Karen Barnes is a regular visitor to the farmhouse and we are always thrilled to welcome her back. Following another fully subscribed course on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th January 2018, our waiting list for the next weekend is already beginning to build.
Do not miss out on the opportunity to join Karen for a fun filled and inspiring break in the Dorset countryside.
Please get in touch to find out more or provisionally reserve a place. Everyone on the list will be offered first refusal before the weekend is announced on our website.
Food writing with Karen Barnes of delicious. magazine
Editor of the award winning food magazine ‘delicious’, Karen needs little introduction to aspiring food writers. We love hosting her fabulous course and everyone who attends speaks so highly of her warm and generous teaching style. Karen fully engages in this intensive but fun weekend and ensures that everyone enjoys the opportunity to hone their food writing skills whilst making themselves comfortable in the farmhouse.
Whether you wish to create your own blog or explore the possibilities of a whole new career, Karen’s successful workshop will offer you the perfect environment to meet like-minded individuals and to develop your creative abilities.
The two day class will be tailored to suit the participants but as a guide the schedule for the weekend will be as follows –
DAY ONE – Saturday
9am Arrive at All Hallows Farmhouse where you will be welcomed into the breakfast room by Lisa Osman your host for the weekend. Enjoy locally roasted coffee or a pot of Dorset tea with AGA toast for those that have had an early start. If you skipped breakfast completely, do not be shy to let us know. In no time at all there will be a stack of pancakes in front of you. Or if you prefer a lightly boiled egg, laid by our Light Sussex hens that morning and served with hot buttered soldiers.
Take time to get to know everyone attending the class and to meet Karen and Lisa.
9.30am You will be invited to take your places around the refectory table beside the open fire in the Morning Room.
First session – What is the purpose of writing?
Karen poses the question – ‘Why do you want to write about food rather than about something else?’
We explore the cult of the personality.
We ask which avenue is your personal preference blogging, cookbooks, writing for magazines or newspapers?
10.00 am – We ask everyone to explain their individual style or show you how to find it.
Every piece of writing should have a purpose and elicit a response: either to move you, to inform/instruct you or to make you laugh. You should feel satisfied after reading it.
Karen will show you how to make it sound as if you’re talking to someone, telling them about a fascinating topic and how to draw the reader to you.
Food memories and experiences form the bulk of what is written in blogs and broader food stories.
Tell us what you have to say that will help you rise above the mass of mediocrity?
This session will also investigate
Rhythm and tone
The art of the opening paragraph including examples
How to avoid too many adjectives
Use of superlatives
Watching out for the clichés
Giving yourself TIME
How to be your own editor and the benefits of this skill
11.30am – Morning coffee and cheese scones served in the farmhouse kitchen
After your break we invite you to walk through the walled garden, along the path to the potager and into Rose Cottage adjacent to All Hallows Farmhouse.
12noon second session
Lisa will demonstrate a short recipe which will be followed by an opportunity to explore the many ways to write about your experience in our cottage kitchen.
You will discuss –
How to write a good, clear recipe
Understanding the style you wish to achieve
Deciding on your personal technique
We will look at examples from our favourite writers
We discuss the use of first person and when it should be used
The art of a good recipe introduction and we will look at examples
1pm Lunch – served in the dining room, giving everyone the chance to relax and get to know one another.
Following this break, we suggest a short walk across the bridge to the River Allen for some fresh air and to watch the herons and egrets. Later that evening return to the same spot to watch the Barn Owl hunt across the water meadows.
2.15pm third session
Following your discussion in the morning, we invite you to write a short recipe introduction.
During this session we will discuss the practical factors of recipe writing and look at more examples.
3.30pm Time for questions and the opportunity to revisit the topics learnt during the day.
Enjoy afternoon tea in the sitting room.
4.30pm Day one of our food writing workshop draws to a close. If staying close by you are welcome to return for supper which we serve at 7pm. This will give you a chance to get your homework done before you dine!
Everyone is welcome to join us for supper – please book this separately.
DAY TWO – Sunday
From 8.30am Breakfast will be served for guests staying at All Hallows Farmhouse – everyone welcome but please book separately.
9.15am locally ground coffee or Dorset tea will be served in the farmhouse kitchen whilst everyone arrives for the second day of the course.
We start promptly at 9.30am in the morning room with the first session.
We look at blogs that we admire and those that do not offer the same appeal.
We discuss what makes a compelling blog? Is it the words or the visuals? Or both?
We ask can a blog be good without excellent imagery?
You are invited to make your way to Rose Cottage Kitchen once more.
11.30am – second session
This will involve a presentation and tasting session. Sometimes we welcome a guest speaker.
Then enjoy the chance to write about your experiences.
