You can spot a cognac cellar from afar, the black fungus that covers the outside of the buildings become a landmark here in Cognac. The blackened buildings hold treasured liquid inside. For centuries @remymartin has perfected these golden drops. The cognac needs to be just right, to follow the high standard that generations before has set out. We met cellar master Baptiste Loiseau one early morning when the thick fog hung low over the vineyards around Grand and Petite Champagne here in Cognac. As we descended into the dim-lit cellars with history trapped in every cask, @theo_maxfield and I had a sense of awe. Batiste took samples, submerging a small glass bottle into 20,30 and 40 year old cognac casks before pausing before a cask with 50 year old cognac inside, beaming with pride. I know the wine growers personally he said, and here we have perfect aged cognac that holds “eau de vie” from the grandparents of many of today’s winegrowers. I couldn’t help but feel a bit reverent as I lifted the small glass with the sample to my lips, to peel back time in each drop that hit my tongue, and taste the past. #cognac#remymartin
The air felt warm and the trees had a gentle rattle as we prepared my cooking demo and book signing @goodlifeexperience yesterday. The fire pit had golden fire tongues licking up towards the sky, our friends @bubblebrosofficial kept us hydrated, and I felt excited, and a bit nervous, before making fresh cheese, butter and stick bread, just the way my mother taught me as a young girl. This is the way my mother does it, I kept repeating, realizing perhaps just how much my cooking style is influenced by my mother. The buttermilk that slushed around in the jar as golden butter emerge, after vigorous shaking, was poured over flour, seasoned and patted into small bite size flatbreads. Nothing needs to go to waste, my mother would remind me, be creative and let one meal or ingredient become the backbone of the next. Perhaps my cooking style is more of a cooking philosophy, making as much from scratch as you can from great local ingredients, and using every bit of byproduct towards the next dish. The sweet milk whey that formed in the simmering pot of milk, as cheese curds clung together when lemon was introduced, was poured into the bowl where I made bread. I’m lucky that my mother shared her love and knowledge about food with me. And as I stood there with smoke in my eyes telling the tale of how left over sour milk can become cheese with a bit of heat, and a dash of kefir at the back of the fridge can turn into the most delicious two ingredient flatbread, I couldn’t help but get excited about sharing this food philosophy and love for simple and comforting homemade meals with my wee daughter Emma. She may have just turned seven months, but she’s been playing with a baby rolling pin tied to her high chair since she was four months. After a whirlwind of a visit to Wales and @goodlifeexperience my English gentleman @theo_maxfield and I packed our bags and headed towards the airport. I may love food, but what is a good meal without a good drink. Off we go to France to explore the wonderful world of Cognac and I couldn’t be more excited to bring you with us. #adventuresahead (Photo from the gorgeous @kitchengardenco a stone throw from our cottage)
We need to cook more outside, we vowed as summer drew to and end but left sunny days and a dash of warmth behind. It fooled us in to thinking that summer was perhaps still here even as mushrooms began covering the damp forest grounds. There’s something ever so magical and incredibly tasty about food that has been prepared over open fire. Months ago @goodlifeexperience invited me to do a cooking demo in September. Their mode of cooking is over open fire which can be quite daunting if not done often, so I accepted the kind invite and wonderful challenge as growing up, cooking outdoors and indoor over open fire was a common occurrence. Right now we’re in Norway where summer is definitely over, the leaves are changing colors, and the wind is whipping up wild waves around my parents fjord island. Then it’s back to England, and I simply cannot wait to meet some of you @goodlifeexperience and share a few recipes from my cookbook and some new ones, all cooked over open fire, I’ve called it “Bread, butter and cheese” after what possible, when done well, are the best things in life! Learn how to make a few types of simple and tasty bread, fresh butter and my favorite fresh cheese with herbs. Then pop over to our friends @bubblebrosofficial for a wee drink or two. Hope to see you there! #cookingoveropenfire#thegoodlifeexperience
Most evenings, little Emma, Mr Whiskey and I go for a wee wander through the woods. The winds is still mild even as the sun sets, and all three of us are soaking up on the gloriously beautiful September days. The trees are still green and the hedges are brimming with ripe blackberries. So we fill our basket with berries and make a few batches of jam. My English gentleman @theo_maxfield is of course thinking of ways to incorporate his passion for cocktails, so he makes his blackberry and gin specialty jam. One of my favorite autumn desserts is blackberry and apple crumble dripping with warm custard. I included a recipe for it in my cookbook, and love seeing images coming in from all of you that have made it. Tomorrow I’ll do a wee live session at 3pm London time. It’s been such a refreshing and relaxing month with some time off line, but now I feel ever so excited to be back and share more with you. If you have any questions for me, do DM me and I’ll make sure to answer it tomorrow. Now I must return to the stove as the warm aroma of simmering blackberries are reminding me that it’s soon time to pour it into the ready Kilner jars all lined up on the kitchen counter. Hope to see you tomorrow! xx
