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24 November 2014

Born of earth and wood: Sytch Farm Studios

Sytch Farm Studio, near Shrewsbury, is home to the workshops of husband and wife team Gill and Jon Thompson. Carpenter and artist Jon creates wooden serving boards and paddles from sustainable British trees; while artisan potter Gill throws and glazes bowls and vessels inspired by Shropshire and her birthplace – Cornwall.

Gill’s beautiful ceramic bowls fit snuggly into the handle of the boards, creating a match made in heaven for fans of cheese and pickles, charcuterie and dips or tapas.

Since setting up in business less than a year ago, the couple has already received orders from Michelin-starred restaurateur Tom Kerridge for his new venture, The Coach, in Marlow.  ITV This Morning chef Marcus Bean and the Hairy Bikers are also admirers of Sytch Farm Studios kitchenware. Chefs and foodies appreciate the fact that these stunning and unusual products can be made to order in a variety of sizes, colour glazes and timbers depending on personal preference.

Each bowl and board is created by hand, ensuring each piece is completely original. The size, shape and character depends on the timber Jon uses whether Oak, Wild Cherry, Burr Elm, Apple, Plane Tree or Walnut.

Gill sources her clay from Stoke and a claypit in St Agnes, Cornwall, to throw her bowls with. She also creates a range of stylish ceramic hearts, gifts and keepsakes; These make unique Christmas decorations as well as personal gifts for christenings, weddings and other occasions. If you are looking for that extra special something, then you can also ask Gill and Jon to carry out a bespoke commission for you too.

Here at The Artisan Food Trail, we love hand crafted items such as these. Being from a design background ourselves we appreciate the work that goes into making them and also their individuality. We're sure you'll want to take a look at Sytch Farm Studios products too. With Christmas just around the corner not only do they have the perfect gifts for foodies, they also have some wonderful Christmas decorations.

Win some beautiful tableware from Sytch Farm Studios

The Artisan Food Trail is running a competition to win some of this beautiful tableware and someone could be the proud owner of a classic British-made solid oak paddle board and ceramic bowl set worth £49 from Sytch Farm Studios.

This competition has now closed

17 November 2014

The Artisan Food Trail supports the Farm Business Innovation exhibition in 2014

The Artisan Food Trail is pleased to be supporting the Farm Business Innovation Show which takes place on the 27th and 28th November at Olympia, London.

The Farm Business Innovation exhibition and conference returns to Olympia London at the end of November, promising new ways for farmers, smallholders, land owners and estate managers to use their land to bring in more money. Now in its second year, this is the business event for any rural entrepreneur exploring their options for diversification or opportunities for a new business.

Further details are also on The Artisan Food Trail website.

If you’re considering diversifying your farm or rural land, or you are searching for the inspiration to launch a new rural business, then you simply must attend Farm Business Innovation. The free-to-attend event returns to London Olympia on 27th-28th November.

Book your free ticket now at www.thefarmingshow.co.uk 
or call 08000 686970

7 November 2014

Yare Valley Oils dressings are not just for salads

Photo: © Yare Valley Oils
Yare Valley Oils  have combined their delicious Norfolk extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil with a variety of different, herbs, spices and seasonings to produce a range of dressings.
Currently there are three to choose from, all quite different, to complement a wide range of foods; Norfolk Honey & Mustard, Chilli and Norfolk Vinaigrette.
Yare Valley Oils' wonderfully golden rapeseed oil has a nutty taste with a particularly floral character which makes a pleasing base flavour.

Norfolk Honey & Mustard Dressing
Norfolk Honey and Mustard has become a favourite as it seems to go with just about everything. Our task has been to stop using it! We like the perfect balance of ingredients including cider vinegar. The honey has just the right amount of sweetness and the mustard isn't too hot that it overpowers.

Of course it is just great drizzled over a plain old salad but it can really add to a dish and is exceptional with chicken or try dressing warm green beans with it or maybe some tuna. It also works wonders with sausages too as a glaze towards the end of cooking.

Chilli Dressing
Chilli seems to be a ubiquitous, if not essential flavour in everyone's store cupboard these days so good job Yare Valley Oils have created a Chilli Dressing.
They've got it spot on too and not gone too crazy with the heat factor. It is still spicy as you'd expect but doesn't blow your head off.

We liked the savoury and slightly smoky flavour with the merest hint of garlic which means it goes well with most things, avocado and prawns take to the flavour well as do potatoes. Make spicy wedges using the dressing to coat the potatoes before roasting.

Norfolk Vinaigrette
Every range requires a classic and here we have Norfolk Vinaigrette. According to the label the recipe was given to Yare Valley by their friend Polly.
There are a lot of herbs in this dressing which we found almost too strong for most leafy salads. It is better suited to more robust flavours that can stand up to it like tomatoes for instance which can carry off potent rosemary and thyme tones.

However we found it really comes into its own as a marinade for chicken. When the chicken is cooked the herbs are mellowed and really enhance the meat. It also slightly caramelises lending a burnished tone and rich flavour.

All the dressings can bought online from the Yare Valley Oils website or from any of these stockists.

We are pleased to award Yare Valley Oils our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Norfolk Honey & Mustard Dressing, Chilli Dressing and Norfolk Vinaigrette.

To find out more about Yare Valley Oils visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.