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Book review: A Love for Food, by Carole Bamford

20 August 2020 by

Gloucestershire farm Daylesford has developed a reputation for seasonality and sustainability, driven by its founder, Carole Bamford, who has championed organic methods for some 40 years. Her cookbook, A Love for Food, was first published in 2013 and has now been reissued with more than 150 recipes championing the joy of simply prepared produce.

Since the recipes rely on the seasonality of the ingredients in relatively straightforward dishes, it's a timeless book with plenty to offer those keen to celebrate nature. As Bamford says: "The messages we were trying to convey with that first book – to celebrate seasonal ingredients and to eat in a way that feels nourishing and balanced for you and for the planet – are as relevant and important today as they were then."

There is plenty to get stuck into here, with chapters covering eggs, soups and salads through to more substantial dishes inspired by seasonal vegetables, fish and meat reared on the farm. Accompanying the recipes are details on the inner working of the farm, with insights from those who nurture the livestock, ensure the soil is nourished, grow its fruit and vegetables, and create its artisan cheeses and breads.

There are some good tips on waste reduction and composting from environmental scientist Tim Field, while Jez Taylor, who heads up the market garden, shares his knowledge of cultivating interesting crops, should you be thinking of setting up your own kitchen garden.

The homely staples focus on the simple use of well-tended local produce. Most interesting are the twists on well-known dishes in order to incorporate a different ingredient, such as woodland mushroom shepherd's pie, which would surely satisfy anyone avoiding meat this autumn; a spring-inspired pearl barley, asparagus and pea shoot risotto; and an intriguing venison and cavolo nero lasagne.

These recipes won't be a challenge for any professional chef, but the book does provide a timely reminder of our impact on the health of the earth and how best to enjoy its bounty in a responsible fashion.

A Love for Food, by Carole Bamford (Penguin Random House, £30)

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