With Summer on its last breath, autumnal colors are beginning to change the surrounding landscape. I love the brisk morning air, the smoke from neighboring cottage chimneys and the excuse to cook up a hearty stew. For those of you that saw the hint of pottery on Instagram, I’m so excited to share with you that there’ll be a wee pottery collection launching in October. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time, to crate bespoke pieces for the cottage and share them with you. I’ve been collaborating with a wonderful local potter and I’m giddy to share more soon. It was such a treat to see a mention of our workshops in this month’s @olivemagazine We’ve really been working hard at creating workshops that have more to offer than just beautiful surroundings, but with a larger focus on immersion in the local season food culture in each location, but more on that soon. Our annual “Autumn Gather” workshop is now sold out (it sold out in 48hours, it was wild but so exciting) so due to so many of you ending up on the waiting list, we’re planning one for Spring. This Spring the lovely @victoriaschiopetto came to visit and shot the most lovely feature of our budding family, little Emma and Mr Whiskey in our wonky countryside cottage. It’s now out in Argentina in the darling children’s magazine @revistacocoa ( I adore that Mr Whiskey became Señor Whiskey in the article;) Out in America @wherewomencook magazine is out with a feature and three delicious recipes from my cookbook perfect for autumn. And if you pop by @hgtv I recently gave an interview about my work as a photographer, travels and our life here in the countryside. I really hope that I get to meet some of you at my upcoming events with the first one being @goodlifeexperience where I’ll be cooking over open fire and sign books on the 15th of September. Darling Emma, our little daughter is asleep in the car, and my English gentleman @theo_maxfield and I are on a wee road trip through the countryside that I hope will take us to my favorite noodle place in Bath. We’re all soaking up on , and enjoying the little things before lots of travels and work this month. Wishing you all a lovely day!
What a month! It’s been ever so refreshing to take time off from social media to focus and create. However I’m excited to be back, just in time for mushrooms, ripe apples and cooler winds, and I very much look forward to share with you the changes that I’ve allowed to happen, new work and where I’m going next. Let me tell you that taking a break to focus, and not let the outside world in, has been the very best decision I could’ve made. Many of my private workshop participants this year all repeated this same message, that they tried to create content for social media, and in that frenzy perhaps lost a bit of their vision of what and who we create for. Social media is and has been the most wonderful place for me to share my work, but for me, the moment I realized that I began to tailor my work to what “social media wanted from me” I found it necessary to step back a bit. This off line holiday has given me the chance to focus inward and reconnect with what I love doing, so that I continue to share my work, and not try to chase after what social media would have me do, if that makes sense. I’ve cooked, fermented, baked, written and created, all from the heart, and all in line with where I want to go as a person and for my work. I have a few event coming up in September and October, signing books, giving talks and cooking demos, so I’ll tell you more about that shortly, but for now, I just wanted to say, I’m incredibly excited to be back and to continue creating but perhaps in a more personal way. Thank you for giving me this space to share and for all your incredible encouragement and feedback! More in stories.
Can’t believe I forgot to let you know about our annual ‘Autumn Gather Workshop’ before I logged off social media for the month of August! So I’m swinging by to let you know that come October the 12-14th we’ll gather for a three day antiques shopping, cooking, food styling and photography workshop here at the cottage in the English countryside. With magical autumnal fog descending on the landscape in our wee part of the world, leafs turning golden and smoke puffing like a steady heartbeat out of the many village chimneys, we’ll light the open fireplace in the kitchen and get cooking. With foraged seasonal produce we’ll bake, cook, style and photograph creating our very own “recipe book” to take home. Each day, we’ll hunt for props and antiques in my secret spots. I’m wild about these fantastic places to find unique things to style with, and I can’t wait to share them all with you. Our monthly newsletter went out launching the workshop, and we only have a few spots left. I can’t wait to welcome you home, for you to meet Mr Whiskey, and to share with you my beautiful little part of the English countryside that will be dressed in autumnal hues as you step off the slow train stopping in our small village on its way from bustling London to Wales. For more information click on the link in my profile. Sharing more on stories too. I’ll put the kettle on and hope to meet you when summer meets autumn and mushrooms pop up on the wet forest grounds. Now I’m off returning to my holiday;) #mmforsbergworkshop#foodstyling#antiques#props
