Daylesford is a community with food at its heart and at their 2350-acre organic farm set in the idyllic Cotswolds, a day at the Cookery School is a must for anyone who shares our passion for real food. Their Cookery School is the UK’s most sustainable, and it is quite incredible. From classic courses such as Seasonal Dinner Party, to specialised courses like Artisan Bread Making and the Vegan Kitchen, there is literally something for everyone whatever your tastes.
We attended the Show Stopping Canapés course which was a hugely enjoyable half day course learning some really cool and creative recipes that were also super easy to follow. If you’ve been to Daylesford then you’ll know it just has the best vibe – beautiful, natural and inspiring – you can’t help but feel incredibly relaxed and comfortable and the Cookery School is no different.
The best canapés are those that combine simple flavours to create a morsel of absolute deliciousness and we loved these tips we picked up:
1. Flavour combinations are key…
Always think about the flavours you’re combining and keep it simple – there’s no need to be fiddling around with things, something like beetroot and goat’s cheese will always taste amazing together.
2. Keep it rustic…
A laidback approach to canapés is the best way, if you try and make them look too perfect it just makes it all feel a bit forced so keep it rustic and relaxed.
3. Try big plates instead…
Rather than create tiny canapés, arrange a selection of items on large plates or platters so guests can help themselves – some salamis and Italian hams, olives, homemade humous and flatbreads just freshly baked (easier than they sound!) are just wonderful and easy to prepare. We also like the sound of figs, mozzarella and Parma ham which go together so perfectly.
The drive over to Daylesford was really lovely with bright blue skies and the sun poured in through the Velux windows all day. It really is a lovely setting in which to fully immerse yourself in learning and cooking some really inspiring dishes.
The dishes we prepared were:
- onion bhajis with coronation mayonnaise (df and gf);
- beetroot and rosemary crackers with beef tartare (gf);
- panisse with tapenade (df and gf); and
- salmon tartare.
As well as these recipes, we also learnt some knife skills and picked up a ton of other really helpful tips. The Daylesford cookery school teaching staff are so knowledgeable and happy to share their thoughts and ideas, it was really great to be able to ask the experts questions you always have but never really find the answer to.
We were thrilled to see that Daylesford use STAUB cocotte cast iron cookware too as these are the pots we have in our kitchens – we love them! The lids incorporate a ‘spiked’ design, so that rising steam drips back onto the food cooking inside, keeping your food juicy and tender. It really does makes such a difference particularly for slow cooking in the winter.
This was the salmon tartare which we made without créme fraiche to make it dairy free. It was absolutely delicious, obviously we ate the whole lot…
A real favourite for everyone was these onion bhajis with coronation mayonnaise – they were unbelievably easy to make and the mayonnaise was just wonderful and so easy to make. We plan to make these for our cabinetmakers at the HM workshop in Felsted, Essex.
After we finished cooking, we took a tour of the beautiful kitchen gardens at Daylesford.
It was such a lovely day, with the warm sunshine on our backs we walked around the different areas and explored the real working side of the farm.
There was a lot going on as they were getting ready for the launch of their ‘summer of love’ festival which is on Saturday 8th June – read more here – it looks amazing!
There were so many lovely spots to explore, it was such a great way to round off the day.
You can follow the Daylesford Cookery School on instagram here and do visit the website as they have all the courses and lots of recipes and ideas that are shared – one not to miss is this recipe for chargrilled asparagus, with crispy hen’s egg and herb dressing we are definitely trying this one next in the HM kitchen before asparagus season runs out!
Images: Humphrey Munson