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.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Berries and Jellies

All this good weather has enticed me to spend time exploring the footpaths of Dartmoor, where I live.
Instead of writing posts on this blog!  Now that autumn has arrived I have been enjoying foraging for hedgerow fruits to make jellies, so I can't resist sharing the joy of Jellies.
The rowan trees seem to be especially laden this year so last week I picked rowan berries to make a Rowan Jelly.

It is a beautiful colour and has a delicate, slightly bitter taste.  I like it for breakfast on toast with a bit of soft goats cheese.  It would also be lovely with roast meats.  One recipe I looked at was infused with rosemary, which would be perfect with something like a roast lamb.

At the weekend I discovered blackberry heaven when out walking.  It was a field with conveniently spaced bushes laden with huge blackberries.  Three of us picked enough blackberries in about fifteen minutes to make six pots of delicious Bramble Jelly.

I added some lemon juice and a cooking apple to help the set for both jellies.  The recipe consisted of simply boiling up the fruit (barely covered with water) until soft and then straining the liquid through a bit of muslin.  I left it to drip overnight.  
The liquid is then combined with sugar in the proportion of 1lb of sugar to 1pint of liquid.
It is good to heat the sugar slightly (5 minutes in a low oven) before adding it to the liquid and it is important to stir it over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved, before bringing it up to the boil and simmering until setting point is reached.  It should take around 30 minutes or more.  You can test it by putting a teaspoon full on a saucer which has been chilled in the fridge and see if it begins to wrinkle when pushed.  When it is ready, let it cool slightly and then pour in to sterilised jars.
To sterilise the jars, the easiest way is to wash and dry them, then put them in a medium oven for 5 minutes.

Exercise, fresh air, wonderful scenery and free food.  Dartmoor foraging is highly recommended!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Cookery Demonstration

Chef, Ben Bulger, of The Magdalen Chapter Hotel in Exeter, did a cookery demonstration using my pots last week.

I organised the event to showcase my new tableware range. It was held at the stylish In Toto kitchens showroom on the Marsh Barton Estate in Exeter.

It was great to see the pots in a posh domestic setting, rather than in a gallery and the collaboration brought new customers to me and to the kitchen showroom and chef.  We also had a wine expert, Susy Atkins, who did a wine tasting, which helped to make the event relaxed and enjoyable. Hillside Foods provided excellent refreshments.

It really made me feel that collaboration between local businesses is the way forward and makes the whole business of promotion and marketing much more fun.  I hope to do more collaborations with the chef, who likes using the pots.

This dish of lamb with beans and a salsa verde was delicious and very simple to make.  I think everyone went home inspired to have a go at the simple dishes he demonstrated.  Hopefully also inspired to visit my workshop and buy pots for their own use.

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Source - Food show at Westpoint, Exeter

This week I went to see The Source food show at the Westpoint exhibition centre near Exeter.
It was mainly local food producers, showing off their wares, with various associated companies selling equipment, magazines, packaging and so on.

I went mainly to see Hillside Foods, who were using my pots to display their delicious crackers and chutneys.  The simple display looked professional and inviting.

It was nearly lunchtime when I was there, so the many free samples of sausages, pies and so on were very welcome.  I bought a couple of Tom's Pies which have totally converted me to the idea of pies in general.  Their ham hock and pea is one of my favourites.  They also have some delicious spicy vegetarian options.

The prettiest food - which also tasted good - was some beetroot pickled quail eggs. They are produced by a Dorset company called Little Windsor.   The samples were served with smoked cheese cubes.  Yum!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Soup with Svend Bayer

Today I went with my apprentice, Caro, to have lunch with Svend Bayer at his home in Sheepwash, North Devon.  He lives in a part of Devon which people in my village call 'mamba country' - 'mamba' standing for 'miles and miles of bugger all'!  So, a suitably rustic setting for a hearty, rustic soup, served in one of his comforting soup bowls.
The wooden spoon was made by his son, Bjorn, who showed me a collection of the beautiful spoons he has made.

They are made from apple and maple wood.  The finish is silky smooth and they are a joy to use.

We looked at the pots from his latest firing.  Many of them are destined for the shop, David Mellor, in London.  I especially liked these soup bowls with a beautiful pale celadon glaze inside.

I chose a lovely bowl with 'mishima' decoration.  This is a technique which involves texturing the clay surface with stamps and cords and filling the indentations with slip, which is scraped back to create a smooth, patterned surface.

It already feels very much at home on my table as a fruit bowl.  A tomato salad would also look delicious in it.  A new pot is always a good source of inspiration for cooking.  I want to make something special to complement such a lovely pot.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

After the Food Festival

It is just a week now since the Food Festival and it seems to have taken that long to recover from all the hard work of preparation.
The Food Presentation Demonstration went well.  This photo shows the fruit platter which I put together.  I hope that I convinced people that using hand made pots to present food can make a beautiful centrepiece for the table, with a minimum of effort.

Below is the salad platter which I made.  Unfortunately, the photo was taken before the tomato and mozzarella had its final drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of basil leaves.

We enjoyed eating the completed dish that evening, with some hand-baked bread from one of the stalls at the festival.  Tom's Pies provided a couple of delicious pies for the next meal and a spring posy of daffodils and assorted greenery from The Husbandry School has brightened up my table all week.
The Food Festival seems to get better every year.  I just wish I had been able to see a bit more of it, but I shouldn't complain about having a busy showroom at this time of year.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Moretonhampstead Festival of Food and Drink

I have been busy designing and making a new range of tableware which I am planning to showcase at the Moretonhampstead Festival of Food and Drink on Saturday 9th March. The Festival is now in its 5th year and promises to be bigger and better than ever with stands all down the main street and cookery demonstrations throughout the day.

I will host two demonstrations at The Studio. The first will start at 11.30 a.m. and the second at 3.00 p.m. The demonstration will last for about 25 minutes. Influenced by the Japanese art of food presentation.

I am planning to put together a fruit platter and show how to assemble a salad platter from simple ingredients. I am excited (and nervous!) as this is the first time I have attempted anything like a cookery demonstration.

If you can, please pop in and have a cup of tea or coffee in the showroom whilst you have a look at the new pots and my demonstration.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

New Tableware

January is always a tricky month in the workshop.  It is hard to motivate myself to get back to work after Christmas when the workshop is cold.  Luckily this year I had a Japanese potter friend working with me, who kept me going.  I was able to work on developing a new range of tableware.

The new tableware uses the soft grey and white palette which I have been trying out over the last couple of years.  It is great for serving many kinds of food.  These slab dishes are modelled on some which I bought years ago in Japan and have used a lot.  I have tried before to create something similar and these are the best yet.

The texture on them is inspired by the Jomon pots from the previous post.  I made some rollers using plaited string glued on to dowel rods and used them to texture the slabs.  Opposing corners were impressed using a shell I found on the beach last summer.

With the new pots, I am trying to keep it simple.  For me, that is often the hardest thing to achieve.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


I was at the British Museum yesterday - along with hundreds of tourists sheltering from the horrible rainy weather - and enjoyed looking at the Jomon pots.
This is what the Japanese were making when we were making Stonehenge.
What I hadn't realised is that they used them for cooking in.  They had a photograph of some fire pits which the base of the pot was put in to.  
I don't know what they actually cooked in them, but I like the idea of such ornate and exciting pots being used for cooking.  Quite an inspiration for the next making cycle!
Back to the studio tomorrow...