join the first tranche of students at the Centre for Alternative Technology on the MSc in Sustainable Food Production and Natural Resources.