Traditional recipes

'Kitchen Garden Cookbook' Offers Help with Growing Produce at Home

'Kitchen Garden Cookbook' Offers Help with Growing Produce at Home

One day, the term "farm-to-table" will cease to exist, not because the philosophy behind it will go out of fashion, but because it will become par for the course. Until then, though, as home cooks, we can go one step further than eco-conscious chefs: by starting our own backyard garden. Jeanne Kelley's Kitchen Garden Cookbook (Weldon Owen, $25) aims to show readers how to get started, with helpful tips and recipes organized by season.

The book covers the basics, including where to place your garden, how to prepare the soil, and how to water plants, to name a few examples. She also gives more specific advice based on popular seasonal produce. Want to know how to plant radishes? Kelley covers everything from when to plant the seeds to how to plant them and when and how to harvest them, and she does the same for tomatoes, pumpkin, asparagus, and just about any other plant covered in the book. But it's not just about plants. If you have ever dreamt of raising your own honeybees or chickens, Kelley talks about that, too, and it's fascinating stuff.

True, maintaining a backyard garden is a lot of work, especially if it snows where you live. You can think of the book's beautifully photographed recipes as motivation, though, to keep on plugging away, even if your first efforts aren't a huge success. The best part comes at harvest time, when you reap the benefits of what you sow: abundant, fresh produce ready for the picking. And getting a big discount on your grocery bill is just an added bonus.

Onion Soup with Bacon, Winter Herbs, and Gruyère

Warm and comforting, this twist on traditional onion soup is a welcome proposition in the dead of winter. (Photo courtesy of Ray Kachatorian)

Three Peas with Barley, Chile, and Green Garlic

Sambal oelek lends not only a spicy kick to this wonderful spring salad, but also a tartness that plays off the Kaffir lime leaves nicely. (Photo courtesy of Ray Kachatorian)

Farro, Corn, and Runner Bean Salad with Goat Cheese

The bounty of summer is on full display in this salad, which is substantial enough to serve as a full meal thanks to farro. (Photo courtesy of Ray Kachatorian)

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.


'Kitchen Garden Cookbook' Offers Help with Growing Produce at Home - Recipes


NEW - JUST PUBLISHED!
THE RENEE'S GARDEN COOKBOOK

THE RENEE’S GARDEN COOKBOOK combines expert gardening advice and delicious recipes that showcase the colors and flavors of freshly picked kitchen garden produce. Whether you are a beginning or experienced gardener or shop at a farmers market, Renee’s gardening advice will help you grow each vegetable and herb to perfection.

The 300 easy-to-make recipes offer fresh ideas for enjoying the garden's bounty and are organized alphabetically by vegetable type, convenient to use for cooking ideas as you harvest from the garden or shop at the market.

These nutritious, colorful, great tasting dishes will be your “go to” favorites for both everyday meals and special occasions, illustrating Renee’s conviction that the pleasures of growing fresh ingredients are completed in preparing them well and fully enjoying the results.

Wonderful watercolors of vegetables and herbs created by our packet artist, Mimi Osborne, are showcased throughout this beautifully designed book.

RENEE'S GARDEN COOKBOOK- GIFT BOXED

Recipes From a Kitchen Garden

There’s nothing quite like the taste of your own home grown produce, fresh from the garden, but even if your bounty comes fresh from the store or local farmers market, Renee's original collection of close to 300 delightful recipes will inspire you with great ideas for using fresh vegetables, fragrant herbs and edible flowers in everyday cooking.


More Recipes From a Kitchen Garden

Each week of the growing season, gardening guru and cook Renee Shepherd takes a look at the pick of her garden's bounty, then gets together with co-author Fran Raboff to plan recipes that make the most of each harvest. Their second cookbook, More Recipes From A Kitchen Garden, offers 300 different, completely new and delicious recipes featuring a wide range of vegetables, aromatic herbs and garden specialties.

Whether you are in the mood for a hearty Caribbean Black Bean Soup, Roasted Potatoes with Carmelized Garlic, Fresh Tomato Tart, Cantaloupe Salsa, simple but elegant dishes like Chicken Margarita or Italian Stuffed Artichokes, or temptations like Ginger Pumpkin Bars and Lavender Shortbread, this book delivers great results you'll enjoy every time.

Recipes From Our Cookbooks:


Renee's Garden Cookbook plus
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The Kitchen Garden

If there&aposs been a positive outcome from being confined to our homes for the past year, it&aposs been the rise in our quest for self-sufficiency in the face of real or perceived scarcity. Many of us took to baking bread for the first time and cooking from scratch the way grandma did — and a record number of us began growing our own food.

One year later, some of our new-found enthusiams may have faded (how much sourdough starter can one freezer hold?) but growing our own food is more popular than ever — to the point where seed vendors can&apost package the stuff fast enough to keep up with the demand.

