MY KIND OF COUN­TRY

Cook­book writer and recipe de­vel­oper Tess Lis­ter

Country Homes & Interiors - - CONTENTS -

Food blog­ger Tess Lis­ter on life in a mill in the Cotswolds

Tucked away among mead­ows is a tim­ber-framed flour mill with cot­tage gar­dens and a bab­bling river. This idyl­lic slice of Cotswolds coun­try­side is home to food writer Tess Lis­ter, and her cook­book, A Hand­ful of Flour, draws on mem­o­ries of grow­ing up here. More than just a pretty pic­ture though, Ship­ton Mill is a thriv­ing busi­ness. From dawn till dusk, its ma­chin­ery rum­bles away, grind­ing grains by stone in the tra­di­tional man­ner. Through the year, feasts and par­ties are held at the mill, and Tess presents dishes cre­ated for her blog,

The Miller’s Daugh­ter. Well-known chefs and bak­ers may be spot­ted among the crowd here. We went to visit and found a black­berry cob­bler wait­ing, just out of the oven…

TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE.

My time is di­vided be­tween our Lon­don site and the fam­ily home, just out­side the mar­ket town of Tet­bury in Glouces­ter­shire. Dusty, my dog, al­ways trav­els with me. Ship­ton Mill was a crum­bling wreck with net­tles grow­ing out of the win­dows when my dad, John, and a group of friends set to work on it in the 1970s. They breathed life back into the place, restor­ing it on a shoe­string and learn­ing as they went. The barns date back to the Vic­to­rian era, but there has been a mill on the site for far longer – since 1086, the Domes­day Book records. We are used to a back­ground whir from the mill, but come the evening a won­der­ful peace de­scends.

IT SOUNDS LIKE A LOVELY SPOT TO GROW UP.

I couldn’t think of a more mag­i­cal place. The coun­try­side around us is filled with ot­ters, king­fish­ers and brown trout, if you know where to look. My brother, Joe, and I were pretty much al­lowed to roam free out­side all day dur­ing school hol­i­days. We spent a lot of time mak­ing dens, cook­ing on camp­fires, climb­ing trees and mak­ing bows and ar­rows. A lit­tle un­suc­cess­fully with the lat­ter, but it was fun none­the­less!

IS THE MILL A FAM­ILY AF­FAIR?

Yes, it’s all hands on deck. Dad over­sees Ship­ton Mill it­self. My mum, Siob­han Nolan, runs our gluten-free bak­ing cour­ses and Joe is busy learn­ing the art of milling at our nearby Framp­ton base. I started out as a lawyer in the City but re­turned to my coun­try roots to help take the busi­ness for­ward and also for a cre­ative out­let. Work­ing with fam­ily is great, al­though it’s a bit easy to slip into talk­ing shop. A walk with Dusty is how I start

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