November 4, 2019No Comments

An Autumnal weekend in Cornwall

I went to Cornwall in the middle of October and had a lovely time. So I thought I'd share what we did for some inspiration. As always we stayed with our friends in Truro which made things easy and affordable. They also hold a lovely balance of adventure and comfort.

Day 1 - We had an evening to relax, have some home-cooked food and then we went for a wet and windy night walk on a nearby beach. It was pouring with rain and pitch black, but we had an explore with the torches on our phones and discovered some crabs who we said hello to, disturbing one from his mating activity.

Day 2 - We started the day slowly with the rugby on TV, then headed to St Ives via a bakery to pick up some Cornish pasties for lunch. We had a wander around St Ives, enjoying the gift shops and the calm harbour, before arriving at our afternoon activity of pottery. We had booked ourselves in for a taster pottery session at St. Ives Pottery, for £15 each. We had a short demonstration from Angela and then each had a go on the wheel (a vintage electric one), making our own creations. I went for a small shallow bowl.

We paid £8 to have our creations finished in the kiln and glazed by Angela - they'll be ready in around 6 weeks. Can't wait to see what the final thing looks like! It was a really enjoyable experience, my first time using a pottery wheel and I'm look forward to having another go in the future.

In the evening, we went to Schooners restaurant on the edge of a beach. It was dark when we arrived, but I'm sure it has a beautiful view when you can see it. I still enjoyed the wild walk from the carpark to get there, feeling the wind as we got closer to the sea. I didn't take any photos of the meal as I was just enjoying the food and our time together. But I completely recommend it. If I could compare the experience to anything, it would be to one of my favourite Bristol spots - Poco.

Schooners (pronounced 'Skooners') offers small tapas plates with meat, vegan, veggie and GF options. They are colourful and have wonderful flavour combinations. The dishes I shared with my husband included a mackerel dish and soy and honey pulled pork. It is now closed until Spring 2020, but I recommend you visit if you get a chance next year. Delicious!

Day 3

We visited St Michael's Mount! It was really fun and it felt like I was properly on holiday. That might be because it reminded me of Mont Saint-Michel, the French equivalent which had a big influence on St Michael's Mount. But it still felt magical and exotic. It's a National Trust property so remember to bring your membership card if you have one. We visited within the opening times of the causeway at low tide (the walkway from the beach up to the island and castle). I think it could be fun to stay past that time though so that you have to get a boat back to shore.

After an explore of the castle and island (we saw the garden just from above as it was closed on the day we visited), we headed back down to the beach. We had about 1 hour on the island, which was enough but I would recommend 1.5-2hrs to allow time to spend some time in the shops and cafe.

We cooked salmon for 6 of us. We fried it with butter and salt and had it with bread and garlic mayonnaise. So so tasty! I also fried my bread in the pan for a bit. Delicious and so simple! Our friends used their Kelly Kettle for the setup.

Let me know your favourite Cornwall spots and if you make it to any of these places after reading this.

 

Happy travels - Hannah

October 15, 2019No Comments

Celebrating Winter Solstice with Storytelling and Fire

The levitating cooking pot!

On December 21st 2018, I held my first event as Enamelware Events (now 'Wild Folk') in Bristol. I collaborated with storyteller Pridie (The Wild of the Words), Jenny (Cotton and Canvas Parties) for the decor and styling and Matt at Feed Bristol for the food and venue hire. The photos were taken by Lionel (Steal The Day Photography)

Personally, this was the first time I had celebrated Winter Solstice. As I prepared for the event, I decided that anyone could celebrate it and that it was a great opportunity to take a moment of calm before the Christmas holidays began.

A time to be outside, gather with others, partaking in the simple activity of watching the sun go down and sitting round a warm fire.

A time to enjoy the darkness and what it can offer us.

English Heritage have a nice explanation of what exactly Winter Solstice is:

The earth rotates on a tilted axis. When this axis leans towards the sun, it’s summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the south. This is reversed as the earth continues on its orbit until the axis becomes tilted away from the sun.During the winter solstice, the earth’s axis is tilted at its furthest point from the sun. This means that, for us in the northern hemisphere, the sun is at its lowest point in the sky. It’s also the shortest day of the year — and the longest night.

The roundhouse at Feed Bristol

Studying the passage of time was important to many ancient cultures. For the people of Stonehenge sunlight must have been crucial — it allowed them to see, it kept them warm, it helped their crops to grow. Winter might have been a time of fear as days grew shorter and colder. People must have longed for the return of light and warmth. It is believed that this yearly cycle is what inspired Neolithic people to construct Stonehenge — a monument aligned to the movements of the sun.

So back to our event! In the early afternoon, Pridie led us in a wonderfully magical and immersive time of hearing — and participating in — the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier. There was fancy dress, things to make and lots to imagine and act out.

We kept warm with hot chocolate, mulled apple juice and snacks (the crisps went in a flash!) while the campfire was building.

We gathered around the fire to watch the sun set at 4pm, and were amazed at how it was still quite light when it did eventually set. That’s city life for you!

(It did get a bit darker than this though!)

After the storytelling, we savoured the dinner that Matt (resident chef) had cooked up. On the menu was a vegetable stew and dahl with sourdough bread and yoghurt on the side.

The vegetables used in the food were all grown on site at Feed Bristol, a community food-growing project in Stapleton, Bristol and part of Avon Wildlife Trust.

I can’t wait to announce news of our next events. For now, I will leave you with an excerpt from Margaret Atwood’s poem ‘Shapechangers in Winter’:

This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar.

All photography by Lionel, words by Hannah.

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November 2, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Riverside autumn foraging: canoeing and making jam

At the end of September, I took a canoe boat out at Wall Eden Farm  and we ended up foraging on the way back after spotting Canadian geese and other wildlife along the way. It was a pretty idyllic late summer Saturday!

As it was unplanned, we collected the wild berries in an empty crisp packet from our snack supplies. I got my phone out to ID the fruits (blackberries were fine obviously) and upon arriving home I was still unsure if I had gathered sloes or damsons. I finally had a reason to consult my Hedgerow book by John Wright. The fruit wasn't awful to eat raw and I couldn't find any thorns on the bush, so I am pretty sure it was a type of wild plum, which the book helped me confirm.

When we got home we made jam with the mixed berries, using a mix of agave nectar and honey in place of half the sugar in the recipe. It was pretty delicious! Next time, though, I would make sure I had a cloth or filter to remove the pips. Helpfully, the plum pips rise to the surface in the cooking process, but we didn't manage to remove all of them that way as it was taking too long (and it was midnight by that point!)

I felt really invigorated – the being outdoors, the learning, the making of something afterwards. I've been wanting to learn more about 'food for free' and what I can forage in the different months, and this was the perfect opportunity - even better that it was unplanned!

I would like to experience and learn more about what is available to forage each month. The Woodland Trust has a great foraging calendar on their website which is a good start. It really doesn't have to stop at autumn – there's something to forage every month!

As Enamelware Events, I am planning on creating some monthly events in and near Bristol that are affordable and family friendly, offering opportunities for people to come and learn and experiment with foraging. This would include learning how to prepare and cook with these ingredients and how to do it within the guidelines in the local area.

I will be contacting local suppliers and experts to be involved, so feel free to get in touch if this interests you – hello@enamelwareevents.co.uk

September 10, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Inspiration: Wild dining with Amanda Farnese Heath

Meet @amanda_farnese_heath – she creates, styles and photographs wild dining and cooking over fire experiences in woodlands, by lakes and under the stars in Scotland. Read more on the madmarchhare website, and see the other bits that Amanda gets up to here.