Kitchen gardening — that is, cultivating the vegetables, herbs, and fruits that go into the meals we make — was once a natural way of life. But as we came to source more and more of our food from grocery stores, growing our own became more of a hobby rather than a necessity. Even with the rise of shopping at farmers&apos markets to get closer to the source, it&aposs still someone else growing the food.

The continued popularity of kitchen gardening one year into the pandemic suggests people have discovered something we gardeners have known all along — gardening offers benefits far beyond a harvest of heirloom tomatoes warm from the sun or the freshest, sweetest salad greens you&aposve ever had. It turns out gardening is also a great way to escape the news, reduce stress, gain a sense of accomplishment, and feed your household all at the same time. And besides, if you started gardening last year, it means you began laying the foundations of a lifelong skill you can continue to build on this year and the next. If there&aposs one thing you learn as a gardener, it&aposs that there&aposs always something new to learn.

Whether you&aposre new to gardening, want to brush up before you dig in, or you&aposre looking for inspiration for this year&aposs garden, you&aposll find plenty of ideas and practical tips in this, our very first guide to kitchen gardening. As you scroll through and explore the topics, you&aposll find articles written by home gardeners for home gardeners, sharing down-to-earth advice on what to grow and how to grow it — no matter if you&aposre gardening in pots or in your backyard. We wish you a good harvest and the greenest of green thumbs.


The Herbfarm Cookbook

Not so long ago, parsley was the only fresh herb available to most American cooks. Today, bunches of fresh oregano and rosemary can be found in nearly every supermarket, basil and mint grow abundantly in backyards from coast to coast, and garden centers offer pots of edible geraniums and lemon thyme. But once these herbs reach the kitchen, the inevitable question arises: Now what do I do with them? Here, at last, is the first truly comprehensive cookbook to cover all aspects of growing, handling, and cooking with fresh herbs.

Jerry Traunfeld grew up cooking and gardening in Maryland, but it wasn't until the 1980s, after he had graduated from the California Culinary Academy and was working at Jeremiah Tower's Stars restaurant in San Francisco, that he began testing the amazing potential of herb cuisine. For the past decade, Jerry Traunfeld has been chef at The Herbfarm, an enchanted restaurant surrounded by kitchen gardens and tucked into the rainy foothills of the Cascade Mountains, east of Seattle. His brilliant nine-course herb-inspired menus have made reservations at the Herbfarm among the most coveted in the country.

Eager to reveal his magic to home cooks, Jerry Traunfeld shares 200 of his best recipes in The Herbfarm Cookbook. Written with passion, humor, and a caring for detail that makes this book quite special, The Herbfarm Cookbook explains everything from how to recognize the herbs in your supermarket to how to infuse a jar of honey with the flavor of fresh lavender. Recipes include a full range of dishes from soups, salads, eggs, pasta and risotto, vegetables, poultry, fish, meats, breads, and desserts to sauces, ice creams, sorbets, chutneys, vinegars, and candied flowers. On the familiar side are recipes for Bay Laurel Roasted Chicken and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Fried Sage explained with the type of detail that insures the chicken will be moist and suffused with the flavor of bay and the asparagus complemented with the delicate crunch of sage. On the novel side you will find such unusual dishes as Oysters on the Half Shell with Lemon Varbana Ice and Rhubarb and Angelica Pie.

A treasure trove of information, The Herbfarm Cookbook contains a glossary of 27 of the most common culinary herbs and edible flowers a definitive guide to growing herbs in a garden, a city lot, or on a windowsill a listing of the USDA has hardiness zones how to harvest, clean, and store fresh herbs a Growing Requirements Chart, including each herb's life cycle, height, pruning and growing needs, and number of plants to grow for an average kitchen and a Cooking with Fresh Herbs Chart, with parts of the herb used, flavor characteristics, amount of chopped herb for six servings, and best herbal partners.

The Herbfarm Cookbook is the most complete, inspired, and useful book about cooking with herbs ever written.


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“It’s a yellow leaf with red veins. And it’s one of the sexiest things that you can imagine,” he says. “We’re like, ‘Holy smokes, this is nicer than anything we grew on purpose!'”

You might not find plants particularly sexy until you speak to Jones and catch his infectious enthusiasm for farming. He's a relentless experimenter, willing to try new techniques, new ideas and new flavors.

“There are literally thousands of plants and vegetables to be explored,” he says. “We have a saying that we try and work in harmony with Mother Nature rather than trying to outsmart her.”

Jones' deep knowledge about vegetables and growing them is soon available via The Chef’s Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables — with Recipes. The 640-page handsome book is equal parts vegetable reference bible, family memoir and recipe collection. It comes out April 27.

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“We try in the book to really look for different ways to be able to utilize plants in America. We kind of think one-dimensionally,” he says. "We do bone marrow. Why can’t we do vegetable marrow?”

Jones is the face of The Chef’s Garden, a sustainable, 350-acre family farm in Huron that provides chefs worldwide with seasonal specialty vegetables, microgreens, herbs and edible flowers.

