Book Review: The Edible Garden Cookbook & Growing Guide by Paul West

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Title: The Edible Garden Cookbook & Growing Guide
Author: Paul West
RRP: $39.99AUD (correct at time of publication)
Publication Date: 24th September 2019

Synopsis: "For River Cottage Australia host Paul West, a meaningful and happy life is one built around food and community. In The Edible Garden Cookbook, Paul shows you how easy and rewarding it it to grow and cook some of your own food - and how powerful the simple act of coming together around food can be.

Paul shares practical gardening advice, with guides to building a no-dig garden, composting and keeping chooks, and an A-Z of the veggies that are easiest to grow in the city. There are more than 50 fresh, family-friendly recipes, as well as ideas for foodie activities to do with your community, whether it's throwing a pickle party, brewing beer or whipping up a batch of sausages to stock the freezer.

The Edible Garden Cookbook will inspire you to grow, cook and eat with those you love - and find health and happiness along the way."

My thoughts: Let me first say - I am a huge fan of River Cottage Australia. I remember watching the first couple of episodes while on a flight back from Canberra a few years ago, using headphones my Dad was kindly lending me to block out the sound of the plane, and just feeling forlorn when the flight landed before I could finish the second episode. I now own all four seasons on DVD and actually rewatch them pretty regularly whenever I need a bit of a boost - though my illnesses make it kind of hard, I do try to grow a little of my own food, and have always dreamt of having chickens (though I'm allergic to eggs, so that's a bit sad!). When I saw that Paul West was putting out a new book, and it was going to be sharing some advice on growing food and cooking, as well as some info on keeping chickens or bees, I was absolutely determined to get my hands on a copy.

And now here I am reviewing it! And let me just say: this is a glorious book to lose yourself in for gardening or cooking advice. Paul's tone is helpful and illuminating, without being patronising or too verbose. The photos are gorgeous and really give an idea of the 'how-to' parts of the book, such as the no-dig garden. The food all looks scrumptious, and the produce used for set-decorations just looks so full of life. Paul comes across in this book the way he does in the series - kind, caring, connected to his community and family. And alright with having a bit of a laugh.

The advice on growing your own food was a particular draw for me, as I have had some success with a few things, but absolute failures with others. I found Paul's advice here to be brief, but easy to understand, which I appreciated. It outlines when and where to grow, how to plant and look after each item, and when and how to harvest. It also covers when to buy the items if you aren't growing them yourself, to make sure they're at the peak of the delicousness.

Ultimately, I just find this to be a lovely little guide to have on hand to inspire you to grow and cook and connect with your community. Which I think is what Paul set out to do, so I just have to say - well done.

{I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!!}

A favourite recipe from the book: Stuffed Cabbage Leaves in Tomato Sauce look a bit fiddly, but oh, it sounds like it would be delicious!

You would like this book if: You have thought about growing your own food, or are interested in any of the advice that Paul has to offer on growing, cooking, and otherwise!

Tea to drink while reading this book: I would say that, with this book, your own home-brewed beer might be better, but Paul also mentions herbs here so some fresh herbal tea for me!

Rating:  8/10

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