marte_marie_forsberg marte_marie_forsberg

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marte_marie_forsberg  Norwegian writer and photographer living in the English countryside. Author of “The Cottage Kitchen” cookbook. Photography and cookery workshops.

The calm drizzle that made our hair curl ever so slightly at the combination of moisture and warmth, paused as we with baskets in hand made our way into the woods to my secret spot for sloes. It’s all very hush hush, much like when you find a spot with mushrooms, you keep it to yourself in fear someone might beat you to the golden chanterelles or Cepes. It’s the same for sloes. But much to my delight, no one had found our little treasure chest of these tiny dark blue fruits that are ever so bitter. With baskets full we returned to the cottage, put another log on the fire and began making slow gin. All weekend we gathered our fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables from nearby woods and farms before returning to the cottage to cook, eat, photograph, and make cocktails. And this afternoon we made sloe gin from my cookbook, that was poured into wax sealed little bottles for everyone to take home. It may only take three months for these tart fruits to ooze sweet purple goodness into the gin, but we made a promise to let it work its magic for a year before we’d open the bottles. Next year as autumn winds shake the golden leaves on our village trees, this year’s workshop group will pop open our bottles and raise our glasses in a toast from all corners of the world; “To adventures ahead!” If you want to know about upcoming workshops sign up for our newsletter. #mmforsbergworkshop #autumngatherworkshop #sloegin

Thursday evening our “Autumn Gather Workshop” participants arrived by train from London. We’d lit the fireplace, arranged small flower bouquets in each bedroom, and put a beautiful handmade one off marbled notebook from @comptonmarbling on each bed. That very same morning, I walked up to the farm across the field, picked them up and selected marbled paper for our next collection of workshop notebooks at the same time. Solveig, the artist is in her 70’s and has been making unique marbled paper in her studio on the tucked away farm for over 40 years! There’s so much richness and beauty in this area. We cooked spatchcock partridge over open fire, baked leek in ember, foraged, and went for morning wanders in the woods and around a medieval castle. One morning we piled into the car, packet baskets, blankets and a thermos with my cinnamon infused blackcurrant toddy. As the sun broke through heavy clouds laden with moisture, we nestled ourselves by the roots of my favorite trees at Fonthill Estate. As we warmed our hands and drank our toddy I pointed towards the lake and told them tales of when Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche filmed the lake and houseboat scene of the movie Chocolat on this very spot. Then we plucked the blanket free of golden leaves and headed towards our wonky cottage to begin preparing lunch. Thank you to the incredibly lovely group of ladies that joined us for the workshop this weekend. It’s was such glorious days filled with much laughter, and a few happy tears. #mmforsbergworkshop #autumngatherworkshop

This morning we bought hot chocolate from our local deli @tisbury_deli and warm pain au chocolat, before going on a morning wandered into the woods with little Emma and Mr Whiskey in tow. The sun warmed our faces, the woods where full of conkers, chestnuts, einkorn and wild blackberries, and we are breakfast under a tree. The woods were quiet. Every now and then a leaf would twirl in slow motion to the ground and a bird would fly by. This is the spot, I told my English gentleman and smiled, but before he’d even been able to take it all in, I’d found another spot. On our last day on this weekends “Autumn Gather Workshop” we’re taking our participants into the woods to cook a feast fit for a king with @hevdawg but I still haven’t been able to decide on the right location. It’s all so beautiful! Perhaps next to a lake, perhaps under our favorite tree, perhaps nestled on the edge of a field with views, or over the bridge and next to a stream. Returning to our cottage we fine tuned the menus and wrote lists of ingredients. Logs are stacked and my mother flies in this afternoon. It feels a bit like the days leading up to Christmas, with all the excitement and preparations. After every workshop, photoshoot or family dinner we end up with left overs, and being my mother’s daughter, I’m adamant about not wasting food. Stale bread is used in soups, stews, made into croutons and breadcrumbs. Vegetables and meat bones become stock, and rice is easy to turn into a tasty frittata or filled with cheese and deep fried into crisp little delight like these Camembert arancinis. If you have my cookbook you can find the recipe there, but I’ll be sharing more on my blog after the workshop and I cannot wait. It’s not challenging to cut down on food waste, but I do think it’s a change in mindset, and every day I try to make new small changes that hopefully lead to big overall adjustments, that is measurable from month to month and year to year. After all, taking care of our planet and our resources, is not up to governments and big corporations, (although that would be great too) it all begins with you and I. #thecottagekitchencookbook #mmforsbergworkshop

