Daylesford cookbook: 3 simple recipes from the UK’s most iconic farm cafe

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A new edition of Carole Bamford’s acclaimed seasonal cookbook A Love For Food is packed with sophisticated, sustainable recipes – and we’ve got three to share here.

When you think of a farm cafe, you probably think of something a little rustic and ramshackle. But the cafe at Daylesford Organic Farm in the Cotswolds is anything but. Attached to the Daylesford Farmshop – arguably the most famous store of its kind in the UK – the space is airy, elegant and serene, with a sustainable menu that relies almost entirely on organic produce grown on the farm. In fact, it’s been so successful that there are now three more Daylesford Farmshop & Cafes in London (in Pimlico, Westbourne Grove and Marylebone).

Now, Daylesford Organic founder Carole Bamford’s acclaimed cookbook A Love For Food has been reissued. The book’s first edition, published in 2013, won plaudits for its refined but accessible approach to sustainable cooking, and the new revised version is no different: the recipes are separated into chapters such as ‘On Toast’, ‘Salads’ and ‘Cakes and Breaks’, with added sections that delve into the environmental and personal benefits of eating local, seasonal food wherever possible. 

“Revisiting this book and all its recipes has brought back many happy memories. A lot has changed at Daylesford since the book’s first edition, and the farm has grown and evolved, but the messages we try to convey remain the same,” says Bamford, who first began pioneering organic farming techniques at Daylesford over 35 years ago.

“Growing and consuming food sustainably have never been so important. I hope that as readers cook their way through the book, they will not only love the recipes; they will be inspired to reflect on where their food comes from and play their own part in helping to preserve nature’s larder for the generations that follow.”

Below, Bamford shares three recipes from A Love For Food: a three-tomato tart, pan-roasted pollock with crushed potatoes and watercress mayonnaise, and Daylesford’s famed dark and white chocolate brownies. Try each recipe alone, or make all of them on the same day for a three-course dinner that’s supremely sophisticated – yet surprisingly straightforward.

  • Three tomato tart recipe

    Daylesford tomato tart recipe

    Carole says: “This tart rides and falls on the quality of your tomatoes. Jez (our market gardener) recommends Marmande, which are the juicy, sweet, ‘ribbed’, ones that have more flesh than seeds – they are good for the sauce and for slicing. Earlier in the year Stupice is one of the first varieties to ripen in our market garden and is a good, full-flavoured one to use for the sauce. Sweet, juicy Golden Cherry tomatoes are perfect for the finishing layer.”

    Makes 6

    Ingredients

    • 12 large ripe red vine tomatoes, preferably heritage (see introduction, above)
    • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh red chilli
    • juice of 1⁄2 a lemon
    • 1 good sprig of thyme, leaves only
    • 500g puff pastry
    • 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 20 yellow vine cherry tomatoes, preferably heritage (see introduction, above)
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Chop 6 of the large tomatoes.

    Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium pan over a low heat, then add the onion, garlic and the coriander and cumin seeds, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion softens, stirring constantly. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli, lemon juice and half the thyme leaves and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

    Add 200ml of water and bring to the boil, then cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and all the juice has evaporated. Taste and season as necessary. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

    Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3–4mm thick and cut around a small plate or use a large cutter (about 12cm in diameter) to cut out 6 discs. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper, then place the discs on top and put into the fridge to rest for 20 minutes (this will help to stop the pastry shrinking in the oven).

    When ready to cook, remove the pastry discs from the fridge and prick all over with a fork. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until light golden and crisp.

    Remove and leave to cool. Slice the remaining red tomatoes thinly (around 3mm).

    Divide the cooked tomato mixture between the pastry discs, spreading it right to the edge. Arrange the slices of red tomato on top (approximately 6 slices on each). Sprinkle with parmesan and return the tarts to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, cut the yellow cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on their size, put into a bowl, combine with the rest of the olive oil and the remaining thyme leaves and season.

    Remove the tarts from the oven, spoon some of the yellow tomatoes and their juices on to each tart and serve. 

  • Pan-roasted pollock recipe with crushed potatoes and watercress mayonnaise

    Carole says: “Cooking with pollock is easier on fish stocks than buying cod (unless this comes from a sustainable fishery), and it is very similar in texture and appearance, though it has a slightly less pronounced taste – however, the zingy flavours in the crushed potatoes and the pepperiness of the watercress mayonnaise combine to make this a really vibrant dish.”

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
    • 4 x 150g pieces of pollock, skin on and pin-boned
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • juice of 1⁄2 a lemon, plus 4 lemon wedges
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the crushed potatoes:

    • 400g salad potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 125g podded fresh peas (or frozen peas, defrosted)
    • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
    • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil
    • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint
    • zest of 1 lemon

    For the watercress mayonnaise:

    • 1 bunch of watercress, large stalks removed
    • 100g mayonnaise
    • zest of 1 lemon and the juice of 1⁄2 a lemon

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

    For the crushed potatoes, put the potatoes into a pan of cold, lightly salted water and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander and return them to the pan, crush slightly with a back of a spoon, then mix in the olive oil, peas, spring onions, herbs and lemon zest. Season to taste.

    While the potatoes are cooking, make the watercress mayonnaise. Have ready a bowl of iced water. Bring a pan of water to the boil, then dip in the watercress to blanch it for 5 seconds only, lift out with a slotted spoon or sieve, and put into the iced water to cool. Squeeze out the water, then chop and mix with the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice. Season to taste.

    To cook the pollock, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan that will transfer to the oven. Season the fish and put into the pan, skin side down. Cook over a medium heat until the skin is crisp and golden, then turn over and put into the oven for about 6 minutes, until just cooked (it should be opaque all the way through).

    Remove the pan from the oven, add the butter and lemon juice, let the butter melt, then spoon over the fish. Divide the fish, with their buttery juices, between four plates, and add a lemon wedge to each, together with some of the crushed potatoes and a good dollop of watercress mayonnaise. 

  • Dark and white chocolate brownie recipe

    Daylesford chocolate brownie recipe

    Carole says: “These brownies have become something of a Daylesford icon and they’re a staple at the bakery and in our farmshops. A crisp, sugary topping gives way to the soft, smooth dark chocolate filling which is contrasted with a lovely crunch from the shards of white chocolate that run through the middle. Decadent and rich, these are very hard to resist.”

    Makes about 16

    Ingredients

    • 4 eggs
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 150g demerara sugar
    • 350g unsalted butter
    • 350g good dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
    • 180g plain flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 380g white chocolate buttons

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3 and line a 30cm square cake tin (or equivalent) with baking paper.

    In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars until thick.

    Put the butter and dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the base doesn’t touch the water) and let the chocolate melt.

    Let the chocolate cool a little, then add to the beaten eggs and sugar, and mix well. Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and, when thoroughly combined, add the chocolate buttons and mix in gently.

    Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, making sure you don’t overbake the brownies. They need to stay quite soft and moist in the middle, so they should be springy to the touch and, if you insert a skewer into the centre, it should come out sticky, not clean, as you would expect with a cake.

    Take out of the oven and allow to cool in the tin before turning out on to a board or clean work surface and cutting into squares. 

A Love for Food: Recipes from the Fields and Kitchens of Daylesford Farm by Carole Bamford (£30, Square Peg) is out now

Photography: Sarah Maingot; Martin Morrell

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