My green English countryside has turned golden with ripe fields swaying in the wind as far as the eye can see, even if the last two days have sprinkled a heaven sent dusting of rain. I’ve always had a yearning to learn, and spent most my twenties studying towards two university degrees that simply made me curious rather than were fields I wanted to work in. That yearning is still there, to stretch, grow, learn and move forward. I’ve made some big changes to how I work this year, and what I’m going to focus on. Early this year, our beautiful little daughter Emma arrived, and a couple of months later my English gentleman @theo_maxfield and I began working together. This life is simply way to short, and way too long not to focus what we love, continue pursuing our dreams, and surround ourselves with the people we love. These recent summer breezes has spoken of a change, a change that will allow me to grow, to learn and spend more time on the areas I really want to work with, and so I’ve decided to take a wee summer holiday to finish up a few projects, and return with posts here on Instagram first week of September with lots of exciting things to share with you. I absolutely love connecting with you, and I’m in no means disappearing, I simply want to give more, but more content of quality and more on a personal level, live more authentic if you will, and to do so I need time to focus. So I’m taking a wee holiday. On Wednesday the 1st of August at 3pm London time, I’ll do my first Live session here on @instagram to share more with you, and I’m both nervous and excited. I hope to see you here in just a couple of days! #adventuresahead
Today I’m recipe testing for an autumnal themed food story. My mother is visiting so the kettle is on keeping us hydrated with teas with milk. My pencil is sharpened and my mind is buzzing with ideas. What if we oak smoke the garlic before baking them, and make an almond and garlic soup with a bit of a personality, or serve chilled buttered rhubarb soup with cinnamon? I adore this creative food phase and scribble it all down with a sharpened pencil on blank pages in my notebook. No idea, or food combination is too silly, although many get nixed before the recipe testing part, but I need the freedom to create and think freely, before narrowing it all down. Tomorrow morning yet another two day private workshop begins, and simply cannot wait. Menus are being planned, wine is selected from the cellar, and I wrote; “Buy logs”, on my English gentleman @theo_maxfield ‘s shopping list before he headed to the market. I can hear him mumble and shake his head at the sight if it. It’s over 30 degrees outside he’ll send in a text with an exclamation mark after, but I have a plan, and despite the heat, we simply need logs. I am a firm believer that the craziest ideas are more often than not, the very best;) #mmforsbergworkshop#recipetesting#editorialwork
We’ve covered a few miles together Mr Whiskey and I. Every afternoon as the intense summer heat cools, I strap little Emma on my chest, and take this charming little four legged friend for a wander. With the sun low on the horizon, golden fields swaying in the afternoon breeze and only us three, and the open landscape ahead, I feel ever so alive. The cottage windows and doors have been wide open all day, as I’m sorting the studio, bringing in fresh flowers from the garden and getting the props ready for next week’s two day private workshop. Mr Whiskey is all snuggled up by the big fireplace eyeing up my moves each time I pass, wondering if it’s time yet, time for another long afternoon walk and I whisper, soon. These private workshops rooted in creativity, photography and a love for food are always such a treat. Working one on one with strangers that become friends is so rewarding, and I simply can’t wait for our next one. #myenglishcountryside#whiskeyandmoi#mmforsbergworkshop
There was a relieving cool breeze sweeping through the cottage last night. With all the windows open, it felt ever so fresh with temperatures dropping after weeks of heat and blue skies. With the sky draped in a grey layer of clouds, I fired up the old inglenook. The village potter just down the street, had little baskets of black currants from her garden for sale outside her shop. It’s my favorite berry next to it’s red sister, strawberries and cherries, so I filled my basket and returned home to make my mother’s warning black currant compote with chilled cream. It’s simple, so full of aroma, and with an alluring texture of dark purple velvet. My mother would make this dessert on cold summer days. With the short Norwegian summer’s growing up, I found her compote like sweet comfort in each spoonful, however with nostalgic notes of a summer that was too soon coming to an end. #thecottagekitchencookbook#solbær
I don’t know what prompted me to type in “Houses for rent in England” that cold November night over six years ago. Perhaps it was the unsettling full moon, curiosity or desperation, all I know is that I longed to find my home. I’d never really explored England and knew very little next to nothing about its bucolic countryside, but that night amidst feelings of being a bit lost in this big world, and with a broken heart, I suppose my heart had cracks that could receive inspiration. Twelve pages in on the search page for houses for rent, I saw that fateful hobbit like thatched cottage that was to be my home. Perhaps it was the universe giving me a proper nudge, or perhaps it was something about that wonky little cottage resonated with something within, but my heart skipped and I knew in my heart I needed to follow this nudge, so I did. Within days I’d signed the contract, packed my bags and moved in, leaving no time to overthink my bold move. And perhaps that’s the very reason I dared to leap into the unknown, and build a new life in a part of the world where I knew no one, the fact that my mind had not yet had time to conjure up all the reasons for why this was a silly move. I absolutely love welcoming workshops participants to my neck of the woods, and see their shoulders drop as they enter our part of the shire through the grand arch and gatehouse to the west, pass vineyards, green rolling hills, lakes, truffle hunting woodlands and cozy cottages dotting the the outskirts of our small village. Today I fired up the old AGA to test recipes and to prepare for next weeks private workshops. Isn’t it funny how crazy ideas around midnight can turn into such a glorious dream? I’m forever grateful for the nudge and keep pinching my arm, that this little place in the world found me, and I found my way home... #myenglishcountryside#mmforsbergworkshop