Support Us

Say hello to the new Stove Cafe!

The Stove Cafe is the social heart of our social enterprise to bring new life to the town centre through culture and the arts and supporting community activity and career development for local people. Last year, we started to put together plans to make changes to The Stove cafe to improve on the look and feel of the space and to open up the space more to allow for more customers. 
The Stove’s Project Manager, Graham, led the Cafe refurb, along with Duncan Clowe from Duncan Clowe Joinery. The work Duncan did, along with the help of his dad, was superb and we cannot thank him enough! Make sure you check out his Facebook page and get in touch with him if you’re needing joinery work done! Check out the Stove Cafe refurb process photos below:

Since we’ve reopened the Cafe, we have been overwhelmed by the response from our customers and have been lucky to welcome some new ones in too! When you buy a coffee at the Stove, you are being part of a new vision for your High Street. Your support helps us to create opportunities, run projects and an events programme for everyone. To keep up to date with news from The Stove Cafe, follow their Facebook page here or their Instagram page here.

And don’t forget – become a member of The Stove Network and receive 10% off all food and drink in the cafe! Sign up to become a member by clicking here.

News Project Updates

ONS Market & Recipe Swap

Looking over the next few weeks on Our Norwegian Story so far – The project kicked off on June 17th the with a wonderful array of specialities from Norway as well as this side of the ocean for our Recipe Swap and Market. Those who turned up shared stories over warm waffles with Norwegian blueberries, Kransekake and some scotch favourites like Chranachan, writing down some recipes for you to enjoy at home.

All of the Recipes have now been up-loaded to our project page here:

Saturday the 17th June saw us join Dumfries’ annual Guid Nychburris celebrations with more waffles, cinnamon buns and a special Norwegian Market kindly put on by Alex of Edinburgh based Nordic Affar – – where you can buy all the Norwegian classics from Brown Cheese to Salted Liquorice.

More food to come at Septembers Scottish/Norwegian film Shorts and Pot Luck night on September 15th at 7pm, information to follow.

Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Recipe Swap gathering
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Sharing our Recipes
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Enjoying Norwegian stew
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Waffles and blueberries
The stove
Norge Hus at The Stove
Cinnamon buns!
Our Norwegian Market
Nordic Affar joins us at The Stove
Sharing Stories
Musings News Project Updates

Feeding Creativity in Dumfries

From Andrew Gordon

Many have suggested simple solutions to the French Paradox, the apparent contradiction that the French can eat rich, fatty foods while maintaining a lifestyle much healthier than many their counterparts in the western world. Could it be all the red wine? Or maybe its something in their genetics? The answer, as Will Marshall explained in his introduction to the Open Jar Collective’s “Feeding Creativity” event, is likely much more complicated than that, and is a clear indication that our attitude towards food has a fundamental effect on our everyday lives. From how we socialise, to how we interact with our surrounding landscape and, importantly, how we create, Will understands that our relationship with food shapes us as individuals and as a community, capable of bringing us together and prompting what he calls “unexpected interactions” across all sorts of social and cultural boundaries. For him and the rest of the Stove team, the prospect of opening a cafe Dumfries town centre is much more than a simple business venture. On the contrary, the Stove sees its future cafe not just as a place to drink nice coffee but as lively hub that will bring the community together, be it to participate in the events or activities facilitated by the Stove network or just to enjoy good quality local produce, sourced from across the region.

The Project Cafe in Glasgow, one of the cafe’s cited by Open Jar in their exploration of Creativity and Food

o fulfil this vision, the Stove has enlisted the expertise of the Open Jar Collective, a group of Glasgow-based artists who specialise in all things food. Open Jar have been carrying out extensive research to in order formulate an operational plan and identity for the cafe, analysing similar projects undertaken by other arts organisations in the UK (Glasgow’s Project Cafe was offered as one such example) and meeting with local producers such as the Loch Arthur Farmshop.

Feeding Creativity represented another stage in this process, a 2-hour event held at 100 Midsteeple in which they invited anyone with an interest in food and creativity to have their say about what they’d like to see from a new eating spot in the town centre – and to share some tasty soup and bread in the process.

Attendees included caterers, health workers, business owners and civil servants amongst other professionals, all interested in leveraging the cafe’s prime location and the region’s ample culinary resources to enrich the town and the lives of its denizens alike. Splitting into groups, they identified problems currently ailing the town and suggested some ways these could be addressed, resulting in a sort of mission plan that might inform the functioning of the cafe in its finished form.

Chief among these was the need for a place to meet after shopping hours that isn’t a pub, giving young people a chance to get out of the family home and giving community groups somewhere amenable to convene on a regular basis. Another was the desire for a knowledge centre where townsfolk can share their passion for food, be it cooking skills, growing techniques or healthy eating advice.

