The Famous Gartur Salted Caramel Brownies
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Okok, they probably aren’t famous, but above any other recipe I have ever been asked for, this one has been requested the most. They are long perfected, years in development brownies that hit that exact spot of sweet and salty and rich and sticky that brownies really should be. They are what we bring to every single bake sale and retreat and workshop and and and…so finally, I will let you in on the secret…

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Makes 1 9x9in tray of brownies.

For the brownies:

300g butter

500g sugar

165g powdered cocoa

4 eggs

120g flour

2t. vanilla

For the Caramel:

300g sugar

200g double cream

1T. sea salt flakes

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/360F

  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the sugar and cocoa. Mix well.

  3. Leave to cool until it is just warm. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

  4. Add flour and mix.

  5. Pour into a lined 9x9 pan.

  6. In a clean pan, melt the sugar for the caramel. You will need to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn.

  7. Once melted, add the cream slowly. The mix will steam and bubble, so mix with a long handled spoon.

  8. Add a pinch of salt to the caramel and mix.

  9. Pour the caramel on top of the brownie and swirl it in with a knife, leaving it mostly unmixed.

  10. Bake for 35 minutes. The brownie should be just set. Sprinkle the rest of the sea salt over the top.

  11. Leave to cool completely….if you can.

cookingKat Goldin Comment
Trying Not To Skip A Season

I saw my first Christmas decorations at the supermarket the other day. There I was, minding my own business when I turned down an aisle and *BAM* there they were - snowmen and trees and the colours red and green.  Not being a huge fan of that particular holiday or the colour red, I immediately turned heel and ran...grabbing a bottle of gin as I went, of course. 

Not only was it an affront to my Grinch like sensibilities, but I hate how the rush towards the C-word seems to skip over a whole season of the year.  We seem to go straight from summer BBQs, pool parties and iced drinks to mass consumption of Baileys and Cheese - not that I particularly mind either of those things, but we are missing an essential period of the year - Autumn. 

Having a birthday in the middle of September and pie being my favourite food group, always made me feel that Fall was MY season. The turning of the leaves, the fires, the harvest (have I mentioned pie, yet?), I love all of it.  The only thing I don't like is that I have to wear proper shoes and socks as the days get colder, but that is a situation that I can be distracted from as I spend every free moment foraging for mushrooms in the woods. 

And while the supermarkets seem to want me to forget that Autumn exists in the race towards the Holidays, the farm keeps us firmly grounded in the here and now of harvest.  A bumper year of apples and brambles have me working in the kitchen day and night to get things put up for the season.  The wetter days mean my floors have taken back their grit layer and the house has the underlying smell of wet dog and wood ash. And I am here for it...all of it. But especially the pie.

Kat GoldinComment
The To Do List

I'm writing to you from week 2 of the school year. The excitement and euphoria of week one has worn off and I am on my 4th cup of coffee, rushing through a mammoth to-do list and watching the clock until I have to drop what I am doing and run down the road to collect the children. Last week, those 6 hours a day when they were safely at school seemed to stretch into be an almost obscene amount of time to work in. I blasted through the work, even scheduling in naps, giddy with the sheer luxury of working without three children constantly needing feeding/entertaining/a fight breaking up/ feeding again. This week, I am dragging myself through the day and the list - tired already from the routine of getting kids out the door in the morning and feeling the squeeze of 'only' having 6 hours to do all the things. 

No matter how I feel about it though, that to do list still needs to get done. My mantra on these days where it seems like I am wading through it all is simply to "Turn up and do the work". There is no productivity app, no life hack, no cute acronym for achievement, just showing up, rolling up my sleeves, doing what needs to be done and forgiving myself if my list was bigger than I could manage that day.

I am learning that this last point is simply a reality of this 'life in the making' that we lead...the list will always be too big. We will always cross one thing off, only for 3 more to be added to the bottom.  As someone who loves a blank page to start from, to say I find the unending nature of our life 'hard' is an understatement.  But I am learning to develop the vision that allows me to see the things we have done, not just the things that lie unfinished. 

Rosebay Willowherb Tea

A few months ago when out with the dog, Kevin and I were chatting about our upcoming foraging workshops and he mentioned that he had read something about using Rosebay Willowherb as a tea. I'd never heard of it before, but a quick google and a deep dive into some of my older herbology books showed that he was indeed correct.  


Rosebay Willowherb, known in North America as Fireweed, is a tall perennial, easily recognised by its purple, almost flame-like, flowers.  It favours waste ground and is a first coloniser plant, so is often seen on roadsides, plantation forest edges and disused building sites. Its American name comes from its colonization in fire-disturbed areas.


The tea, called in some places Ivan Tea or Koporye Tea (after the area of Russia where it originated), used to be an alternative to Chinese tea.  With willowherb's nature of growing in disturbed or unused ground and its spread all over much of the Northern Hemisphere, it was a cheaper alternative to 'proper tea'. While it doesn't have caffeine, it is oxidised in the same way that black tea is - letting fermentation make its magic to create a deeper, more fruity flavour. It isn't caffinated and has become my bedtime drink. Apparently you can also eat the young shoots like asparagus, so I am looking forward to trying that next year. 

