It’s dark outside, and cold. I’ve not been getting enough fresh air at all. So a chance to get away for a weekend to the outdoors was just too good to pass up. We’d been looking around for somewhere to stay and needed something that was manageable from London in the time we had and we’d been looking at too many things on both Tumblr and Pinterest that meant we didn’t just want your standard “room” or “cottage”. Our criteria were along the lines of “cute”, “rustic” etc and we wanted a cabin in the woods. After trawling through various sites and a whole heap of “glamping” type places that offered accommodation that was alright, I guess, but next door to about 20 of the same thing with them all about 2 metres apart, we eventually found a “shepherds hut” at a little place in Wales. The hut in question was in the grounds of the Kingstone Brewery in Tintern, Wales. We were in luck, it was just a couple of hours drive away and the hut itself (especially at this time of year) was private. It had its own cabin next door with a lounge area, kitchen, bathroom etc and the hut itself had a bed.
We’d hoped to be able to have a campfire, but Storm Abigail decided to pass through and make it far, far too windy for us to do it in the little clearing in front of the hut. We ate pretty well over the weekend and the Friday night started with a Sweet Potato, Blue Cheese & Filo Pie (recipe at the end of the post). The weather on the Saturday was pretty bad but we got up early and had some of the pumpkin jam we’d made overnight with French toast, then had a potter down into Tintern in the rain. We came back to the hut for the afternoon to hibernate as the storm worsened, ate the leftover pie and cosied up with a book before braving the dark and wind to go for a meal at the Brockwier Inn about 10 minutes away by foot.
We woke on the Sunday to a grey but predominantly dry morning, rustled up some skillet paprika potatoes for breakfast and set out on a walk along the Wye Valley which gave beautiful views along the valley, then followed it up with Sunday lunch at the Anchor Inn in Tintern. The weekend was rounded off with a quiet afternoon feeding the wood burning stove logs in the hut and tucking in to 3 bean chilli we’d had in the slow cooker the whole day. It was a great break just before it got even colder, for fresh air and food. I want to go back again so I can see the valley at a different time of year, and not in the middle of a storm.
On the last night we had a few bits and bobs leftover, so we made a batch of cookies out of pumpkin jam, flour, chocolate, butter and sugar. They turned out really well to say we had no way to measure them and only incredibly basic kitchen equipment. For more photos of the trip see below the recipe.
- 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 200g Spinach (optional)
- 150g Blue Cheese
- 100g Goats Cheese (optional, use 200g Blue if not using any goats cheese)
- 20g Walnuts, chopped roughly
- Tbsp Heavy Cream
- Sprigs Rosemary
- 8-10 sheets filo pastry
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C(160 °C) and prepare a baking tray (or two) with oil. Roast the potato for about 20 minutes until it’s just cooked through. While it’s roasting, fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms to cook out the moisture until the onion is translucent.
- To assemble the pie, layer the filo a 25cm pie tin in an offset fashion, placing each sheet slightly spiralled around from the last, to create an overlap. Layer (mixing each one together) each of the fillings into the pie until it comes just over the top of the dish, then pour the cream on top. Fold up the corners to seal the pie and brush with melted butter.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pastry has gone golden and crisp.