A Great Autumn Recipe from Home Farm Café
One thing Bovey Tracey seemed to lack, for many years, was a good restaurant. That all changed when Home Farm Café opened a few years back on the National Trust’s Parke estate, just on the outskirts of the town. Parke is also features the headquarters of Dartmoor National Park, a lovely secluded wooded valley which the River Bovey runs through on its way to the town, a rather extraordinary community-run walled garden ... and now also an award-winning restaurant.
Over the years Home Farm Café has gone from strength to strength and now employs a team of twenty-two, including four full-time chefs. There’s a big emphasis on the local and the seasonal: owners Nick and Sarah Smith provide beef from their own farm, and produce from the community garden - which is all of 50’ away - features too.
At The Cheese Shed we reward ourselves once a year with a night out in January - once the Christmas work is behind us. For the last two years we’ve all gone here for a meal, and honestly the food, the service and the atmosphere is so good that we’re not sure we need to look anywhere else!
Roasted Celeriac, Apple & Smoked Cheese Gratin
I asked chef Tom Stewart what he could come up with to would showcase some of our lovely cheeses and, a few weeks back, took a few up to the restaurant for him to try. What he came up with is a very comforting dish for a damp autumn, that actually uses both Quicke’s classic Oak-Smoked Cheddar and top-of-the-tree hard goats’ cheese Pennard Vale.
A slight tweak to something he’d done recently, it features locally grown celeriac and leeks alongside apples from the Parke estate and our cheeses - from Devon and Somerset. So it’s a nice celebration of Westcountry produce! Tom’s idea was that the sweetness of the apple and celeriac would be balanced with the earthier quality of the smoked cheddar, whilst the presence of chunky (and intact - not melted) pieces of goats’ cheese in the gratin topping would contribute nicely contrasting sour notes.
What a success! The helping we put out to photograph was so good that I ate the whole thing. If you’re in the area, I understand this is on Home Farm Café’s menu this week; it’ll also be on mine at the weekend when we invite some friends around. But why not try it for yourself?
1 medium celeriac
1 large Bramley apple
1 medium leek
100g Quicke’s Oak-Smoked Cheddar, grated
100g Pennard Vale (or other hard goats’ cheese), broken into 1cm cubes
120g fresh bread crumbs
Cornish Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
5 stems fresh thyme, de-stalked
Set your oven to 180C / gas mark 4.
First, finely chop the celeriac, apple, leek and shallots. Place them into a shallow roasting dish, season with sea salt and pepper, add half of the fresh thyme and enough olive oil, then roast for approximately 15-20 minutes until soft and starting to colour.
Next, take half the roasted vegetables and apple and blend to a smooth purée using a food processor. Mix this gently in with the remaining vegetables and apple, adding the grated smoked cheddar. Spoon this into a suitable baking dish.
To your breadcrumbs, add the rest of the thyme, the goats’ cheese pieces, a little more seasoning and a dash of olive oil. Cover the vegetable mixture with the breadcrumbs and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown.
Garnish with a sprig of thyme.