I've done a few batches of the tea now and I am finding the whole process so magical, on top of having a great tea - there is this moment on about day 2 of fermentation when all of the sudden the smell of the tea changes from grassy and green to deep and fruity.  It is such a rewarding process and you get a good amount of tea, quickly...always a bonus when foraging.


The leaves are best foraged when the plant starts to flower.  They have quite a long flowering season, so its nice not to have to rush about collecting all of it at once. You want to simply pick the leaves, leaving the flowers for pollinators.  You can do this quite quickly by grabbing the top of the stalk under the flowers and sliding your other hand down, stripping handfuls as you go.


Once you have the leaves you need, simply leave them in a cloth bag or basket overnight to wilt.  This helps start the oxidation process.

After they have wilted, you will take a few at a time and roll them to help move on the fermentation.  Then pack them loosely into a glass container for 2-3 days.  Once they start to smell fruity, make a cup to check you are happy with the flavour.  Add a few leaves to hot water and steep like you would any other herbal tea.


If you are happy with it, then you need to stop fermentation by drying the leaves.  I simply emptied my jars onto baking trays and dried them in a low oven until they were completely dry (about 20-30 minutes). For added visual effect, try drying some of the flowers along with the tea.

Store in a sealed container.  The taste improves over time, so letting it rest a few weeks will enhance the flavour. 




The Middle of Everywhere
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The road that comes up to the farm is 1.5 miles long.  The first half mile has 4 houses and a holiday cottage along it, but the last mile is empty and straight, stopping at a dead end at our gate. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a call from a visitor, asking if they are on the right track as that last mile seems to stretch on forever. 

When we first moved out here, a neighbour expressed concern about me being here alone all day every day "I worry about you being alone way out there. Don't you get lonely?" I laughed. When we first moved here I had envisioned working all day in my PJs, not seeing anyone for days and building a reputation for myself as the Recluse of Gartur.  However, the truth is that rarely a day goes by that someone doesn't pop in, come for a visit, spend a night, take a class, drop something/some child off, pick something up, take a look around or stay for a meal. And despite my initial desires for the kind of isolation that meant I never had to wear a bra or brush my hair, the reality of a bustling homestead makes my heart so full. Because while I wouldn't have chosen this jam-packed life for myself in the past, the truth is that in the busyness of every day life I seem to have found my thing. 

In pretty much every self help book, there always seems to be an exercise where you imagine your perfect day - mine was always reading in bed with coffee, but now when I close my eyes I see friends and family around my old battered table, eating food from the farm, laughing together. We fill the house with people - from guests to workshop participants, family and friends.  This summer we have so many people staying that the tent has made a permanent feature in the garden so we can squeeze them all in. There is always something going on - extra kids building forts in the playroom, friend and family working at the kitchen table, Kevin giving goat milking demonstrations to anyone that asks. It catches me off guard some times, how different life is from what I imagined, but not even that, just how happy it makes me. 

And with this realisation, we have changed the farm to suit - we are putting the finishing on the studio this week to seat 16 and the refurbished dye studio fits 24. So, I've had to retire the idea of the Recluse of Gartur and instead am adopting the title of Party Director. 

Kevin's Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

When Kevin and I lived in Windsor, Sunday mornings were for long lie-ins, thick stacks of newspaper and a special breakfast at our favourite coffee shop.  In this life, Sundays start pretty much at the same time as every other day - early - and consist of the same routine as every other morning.  Our one nod to that previous life is a special breakfast, served with a big pot of coffee and lingered over a little longer than the goats would like. 

Most Sundays, Kevin is the one to get up early, switch the oven on and pop in the sourdough cinnamon rolls he made the night before. Sourdough cinnamon rolls are quite different than their commercial counterparts  - a bit denser and they have a lovely depth of flavour lacking in their very sweet counterparts. He's become the pro in our house and has graciously shared his recipe here (possibly in hopes that I will be the one to get up this Sunday and make them). 


  • 200g starter

  • 160g whole milk

  • 1 large egg

  • 60g butter, softened

  • 1T sugar

  • 360g bread flour

  • 10g salt

For the Filling:

  • 200g brown sugar

  • 1T ground cinnamon

For the Icing:

  • 60g icing sugar

  • 2T orange juice


Method for Cinnamon Rolls:

1. Mix all ingredients until no lumps remain

2. Rest in a warm, covered spot for 3-4 hours, doing 3-4 stretch and folds in that time.

3. Roll out dough into a long rectangle.

4.Spread 200g of brown sugar and 1T of cinnamon all over the dough.

5. Roll up from the long edge.  Cut into pieces 5cm in length. Place in a lined pan.

6. Refrigerate over night.  


1. Bake at 180c for 35 minutes. 

2. Serve with icing. Our favourite icing recipe is about 60g of icing sugar with the juice of one blood orange. 

New to sourdough baking? We've launched an online version of our popular Everyday Sourdough workshop.  You can find the details here. 

