Blog by Lynn Munro, Education Assistant in the Energy Advice Service
Photographer: James Ross
On the 6th October 2018, Lynn took part in the Golden Spurtle’ World Porridge Making Championships in Carrbridge, and won the Young Persons’ heat!
In front of an audience of hundreds, 30 competitors from around the world took part in the event in the Cairngorms National Park including people from the UK, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Germany, USA, Estonia, Russia, Australia and beyond. For the first time, there was also a junior heat to celebrate the Year of Young People.
Lynn prepared traditional porridge as well as her speciality entry “Forage for your porridge” which featured Heather honey, hazelnuts, blueberries, brambles, wood sorrel, plums, apples, rosehip and hawthorn, which was foraged in Sutherland and Carrbridge. Fellow team member Arabella was also there on the day to cheer her on.
Read on to find out why Lynn was inspired to enter the competition and the ethos behind the recipe that she created…
“I wanted to nurture the connection to food inspired by my Granny who grew up a few miles from the Golspie Mill in Sutherland. Wherever I travel to, Granny Munro’s departing gift is always a bag of Golspie oatmeal and the instruction that oatmeal brose will see me through every adventure and bring friendship with it – if of course offered with a cup of tea!
Last October I went to a festival called Yestival. This festival was all about saying yes to things that can feel out of our comfort zone and celebrating what we love. At the end of the festival I was asked what I would say yes too next, and I said… ‘taking my love of oats, creating a story and applying for the Golden Spurtle, reminding the youth of this world that we can step away from the pressures of society and follow our hearts home.’
This is paired with the message ‘accept the bowl of porridge you have’. We could bring so many fancy things to our porridge from all over the world; however, my home is the Highlands. I want to celebrate loyalty to the land by accepting what can be found when we step into the woodlands, hedges and landscapes which can give us all we need.
Capturing the heart of my home, from the waterwheel at Golspie, milling the oatmeal used, to the filtered water collected for the oats from the river flowing from the loch at my childhood home that I swim in. Then onto the compote of wonderful autumnal foraged fruits, the blaeberries from the beautiful mixed woodlands, wood sorrel to give a green zest, foraged brambles and harvest from the hedgerows to create a fruit ‘leather’ that can melt into the oats. On the dawn of the Golden Spurtle competition harvests were gathered, the beauty of foraging is not knowing what you may gather.
The porridge will involve overnight soaking, the foraged hazelnuts added over night to create the earthy autumnal flavour, and then the beautiful foraged fruit compote that will take you to the forests and the colours of Scotland in October. Lastly “spurtling with a smile” the porridge is served outside for our tasters.
This is porridge from the land for the land…
A significant report came out yesterday (8th October 2018) about climate change, our connection to the climate and actions we can all take take. I believe the food we eat and community spirit in sharing our active choices can and will shape our climate. One layer in my reasons for making ‘foraged porridge, bowls with stories’ was that it was from this land for this land this weekend. It was a reminder to myself of connection with what is under my feet, connection to each other and to what’s around me and how fortunate we are to have such autumnal gifts being shared in the Highlands…”
A friend asked me could she follow me for a few days and create a short film about what I believe in and where my values take me… she named it ‘Shaped by the Highlands’ – Please feel free to watch it…”