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While we were visiting Abbey Home Farm, we also dropped in for a look at nearby Bibury, a gorgeous small village in the Cotswolds, which claims to be home to the most photographed view in Britain. And here it is:
This is Arlington Row, first built in 1380, but converted into weavers cottages in the 17th century, and now owned by the National Trust.
Modern Bibury attracts tour buses and is unfortunately dominated by a trout farm (picturesque as that trout farm may be in this setting!), which is a visitor ‘attraction’. However, we did manage a lovely wander round the village, a couple of purchases in the gift shop and a good veggie lunch in garden of the Catherine Wheel pub. All that gorgeous Cotswold stone, a babbling brook and a couple of black swans, all make Bibury well worth the visit.
The Abbey Home Farm Café, near Cirencester, is a treat for vegetarians – since while it is not a vegetarian café (or farm), their philosophy is that meat should be a treat, so they only serve it on Sundays. The rest of the time the food is vegetarian and vegan as well as organic. The café’s changing daily menu is inspired by the food available on the farm and the freshness shows when you taste the food.
The farm itself has been in the same family since the 16th century and began the conversion to organic in 1990. The café is attached to the extensive organic shop, which sells farm grown produce, bread (some made from wheat grown on the farm), ready-meals and an impressive array of other organic goodies. There are signposted walks around the farm and various camping options too.
We had vegetables in a peanut sauce with a selection of salads, a large salad plate with the full range of fresh salads and pasta with tomato sauce. The food was wonderfully fresh with a great range of flavours and textures. The lovely dining areas and outdoor seating also meant that we lingered over coffee and an indulgently creamy carrot cake!
Abbey Home Farm Café, Burford Road, Cirencester, GL7 5HF
Don’t you find that sometimes you need a recipe so simple you don’t even have to think? That’s the case with these tarts – especially as I was inspired by the recipe on the packaging of the ready-made pastry I’d bought! Nonetheless, these make for an impressive supper if you’re called on to rustle something up in a hurry for unexpected guests, or if you just fancy something a little different.
1 pack ready-made puff pastry
4 heaped tsp vegetarian / vegan pesto
2 – 3 tomatoes, sliced
10 – 12 pitted kalamata olives, sliced
Pre-heat the oven 220˚C / 420˚F / Gas 7
Roll out the pastry to roughly 1/2 inch thick. Cut it into 4 equal pieces and place on a greased or lined baking sheet.
Spread the pesto over the 4 pastry pieces, leaving the edges free, to make the crusts. Top with the sliced tomatoes and olives.
Bake in the oven for approximately 12 minutes, or until the pastry is risen and lightly golden.
I love broad bean season, as it’s one of my favourite foods to eat fresh. If I get large enough pods, I like to take the inner skins off, leaving a lovely bright green bean, which looks so good in lots of dishes.
To take off the inner skin, just put the beans in boiling water for no more than five minutes, cool, then pinch the grey outer skin off the bean. They require no more cooking.
The quantities are vague here, so feel free to use as much of anything as you have!
This simple salad recipe makes a great lunch by itself, a delicious filling for jacket potatoes or pitta bread, or as a side dish to a more substantial meal. It’s highly nutritious too, full of protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc
Broad Bean Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
large handful of broad beans, podded and skinned as above
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp dried herb, such as oregano
1 tblsp olive oil
Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water for 5 – 10 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. While still warm, mix in the herbs and olive oil. When cool stir in the beans and tomatoes.
If you want to serve this as a hot dish, briefly put the beans and tomatoes into the quinoa at the end of cooking, then stir in the oil and herbs as before.