10 Things To Do (Now That The Goat Ate My Garden)

Last Thursday, we said goodbye to Freya the goat. She and her daughter Cinnamon were taken to live in a field with cows to keep a billy goat company on a lovely hill farm in the Ochil Hills. In the lead up to her going, I did wonder if I would feel sad. She'd been with us for 2 years, since she was 8 weeks old. I was always her favourite...she would lean up against me for scratches, sniff my pockets for the biscuits I knew she liked and always kept tucked away for her. 

As she pulled away, rather than regret, I felt that she had gone one day late. You see, the day before she ate the entire contents of my veg garden.  In the blink of an eye, 3 goats (freya and het two kids) pushed open the garage door, ripped up 2 meters of chicken wire and inhaled a year's worth of dahlias, peas, yarrow, kale, lettuce, beans, pumpkins, comfrey and lupins. I am not going to lie, I cried angry hot tears and used more swear words than I even knew I knew.

Once the red mist of anger cleared, I decided to see it as an opportunity. Rather than mope away the rest of the summer, I put pen to paper to make a list of everything I was going to do with this gift of time I'd been given

This summer, I am going to:
1. Learn the ukulele.
2. Go wild swimming and not feel guilty I should be weeding.
3. Read the stack of books I have by my bedside table and not feel guilty I should be putting up garden produce. So far, I have read Skinful of Shadowsand the Beekeepers Lament (both excellent) and have started the Immortalists.
4. Pick wild berries and not feel guilty that I have veg just sitting in the garden waiting to be harvested.
5. Repaint and floor the studio, kitchen, kids' rooms and playroom.
6. Watch TV and not feel like a lazy slob who neglects their garden.
7. Replant my front garden and window boxes with confidence that they won't get eaten.
8. Really dig deep into my foraging skills to make up for the veg they ate.
9. Have clean fingernails for the first time since March.
10. Explore the 11.2 million ways to eat courgettes...because they were the only plant that wasn't eaten.

Chicken Fried Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms

Chicken of the Woods is one of those treasures of a wild mushroom hunt.  Its tasty, easy to identify and there is a lot of eating on them when you do stumble across one. It gets its name from its chicken like taste and texture, and not in the usual way every protein of an unknown origin 'tastes like chicken', this mushroom really does. 


Identifying the Chicken of the Woods:

When identifying mushrooms, always check with at least 2 sources before ingesting. If you have doubts, don't eat them.  Even mushrooms that may be considered safe to eat, can still cause poor reactions in some people, so be aware.  Also the general advice is to always ensure that your mushrooms are well-cooked before eating as this helps to neutralise any potential toxins. 

Chicken of the Woods is one of those mushrooms that once you identify it clearly the first time, its hard to mistake for anything else.  In the UK at least, there are very few mushrooms that can be confused with it and those that can, the Dryads Saddle or the Blackening Polypore, are both safe to ingest (and really don't look much like it any way). It is a bracket fungus that grows mostly on oak trees, but can be found on other hardwood and yew trees, so will be found without a stem, growing in a clump off of a tree or stump and it does not have gills.  As a young mushroom, it starts off apricot in colour and then fades to white as it ages.  Like most mushrooms it is best eaten fresh and can be frozen, but this does change the texture. 

Fresh, my go to recipe is the same for all wild mushrooms, fry in lots of butter with garlic and finish with a bit of creme and thyme.  However, you an harness that chicken-like nature and use it in recipes that call for chicken. We've made tacos, stir fry and pasta with our mushrooms and all were lovely.  

This recipe for fried chicken of the woods was inspired my my friend Jeni who loves to batter and fry all the things.  I simply brought my love of fried chicken to the mix and even the kids couldn't get enough. 


  • 1 large section of Chicken of the Wood Mushroom (about 1kg)

For Brine:

  • 920ml/ (4 US cups) water
  • 3T salt

For Batter:

  • 240g (2 US cups) of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 230ml (1 US cup) of ale
  • 2 cups of crushed corn flakes (if you want to substitute bread crumbs here, do, but corn flakes really do give a superior crispiness to the batter).
  • 1t smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1t salt
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Clean the mushroom, ensuring you remove all tree bark from the mushroom, especially if it was found on a yew tree.
  2. Cut off any dry or flaking bits at the edges and slice into pieces roughly 1cm thick.
  3. Mix up the brine and let the pieces soak for about 5 minutes while you mix up the batter.
  4. Add all the ingredients for the batter to a bowl, except the corn flakes.  Mix into a smooth, thick batter.
  5. Crush the cornflakes and place in a shallow pan.
  6. Remove the mushrooms from the brine and pat dry.  Dunk each piece individually into the batter, then coat with bread crumbs.
  7. Heat about 1cm of oil in a frying pan. Working in small batches, lightly fry off the breaded mushrooms, roughly 2 minutes each side to seal. 
  8. Once browned, place mushrooms on a tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180c/360F
  9. Serve with garlic mayo or in a wrap or taco. 


Upcoming Foraging Workshops at Gartur Stitch Farm



My Happy Place

I seem to have spent my life tromping around the woods with a badly behaved dog by my side.

