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Where to buy dried Calendula or Pot Marigold in Singapore

Calendula Officinalis, or Pot Marigold is an incredible medicinal plant with healing properties, good for treating eczema and skin inflammations, and also a beneficial plant in the garden. In Dan's garden in Australia, it has been so easy to grow, and has self-seeded from one plant to a whole cluster, adding vibrancy to an otherwise uniform sea of green. There is a range of marigolds, and it is important to note that if you are after Calendula Officinalis for a homemade recipe, that you do not purchase or use the wrong type of marigold.  Also, it is advised that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid ingesting calendula infusions, as it could cause a miscarriage for the former, as for the...

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Yes, finally! The launch of Danny Chu’s Shojin Ryori recipe book

I don’t usually talk about cooking on this site, and this will certainly be the start of it. As an edibles gardener, I love food of course, and when I’m visiting Dan in the rainforest, I get a chance to experiment with different recipes in his relatively spacious kitchen. I’d have to admit that I’m not quite as adventurous when I’m in Singapore, and eat out more often than not.

I also have some food allergies (including dairy, capsicum, and I suspect, gluten) which means I have an increased vested interest in the food I consume. Shojin Ryori, or zen temple cuisine, suits me well as I find it to be quite a clean diet, and I have been looking for a good cook book on this subject, since it’s somewhat of a rare treat that I get to have only when Enso Kitchen chef, Danny Chu is in town to do his seasonal sessions four times a year.

Fortunately for me and his other fans, Danny has just launched a book of Shojin Ryori recipes – Shojin Ryori, The Art of Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine. I was at his private book launch yesterday (a day after the public launch at Books Kinokuniya) and got to sample some of the food featured in the book.

P1220968P1220969I didn’t realise there was food, so I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to eat more but I had to practice some self-restraint, I didn’t want to look too greedy. Here are the yummy morsels – Watermelon Jelly, Eggplant with Goma Dressing, and Yurine Citrus Balls.

Available soon: Beeswax lanterns and travel candles

lanterns

I love pure beeswax candles with a passion, and I make sure that my home is always stocked with beeswax tea lights at the very least. I also love honey and I can’t imagine a day without tasting it, whether it’s a honey drink or eaten raw on its own. And so I love the light honeyed scent of beeswax candles when I smell it up close, and I burn them on days where I have a strong allergic reaction to dust or pollen, because it is said to clean the air by releasing negative ions, neutralising the positive charge of dust, pollen, and dirt in the air, which are then drawn into the candle or to the ground.

I generally avoid paraffin wax candles because I have read that it is quite toxic, and its chemistry has been likened to exhaust fumes. Also I only buy candles where I’m sure the wick does not contain lead for reasons of health, and I also prefer not to buy tea lights with aluminium casings, which get thrown away and is wasteful.

I have been buying Happy Flame Candles‘ products religiously for the last year and a half at farmers’ markets around the northern rivers region of Australia. There’s nothing quite like it, I’ve tried other brands but I especially love the scent of their beeswax, which they source from several beekeepers in the area. I own two of their lanterns (one in Singapore and one in Australia) and I light them with tea lights just about every day when I’m in Australia. Dan lives in a rainforest, and there are days where there is a lot of pollen in the air, and the house gets dusty quickly, it’s a different kind of dust compared to what is found in cities.

Who to call when you find bees in your home in Singapore

Most certainly not pest control! We have a shrinking population of native bees in Singapore and we need to protect them. While they might seem scary in a big swarm, don't let it intimidate you and your family members, because they will not sting anyone unless they feel threatened. They are important pollinators in Singapore and it breaks my heart each time I hear about pest control companies killing bees. There is a humane, constructive, and gratifying solution to this. Get in touch with Thomas Lim from Edible Gardens at thomas@ediblegardencity.com or 9632 8448, he's the beekeeper extraordinaire at edible landscaping consultancy, Edible Gardens. He is able to re-home bees to apiaries like the one I am holding below. Unfortunately for me, termites took over my...

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