Kinvara Balfour explains why the new cookbook from Carole Bamford is the perfect addition to her empire - and to any kitchen
My good friend Carole Bamford is one busy woman. Not only is she running her Daylesford Farmshop empire, her Bamford body and clothing line and her Bamford Haybarn Spas, she has also just opened The Wild Rabbit, a superchic pub and mini hotel in Kingham in the ubertrendy Cotswolds, offering seriously superior food against a charming, rustic backdrop. The place will undoubtedly be a hit with all who live nearby (David Cameron, Jeremy Clarkson, Alex James, Rebecca Brooks, Elizabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud included), not to mention the hordes of urbanites who’ll speed down from London in their droves to sample Lady B’s famous organic produce.
None of these projects in Bamford World are linked - each is its own separate entity - though all are conceived, created and overseen by Bamford herself, and all stem from a true respect for natural, honest, straight-from-the-earth ingredients. As I have said before, they’re pretty much perfect. And you start to really know that when you attempt to emulate what Bamford produces.
Which is what I have been doing since she gave me a copy of her beautiful new cookbook, ‘A Love for Food’. The pretty, pleasantly-packed tome looks as pure and clean on the inside as it does on the outside. Recipes are simple and achievable, and celebrate wholesome goodness at every turn, with chapters entitled Salads, Vegetables, Meat, Fish, Bread, Cakes & Puddings etc. This is healthy eating at its happiest, not to mention prettiest – the photographs by Sarah Maingot will inspire even the most useless of chefs (like me, for example). This is the classiest food porn you’ll ever see.
“What we are trying to do at Daylesford is to take a step back in time and re-learn the skills and values of our grandparents’ generation, when country people had a kitchen garden or an allotment and ate whatever they grew,” says Bamford. “There is an old saying that I particularly like, which goes along the lines of: ‘The earth is not a gift from our parents; we are only borrowing it from our children’.”
And while we are talking about her children, I’d like to mention that Alice, her daughter (and, happily, also a friend of mine) is building her own mini Bamford empire as we speak, with her increasingly famous and utterly wonderful One Gun Ranch in Malibu, California. One Gun, a bio-dynamic farm-cum-stable-cum-retreat-cum-kitchen-cum-home, with some of the sweetest domestic animals you will ever meet included, has a cult following with locals and is wholly worthy of all the attention it is getting.
Just being with these Bamfords makes me feel good. I can’t wait to try and cook/eat like them too.
A Love For Food: Recipes And Notes For Cooking And Eating by Daylesford, published by 4th Estate is priced £30 available now from Amazon.
Want a taster? We have an exclusive recipe from the new book to share - find out how to make Bamford’s delicious Poached Apple and Pear Jelly with Crumble Topping and Prune Cream here.