Journal posted on 25th June 2013 by Elizabeth

We visited California back in August 2012 and said we’d be back. Lo and behold, we returned quickly to get a much needed dose of the Los Angeles sunshine and blue skies. This time, we opted to rent a bungalow instead of staying in a hotel. Cactus Flower is a desert-style luxury retreat in Venice Beach. Eight blocks from the beach and a bike ride to Santa Monica, this fully solar powered, zero carbon house with a 1950s Modernist flavour was the perfect dream house for our LA stay.

Isn’t it gorgeous?





interior collage

interior 2


You could say I’ve gone cactus crazy…

Polaroid collage

I guess this beautiful house unleashed and inspired my inner domestic goddess. The beautiful kitchen and abundance of local organic produce made cooking a delight. (Tip to LA visitors hoping for a spot of celeb spotting – forget the Hollywood bus tours…go to Wholefoods!)

Ingredients for grilled king oyster mushrooms starter inspired by LA restaurant hot spot Gjelina:
- 2 King oyster mushrooms
- Orange zest
- Butter
- Sea salt
- Coarse black pepper

Ingredients for clams on pasta:
- Cherrystone & Manila clams, washed
- Linguine (we used pumpkin fettuccini)
- Chorizo, diced
- 1 Onion, diced
- 2 Garlic cloves
- Parsley (we improvised with a tiny sprig of rosemary from the garden)
- White wine

dinner PicMonkey Collage

Grilled king oyster mushrooms starter recipe
1) Slice the mushrooms lengthwise into approximately 2cm width steaks
2) Heat your pan & a knob of butter
3) Place the mushroom steaks onto your hot pan, and brown on both sides
4) Add a table spoon of orange zest and flavour with coarsely ground sea salt and pepper

Voila…simple and delicious!


Clams on pasta recipe
1) Heat your pan & a knob of butter
2) Brown the garlic, diced onion and chorizo
3) Add the clams and stir
4) Cook the pasta in a separate pan of boiling water, drain and separate into portions
5) Add a splash or 3 of white wine to the clams
6) Add your herbs and flavour with coarsely ground sea salt and pepper
7) The clams are ready when the shells open.

Dish on top of the pasta and enjoy…