Finally I have taken the time to write and edit the photos of my visit to Sytch Farm Studios in Dorrington, Shrewsbury last month. Gill offered to pick me up from the station in Shrewsbury when we agreed I was coming for a visit to do some work together. I had discovered her beautiful tableware pieces back in May during a food photography workshop with Danielle (check my previous posts here and here) and we had exchanged via email since then. So when I arrived, I immediately recognized Gill. She greeted me warmly and soon we were both very chatty in her van on the road back to Sytch Farm. Along an off-the-beaten-track tiny road, I finally discovered her beautiful cottage and pottery studio. Gill and Jon have been renovating their house over the last three years and it just looked like the idea I had of an English cottage. Everything is well organized in the house, not to mention the kitchen which is stunning and and full of the plates and bowls Gill makes. The dinning area is really cozy with the fireplace. Jon’s beautiful paintings are in most rooms across the house, including the guest bedroom where I was meant to sleep. Since June this year, Gill now works full time from her pottery studio at her wheel, together with her husband who creates beautiful boards from English wood.
After meeting her two dogs Betty and Bomber and the chickens, we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the garden and then set of to work the rest of the afternoon, only stopping when Jon came back with his friend with their catch of the day (we had sto photograph the fish of course!). In the evening, Jon cooked for us some delicious dinner and we kept chatting until late that night. The next morning Gill worked on the wheel starting series of bowls whilst a new batch just came out of the kiln, cooling in the sun. Gill and Jon were such great friendly hosts and so patient with my photo requirements! I had such a lovely time and cannot wait to come back to see her next creations.
If you want to see more photos, have a look at Sytch Farm Studios’ blog here.
Gill and Jon have a stall at the Ludlow Food Festival starting tomorrow, so if you are in the UK, make sure you go and pay them a visit!
Jon’s meatballs recipe
For the sauce / Pour la sauce
– 1 red bell pepper / poivron rouge
– 2 medium sizes carotts / carottes moyennes
– 1 big white onion / gros oignon blanc
– 2 big branches of celery / grandes branches de céleri
– 3 medium size diced tomatoes / tomates moyennes coupées en morceau
– 1 clove of garlic / gousse d’ail
– a few leaves of fresh oregano / quelques feuilles d’origan frais
– 3-4 Tspn olive oil / c.s. d’huile d’olive
For the meatballs / Pour les boulettes
– grated parmesan / parmesan râpé fin
– 500g minced beef / de boeuf haché
– fresh herbs (oregano/parsley) / herbes fraîches (origan, persil)
– 15cl milk / de lait
– 1/2 cup bread crumbs / de miettes de pain
– 1 egg / oeuf
– salt and pepper / sel et poivre
Chargrill the pepper or bake in the oven for 20/30min at 180°C to be able to skin it off.
Take the seeds off and combine the flesh with the other vegetables and add salt and pepper and olive oil. Let simmer on medium heat for 15/20min until all vegetables have softened. Blend in a food processor to have a smoother texture whilst keeping a few chunks. Keep aside whilst preparing the meatballs.
Soak the bread crumbs in the milk.
Beat the egg with salt and pepper and fresh herbs thinely sliced.
Add half of the parmesan cheese and then the meat. Mix well without working the meat for too long as the heat of your hands would warm it. Then add the milk-bread crumbs mix.
Form the meatballs by rolling them in your hands (2/3cm diametre size) and place them on tray covered with baing paper. Make sure you leave space between them.
Sprinkle with the rest of parmesan and put in the oven (180°C) for 10-15min. Check the meatballs colour turns golden to brown. Once cooked, mix in the sauce and serve straight away with fresh pasta.
Passer au four (180°C) le poivron pendant 20/30 min pour pouvoir enlever la peau facilement (ou le faire griller sur une plaque à gaz).
Epépiner et couper la chair du poivron en morceau et mélanger avec tous les autres légumes + sel et poivre et l’huile d’olive. Laisser mijoter à feu moyen pendant 15/20min jusqu’à ce que tous les légumes soient fondants. Passer rapidement au mixeur. Garder des quelques morceaux dans la sauce. Réserver hors du feu le temps de préparer les boulettes.
Faire tremper les miettes de pain dans le lait.
Battre l’oeuf à la fourchette avec le sel et poivre et les herbes fraiches ciselées.
Ajouter la moitié du parmesan ensuite la viande. Ne pas travailler trop la viande pour ne pas la chauffer avec les mains. Ajouter enfin la mixture lait-pain et mélanger avec la viande.
Former les boulettes (2/3cm de diametre max) et les positionner sur une plaque allant four recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Laisser un peu d’espace entre les boulettes.