Thursday, 24 February 2011

Book Review: Kitchen Garden Companion

I must admit that I was sent this book to review quite a while ago now but it's been sitting on my bookshelf and I'm only just getting round to it now.  It's quite an apt book to review right now as I am currently planning what I am going to grow in the garden this year.

The Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander is no lightweight book - in fact it's a monster! Nearly 750 pages! It's also a very lovely book - as you know good aesthetics please me and this is a very tactile book being covered in cloth over the hardback cover itself. That won me over from the start, along with the two bookmarks as it's practically impossible to keep your page in a book this big and the lovely photography.

Stephanie Alexander is described as a "cook, restaurateur, food writer and champion of the quality & diversity of Australian food" and she put this book together with the hope that families will garden together, cook together and eat together.  I support her wholeheartedly with that and am already trying to instill that into my own family, with my children helping to plant and harvest in the garden, assist me with cooking and kitchen tasks and of course, doing a sterling job at eating the results!  Stephanie certainly knows her stuff having established the Kitchen Garden Foundation to help provide kitchen gardens in primary schools.  

The book starts with an introduction, ideas on how to get started (am loving the worm farms!), advice on different types of garden, when to plant, what to plant and talks about basic gardening & kitchen equipment you might need before launching into the produce itself.  All the fruit, vegetables and herbs are listed alphabetically.  Being an Australian book initially there are a few things to trip you up like zucchini and silver beet but generally it's all pretty self-explanatory and there's nothing really out of the ordinary - it's all good stuff that is easily grown in your garden.

Each section starts with a page that talks about how to grow, watering requirements, when to harvest etc and what I really find useful, a section on how to prepare your produce.  I think something like that is invaluable as whilst we might all want to get adventurous in the garden, we don't all know what to do with it once it's grown! All this advice is followed by a nice selection of recipes.

The book finishes with a garden glossary, some advice on pest and weed control, a cooking glossary and the indexes.  

Is it a gardening book or a cookery book? Well it will frequent my shelves in the kitchen which tells me it's primarily a cookery book, or at least that is how I see it.  The instructions for growing are easy to follow but perhaps assume some prior knowledge so it's not necessarily a book for a complete novice but for someone who has dabbled and fiddled with growing before.

Summing up, I love it and I feel it will become a very well used book in my collection and based on it's presentation alone, it would make a gorgeous gift for a keen cook/gardener.

The Kitchen Garden Companion is published by Quadrille and has a RRP of £30.

love & kisses
Mrs M x


  1. I don't usually comment on review posts but this is a 100% perfect gift for my Grandpa, so thanks!

    He's a keen cook and gardener but I usually struggle to find things to buy him.

    It's his birthday in April and I've already added it to my Amazon basket!

  2. What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!

    kitchen garden

  3. A Fantastic range of modern and classic Glassware ,Cleaning products, Cookware are available at sensible prices to help create that perfect dining experience.


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