The fireplace has been keep crackling away for days on end. The wonky kitchen is the warmest room in the house, and a natural gathering spot as we cook away finishing photo shoots, prepping for this weekend’s “Autumn Gather Workshop” and my English gentleman @theo_maxfield setting up for his cocktail events. Lavender infused syrups have been bubbling away on the stove, while chestnuts have been roasting in a tray in the open fireplace. We’ve baked, made jam from left over plums, perhaps the last of the season, and baked leeks in embers as the fire slows down at night. The sweet and buttery leeks are ever so delicious as a starter or night snack. Hot out of the embers I plate them up before slicing them open, serving them with a young and creamy Gorgonzola. I love having us all together around the table at night, Mr Whiskey resting by our feet, and little Emma weary after a long day eating her apple porridge from the very same bowl I ate from as a little girl. It’s my favorite time of the day, and it’s my favorite time of the year and I’m determined not to miss a thing. Ps: if your interested, I’m sharing a bit about fresh cheese and milk whey in stories, and @its_me_zazie is sharing her ricotta with fig twigs there as well. #nofoodwaste #autumn

Every day the sun set, whether it´s behind clouds, or as a fireball at the horizon line.

I oftentimes think of my childhood and wonder where all the years have gone, where all the sunsets went.

My older brother tells me to, plan the future, learn from the past, but live the present, so I try my best to be right here, right now.

When in France visiting @remymartin and their production of the most wonderful cognac a few weeks ago, I sat down watching the sun set over the vineyard of one of their ´eau-de-vie` producers, after a long day.

That morning we had been in an oak forest and looked at century old trees that was to become barrels for their cognac to age in.

They were harvesting a selected few trees that had been hand selected by @remymartin so long ago that the people who had made the decision to cultivate these few trees were no longer around.

It made me think of this long, but also ever so short, time we have here on this earth, and how I spend my days.
How I plan for tomorrow, especially the tomorrow that I will never witness, but my little daughter will.

I let the sun warm my face that evening, all by myself under a tree while everyone were enjoying an alfresco dinner.

That evening I made a promise to myself, inspired by the events earlier that day, to strive to live in a way that will be sustainable for generations to come. So that the fruits of what I plant today, can be harvested centuries from now.

#remymartin #cognac

My heart is a bit overwhelmed as I type this post. I didn’t anticipate that my last post would touch you all in this way. That my little story of finding my voice and following my heart would inspire so many of you! I’m so touched by your heartwarming comments of similar journeys, wanting to leap, having leapt and are now jumping into the unknown again, and for your warm words that felt like hugs. As I’m preparing for my talk @messumswiltshire this Saturday I find myself so inspired by all of you, and the community that this place on social media really is. I’ve fallen in and out of love with Instagram, but I think I have found my way again, and that is to simply share with you my musings on life, food and the English countryside. It’s not much, but perhaps in the end all we have is our stories, and I’m here to share mine. So thank you for swinging by my little nook here and for sharing tidbits of your stories as well. Many of you have messaged me about my invitation to open the cottage doors and invite you all home for afternoon tea after my talk on photograph and how to tell stories @messumswiltshire this Saturday, and yes, the invitation is real! I would so love the opportunity to meet you all, and even if I may never succeed in meeting you personally, I hope many of you will be able to make it on Saturday. I’ll put the kettle on, I’m making bucket loads of jam to go with scones and clotted cream, and Mr Whiskey will be resting by the fireplace which will be well stocked by the time you arrive. Perhaps we can drive/walk together after my talk? @messumswiltshire are focusing of photography with exhibitions and talks so do check out their website and perhaps stay the weekend? Lovely places to stay include @thebeckfordarms @thecompasses and The Retreat B&B in Shaftesbury just a short 7 min drive. Hope to see you this weekend! Ps: you can find a recipe for this strawberry and garden rose jam in my cookbook, The Cottage Kitchen.

Years ago I walked up the infamous Gold Hill. A wonky street that dives from the top of a hill to the valley below in a beautiful curve. It’s dotted with thatched cottages with hobbit like doors and little chimneys, and the view above and beyond their rooftops is breathtaking. One cold November afternoon I fell in love with a cottage just a stone throw away from this gorgeous hill. I followed my beating heart that fell instantly for the crooked walls and large open fireplace. I fell in love with a house. Many have asked how did you dare to move to a place where you knew nobody, had no job and and a broken heart, far away from friends and family. No change is easy, but I had that feeling, a warm excited feeling in my heart the moment I saw the cottage, so I chose to follow that warm whisper that nudged me to change my life, to be brave and leap. So I did. It was never easy, but rather lonely and at times ever so heartbreakingly difficult, but I chose to stay the course, to continue believing that this feeling I’d had was real. I did the work, I showed up, I cried and felt lonely and curled up in bed as cold winter winds howled outside, and then I got up and kept walking, exploring and feeling grateful that I was given this marvelous opportunity to find my way. And through that I discovered myself, my strength, my voice and my work. And here I am five years on, with a published book, baby, a four legged furry love bundle, cottage and the man of my dreams. The journey isn’t over, life isn’t rose tinted every day, but I’ve gained the confidence to trust my own voice and to believe that there is room for me. And so I press on, continue reaching for my dreams, continue evolving and allowing for change, and above all, I continue to be grateful that there is a road less travelled, and that I get to walk it.

