This weekend I have been mainly embracing a Cotswolds Lifestyle!
My birthday treat from Paul was definitely a good one – he booked me a place on a Sustainable Seafood course at the the Daylesford Cookery School.
Daylesford Organic Farm is a bit of local institution which started over forty years ago with a family focusing on sustainable and organic farming. It seems to have developed in to a ‘destination’ for the green-welly, Range Rover-driving brigade. Call me a cynic, but the C02 emissions from the vehicles on the car-park probably negate any of the produce bought in the Daylesford retail shops, or consumed in the café and restaurant! The main farm development is near Kingham in the Cotswolds but it is indicative of the customer base that there are also satellite stores in Notting Hill, Pimlico, Brompton Cross and Marylebone.
The whole “Daylesford” experience is a bit ‘lifestyle’ though – and the prices are eye-watering! Because I had attended a day’s class, I was entitled to 25% off in the food-shop and 10% off in the other bits (interiors, cleaning products, soaps and lotions etc). Hmmm… I only ended up getting some paprika (which we had used in one of the recipes and was SO good), and some Shropshire Heather Honey (so not even Cotswolds!) because those prices weren’t too extortionate. For example, a very small tin of olive oil cost £10, and a package of 15 bags of their own blend Breakfast Tea was £5.00 . And from the Bakery (although baked fresh every day) ONE croissant cost £1.99 . Well, I think that’s a bit pricey to be honest!
Having said that, the cookery class was extremely good – interesting, informative and thoroughly enjoyable. I was there a little early, at 9am for tea / coffee and pastries (homemade on the premises) and the official ‘lesson’ started at 9.30am, and it finished at 3pm. We had one tea-break and had a lunch in two parts. There was a group of ten ‘students’ and two chefs teaching us. Check out the photos or the website and you’ll see that the cookery school is pretty flash. We were taught how to fillet and prepare: mackerel, lemon sole and scallops. We then were shown how to cook various dishes with all three – and did two of the dishes ourselves, in pairs.
The recipes were:
Chermoula mackerel with bulgar wheat salad, tahini and yoghurt dressing
Poached sole fillet broth*
Roasted scallops with curried courgette puree, chargrilled courgettes, and sultanas and capers.
*The broth base was a fish stock which we also created using the ‘frames' after filleting the fish.
And we ate everything too, accompanied by two different organic wines from Chateau Leoube in Provence - their European venture! The atmosphere was really relaxed and easy-going. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I am going to check out the other courses that they have on offer – because they do a whole range of short courses as well as the full-day, full-on ones.
All I can say is - watch out Nigella... or maybe that should be Rick...?*!