“Flowers distilled though they with winter meet, lease but their show; their Substance Still lives sweet.” (Sonnet V)

My name is Dan. I am a confirmed foodie and struggling writer. This is my blog. I won’t pretend it’s not a mess if you won’t pretend to be offended.

Mainly it’s about my brilliant AirStill – the kitchen top device which lets me extract the essential oils out of various botanicals with a view to using the result in the kitchen.

Substance Still is generously garnished with quotations from Shakespeare as well as recipes and thoughts on food in general.

Since I’m a theatre reviewer there’s also plenty of stuff from the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond.

I’m also using it to let folks have a preview of my novel Malice Towards One. It’s my first attempt and a work in progress so be kind as well as honest! You can find the introduction and prologue here.

Why an AirStill? Why Not?

With the AirStill, a simple (yet ingenious) piece of kit, I want to start distilling the seasonal flavors and scents from flora here there and…well…dash of oil…everywhere.

Take your wild garlic (Allium ursinum). This delicate wee delight has a light and breezy approach to being garlic-flavored. It shimmers on and off the palate and like any good character actor enhances the performances of the leading players without taking centre stage. And yet, and yet! it is only available in the spring and early summer.

But I want it all and…well…dash of oil…I want it…


Why not make all that delicate and delightful flavour into a liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass by bunging as many wild garlic leaves as we can lay our paws on into the old AirStill? Plug in. Stand back. Count to 2 and bit hours and Hey! Prestidigitation! We’ve gone and distilled ourselves wild garlic essential oil for use year round. Store in a place where the pine martens can’t get at it and you’re laughing.

In these pages I hope to bring you tales and experiences gathered through adventures with my AirStill.

English: Ramsons - Allium Ursinum. These prett...

English: Ramsons – Allium Ursinum. These pretty white flowers belong to a member of the garlic family, although their smell might make that obvious. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)