The class will read their blogs aloud and discuss their work.
1.0pm – Lunch in the dining room afterwards take a stroll around the walled garden or in the paddock.
1.30pm – third session
We discuss how to write a good restaurant review and practice the formula.
2.30pm – fourth session
Finally an opportunity not to be missed by the serious food writer.
Karen shares the golden rules of pitching to magazines
4..30pm – the day finishes with an opportunity to ask any remaining questions over a pot of Dorset Tea.
We anticipate that the course will be drawn to a close by 5pm.
Reviews from previous courses.
Julie from Devon
“Thanks again for being a wonderful host, the weekend was superb. In fact it was so good a friend of mine is already asking if she can sign up!”
Maria from Norway
“I enjoyed and savoured the opportunity to learn more about writing for magazines, and the opportunity to take some deep breaths and just be “me”.
Thank you ever so much for making my food writing workshop not only a workshop, but a weekend to remember. I can’t remember the last time I felt so well looked after, and it was worth every penny and every minute of travel.”
Lizzie Crow from Dorset
“The only downside of this weekend is … once you have been ‘hugged’ by All Hallows you may never want to leave. Greeted with toast and amazing Victoria Plum jam and coffee (and I wasn’t booked for breakfast) was an indication of what was yet to come.
Karen Barnes, editor of ‘delicious.’ quite obviously knows her stuff. She is incredibly warm and generous with her learning. I was a tad nervous – I’m no writer but I really wanted to brush up my skills – but Karen created a ‘safe’ place to learn and share that.
I feel so much more confident about writing for social media and for articles and recipes I am occasionally asked to write. It’s a serious food writing course. It’s full on and it’s worth every penny plus. But leaving All Hallows and Lisa’s amazing cooking was tough!”
Sue Haddleton from London
“I had a momentous weekend thank you, Karen gave me the confidence to launch my blog and even pitch to magazines, what a turnaround! I loved your house and cooking so much too, I didn’t want to come home.”
Jackie Dyer from Dorset
“The course was extremely useful and Karen has such an easy-to-follow teaching style with lots of great ideas and advice to hand over. And obviously the group interaction was very useful too and what fantastic writers! As I said to you, the time raced past which is always a good sign.
Thanks again for a fantastic weekend and all the delicious meals. Those cheese scones are heavenly.”
Penny Hopkins from Hampshire
“Lisa I had a lovely time – just need to make sure I hang on to all those tips from Karen, she was fab wasn’t she?”
A stunning piece of writing by Gemma Croffie who joined us in April 2016. Look out for Gemma reading her work aloud on the ‘delicious.’ podcast.
Eating mangoes by Gemma Croffie
My 3-year-old son Zachary picked up a mango from the organic fruit box that had just been delivered. He held it aloft and asked me “What is this Mummy?” “A mango” I replied. I felt a wave of sadness wash over me. Not because he didn’t know what he was holding, I am obviously not a self-respecting foodie, but with the realisation what he would call a mango was very different from what I had grown up with.
My grandparents raised me in Accra, Ghana. In the middle of their compound was a huge mango tree. It was the meeting point where we would sit on wooden stools to listen to Grandpa’s stories or eat fruit. During mango season, the kids in the house (and we were many usually at least 10) would run to catch the mangoes as they fell. We would watch the mangoes get bigger, riper and juicier till they were heavy and fell.
We would wash them and tear a bit of the skin at the top off with our teeth. Then we would squeeze and suck till we had extracted as much juice as we could from them. Then we would peel the mangoes and slowly chew, as much of the flesh as we could till the seed was bare.
Sometimes the birds would get them first; sometimes we would use a stick to pull down a stubborn ripe mango, which refused to fall. The bravest of us would climb the mango tree to pick the best fruit.
One day, when I was about eight, as I raced my cousin Effie to grab a falling mango, she tripped me over. I cut my knee badly and still have the scar today. From that day I stopped eating mangoes and didn’t eat one for years. Now, the memory has receded and I can bear to eat them.
I looked at the mango I held in my hand, massive, unripe and hard, which we would have to slice neatly to eat. A far cry from the sweet, small, juicy mangoes I ate as a child. Yet I know better. Mangoes are a tropical fruit, they have to be picked unripe to be enjoyed in the western hemisphere.
Mangoes and pears can ripen perfectly in a fruit bowl. Any mango is better than no mango, surely? I try not to think of the food miles and reassure myself that the organic process would not involve chemicals.
Yet however irrational it is I long for my son; my children to experience eating a mango the way I did. I find myself saying to Zachary “Don’t worry when we go to Ghana you will eat a proper mango”. I wonder to myself whether it will be mango season when we go in the summer. Mental note to self- I must check.