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marte_marie_forsberg marte_marie_forsberg

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marte_marie_forsberg  Norwegian photographer and author, living in the English countryside. Photography and Cooking workshops. Cookbook out October 2017 by Clarkson Potter


Last night, returning home by train after having watched a documentary about the works and life of the Italian renaissance painter Raphael. I fell pensive as I gazed at the landscape slowly passing by, all engulfed in a twilight summer haze. His genius and talent left me a bit breathless. At 37 years of age he passed away having just finished the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace in Rome. Accomplishing more in those years than perhaps the inhabitants of a small village combined do in a lifetime. Michelangelo was painting the ceiling that Raphael got a sneaky peak at, when a friend handed him the key to the chapel one night. Lit up by a torch, he climbed the wooden scaffolding to get a first glance at Michelangelo's work. When he was later given the commission to clad the ground walls of the Sistine Chapel with ten tapestries, he thought of the ceiling and eagerly commenced the work hoping to outdo Michelangelo. These personal stories around incredible artists that have shaped our art world, paints their very human image which I'm ever so excited to share more of with you on my next retreat in Italy in September. Light and composition, the very basic fundamentals of an image can be as simple and complex as we'd like it to be. The more I learn about the great masters, the more it fuels my work as a visual storyteller forward, and takes my gaze off the digital world and into the tangible and real world of galleries, museums, churches and private homes filled with art, like open notebooks from masters gone before us... After the train came to a halt that evening in my little village and I reached the cottage, my mind was wide awake. I opened the rooftop windows and let my mind wander amongst the stars above feeling ever so inspired and eager to push myself as an artist... click on the link in my profile for more information. #artfoodandphotographyworkshop #mmforsbergworkshop #matera

Even with all the windows wide open, a sweltering summer heat has filled every corner of our cottage these past days. You'll find Mr Whiskey sprawled out on the cool surface of the ground floor, while I'm writing at my desk in the shade with a cold drink. Mid day, we pack our picnic baskets and head down to the river to cool down before returning home to yet another round of chilled drinks. The homemade elderflower cordial is gone, and so is last years black currant toddy that I've served with ice. Bottles of Rose and Prosecco are being kept in the fridge ready to be popped at a moments notice, and a pitcher of lemon water covered with a linen cloth is stationed in the middle of the dinning room table, being refilled every five minutes. My only activity apart from our daily river excursion and a few words scribbled on paper that I call work, is quick trips to the butcher to restock my fruit bowl. Everything feels slow, warm and holiday like, so we're embracing the heat knowing English rain will return soon enough... Hope you're all enjoying the heat and staying hydrated! #myenglishcountryside #englishsummer

Yesterday's sunny wander around the island of my parents home in Norway, enticed me into thinking summer was here to stay. I embarked the morning train to the nearby city of Fredrikstad, in light ballet flats, silk trousers and a lace like little white top. My wellies beaconed at me as I dashed out eager to entice the weather gods into sending yet another warm sunny day. I should have known better... Norway's longest river, Glomma, bubbled with wild undercurrents on its grey surface as the train came to a halt, and as I gazed towards the old part of town engulfed in fog, I got caught out in the rain. Drenched like a cat I met up with the lovely @hverdagslykkelise in a nearby cafe. She smiled, and told me her family were BBQing that afternoon come sun or rain. Spoken like a true Norwegian, I thought to myself, as I wrapped ny hands around a warm cup of chai latte and sent a few thoughts to my dry wellies at home... #ineverlearn #evertheoptimist #onecanneverhavetoomanywellies

As I'm filling pages with teaching plans, menus, and travel details for our upcoming workshop at the most beautiful grotto hotel @sextantio in the UNESCO protected hilltop town of Matera in the south of Italy, I'm going over images from last autumn, when I taught a workshop in Beaune, France with the lovely @thecooksatelier . We went to the market, cooked, styled, photographed and told visual stories around food and this very beautiful part of France. In September, for my Matera retreat, we found you an out of this world location, where we will again cook together, style photograph and tell visual stories, but I also wanted to incorporate art, the art of seeing, the art of creating, and the art of making a business from our dreams. The 9000 year old grotto walls of our home away from home will create the backdrop for our morning sessions where we will explore the old masters in painting and sculpture to better our understanding of light, composition and movement in our visual storytelling. In between shoots we'll gather together for cooking sessions with the in-house cook of @sextantio . The ever so lovely @eminchilli will guide us on our day trip to the nearby seaside town of Bari, and the avid mixologist @theo_maxfield will lead us in pre dinner cocktail sessions. It would be an understatement to say I was excited about this retreat. #mmforsbergworkshop (link in profile for more information)

