Mary Day. first editor of the ‘Home’ section within Farmers Weekly, came up with the idea of a cook book, back in 1934. The idea of showcasing recipes from farmers was a hit, reaching the seventh edition, in 1982.

Farmers Weekly and their publisher, Hamlyn, began the search for new recipes from readers. Food for Britain joined in, sponsoring a competition. The resulting recipes were collected in this book, published in 1985.

The book doesn’t contain a single photograph, but there are many charming illustrations by Anthony Sidwall, giving it a vaguely Cranks-style Seventies vibe. However, the recipes themselves are not earnest wholefood vegetarian ones, for the most part. The book seems old-fashioned, even for the Eighties.

Readers of this cook book, will come across some ingredients which aren’t favoured now, such as powdered gelatine, lard, aspic, ratafia, Bramley cooking apples, gammon knuckles, black treacle, suet, canned fruit, sherry and rabbit.

Some of the recipes are low carb but many more can be tweaked. For example by searing meat without coating it in flour first.

Cornflour, also known as corn starch and maize flour, is naturally gluten-free, because it comes from corn (maize). Obviously, cornflour is a carbohydrate but a quick Google gives it total carbs of 1.77g per teaspoon (net carbs 1.63g per teaspoon). That’s handy for thickening up pan juices, for example.

There are some good recipes for casseroles and stews, which contain carby root veg such as potatoes, parsnips and carrots. These can be swapped for celeriac and swede. Where potatoes are used as a pie topping, cauliflower mash can be used. Cheese mixed in, will up the fat and protein, and brown nicely.

Not many starters, sauces or dressings. With tweaks though, a lot of hearty food such as:

Beef casserole surprise, sausage and kidney, lamb chops in cream sauce, bacon casserole, chicken pot roast, curried ‘spaghetti’ mince, layered sausage bake, lemon chicken, pork stroganoff, sausages in curry sauce, potted pheasant, cheese marrow and tomato bake, baked cheese and salmon mould, cheese and beefburger pie, Lanes Farm rabbit casserole, onion cheese, poor man’s ratatouille, vegetable stew, dabs with Sage Derby cheese and strawberry salad, beef and pork loaf, rabbit feast.

If you’re veggie or gluten-free, what you miss out on with main courses, you make up for with side dishes, puddings and cakes.

With so many recipes which can be tweaked, any edition of Farmhouse Fare, is worth buying, whether you eat low carb, low fat, vegetarian or gluten-free. BUY.

UPDATE 19/09/20

Sausage Hot Pot. We subbed organic swede for potatoes, but otherwise followed the recipe, layering organic swede, organic onions, Scottish farm sausagemeat, then more onions and swede and pouring organic stock down the sides. Gas mark 6 for 2 hours. Recipe suggests discarding the top layer. Plain food, but if the vegetables and sausagemeat are flavourful, a very simple but filling, tasty meal. We will probably tweak this recipe.

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