Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Birds That Sing In the Spring, Tra La....

Actually, do Blackbirds sing? The ones I think of as blackbirds are really Red-winged Blackbirds, and they sound more like rusty hinges than Pavarotti. Probably there are other kinds called Blackbirds, and maybe some of them have sweet songs.

The ones on my pots don't really sing so much as they chirp and cheep and act cheeky.

Here's a picture of some in progress. I've been asked a few times how I make them, and you can see, it is quite simple. Just make a shape, mug or bowl or some such, then cut out a Blackbird from a flat slab of clay, and stick it on. Done. Well, except for then painting the bird..... adding the details.... firing the piece.... dipping it in clear glaze and firing again. Any potter reading this will agree, easy!

Painting the birds and their details
It's fun putting the birds on! And then when I come to painting the details, I just let my imagination go and things happen.

The black line which meanders around representing the birds' paths as they hop around can go anywhere, and the little colour motifs which represent the things they find as they go can be anything - leaves, sprouts, pebbles, clouds.... anything.

Here are some finished bowls:

With luck, there should be a whole load of them ready for the Market on Saturday!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thinking Asparagus, Sort Of

Will somebody please restrain me? Every time I sit down at the wheel to throw some sauce jugs (for the Hollandaise to go with the fresh asparagus available now) I find myself making another Fairy House base. Arrrggghhhh. I have enough Fairy Houses!

Now I need small jugs in cute shapes to go with the asparagus dishes I'll have at the Carp Farmers' Market opening on May 10th. Here are a few:

See the little jug? Perfect for Hollandaise sauce, right? Just in case you don't have one, here is my quick and easy (and foolproof) recipe for that:

Combine in your blender: 4 egg yolks, 2 tbsp. lemon juice and a pinch each of salt, cayenne and white pepper. In a small saucepan, heat 3/4 cup of butter until it almost bubbles. Now, with your blender running at a low speed, very slowly pour the butter into the mixture. It will emulsify almost immediately, so be ready to turn the blender off quick. Pour into a nice Pine Ridge Studio jug, and serve hot.

Easy, right? And delicious! Great on eggs, over asparagus, even on toast....

Another great thing to do with asparagus is to roast it. Really. Just break off the ends, wash, etc. Lay the spears in a single layer in a glass or pottery dish, sprinkle with butter, parmesan cheese, and Panko crumbs. Roast in a medium to hot oven for about 15-20 minutes. You may need to watch the time as thick asparagus spears take longer, and you may want to turn them over half-way through. Whatever you do, have that sauce ready!

Now I'd better get back to the wheel and throw some more Fairy Houses.... no, I mean, sauce jugs.