The Bakery at Loch Arthur Farmshop

All in all, Open Jar were met with an enthusiastic response and left with plenty of ideas to work with, ending the night by assuring that further public consultations are in the works. With the cafe due to open in time for Guid Nychburris, the Stove is keen to get as many people excited about food’s potential to bring about positive change as they can in the coming months, ideally resulting in a space that the people of Dumfries can feel invested in and responsible for, and which gives the town centre a whole new lease of life.  If Feeding Creativity is any indication, it’s off to a great start.

Musings News

What did we eat before baguettes, toasties and Panini?

From Open Jar Collective

Dumfries, in common with most Scottish towns, has a particular lunch time snack – the toasted Panini.  First referenced in a 16th Century Italian cookbook, Panino (which comes from the Italian pane meaning bread) is traditionally a grilled sandwich made with slices of porchetta, that is popular in Central Italy.  Panini became trendy in Milanese bars called Paninoteche in the 1970s and 1980s, and then subsequently in New York.  Paninaro came to mean a fashionable young person who was very image conscious.


Through the dominance of American fast food culture, Panini have become ubiquitous in Scotland, alongside white sliced bread toasties, and french baguettes. All of these breads are made from highly refined strong wheat flours which are very difficult to produce in Scotland.  Due to our shorter growing season, the wheat grown here has a much lower protein content which is fine for baking but lacks the elastic gluten required for conventional bread making. Scotland’s most successful cereal crop is Barley, once used in almost every home to bake bannocks.

According to the NFUScotland, out of the 2 million tonnes of Scottish barley produced in 2013, 55% was used as animal feed, 35% went to Whisky malting, and only a small proportion was sold as pearl barley or milled as flour for us to eat.

Bere (pronounced ‘bear’) is a form of six-row barley which has been grown in Scotland for thousands of years. Bere is quite possibly Britain’s oldest cereal grain still in commercial cultivation and was likely to have been brought here by Viking settlers. It has adapted to growing in soils with low pH and in areas with long daylight hours which makes it particularly suited to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. It grows rapidly, being sown in the spring and harvested in the summer.  Beremeal was one of the earliest flours to be used to make bannocks.


Robert Burns once described southern Scotland as a “land o’ cakes”. He didn’t mean desserts, but oatcakes and barley bannocks that would have been baked on an iron girdle over the fire.

“In Scotland, amongst the rural population generally, the girdle until recent times took the place of the oven, the bannock of the loaf.”  F. Marian McNeil, 1929

In The Scots Kitchen, F. Marian McNeil suggests that the name bannok occurs in 1572, and derives from Latin panicum, probably through the influence of the Church. It may have referred originally to Communion bread.

Bannocks can range from soda breads, scones, or pancakes to a sweet fruity tea loaf in the case of the famous Selkirk bannock, but they usually have some barley meal in them.  After testing numerous recipes, I think the best turned out to be F. Marian McNeil’s “Modern Method” using Beremeal from Barony Mills in Orkney (which is available through Greencity).

Bannocks o’ bear meal, Bannocks o’ barley,
Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Wha, in a brulzie, will first cry a parley?
 Never the lads wi’ the bannocks o’ barley.

Bannocks o’ bear meal, Bannocks o’ barley,
Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Wha, in his wae days, were loyal to Charlie?
Wha but the lads wi’ the bannocks o’ barley!

Bannocks o’ bear meal, Bannocks o’ barley,
Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Robert Burns, 1794
Musings News Project Updates

‘We Are Nourishing Soup’

As part of our AGM last Friday at #ParkingSpace, we were keen to discuss some of the broader issues surrounding the Stove’s values surrounding the relationship between the Stove, Dumfries and the role of public art. 

We kicked off the debate with Open Jar Collective, and Dot to Dot Active Arts and started to work on a ‘recipe’ for the Stove.
This has felt like the somewhat experimental beginning of a process, which we are hoping to develop more fully over the course of the next few months, and we will be looking for more input from our Stove members during this time – more details to follow on this in the near future.

In the meantime we’d like to share some of our considering vegetables…


The Contraversial Pear

no prejudice
no judgement”


The Honesty Jar

“Honest and Clear


The Critical Thinking Scissors

“Critical thinking
Prepared to take risks
Visionary Work
Make people feel good
…Getting to the point”


The Blender of Fulfillment

Accessiblity (conceptual)
Fulfillment and hungry for more
Challenge yourself”


The Catalytic Convertor Carton

“Catalytic convertor
Pride of Place


The Unexpected Fish

The Banana amongst us

The Parterships Tongs 

“Partnerships: Working Together”

More vegetables available on our facebook page here

Skip to content