I am a cack-handed cook. The sort that spreads pans, ingredients and utensils across every surface. I enjoy cooking but I am no great expert and like many people quick fix food tends to be an often chosen option.
Sometimes it’s good to take time, to cook for the sake of cooking. The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook from the Yeo Valley Family Farm is cooking in this genre. It overwhelming comes across as a celebration of Great British food. Think seasons, think locally sourced, think farmhouse based recipes, think cooking for love.
It is about food loving prepared. It is not about chucking it all in a food processor and then shoving it in the oven. I’d say the recipes, for someone like me a bit of cack-handed cook, are fiddly. They take time, but they are worth it. Put some time and love in and taste the time and love in return.
The recipes I’ve sampled are really tasty. Really delicious. I enjoyed the process of cooking them and very much enjoyed the eating. The ingredients are British based and could easily be sourced in a local farm shop or supermarket. I didn’t find anything obscure, which makes the recipes very do-able.
Buttermilk pancakes with honey and vanilla butter. To be honest I ate these with jam and to be very honest I ate all of them (the recipe serves 4). The book guided me easily through the process. This is the type of recipe I might usually avoid (it involves separating eggs and whisking the whites) but it was much easier than I’d expected. I like that Sarah Mayor offers alternative suggests so; ricotta pancakes or bacon and maple syrup. A three in one deal.
The book set out is good with a handy recipe list and index. Some of the recipes are meat based. It’s a farmhouse cookbook but thought has been given to vegetarian recipes and there are eight good main courses and a balance of starters and vegetarian snacks. All the soups are invitingly vegetarian. The pudding list is lengthy and wonderful. I can see myself returning to that list, especially for indulging friends.
Mr Noo was inspired by the proper meaty sections, game, beef, venison etc. Even with my strongly vegetarian heart I too was inspired to browse this section and cooked by the hearty kale, white bean and sausage stew but adapted. Veggie sausages, vegetable stock and left out the bacon (and I used new potatoes which don’t need peeling). It lasted a couple of days and on day two Mr Noo brought some bacon which he fried up and added. He said it made a good dish sublime.
The book has a lovely feel, matt paper and textured cover. Visually, the photos are inspiring and have a wonderful farmhouse atmosphere that transported me to an alternative dream life in the countryside, in which I have roses round the door and chickens in the garden.
I enjoyed reading the introduction which gives some background to Yeo Valley and the family behind the products, it warmed me to the book.
At the front there is an informative section on making your own yoghurt, cheese and butter, which is fascinating and I’m tempted to make my own ricotta.
This is a book for cooking with love, spending time making good food. So far, the recipe I’ve loved best is raspberry, lemon and yoghurt tea loaf, which I shared with a group of women and it went down a storm. I was really pleased. Pop back tomorrow because I’m sharing the recipe.
This is a book with the richness of good ingredients at it’s heart. It breathes the message; take time and cook for the love of food. Yeo Valley Family Farm. The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook. Sarah Mayor. ISBN 978-1-84949-302-4. Retails at £20.00 and is 223 pages
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book for review. Words and Opinions are my own.