Free to weave: a day of basketry, snow and soup


Artist Harriet Goodall visited us on Friday to teach a workshop in random weaving at the Farm Kitchen. It was snowy and blustery outside but Harriet and her eleven students were so absorbed in their basketry I don't think they'd have noticed if a cyclone had blown past. Harriet is a wonderful artist (see more of her works here) and engaging teacher. While the weavers wove I pottered about in the kitchen making cups of tea, slicing cake, heating soup and being a bit jealous of all this creative industry. Morning tea was a buttermilk and ginger loaf, for lunch we had a chicken and chickpea soup with nice seeded bread and salad and then more tea with oat and cranberry biccies. All the recipes can be found below. We would love to host more workshops here so please get in touch to register your interest.


Chicken harira soup

It was difficult to drag all the weavers away from their baskets for lunch but eventually they stopped just long enough for a bowl of this soup. This recipe was inspired by a cooking class I took some time ago with Lesley Russell of the Orange Regional Cooking School. It’s perfect for a cold winters’ day and just delicious with some nice bread and salad.

600g chicken thigh fillets, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 heaped tsp each of ground turmeric, cumin and cinnamon
50g butter
A handful of parlsey and coriander, chopped
2 cups chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked until tender)
1 x tin chopped tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
seasoning to taste

Melt the butter and then cook the onion over medium heat for about five minutes or until soft. Add the spices and cook for a minute or two. Add the chicken and cook until nicely browned, about five minutes. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs and stock and simmer for about 25 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

Muesli and cranberry biscuits

150g butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
finely grated zest of one orange
1 egg
1 2/3 cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup oats
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C and line a tray with baking paper. Cream the butter, sugar and orange rind together until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Fold in the flour, baking paper and cinnamon and finally fold in the oats and cranberries. Roll into little balls (about a teaspoon-worth) and place on the baking tray a few centimetres apart and squash down lightly with a fork. Cook for ten minutes or until lightly golden and cool on a rack.

Buttermilk and ginger loaf with lemon icing

This cake has a little heat from the fresh ginger and a soft, springy texture thanks to the buttermilk. It keeps really well and is just beautiful with the tangy lemon icing.

150g butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp bicarbinate of soda
1 tbsp hot water
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp ground ginger
2 1/3 cups plain flour

Line a loaf tin with baking powder and preheat the oven to 160C. Place the butter, syrup and honey in a small saucepan and cook, stirring often until the butter has melted and the mixture resembles a smooth caramel, stir through the ginger. Mix the bicarbonate of soda and hot water together and then stir this through the butter mixture. Add the buttermilk, eggs ground ginger and flour and gently fold. Pour into the loaf tin until it is about 3/4 full (if you have extra mixture pour into muffin tins). Cook for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack and then keep in an airtight container for a good few days.

For the icing, mix together about 1/2 cup of icing sugar, the zest of two lemons and juice of one. Add more juice or sugar until you get a nice and creamy consistency. 


  1. Sophie, you make me want to move to the country. I get my country fix from you each time you write. thank you. I am going to try the buttermilk and ginger loaf.

  2. Hi there, thanks for your comment! I love love LOVE your blog. Hope the loaf works out well, Sophiex

  3. Hi Sophie. Can you please post the recipe for the tangy lemon icing to go with the buttermilk and ginger loaf? It looks so yummy I want to make it!

    1. Ooops sorry Ingrid, I had left it out but have just updated the post with icing! Thanks for the reminder, Sophiex

  4. Dear Sophie, your blog was one of the very first I came across and I look forward to your updates! Such beautiful recipes and a lovely country life. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Hi there, thank you so much for saying that! It's so great to hear that you are enjoying local is lovely. I am loving your blog too! Sophie

  5. Hello Sophie
    I am so pleased to have found these delighful articles written by people who love being where they are and doing what they do best as well as the delicious recipes.

    Linen Lifestyle

    1. Dear Catherine, a belated thank you for your comment! I'm so glad you have been enjoying the blog. Thanks again, Sophie

  6. Sophie, I just discovered your blog and I'm delighted to 'meet' you. You have created such a unique and heartwarming space here. So very beautiful x

    1. Dear jodi, thank you so much for your comment, nice to 'meet' you too! Sophiex

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