A taste of Hertfordshire from favourite eateries

The Courtyard Café's recipe.

The Courtyard Café's recipe. - Credit: Archant

I have some positive, exciting news after this strange few months – at last, the amazing food scene in Hertfordshire is on the map. Anyone who lives here knows we have farms, farm shops, markets, distilleries, breweries, bakeries, indie cafes, restaurants and, of course, the best pubs in the UK, and now the rest of the UK can find out too.

Jane Parker and Sue Vine, Parker & Vine, Harpenden

Jane Parker and Sue Vine, Parker & Vine, Harpenden - Credit: Archant

The Hertfordshire Cook Book has just been published, and is a photo-packed recipe book filled with many of the region’s favourite indies. You will spot plenty of local legends in there, and many outstanding recipes including the Lussmanns fishcake and Campfire Gin’s world-beating Martini.

Even if you think you know the area really well, I think there are some stories and facts in there about our food scene that will be a surprise – do you know which bakery has a history of baking scones for Wimbledon? Do you know that we have our very own chocolate factory and a cookery school? We are also the home of world-leading research into food at Rothamsted Manor in the very heart of Harpenden.

I wrote the intro for the book and it was a complete pleasure to reflect on everything we have to offer in the area. I had a lot of fun suggesting the images to go on the cover – can you spot Hertford castle, St Albans Cathedral, Alban buns, yellow fields of rapeseed and some other very familiar sights?

We have a long history of brewing in the county; McMullens opened in Hertford in 1827 and has many pubs in the area, but we also have newcomers such as Farr Brew and The Beer Shop, as well as, of course, the oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.

Award-winning Martini from Campfire Gin.

Award-winning Martini from Campfire Gin. - Credit: Archant

We tried to include some very old favourites (Simmons has been baking since 1838), with some very new talent.

Many of you will know Tara’s Vegan Treats from St Albans market, and owner Tara Acton said: “Being a part of The Hertfordshire Cook Book is one of the most exciting things I have done with my start-up so far. To have a milestone as tangible as a cookbook is quite surreal, and I’m chuffed for Vegan Treats to be printed alongside some of St Albans’ best independents. I can’t wait to sell copies at my street food stall!”

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There are amazing cakes and bakes in the book, including Baked Cookie Dough from The Pudding Stop and Snickerlicious Chocolate Cake from Laura Kate’s in Welwyn.

We have the most popular dishes from Per Tutti (Linguine di Mare) and Chilli Bar & Kitchen (Laal Maans), which you can try and recreate from home, among many more.

You can find copies of The Hertfordshire Cookbook in Books on the Hill, Waterstones, WH Smiths, The Smallford Farm Shop, The Fleetville Larder, Parker & Vine, Charlie’s Coffee & Company, Buongiorno Italia and many more places. It is also for sale on Amazon if you want to send a copy further afield.

After a year when many of our local indies worried about whether they would even be here now, I am so pleased to be able to celebrate them now. I hope you buy a copy of the book, discover somewhere new, cook one of the amazing recipes, and enjoy all that our lovely corner of the world has to offer!