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Covered in freckles

I spent the morning back at Eastnor Pottery, throwing some lidded pots. Well, I say “some” – I was actually on a bit of a roll and threw ten pots and ten lids. They won’t all form matching pairs though – I was throwing “freehand” without weighing the lumps of clay or using calipers to get exact measurements. After a really busy few weeks at work, all I wanted to do was relax, and not put myself under any additional pressure to throw accurately. I’ll go back in a few months, after work has calmed down a bit, select just a couple of pots and lids that fortuitously fit together, and finish just those. All the rest can go on the reclaim pile and get recycled.

My completed tagine

It was a lovely sunny day, so I took my lunch out into the garden of the pottery to get some much-needed Vitamin D. I realised that my arms were absolutely covered with spots of terracotta clay from throwing – it looked like I had a massive attack of freckles! And it wasn’t just my arms – I’d got specks of clay all over my glasses too. I scraped them off with a tissue, and then realised the downside of having photochromic lenses. Instead of dark spots of clay obscuring my vision, I now had mostly darkened lenses with light spots where the photochromic polymers had been protected by the clay. Most peculiar! I came home about 2pm and jumped straight in the shower to try to wash off all the clay – throwing is definitely a very messy business!

While I was at the pottery, I also picked up the tagine that I finished last time I was there. To give you a feeling of the scale, it’s about 20cm high and is a good size to make a dinner for one. The idea is that, as the casserole cooks, steam rises up the conical lid, condenses, and drips back into the base. I’m looking forward to giving it a go, though I know I’ll have to be careful putting the pot directly on the hob.¬† Terracotta¬† tagines are notorious for being susceptible to heat-shock – you have to heat them up very slowly and gently otherwise they are liable to explode! It may be safer to use the base of my slow-cooker as the heat-source instead.


{ 2 } Comments

  1. Julia Jackson | 26 May 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Dear Gillian: with tagines, the accepted wisdom (as put out by Lakeland!) is to use a diffuser over the heat source. I admit I haven’t yet tried it myself, having a very pretty tagine sitting on a shelf in the kitchen which hasn’t been used yet (my tagine-type dishes having been casseroled to date), but I believe it works well. It might be worth trying it – I thnk you can probably buy diffuserd at a good hardware shop – or Lakeland on line (or in store), and they have a rather good recipe book for tagines, too. Hope yours is successful.

  2. Gillian | 26 May 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Julia – that sounds good advice.