The other day we were all arguing about what we were going to go do.  Some of us wanted to go swimming, others needed to work and one, rather stubborn little boy quite didn't know what he wanted.  After running through a list of just about every activity I could think of, I asked him to lay down with me, close his eyes and imagine what his best day would look like. Where would he go? What would he do? Who would be with him? What would he eat?

After a few minutes of silence, I asked him what he had been thinking of. As it turned out, his perfect day involved watching Netflix in bed alone eating crisps in his pants...not quite the wholesome activity I had been hoping for. We laughed and then he asked me what I had been dreaming about. I told him that what I most wanted to do that day was to wander in the woods with my dog and a basket, foraging for dinner.

For as long as I can remember, rambling through the woods with a badly behaved canine at my side has been my happy place. The dogs have changed, as have the woods and what I am looking for, but the essence of the activity has remained the same. One of my favourite memories of my childhood summers was that my mother sliding the glass back door closed and sending us into the woods for the day.  My Scottish Terrier, Snickers, and I would head out into the woods with a small flower identification book and I would spend my day searching for flowers to classify then press in the pages of my book before Snickers would tear away towards the road to chase some unknown (and probably squirrel shaped) threat.

There is something deeply meditative about focusing wholly on one thing - whether it be looking for North American wildflowers, small yellow mushrooms unfurling on the ground, scanning the hedgerow for berries at exactly the right shade of red or purple, gathering up the greens that add an extra bite to a salad or reaching into the trees to compete with the birds for the juiciest berries. Foraging requires a special kind of focus, not dissimilar to those magic eye pictures where if you look at it correctly a sailboat appears out of the jumbled mess of colour, but in the case of foraging, it is the infinitely more useful dinner that appears. 

I have come to recognise that this is my kind of meditation. Where apps and guided audio fail me, walking out in the woods helps quiet my mind and ground me fully in where I am, the season we are in and the nuances of my surroundings. As someone who struggles to "do nothing" the productivity of gathering items that can be of use in our kitchen, medicine cabinet and dye pots helps me to justify this precious act of self care in a way that I probably wouldn't without that utilitarian aspect. Step by step, through the woods, always watchful of my surroundings...

Until the dog runs away towards the road, of course. Because some things never change.

Some of the things we are foraging at the moment:

  • Cherries

  • Blackcurrants

  • Yarrow

  • Sorrel

  • Nettles

  • Raspberries

  • Blaeberries (also known as Bilberries or Huckleberries)

  • Chickweed

  • Fat Hen

  • Cleavers

My favourite foraging book is Food for Free by Richard Maybey

We have a couple of spots left on our August Wild Kitchen course as well, if you want to trop around the woods here with me (badly behaved dog will be staying home).

Kat GoldinComment
The Weight of Responsibility
bees at gartur

I wasn't going to add any more animals to the farm, so I added 10,000

We all sat at the front door from 10:55am.  Our postman, Jim, has always been a punctual sort of fellow and we can set the clock by his 11:10am arrival on the farm. The waiting isn't uncommon  - in turns we have all been known to watch the windows for our much awaited deliveries from the back of his red van - for me, cookbooks and yarn, for Kevin  - new saws and blades for carving and the kids seem to forever be waiting for a package from Grammie. 

That day, though, we were all waiting together, guessing at every passing sound if it was Jim bringing us our much anticipated parcel. Our 15 minute wait dragged on for what seemed like ever until finally, the crunch of tyres on the drive were his.  He climbed out of his cab and slid open the side door as we stood back and watched him pull out the small white box marked "Highland Bees".  We laughed about how his job was never dull, chatted about our plans for honey and he put his name down for the first jar.

As he handed me the box, I was struck by the weight of it.  In retrospect, I don't know what I expected from 10k+ honey bees, their brood, frames and honey, but I definitely expected it to be lighter.  The physical weight aside, there was something else heavy about the box...

I have been responsible for lives other than my own for the last 11.5 years.  I remember the moment the tiny 5lb baby Ellis was placed in my arms and the following realisation that his life was literally in my hands.  I thought there must be some mistake - how could I be in charge of such an important thing, I had barely kept a houseplant alive in the previous 27 years. 

Two more children, a dog, 3 cats, 5 goats, 17 sheep, 16 chickens, 3 geese, 5 ducks, 2 turkeys and a peacock later, you'd think that I would be well used to the role of caretaker, but there was something different this time and it wasn't the sheer number of lives contained therein. Bees aren't like the hobby sheep I keep to cut the grass that could as easily be done by the mower or the goats I milk for cheese that I can find in shops, there is something a bit more urgent about stewarding these little lives that simply wouldn't exist without beekeepers.

And just like those early days with my other babies, I keep checking that they are ok - watching them come in and out of the hive, just like I had watched little chests rise and fall in their sleep, leaving them for longer in between visits, trusting that they will be OK. 

