Violet Cookery

  When the railway line at Dawlish washed away back in 2014, the last things on most people’s minds were little purple flowers. A century ago it would have been a different story. The spring ‘violet train’ would have been unable to pick up Dawlish’s sweet-smelling harvest. Eliza Doolittles at Covent Garden would have had…

Maids of Honour

Some say Hampton Court, some say Richmond Palace. You pays your ha’penny and you takes your choice when it comes to legends about Henry VIII’s eating habits, especially when it comes to melt-in-the-mouth pastries dainty enough for a nursery rhyme. The story goes that the king, visiting his queen du jour in her apartments at…

Skirret – the Forgotten Tudor Vegetable

“The sweetest, whitest and most pleasant of roots,” raves gentleman gardener John Worlidge, in his 1677 Systema Horticulturae Or The Art of Gardening. “Pleasant and wholesome,” agrees Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. Yet the subtle sweetness of the modest skirret, noted by Pliny as the Emperor Tiberius’s favourite and a mainstay of Tudor tables, is all but…