The idea of this blog is to share ideas for using hand-made pots to serve good food.

Eating with friends and family is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I hope to show how the warmth and character of hand made ceramics can really enhance the pleasure of cooking, serving and eating food.

This blog will include pots from other potters as well as my own and recipes for the food which I enjoy, hoping that you will like it too.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Papaya and Avocado Salad

My latest discovery for an easy starter which is healthy and a bit exotic is this salad with avocado and papaya.  It was a chance combination following a trip to the supermarket where I'd bought myself a couple of treats in the form of a perfectly ripe avocado, a papaya and a lime.  Lime and papaya is a marriage made in heaven - a perfect balance of sweet and sour.  This is teamed up with cubes of avocado and a couple of spoonfuls of greek yoghurt, a glug of olive oil and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.
I have tried different versions with fennel or basil and mint, depending on what I have around at the time.

What makes it a starter with 'wow factor' is choosing a lovely ceramic platter or shallow bowl and arranging a circle of salad leaves - little gem lettuce is perfect for this - which are then filled with the mixture.  The whole can be garnished with herbs and a sprinkling of paprika for colour as much as taste.  Some marigold petals or other edible flowers would also be good.

This one is presented on a shallow bowl by Jane Cox.  The decoration on the dish is revealed as people help themselves to the contents, which again brings added interest to the table.  We did a swap of pots this time last year - one of my favourite things about exhibiting at craft fairs is arranging swaps with other exhibitors.  I just did a great mug swap with Josie Walter - which could be my next post!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Posh Pavlova

Last week Carole and Jonty Williams came to dinner.  They are from the Husbandry School near Ashburton in Devon, where they grow vegetables and edible flowers and run various courses on growing fruit and veg sustainably.  I visited them a few weeks ago on one of the rare sunny days this summer and their place felt like a little bit of sustainable paradise.  They have beautiful pigs, goats and chickens as well as the flowers and veg.  The views of the Devon countryside from their place are stunning and they have a house which they built themselves at the heart of their land.

I was delighted to be given a bunch of flowers and a salad pack containing lots of edible flowers - of the kind which they usually supply to top chefs.  I used some of the flowers - marigold petals in yellow and orange, borage flowers and violas to decorate the pavlova I had made for dessert.

The flowers completely transformed the dish into something spectacular - aided by placing it on a large serving dish I had made.  The dish is formed with a slab top and thrown ring for the base, so it stands proudly on its pedestal, giving it that much more importance.

The pavlova recipe was from Nigel Slater's book, Appetite, which I find brilliant as a guide and inspiration for all kinds of dishes.  He gives you some basic recipes and then suggests variations to encourage you to try your own versions.   I used a combination of strawberries and passion fruit on the top, which had the right amount of acidity to complement the sweetness of the meringue and the richness of the cream.

The great thing about a pavlova for a dessert is that it is very simple to make the night before and then all you have to do is whip the cream and chop the fruit.  I assembled it just before serving.

This is a quick photo of the pot without pavlova.  It would also be good for serving lots of other dishes, such as a selection of cold meats with salad garnish or cheese and biscuits.

I'm definitely going to start growing some edible flowers of my own.  Looking forward to colourful salads and beautifully garnished dishes.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Sunday Market at La Bastille in Paris

Two weekends ago, I visited my daughter in Paris. On the Sunday we spent a very pleasant morning browsing the ethnic crafts and food market at La Bastille.  It was such a delight to see such a huge range of really fresh vegetables as well as some delicious prepared food.  We bought cannelloni and antipasti from an Italian stall for a picnic lunch.

This woman was handing out free carrier bags made of recycled plastic and printed with a list of all the Paris markets and the days when they take place.  It was a great way to promote the markets and encourage shoppers to buy more, as they were generously sized and made to last.


 There was lots of lovely asparagus around and these delicious looking spears tied up in bundles, which looked similar but more delicate.  Unfortunately, I didn't find out what they were called and didn't have a chance to try them.
There was a great variety of salad leaves - including this superb lamb's lettuce which is my favourite.
The baby turnips looked great.  They are great sliced thinly and salted to make pickle.

I wish I had access to a market like this, here in England.  The stall-holders all seem to know and care about what they are selling and are always ready to give you ideas for how to cook or use the ingredients and produce.  A little glimpse of foodie heaven.