After a naughty glass of my favorite smoky whiskey last night while we played a round of cards at the local pub, we woke up early all bushy tailed and wide eyed this morning. Hand in hand we walked down the hill to the train station, while our sleepy village opened their shops fronts and brought the day to life. Across the river Nadder we bought warm breakfast tea and freshly baked croissants, and said our goodbyes as the train to London came to a halt on platform 1. Travel always makes me excited, even if it's just the train to the next village or road tripping to a nearby county. The green rolling hills of the countryside passed my window while I write into my day planner ideas for upcoming shoots, workshops, visits to see friends and ideas for what the future may hold. This business of travel never gets old or fails to inspire. And while my the train began picking up speed, scaring resting birds of its tracks, I took a bite of the freshly baked pastry next to me, and placed my tea on top of the pile of books I'm planning to read on this weeklong trip back to Norway. I blew England a kiss and told her I'll be back soon...

After our afternoon wander in the rain, we returned home, blond hair windswept and wavy like a wild nest, and Mr Whiskey all muddy, wet and ever so happy. I put the kettle on. Warm steam soon emerged followed by the familiar whistle, calling the "troops" in for tea. These days it's all about turmeric, ginger, and lemon tea with generous heaps of summer honey. It's perhaps a small change of diminishing my caffeine consumption, but every little inch counts. I've found it's never really about the big leaps and big steps, it's more about the little things, the little inch that moves us forward daily, and the small changes that leads us closer to our goals. Anything is truly possible, it's just about steady putting one foot in front of the other, and never giving up... #thursdaymusings #whiskeyandmoi moi

Ferocious winds have swept across the calm rolling hills around the cottage. Broken twigs and branches cover the narrow country lanes, and green leaves whirl about covering the grounds like we were in September. I've been all cooped up inside watching the garden tremble outside. Even Mr whiskey refuses to go outside and stays warm and snug on the sofa. After a failed attempt, of what I thought was going to be the most glorious almond milk and elderflower baked rice pudding, I returned to the familiar and ever so simple, my mothers summer nettle soup with flaked almonds and olive oil. It never fails to nourish. Perhaps it's the glorious combination of nostalgia and nutrient dense ingredients that always feels so comforting, especially on stormy Summer days... #myenglishcountryside #nettlesoup #comfortcooking

It feels positively autumnal with cold winds tugging at the treetops and breaking flowers in my little garden. So while summer is on hold, I put flowers in vases around the cottage, brew fresh mint and turmeric tea with a heaping spoons of honey from the local butcher. His stock is to die for and so is his honey and preserves. Yesterday we drove down narrow country lanes and filled our baskets with a heaping amount of Elderflowers. This afternoon they are bubbling on the stove with sugar and lemons, and being made into a quick syrup that will soon be used in my baked rice pudding. And if I'm lucky the Englishman will stir together an afternoon cocktail or two with it when he gets home. I've vowed to use up 80% of what I have in the pantry instead of buying tempting new ingredients this year. It a goal after feels like 50% of the boxes unpack after moving earlier this year were labeled "food" i.e. Pantry items. Hopefully I'll only be left with ingredients that we actually use daily. That way nothing goes out on date and we always have the basics we need. I don't know why I had such an abundance of risotto rice after finishing up my recent cookbook testing, must have bough new packages each time instead of using up the opened ones...so now I try to cook with it at least two of tree times a week. I normally make rice pudding with milk, but today I'm topping up the saucepan with almond milk and freshly made elderflower syrup, and then baking it in the oven with a lid of sugar that will caramelize...quite excited for how it will turn out. What do you consider your pantry basics? #myenglishcountryside #pantrybasics #visitwiltshire

Fennel ready to be baked with lemons, a generous drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Any vegetables and fruits will do, and I regularly switch this simple baked side dish up depending on what I have at hand, but today I yearned for fennel's comforting licorice aroma to infuse my little cottage kitchen with warmth. Cooler summer winds sweep through town, and a crisp white is chilling in the fridge, Saturday's are for easy comfort meals that literally bake themselves while I snuggle up with Mr Whiskey and read a book I've been meaning to tuck into. I've admired Anna del Conte since as far as I can remember, her cooking, her passion for food, and her knowledge of Italian food. Her book "Risotto with Nettles, a memoir with food" has been on top of a pile of "must read books" underneath my nightstand collecting dust. So today, I blew the cobwebs off its cover, put the fennel in my darling @lacanche_us and dove right in. Have any of you read it? What books are you currently reading? #weekendmeals #mycottagekitchen #booklist