Mama's Super Magic Cream (aka Yarrow, Comfrey and Plantain Salve)

The first time I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I laughed hardest at the dad who sprayed Windex on every problem. Not only because it was funny, but because I had grown up with a mother who had her own particular panacea for all that ailed us - Bag Balm.  Got a big bite? Bag Balm. Sunburn? Bag balm. Infected nose piercing you weren't supposed to get? Bag balm. Despite not having used it in 20 years, I still remember the acrid smell and sticky consistency that sat in the top shelf of her bathroom cupboard in its green tin throughout my childhood. 

This salve has replaced Bag Balm in my own kids' lives, so much so that they often fetch the jar before they come to me crying with scrapes and bites. The making of this salve has become one of our early summer rituals for years and we always have some tucked away for whatever we might need it for. I start scouring the hedgerows as soon as its warm enough, stockpiling jars to last us throughout the year.

The balm is based on yarrow, comfrey and plantain infused olive oil and thickened with beeswax.  This process of infusing and oil and then thickening it with wax is a great technique for making all manner of balms. We also make a lovely calendula balm in a similar manner.

The Herbs:

From Left to Right:

Yarrow: a hedgerow relative of the sunflower, its scientific name Acheallia Millefolium  relates both to the invulnerability powers it supposedly gave Achilles and its highly segmented, feathery leaves.  It has a peppery smell and likes dry environments.  It has a range of uses, but in a salve it helps stop bleeding and has anti-inflammatory properties. 

Comfrey: Large, green furred leaves with purple flowers. Its used for healing wounds and broken bones, in fact traditionally it was called "knit bone". It has been shown to enhance cell production and is mildly astringent, helping to kill bacteria.

Plantain (both narrow leaf and broad leaf plantain): the long veins in this plant are the key identifiers.  Plantain is great to stop itching and is known as a sort of hedgerow panacea, with antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Used together, these three hedgerow powerhouses are my favourite blend for the scrapes, brusies, bug bites, nettle stings, scraped knees, sunburn and chapped lips. 

Note on picking from the hedgerow: To harvest herbs responsibly - never take more than 10% of a plant and look to harvest in areas that aren't heavy in traffic and haven't been sprayed. You may well find all of these in your garden, I know I can. 

The Salve


  • 50g of freshly picked comfrey, plantain and yarrow leaves

  • 250g olive oil

  • 200-250g of beeswax (I buy beeswax pellets from here)

  • (optional) a few drops of rosemary essential oil



1. Place your herbs in a glass jar and cover with olive oil. Let it infuse for 4 weeks in a warm spot.  Ensure your herbs are fully covered in oil as anything exposed to the air may grow mould.


2. Strain off your herbs and compost them. Place the oil in a small saucepan.  Add beeswax (more makes a firmer ointment, less makes it looser - start with less if you aren't sure what you would like and if it sets too soft, reheat and add more wax)

3. If you would like to add essential oils, do it once the pellets have all melted.  We don't use essential oils and don't miss it from this salve. 


4. Pour into jars and let cool.  Label and save.  We like to have a couple of small jars for handbags and backpacks and one large jar that just sits on the counter. 

We are running a new Natural Home and Beauty course this autumn if you want to learn more about making your own cleaning and natural beauty products.


Goatus Interruptus

Goats seemed like such a good idea...

Earlier this week, a friend shared a comment she'd seen about Instagram stories. The poster was recommending her favourite accounts and added me to that list (thank you, if it was you!!) and writing that I speak to the camera well but always seem to be looking for my goats. 

While I can't particularly comment on the first bit, the latter is not actually true, because I don't really have to look for the goats any more. If they aren't in their field, I simply need to consider where in the vicinity they could get into the most trouble and there they will be.  I hear our neighbouring farmer driving up? Without a doubt, they will be in his field grazing with his cows. Next door's holiday cottage door is open? They will be in the kitchen eating the holiday maker's dinner (true story). Have I bought new houseplants that day?  Unquestionably they will have broken into the house to eat them. While the sheep just escape, the goats plot.  

On Thursday morning, I woke up early to water the garden before the heat of the day. As I turned the corner to the veg plot, I saw 5 goats happily munching away at my peas, dahlias and raspberry bushes.  They looked up at me quite innocently as I screamed at them to get the *&^* out of my garden, unperturbed by my flailing arms, tears and cuss words. If goats could wear facial expressions, theirs was one of utter if they couldn't believe I hadn't grown the whole garden just for them.

Of course I threatened all sorts of ends they would meet (meat), as I led them out into their field.  Curry was mentioned, as was a rug or 5.  I locked the door behind them and stomped off back to the house to compose myself with coffee and breakfast.

That breakfast was an omlette - eggs from the hens, spinach from the garden and the best feta you will ever eat, made from the milk of those horned ravagers of vegetable patches.  I softened by bite one and by bite five, I sort of forgot why I had ever been mad at them in the first place. The power of a good cheese.

Feta & Quinoa Patties
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Fact: things in 'burger' format are 267% tastier.  Maybe its the fact that the outsides are fried? Or that they are easily slipped into bread and carbs are life?  Who knows, but quinoa mixed with cheese and then fried turns this 'health' food into something even my kids like.  

I've used my homemade feta here, which is a bit less crumbly than the store bought kind that uses calcium chloride to help firm it up. 