We arrived as the sun rose, buttered bacon butties had been wrapped and the thermos was nestled in between old mugs and a blanket in the basket. We turned our noses towards the beach for a sunny picnic with friends. The wind was warm, and had I not know it was the very last days of September, I could’ve been fooled into thinking it was still summer! In the afternoon the fireplaces were lit around the gorgeous @hunstonmanorhouse giving off a warm steady glow that made us all sink into comfortable reading chairs with a cheeky glass of red in hand, watching the fire. It’s almost a bit hypnotic and ever so meditative to watch the flames flare up and die down rhythmically. When there were only quietly glowing embers left, laughter became whispers and we climbed the stairs to our bedroom and nestled ourselves in between the softest sheets. Outside our open bedroom window some birds where still singing in the twilight. I blew the candle out, kissed our little Emma, and fell asleep full on roast leg of lamb, cheese and great company. #hunstonmanorhouse #weekendaway

Waking up before the sun. It took a bit of convincing to step out of the warm bed and onto the cold cottage floor. We lit no fire this morning but rather put the kettle on and breed a strong cup of tea before wrapping up warm and climbing into the car. Thermos and map in hand we’re headed for adventure this weekend shooting a stunning manor house in the countryside. It’s the good kind of shoot that involves lovely people, little Emma, Mr Whiskey, great food and a well stocked fireplace. So we shoot off this morning a bit frazzled by the early hour and the cold autumn air, but ever so excited for the days ahead. My English gentleman may or may not have packed his cocktail kit, just saying. @hunstonmanorhouse we’re coming for you! Ps: If you’re in the area next Saturday, I’m giving a talk on photography, social media and how to tell stories through images @messumswiltshire and it would be so lovely to see you! Pop over to their site to book a spot. Also, I think we should do an afternoon tea party at our wonky cottage afterwards. DM me if you’ll be at the talk and have time for tea! We’ll open the doors, put the kettle on and stone the fire. #messumswiltshire #theenglishcountryside

It may be too soon to talk about Spring, however due to the overwhelming response to our “Autumn Gather Workshop” here in the English countryside, I’m thrilled to announce that our “Spring Gather Workshop” has now launched! Surrounded by green rolling hills, ancients forests and wonky cottages this little place of ours, tucked away in a small village is such a wonderful location to welcome you to. With such an abundance of local produce, I can’t wait to forage, swing by local markets, gather, cook, and photograph. We’ll light the fireplace, cook both indoors and outdoors over open fire, and enjoy candle lit dinners at night underneath a wonky old cottage ceiling. For more information and to book your spot head to my profile for a link to the workshop or send us an email. #mmforsbergworkshop #springintheenglishcountryside

It’s been unseasonably warm these past days, with weather that make me pull out dresses instead of coats, and swapping tweed for linen. This month there has been much back to back photo shoots, workshops, travels and recipe testing. Our “Autumn Gather” workshop sold out in hours which made me ever so excite for this annual event that we decided to launch one for Spring too! It will shortly open for registration and will be held last week of April next year. So many podcast make me excited lately and @deliciouslyella is one of them. Their first podcast featured my incredibly talented friend, nutritional therapist @ameliafreer who had such refreshing and knowledgeable thoughts of what to nourish our bodies with, however it was her tip right at the end of the podcast that I’ve returning to again and again as I’ve been recipe testing for various food articles I’m working on lately, and it includes onions. As a last minute pantry tip @ameliafreer suggested chopping up onions and freezing them to have at hand when you need, and I’ve applied it to all basic ingredients for stews etc with little bags filled with chopped onions, garlic, celery and various vegetables. It’s been life changing and so handy during this hectic time. Right now Mr Whiskey is resting by the fireplace, and little Emma is standing in her play den next to me in the kitchen, and I’m emptying out a frozen bag of chopped onions ready to caramelize before being added to a chorizo and chestnut stew I’m making. What pantry tips to you swear by? I’d love to know! No back to the stove and the stew. Wishing you all al lovely afternoon. #recipetesting #autumncooking

With the windows wide open for the afternoon breeze to cool our room, my mind wandered. I’ve never been a big consour of spirits, hiding my ignorance behind wine. But then I met a mixologist @theo_maxfield who used every spare moment to hone his skills in making cocktails. He swirled ice cubes around in thick crystal glasses before gently pouring in golden liquid, and my pallet opened up to new aromas and taste. Now we’re here in Cognac in France, learning about the wonderful world of @remymartin and I’ve fallen ever so slightly in love with the complex and ever so tasty notes of cognac. From tree to barrel to grape to “eau de vie” I’ve gained such admiration for this family that @remymartin really is. Every night I’ve written in my travel journal, and today as the sun was setting i turned a page, put pen to paper and scribbled; maybe a drink won’t be able to change the world, but perhaps the values behind this extraordinary cognac can.. #remymartin #cognac

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