A few Sunday’s back just as summer was definitely shifting into Autumn I spent the day at Blid & Hatton’s Food Studio, nestled in the Medicine Garden in Cobham, Maddie & Helga have created a stunning studio that’s a perfect space to host cookery workshops, pop ups, events and private dining.
For this workshop they had teamed up with preserving alchemist Kylee Newton of Newton & Pott, whose jams and preserves can be found in places such as Broadway Market and Selfridges, and her book The Modern Preserver is a number one best seller on Amazon.
You’d be amazed at the horde of plums, rowan berries, rose hips, sloes and brambles we foraged in the Surrey countryside. They were boiled, bubbled, strained and magically turned into chutney, jelly, syrup and the sloe’s got added to gin. I loved seeing Kylee create and how simple she makes the preserving process seem. Maddie had whipped up a plum and blackberry cake and a vegan chocolate cake to start the day followed by a delicious lunch of beetroot soup, roasted veg and a cheese board that complimented the just made, still warm chutney.
This was such an inspiring and enriching way to spend a Sunday, if you can, do try and get on a workshop at the Food Studio or one of Kylee’s courses I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Just a few short weeks ago I found myself at Talton Lodge, attending and teaching at the first MakeLight Retreat hosted by my good friend Emily Quinton. It was a weekend created to inspire, learn, share and take a photo or two. I met a whole host of lovely people from the MakeLight Community, including the other truly inspiring ladies who taught and shared through their workshops. Kate from A Playful Day shared her storytelling techniques and if you don’t know Kate, visit her inspiring site where she delivers beautifully constructed podcasts either through conversations with others or through her own storytelling narrative. Gabrielle Treanor lead us through a mindfulness session, convincing us to put down our cameras and remember to look at the world around us through our eyes instead of our view finder and to engage with our surroundings using all our senses, not just Instagram, is Instagram a sense yet?! Her website offers lots of advice on the pursuit of happiness and mindfulness. The ever so passionate Kate from Posy & Petal, (very, very) patiently taught us how to make incredibly beautiful paper flowers, her attention to detail was incredible and the personalised place cards she made for everyone where probably my favourite thing at the retreat. Jody a florist and blogger from Country Wild Flowers, shared her love of flowers and led us through a floral crown making workshop, her combinations and colours were just a delight and I loved how differently everyone interpreted the challenge, from beautifully simple, to wild and free and a little messy with too much floristry tape (that would be mine).
Emily of course was on hand for portraits and Instagram, photography and life advice and husband and co-founder Stef grounded everyone with business and technical advice which was so helpful for those starting blogs, websites or wanting to get to a new level with their current offering. Last but not least we had the adorable and wonderful Sarah, a blogger at Taming Twins and representing Pinterest, she shared all her knowledge and tips for getting the most out of your Pinterest profile. On the last day I taught about Food Photography and Styling and it was a pleasure to share a little of what I do with such a wonderful group.
Talton Lodge is such a tranquil space, we had the Barn and the Kitchen Garden which is filled with chickens, apple and plum trees, a yurt, tipi, tree boat house and a wagon and two huge open tipis with a fire, that we could use for meals and gathering together for discussions. The food was delicious the company wonderful and whole Makelight Retreat an experience I’ll cherish, so I’m really glad Emily & Stef have already decided it’s going to happen again next June. You can find out more here.
Special thanks to Ruth from Gathered Cheer & Fatima from Room To Breathe for taking extra special care of all of us xx
It was an invitation to a day that promised to ease me out of this long summer and into the cooler autumn days, that actually suit me better as excessive heat, despite my Mediterranean roots, cause me to cease functioning!
Deans Court is the oldest house in Wimborne, Dorset, a beautiful part of the country which I have yet to explore in great detail but this was a wonderful introduction. Lottie, Ali & William had generously opened the house and grounds and organised an array of mini workshops and experiences for a handful of us lucky photographers, makers and creative souls to connect, experience and share. I hadn’t expected so many lovely things to happen in the space of 6 hours! From the homemade lavender shortbread that welcomed us, to the Aga demonstration by Lisa from All Hallows (I’ve never wanted an Aga more, Lisa made it all so simple!) to a bee keeping experience (including full bee keeping suit) a Gong Bath with Sarah, a tea demonstration with Ross from Dorset Herbals and not forgetting the delicious lunch created from seasonal fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden. The dining table was set and styled by an absolute favourite of mine The Linen Works with their Italian collection that uses only the finest and longest fibres, I would like to wrap my entire world in The Linen Works fabrics but for now I’ll make do with my collection of napkins and aprons!
I missed seeing the shop because my train was calling me home, but I will definitely return, as well as a shop and cafe, you can stay in the delightfully named Apple & Plum cottages, or even get married!
Thank you everyone for making this day so memorable.
scones from the Aga
pears grown inside bottles, then just add Gin!
some of the lovely treats that I was sent home with
candles by the Botanical Candle Co
tea from Dorset Herbals
honey and prettiness Deans Court
lavender bag The Linen Works
These are the last dates for 2016 for Workshops and Online Courses with myself and Emily Quinton. There’s a one day workshop date held at Emily’s light filled London Studio October 28th. And two online courses; a Beginners Course Level 1 and Level 2 both in Food Photography and Styling.
The online courses come with a private online group where Emily and I can discuss and critique your work as the course progresses.
For more info click HERE
Any questions about the courses just email me email@example.com
Can you feel the end of summer coming, the air changes slightly and there’s a blueness to the light in the mornings. Then there’s the rapidly declining hours of sunlight and it seems we start hurtling towards winter. I’m trying very hard to hang on, but envitably it will happen and I’ll count the days til the light and air starts to change again and I can feel spring coming and that joy I always feel that there will be minutes then hours or extra daylight…
But until then lets enjoy these days with the fruit that is around, plums and blackberries seem to be in an incredible abundance this year. I’ll talk jam next time, but today is about plums and lets start with cake!
200g Butter, unsalted
200g Plain Flour
200g Light Brown Sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
60ml crème fraiche
3 plums, stones removed, cut into eighths
Icing sugar to dust
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees, grease a 7 inch cake tin with butter.
- In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt
- In a separate bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time whilst continuing to mix then add in the vanilla and crème fraiche.
- Add the flour mixture and bring together with a wooden spoon.
- Pour the mixture into your cake tin, smooth the top until it’s even. Add a spoon of flour to the plums and toss til coated. Then add the plums to the top of the cake mix.
- Bake for 30 minutes then cover with foil and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes or until an inserted knife/skewer comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool, remove from the tin, dust with the icing sugar and serve.
« Older posts