300g Quinoa (Ive used Lidl's multigrain quinoa here, but plain works well)

200g feta cheese - crumbled or cut into chunks

2 eggs - beaten

2 Tablespoons of flour (GF is fine)

25g finely chopped herbs. I love chives in mine.


1. Cook quinoa according to pack instructions.  Usually this involves boiling it in 1 part quinoa, 3 parts water for 15-20 minutes, until the spiral germ separates from the seed. Leave to stand for 10 minutes then drain off extra liquid.

2. Once its cooled, add the rest of the ingredients.  You may need to add a bit of extra flour to get it to stick together. 

3. In a frying pan, heat 2TB of oil.  Once the oil is hot, shape the mix into patties slightly smaller than your hand and place in pan.  

4. Fry for 3-5 minutes on the first side. Don't flip too early or it will fall apart.

5. Flip and brown on the other side. 

Serve with a salad and homemade chips. 

Want to learn to make your own feta?  Its covered in our Intro to Cheesemaking class. 

Any Green Pesto
carrot top pesto

In summer, at least twice a week, we have "Stuff on Bread" night.  It really is that simple - we rummage around the cupboards or the garden and see what is available.  Some veg get roasted or grilled, there may be a bit of leftover meat or egg mayonnaise from earlier in the week, and there is almost always cheese. If we are low on toppings, out comes the food processor and some form of pesto is added to the mix. 

I've used carrot tops in the recipe below, but really you are only limited by what is in your fridge, garden or hedgerow here.  We use this same recipe with ground elder, nettles (don't forget to blanch them first), spinach, rocket, chard, young kale leaves, beetroot greens and wild garlic.  Sometimes we leave out the cheese, if you leave a bit of water on the greens from washing or blanching them, the liquid and oil will emulsify nicely to form a creamy base.  

Carrot Top (or any Green) Pesto:

A big pile of carrot tops (from a bunch of carrots, this is usually around 200g)

2 cloves garlic

1/3 cup (50g) nuts - I like walnuts

1/2 cup (60g) parmesan

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil

Using a food processor, chop the nuts until they start to stick together. Coarsely chop the garlic, carrot tops and cheese and add them in. Blend until finely chopped and start adding olive oil to form a paste.  Salt to taste.

Serving suggestions:

Mix into whole wheat pasta with sautéed courgette (zucchini), red onions and pecans with oregano sprinkled on top.

Put onto sourdough bread (homemade goat's cheese an added bonus!)

The Power of Doing it Yourself

A few months ago, Scotland came to a standstill.

The "beast from the east" came and dumped snow upon our normally green land, then blew it into drifts large enough to grind the motorways to a standstill and leave most of us able only to travel for as far as we could walk safely.

Living at the end of a 1.5 mile single track road, we expect to spend some part of the winter cut off and prepare accordingly, keeping a couple of dairy goats and plenty of flour on hand so at the very least we can have bread and cheese (I won't go into the fact that we'd under prepared without enough coffee and tonic water to get through - rookie mistake, Goldin), but my uncharacteristically Facebook timeline was filled with my more urban friends who could make it out of their homes and to the shops only to find them empty of bread. Scotland had run out. 

A few weeks previously, I'd run my first Sourdough Bread making workshop. Our informal class had taught a handful of people the skills necessary to make bread with the most basic ingredients - flour, water, salt - in their own homes. As the majority of my timeline filled with folks mourning their lack of toast, these students were posting pictures of their homemade bread.

I count that as one of my best moments in my working life. Of course, not that the country had come to a standstill or that people couldn't get out of their homes to get basic necessities, but that some how in a world where we are so dependent on systems that don't always serve us, I had given a handful of people the skills to do it themselves and provide for their families.

The times that I have felt most creative and then empowered are those where I have HAD to be creative. Maybe we didn't have enough money to buy a finished product or couldn't find something we were looking for and we had to make it ourselves. I started baking because we moved too far out and my love of a baked good wasn't enough to get me to drive the 20 minutes to the nearest cafe. I had to figure out how to do it myself on a budget that ensured we could continue to pay the rent. And once you get into that mindset, its addictive.  I look around at all of the things that need to be done in our kitchen or around the farm and I instantly start singing "I Can Do That" from A Chorus Line**.

Making from scratch, figuring things out, embedding creativity into the most mundane things, taking back a tiny bit of power in a world that wants us to hand it over with our cash...yep, pretty much the reason I get out of bed every morning. Well, that and coffee. 

**In our next instalment, Kevin lists the DIY projects that fall into the "Just Because You CAN, Doesn't Mean You Should" category. ;) 

I've put my favourite sourdough recipe on the blog, if you fancy giving it a go. If you don't have a starter, I recommend this method, or you can always buy one from the shop.

I also have spaces available on my upcoming sourdough workshops!!  

Kat's Everyday Sourdough

We bake sourdough bread most days. Be it as a morning breakfast/vehicle for melted butter or a staple in the summer time "stuff on bread" dinners we have at least twice a week, sourdough is embedded in our life.

