This book had me at the cover really, as a keen gardener and cook, the idea of being able to combine the two in one read was appealing. Our favourite Reader’s Digest cookery books from years ago did this brilliantly, this is a simpler book but non the less full of good recipes and tips on how to grow the ingredients.
The recipes put interesting vegetables and fruits centre stage and turn old cliches of of sweet and savoury upside down. From using beetroots and parsnips to sweeten, fennel as an alternative cake flavour (I’d’ve never thought of this) and fresh green peas as a rather lovely new take on cheesecake, the book offers a new way to look at your garden produce. I also liked the look of hazelnut and rosemary pavlova, sweet potato and marshmallow cake and chocolate herb tarts.
The gardening tips are basic if you are a gardener with experience, but still useful. Holly lists the best vegetables to grow for juicing, baking or serving raw, tips on buying the best garden centre plants (such as ‘take the plant out of the pot and check the roots’) and how to train and prune fruit bushes and trees. All good stuff.
As an example of her writing style, check out the courgette cake here, which is delicious. Definitely a good one if you’ve recently become more interested in gardening and are looking for ways to enliven your baking repertoire.
Recipes and images from Grow Your Own Cake: Recipes from Plot to Plate by Holly Farrell, photographs by Jason Ingram. Published by Frances Lincoln.