This week I was kindly sent a new cookery book to review; Kitchen Garden Experts, Twenty Celebrated Chefs and Their Head Gardeners by Cinead McTernan
As a keen cook, learning about how and where fruit and vegetables are grown comes hand in hand with developing recipes in the kitchen. However my gardenless home and lack of green fingered expertise mean I would probably not have picked up this cookery book had I been on my usual hunt to expand my collection. I am very glad though that it was brought to my attention. Not only are the photographs an absolute delight, but the writing is addictively insightful. From Raymond Blanc’s foreword, to the kitchen garden “secrets” in each chapter, this book leaves me wanting to share new garden tips with all my green fingered friends.
Each chapter is dedicated to a different restaurant and its Head Gardener and Chef, reviewing fruits and vegetables in equal detail . From cucumbers at L’Enclume, Cumbria, and courgettes at The Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire, to peas at the River Cottage, Devon and plums at Skye Gyngell, Hampshire.
In all honesty, even for an experienced cook I found that a lot of the recipes were not relatable or achievable. However, that isn’t necessarily the aim of this book. These recipes are from the restaurants visited in each chapter so fundamentally come with layers and processes of advanced, time-consuming cookery. Yet they are beautiful to look at and provide proof of what can be achieved with great skill, care, time and passion.
That said, there are definitely some that I will be adding to my repertoire;
Two-Way Runner Beans from the Monachyle Mhor Hotel, Perthshire
Charcoal-Cooked Lamb Rack with Savoury Potatoes from Jekka McVicar and The Company Of Cooks, Gloucestershire.
And others which I can only bask in the glorious photographs of;
Poached Rhubarb with Buttermilk Pudding, Honeycomb and Ginger Wine from The Grove, Pembrokeshire.
Assiette Anne-Marie from Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire.
In essence, I would vociferously recommend this book for any keen gardeners out there, foodie or not. This book will provide a story of the seasons through the windows of some of the most well-respected restaurant gardens in Britain. In turn inviting you to make the most of what you grow in the kitchen, inspiring beautiful and tasty meals that celebrate the best of home-grown produce.
Kitchen Garden Experts is out on 1st May 2014, published by Francis Lincoln www.franceslincoln.com. The Kitchen Sanctuary readers can order the book at the discounted price of £16.00 including postage and packaging* (RRP £20). Telephone 01903 828503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote APG130.
*UK only, please add £2.50 if ordering from abroad