We've tried a lot of methods and recipes, but with so many of them, there was a level of technicality that simply didn't fit into our busy family life.  While technical aspects of hydration and starter peaks are important to know, we have come to the understanding that the best bread is the bread that fits easily into your every day life. This bread dough isn't very wet, which makes it ideal for a starter sourdough, as its a lot easier to handle.

I've written this recipe for people who make bread regularly - every day or every other day.  If you are baking once a week, you may not get the rise you need from your starter, so feed it about 12 hours before you are due to make bread and see if that helps.

I start my bread as I am making dinner in the evening and it sits next to the aga for the first few hours before it goes in the fridge for over night.  I then turn on the oven to bake when I go down in the morning for coffee. 


  • 200g 100% hydration starter (This is a good method for starters here, or you can buy a kit here).

  • 400g tepid water

  • 650g strong bread flour

  • 20g salt


1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until the flour is completely incorporated.

2. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours, depending on the warmth of the room.  Every so often (at least 3x), stretch and fold the dough to help with the gluten development.

3. Tip dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a tight round. To get a nice surface tension, stretch the dough from the outside and bring it into the centre all the way around. This will be considered your seam.

4. Place seam side up in a banneton or bowl lined with a lightly floured towel. You can either leave for about an hour in a warm place and then bake or place in the refrigerator over night.


1. Place your dutch oven in the oven and heat the oven to its highest temperature.

2. When the oven has reached temp, place your baking parchment on top of your banneton, then the baking tray on top of that and flip your bread out of the banneton onto the tray.  There is no need to remove your bread from the refrigerator prior to this, in fact it is easier to work with a cold loaf.

3. Score your bread using a knife or razor blade.

4. Slide the loaf into your hot dutch oven and put the lid on.  Place it back in the oven and reduce the temperature to 220c/430F. Bake for 35 minutes with the lid on. Remove the loaf from the dutch oven and bake for another 12 minutes or until the crust is brown.



– Replace 200g of the white flour with brown flour

– Add 2T of turmeric at Method stage 1. Then add about 2c of finely chopped leeks and onions on your final stretch and fold.

Want to know more about Sourdough baking? We have on online course!!




Life at the End of The Road

I am pretty sure I have told you before that our house sits at the end of a 1.5mile track.  We are the only ones who live this far down, with our nearest neighbours just over a mile back towards the main road.  99% of the time, this isolation is so welcome.  There is nothing quite like heading up the track after travelling for work and knowing that I won't see anyone but my family until I make my way back down the road.  And then there is that other 1% of the time - when the milk runs out or someone is sick and the outside world can't come fast enough...

Or when it snows.  In our 4 years in this house, we have only been properly snowed in once before this year. It was for about 24 hours and the snow melted quickly and we were released. For 6 days last week, the Beast from the East kept us firmly indoors and cut off from civilisation.  Our road made impassable by about a quarter mile of drifting snow.  Fortunately, I shop like the apocalypse is coming and with a dairy goat and the fact we make our own bread, supply wise we were ok. It was more the constant presence of my family that had me clawing at the door and imagining a Shining type situation.  Fortunately, we were released from our snow bound prison before I started writing Red Rum on anything. 

However, a week on life has mostly returned to normal.  The storm began and ended in time with both of our goats kidding.  Freya, our Toggenburg had two bouncing (and I mean BOUNCING) kids and, sadly, Dasher, our Saanen, lost her singleton buckling to dystocia (getting stuck).  We've had to watch D like a hawk, so rather than heralding the snow melt with getting stuck into garden tasks like planting seeds, we've spent most of the last week walking back and forth to the barn.

In between those moments, we have been dreaming about the seasons ahead. We've had a number of really successful fermentation and sourdough workshops and have planned a series of foraging and feasting days as I simply can't wait to get back into my normal routine of walking the dog, basket in hand, looking for that night's dinner and I thought it would be fun to take 10 or so people with me!!

19th January 2018

Its just gone 7am.  I've thrown Kevin's oversized lumberjack shirt and boots over my pyjamas to make the 8 steps to the studio.  My coffee has settled to the perfect lukewarm temperature and I am squeezing in a few precious moments of writing before I begin the daily ritual of breakfast/chores/school run.

This week has been exactly what I needed.  The first week since the holidays where our familiar routines seemed to fall into place - work/school/farm all bustling along at exactly the right speed. We hosted our first workshop of the year on Saturday, which was so wonderful and I feel like the positive energy of that has propelled us along all week (plus workshop leftovers are the best leftovers to start the week). Even little Theo, whose reluctance to leave my side and go to school has been the dominating force in our mornings, seems to have decided that school isn't that bad after all and I have been able to wave him off at the bus stop two days in a row.