From one day to another, Summer arrived with warmth and blue skies, and I unpacked every single summer dress, shook off a few dead moths and aired them out in the garden. Our sleepy countryside town came to life, and people spilled into the streets chatting and enjoying a chilled glass of wine in the shade. It's the Wylye Valley art trail week where we live, with artists opening up their private studios and workshops to the public. People with walking boots and maps in hand, trail pass the cottage on their way to my brilliant neighbor artist Jenny de Sausmarez who paints and sketches beautiful still life, people and the calm surrounding landscape where we live, and just down the street the wonderful Jeweler Pepe Argo is showcasing her stunning work. This countryside community of mine never fails to inspire. The Wylye arts trail lasts till Sunday the 4th of June with many a cozy countryside pub to pop by when you're wandering feet gets weary. Tap the photo for some of my favorite pubs and shops in the area to visit in between exploring the local arts scene. #wylyevalley #localartists (Photo by "the Englishman" @theo_maxfield )

A wee corner of my English cottage. Slowly each room is beginning to feel like home, and I'm starting to love the process, embracing renovation and unpacking madness that still ensures, and finding joy in the parts that are taking shape, the imperfect journey. Yesterday the garden was basking in sun and we pulled up plants by the root, cleared our little stone terrace from a feisty ivy attack, and replanted lilacs, primroses and a few budding roses. They bay tree stands proud at the bottom of the garden enticing me to use its leaves in more than just autumn stews and soups. I read somewhere that bay leaf ice cream was ever so tasty, have any of you ever tried it? I love that the cottage encourages me to simplify my life and to uncluttered. Something I'm sure many of you can relate to. Lovely Beth Kirby @local_milk has written about it often too these past months. Perhaps it's the pace of the time we live in, and the constant pressure of creating more, be more, that's beginning to stear us towards a slower life, a life perhaps filled with the mantra of every single one of us being enough. That we are enough while with steady footsteps growing and learning, and perhaps letting go of the constant pressure and misconception that this life is a race. Every day I take bags of clothes and props to the local charity shop feeling lighter by the hour. One wall of the cottage is coming together slowly, whitewashed and with summer hats and baskets gathered from my trips to France and Italy carrying nostalgic memories of the world beyond the thick stone cottage walls. My home is coming together much slower than anticipated, and much slower than is comfortable if I listen to my inner pressure of being more, doing more and comparing myself to other's journey. But in the end this is my journey, my life, my short time here on earth, and my little home in the countryside. So we potter in our small garden, nest and picnic under our favorite tree more often than not, and I'm feeling full, full with happiness and a newfound excitement for each new day, and the dread of facing the never ending list of to-do's is beginning to lift... #weareenough #picnicmore #slowingdown

It's full on asparagus season and I'm not holding back. Almost every day I find a way of incorporating it in a meal, and since many of the pubs and cafes in the area work with local and seasonal produce, eating out has way too many tempting asparagus options on the menu. The other day I drove past lush green fields to @pythousekitchengarden nestled inside an old Victorian walled garden on the Pythouse estate. Their sautéed asparagus salad with burnt lemon, goats cheese and wilted spring onions was nothing short of luscious. At home I simply slice a few raw asparagus lengthwise, drizzle with the lovely Italian olive oil I recently got from @redbeetlefood , season with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper before topping it off with generous shavings of Sicilian pecorino cheese. So simple, so quick to make and ever so good for you. Researching plants for my wee allotment up the street, I read up on the asparagus and was a bit blown away by all its nutrients and benefits. I don't like the term super food, but did you know that this little vegetable in its raw form is packed with antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties in addition to containing large amounts of vitamin K, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, choline, vitamin A, zinc, iron, protein, and magnesium and calcium? I believe in a well balanced diet, but I can assure you my allotment will sport quite a few asparagus. I haven't even began digging or even planting in my garden yet, but all this research is making me all kinds of excited. Luckily, since asparagus will take a few years to begin yielding results, there's plenty of organic farms around locally where I can get them until my own pop above ground.... #allotmentplanning #seasonalproduceistheshiz

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