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A little bit of country life in London – review

A couple of weeks ago I had the great fortune of attending one of Hen Corner’s courses. I’ve wanted to go on one of these courses for a long time – Sara from Hen Corner writes amazing blog posts that are inspiring and infectious in their enthusaism for a little big of country living carved out in London.

I was on the toast and marmalade course – which promised a day of domestic pleasures, baking bread and making marmalade from scratch.

Sara from Hen Corner gets to it!

The day of the course was one of those drizzly days that we’ve had so much of recently.

I turned my collar up and walked to Hen Corner, looking forward to a day of being cosy and warm.

Sara opened the door with a beam and ushered us (for I’d met someone else attending on the doorstep – the lovely Justine) through her hall and into a very welcoming and warm conservatory next to the kitchen.

The course is priced at £35 and I think it’s a bargain – considering how much home cooked food Sarah throws in. We were welcomed with proper, good coffee – and homemade ginger biscuits. It was the first snack of many, as Sarah kept the coffee and biscuits flowing throughout the day. At lunch we stopped for a delicious homemade pumpkin soup, accompanied by a freshly baked homemade loaf, and gorgeous organic cheddar and butter. With a selection of cordials.

At tea-time we stopped for afternoon tea – another one of Sara’s gorgeous creations appeared again. This time a chocolate cake, incredibly rich and more-ish.

But what of the course itself I hear you cry! Well let’s just say that I went from knowing nothing about making marmalade and very little about baking bread, to going home with my own proudly baked loaf and a jar of gorgeous marmalade.

Sara runs the course in the organised way that you imagine comes from running a household of children, husband, cats, bees and of course hens, with a veg patch thrown in and a sideline in preseves and pickles.

She made sure that we kept to schedule in the morning – talking us through each stage carefully. We selected flours, measured, kneeded, proofed, shaped… as the bread rested we made tracks into the marmalade. Slicing, boiling, sieving… just look at these photos of gorgeous domestic culinary industriousness!

In between we chatted and Sara told us about how she came to be at Hen Corner and the rhythmns of her year and day.

Listening to Sarah tell us the history of her smallholding, while we kneeded and listened to the rain fall on the conservatory roof, we were transported into a meditative state – it was as I imagine life might be in a medieval kitchen, listening to stories as we prepared meals! Although of course without the absence of iphones to take proud pictures of our handywork!

Sara runs bespoke courses for hen nights, special birthdays etc. And I think this would be a truly wonderful way to spend a special day in the company of friends. You can also attend one of her everyday courses, as I did.

We all took home a goodie bag with our bread, marmalade, some freshly laid eggs, and the recipes printed out.

I’m already looking foward to my next Hen Corner course – I have my eye on the family hen keeping one.

Do go on one of these courses – they’re good value and you will learn something that you can use for the rest of your life!

Read Sara’s great blog and sign up for a course at http://hencorner.com/

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