I have to admit that I am always a fan of January for precisely these moments - when the excitement of the holidays is behind us and we settle back into our little habits and routines - with the added dose of New Year's reflection. There has been a lot of the latter, being the sucker I am for resolutions, but also coming out of a challenging year for work and family life - with 2 new ventures (workshops and air bnb), a thriving Crochet Project, a new flock of sheep and the tiny seeds of a long awaited yarn line they signify. With the addition of some personal problems that effected us deeply, the last half of 2017 felt overwhelming. So, I head into this year feeling I need to at least to attempt to future proof our lives as much as humanly possible. Being much more intentional with our time and money and growing our businesses to support us and toying with some big questions about where we go from here- with some big questions like should I rename Slugs on the Refrigerator? (turns out it's not a great name for a workshop venue! ha!) to smaller ones like which homemade dishwasher soap recipe actually works (I'll let you know).

Fortunately for the over thinker in me, there isn't much time for reflection with a herd of sheep hell bent on getting into my neighbour's field, 2 pregnant goats who are eating me out of house and home, a peacock and a chicken who believe they should live in the kitchen, an attack turkey and the rest of the menagerie.

And the school run...there always seems to be a school run! 

Have a wonderful weekend!! I will be:

Reading:: Playing Big by Tara Mohr and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz

Making:: Beeswax Wraps and Sourdough Bagels (and dishwasher tablets)


12th January 2018

If there was a word to describe this week, it would probably be full. Or chaos. Or “pretty much normal” because chaotically full and full of chaos seem to be our new normal. 

Recently, I've felt thrown back into the early days of blogging and designing when the kids were little and I woke up crazy early to work before the rest of the house woke up and swept me up in the raging tide of family life. Some of this is motivated by my renewed energy to get shit done and starting fresh in the new year. However, a lot of it is just that every other moment seems to be full, so getting up earlier seems my only option.

The truth is, I thrive on busyness.  I am at my best when my days are full and my over analytical brain can't engage and I just have to do. I think my most happy days are when I haven't sat down all day - doing the mix of farm, work and family tasks that seem to expand to fill every moment of time available.

There is one caveat to this.  The control freak in me hates when things don't go to plan. It is a terrible character flaw that my most beloved Kevin will tell you has caused more fights in our 20 some years together than any other thing. And I have learned recently that nothing throws a spanner in the works like animals. 

Because in amongst the added work of busy deadlines, back to school angst and January financial juggling is a farm yard of animals hell bent on escaping/breaking into the feed store/getting into the house/developing health concerns/keeling over dead. You know how lessons in your life come back again and again until you learn them? Smallholding is that lesson in adaptability biting me in the backside on a daily basis.

So please excuse me for the short blog post today, because the carefully carved out hour I had to  tell you the tale of my week has been cut in half by 9 sheep who will not stay in their field and have wandered half a mile away, a goat who may be giving birth any day, chickens that knocked over two bags of feed outside the front door, a peacock who got into the studio, a dog that seems to have developed some sort of allergy to everything and a cat who left me just the innards of a mouse on the living room floor.

Full of chaos, chaotically full. Wouldn't change it...well, mostly. 

5th January 2018

Did I ever tell you about the years we lived across from Windsor Castle? Our flat was the top floor of an old guard tower, with views to the Castle, exposed, black beams and the changing of the guard disrupting our weekly garbage pickup (they were deemed a security risk). We spent our weekends wandering the town and Great Park, drinking coffee at this little cafe in the station we liked, joking about how many tourists' photos we were inadvertently in the background of as we wandered the streets

I worked for the NHS at the time, in Public Health - a field I'd been passionate about since I was a teenager, but the passion was slowly leaking out of me - my skin worn thin by the constant brushes with bureaucracy of the health service. On one hand I felt like I was living in a chic lit novel about an American girl finding her feet Across the Pond (though my meet-cute had been years previously)and on the other I felt unbelievably out of place. When I wasn't looking for an escape at the bottom of a wine bottle, I was doing every self help course I could find, studying for Master's degrees I never finished, trying to imagine a life outside of the one I had. Outwardly things were so perfect, but I still drew pictures of cottages with chickens and dogs and wanted something else. That desire would move us 5 more times in 8 years, forever looking for a place where we fit.

We had this small roof terrace that I was determined to fill with flowers and vegetables. With no car, we would drag bags of compost up the three flights of stairs and through the flat, leaving a trail of dirt behind us. I wanted an english country garden, with mismatched pots and blousy flowers, so when an old butler sink appeared on Freecycle, I made kevin take the train with me across Berkshire to get it.  It was the day before the wedding of Charles and Camilla and we had to wheel this enormous sink across the town, through thousands of tourists and reporters all so I could have my little patch of earth.  

I've been thinking about that flat a lot recently - nostalgia being a common occurrence at the beginning of a new year, I suppose. Now, rather than being the chic lit novel itself it is the flashback in another book about a woman that goes back to the land, makes her own cheese and deodorant and collects sheep. When things get hard here, I imagine wandering down to the station and ordering a flat white and a bagel.

In truth though, those moments of sentimentality are few. I make my own bagels now and there is always a pressing need that keeps me out of my head and in the thick of life here. I've traded castles for mountains and tourists for a raggedy band of Soay sheep, wine tends to be of the home brew kind and my commute takes me 8 steps across the courtyard to a cold, converted barn. I think Windsor Kat would be delighted that this is where Part 3 of her book took her. 


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