A few weekends ago, my mum treated my brother and me to a weekend in the Cotswolds.
With idyllic villages lined with rose covered cottages and small streams that flow by the charming country pubs, it is quintessentially English.
We spent a lot of the time just driving from village to village and picking our favourite houses!
On Saturday, whilst my brother was off learning how to clay pigeon shoot, I went to Daylesford Organic Farm Gloucestershire, somewhere I had been wanting to visit for a long time.
Daylesford Organic originated as a family farm set in over 2000 acres and owned by Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford. Since then it's grown into a beautifully styled deli and farm shop selling its handmade cheeses, yoghurt, fresh fruit and vegetables from its market garden, freshly baked breads and pastries and endless delicious homemade store cupboard essentials.
The whole place is done in just my kind of style- a large open deli piled high with fresh produce, a huge salad counter, a fresh butchery and fishmonger and heart shaped holes in the brick walls peering through into the offices and kitchens.The style is natural and rustic yet modern and well thought out.
|Selling fresh, local fish|
Upstairs in the barn there's a whole range of cookware and home ware. I finally managed to buy the table linen I spotted in the Notting Hill shop and never managed to go back for!
It also has a big modern cafe with a great warming pizza oven at the back as well as a open terrace outside with wooden tables for warmer days to sit and have a coffee in the sun.
Next to the cafe is the Hay Barn Spa and beauty shop, accompanied by a flower and garden shop.
They also rent big luxury cottages- perfect for a weekend away.
Daylesford is known for its sustainability. It's one of the few all organic farms in Britain with a heavy emphasis on its principles of producing good quality organic food and turning it into simple yet absolutely delicious dishes from within metres of where the food was grown.
|Freshly baked cakes and pastries to eat in their cafe or take away.|
|A whole separate room full of their homemade cheeses- such a good smell when you walked in!|
Everyone who works there is passionate about food.
I was lucky enough to have a day at their cookery school.
It has the most amazingly equipped kitchen and a great demonstrating area in the middle.
From coffee when you arrived, different wines with every dish, individual recipe files, name tags and complementary aprons you definitely felt like you were being treated.
All the dishes we made centred around Daylesford produce- be it the heritage tomatoes of all different varieties and shades or their own red wine as the basis of a great homemade ice cream.
Throughout the day we were provided with details of Daylesford's attitude to food, the story behind it and a walk around the farm.
We made a heritage tomato salad- so simple yet utterly delicious.
Followed by pan-fried sea bass served with a salsa verde and baked aubergine puree and then herb crusted lamb with a caramelised onion tart and a red wine jus, all topped off with a homemade red wine and thyme ice cream and poached figs with pistachio and creme fraiche.
We were guided through every step and then encouraged to get stuck in and make our own - following our recipes guides and chatting to the others on the course.
|Really earthy tomatoes of all different shapes, colours and sizes!|
Inspired by the fish dish we cooked at Daylesford, I decided to use our own freshly grown veg to create a similar dish of pan- fried salmon with a garlic and beetroot puree, wild samphire and new potatoes.
I'm a massive fan of samphire- I love how it tastes so salty and like its just been picked fresh out of the sea. Paired with sumac spiced salmon and a slightly smokey garlic beetroot puree it makes a great supper.
Ingredients:(to serve 2)
Large handful of thyme
2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
2 salmon fillets
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
8 new potatoes
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C.
Score a cross in the top of each beetroot, chop a garlic clove in half and stick it into the beetroot.
Wrap each beetroot in tin foil enclosing it with the garlic, a handful of fresh thyme, salt, pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil.
Roast the beetroot for an hour until soft.
Once soft, allow to cool slightly before peeling off the skin. Add the beetroot to a tall jug and add some fresh thyme leaves, another clove of fresh garlic,( if you fancy) a small knob of butter and 1tbsp creme fraiche.
Using a hand-held blender, puree the mixture until smooth.
Check the seasoning here and add a little more salt or pepper if needed.
During the last 20 minutes whilst the beetroot is roasting, add the new potatoes to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Put another large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil.
Season the salmon with pepper, sumac and lemon zest.
Once nearly cooked,(the top of the salmon should be still slightly translucent) take the pan off the heat and flip the fish over adding the lemon juice to finish the cooking process.
Blanche the wild samphire in the other pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until tender but still with a slight bite.
Drain and flash fry for 5-10 seconds in a little butter.
Serve the salmon on top of the beetroot puree alongside the potatoes and samphire.