I've only recently started my love affair with black glazes. I used to think food looked better on a lighter palette but now I can't get enough of black serving ware. Black glazes can make food look really sexy and sophisticated. It can really dress up a dish – no matter how simple the recipe may be.
For this recipe I wanted to keep the design simple. I also wanted the plate to be a generous size but not obnoxious. A well defined lip was a feature I wanted to include – something that seems to be less popular with modern tableware. A strong lip with a bit of height enables the plate to double as a risotto bowl or dessert plate, while making it easy to lift from the table.
With all this in mind, I used white stoneware to throw the plate (throwing is the verb used when forming a vessel on the potter's wheel). Aiming for a finished plate that was around 26cm in diameter, give or take, I threw the plate to be approx. 30cm (this allows for a shrinkage rate of roughly 13% that occurs during the drying and firing process).
I chose to hand dip the glaze, using a large basin to submerge the plate. The finished piece is 26.5cm in diameter with a gloss finish – perfect for homemade ravioli (see recipe below).
Technique: I threw on a bat to facilitate ease of moving and prevent warping. It's essential to compress the base of flatware thoroughly with a firm kidney to prevent dreaded 's' cracks and other faults.
This is kind of a cheats version because I use wonton wrappers instead of making my own pasta. The soft yellow of the wonton looks great on the gloss black glaze.
15 sundried tomatoes finely chopped
100g walnuts chopped
1 packet wonton skins
1 egg beaten
1 bunch sage
150g good quality butter
Put ricotta, sundried tomatoes and walnuts in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste. Separate wonton skins and place a teaspoon of ricotta mixture in the center of a skin. Using a pastry brush (our your finger) brush egg around the 4 sides of the wonton skin – this will help stick another skin on top, enclosing the ricotta to create your ravioli pillow. You can make the ravioli earlier in the day (makes approx. 25-30 pillows), just put them in the fridge and cover them with a tea towel so they don’t dry out.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the ravioli (in stages if they don’t all fit). The ravioli should only take a couple of minutes to cook. When it floats to the top of the water it’s ready.
For the sauce, add the butter to a saucepan on medium heat (be careful to monitor this as the butter can burn quickly!). Once melted add the sage leaves and fry till slightly crispy. Pour over ravioli and serve immediately.