Name a starry chef and there's a good chance they've done business with The Chef’s Garden: José Andrés, Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Ferran Adrià, among them. With his welcoming air and signature denim bib overalls and red bow tie, Jones has become something of a celebrity, too.

The Chef’s Garden grows 700 kinds of vegetables, with 150 to 200 more in trials. There's a lab where scientists analyze the soil and seeds, and there's also the Culinary Vegetable Institute, which attracts 600 visiting chefs a year to share their knowledge and cook together.

Readers of the book will find new ways to prepare vegetables, from celery root to cauliflower, and learn about more unusual ingredients like carrot seeds, knotweed and radish seed pods.

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“For several thousand years, we always ate only the top of the carrot plant. It’s only been in the last few hundred years that we started eating the bottom of the carrot. Now nobody eats the top,” Jones says.

Jones' farm is surrounded by 5,000-acre commercial farms, and he does things differently: Instead of chemicals, he uses 15 species of cover crop to replenish the soil. He argues that American farmers have lost their way regarding food and health.

“I don’t knock the other farmers. They’re following the model that exists and that’s to keep the costs as low as possible and the tons per acre as high as possible. It’s not about the integrity of the plant. It’s about the tons per acre,” he says. “We’re a bunch of odd ducks out here, for sure.”

Above all, Jones emphasizes taste and minimizing waste. He looks to Europeans, who learned over centuries of struggle with food insecurity to use every part of their animals.

Take oxtail, a peasant food for years. “They figured out great ways to make good dishes with the flavor of the oxtail. And then Thomas Keller comes over here and puts an oxtail on a plate and it’s 90 bucks.”

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Jones wants to showcase vegetables, and the book offers attractive and tasty options, from Butter-Poached Squash with Hemp Seed and Coriander to Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onion Chips.

The book has a forward written by Andres and is co-written with Kristin Donnelly, with recipes by Jamie Simpson. Lucia Watson, the book's editor for Avery, says it is timely.

“Vegetables are the center of our plate more and more. And it is kind of where all of the exciting cooking is coming from — experimenting with vegetables," she says.

"This gives home cooks an incredible window into that and an incredible resource. It introduces them to vegetables that they may not have heard of before, but they see at their farmer’s market and think, 'What if I brought that home? What would I do with it?' And it also makes them look at vegetables that they’ve taken for granted.”

Jones got his love of farming from his dad and keeps a foot in the past — he admires what farmers before him accomplished and reveres old farm machinery — as well as embracing modern technology for things like crop analysis and distribution.

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“My dad had a saying that the only thing we’re trying to do is get as good as the growers were 100 years ago. It was pre-chemical, pre-synthetic fertilizer, rotating the land, rebuilding the soil,” he says.

COVID-19 was a wake-up call for Jones to diversify since The Chef's Kitchen found its links to chefs and cruise lines severed when those business shuttered. The farm has since pivoted to nationwide home delivery and opened a farmer's market while it waits for restaurants to rebound.

But Jones, ever the optimist, sees a silver lining even in a pandemic: There has been a surge of people interested in growing their own food and planting vegetables.

“Kids emulate parents behavior. And guess what? Parents planted gardens and kids wanted to go help. And when a kid grows a carrot and they pull it out, even if they didn’t like it before, they’re more interested in trying a carrot," he says. "So I think out of the ashes of this we have to find those good things.”


The Great Dixter Cookbook Aaron Bertelsen

Struck out price AUD$49.95 Price AUD$29.97 Struck out price CAD$49.95 Price CAD$29.97 Struck out price &euro29.95 Price &euro17.97 Struck out price £24.95 Price £14.97 Struck out price T39.95 Price T23.97 Struck out price USD$39.95 Price USD$23.97

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Seasonal recipes and expert planting guides from Great Dixter, Christopher Lloyd's quintessential English country garden

The Great Dixter Cookbook features seventy simple and delicious seasonal recipes from the kitchen garden at Great Dixter, the historic house and garden located on the borders of Kent and Sussex. Dishes included range from English classics such as chicken and leek pie, apple crumble, and beetroot chutney, to contemporary recipes like crispy kale with sea salt and shakshuka. Dixter was home to the revered and highly influential gardener and writer, Christopher Lloyd, and a number of this book's recipes have been taken from the Lloyd family's personal kitchen notebooks. With growing guides to more than twenty varieties of vegetables and fruit to accompany the recipes, this practical, accessible book enriches the kitchens and lives of home cooks and gardeners worldwide.

Specifications:

  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 270 x 205 mm (10 5/8 x 8 1/8 in)
  • Pages: 240 pp
  • Illustrations: 150 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714874005

Originally from New Zealand and trained at Kew Gardens, Aaron Bertelsen joined Great Dixter in 2005 as a student and he has worked there as the vegetable gardener and cook since 2007.

All royalties from the book will be donated by the author to the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.

"Packed with planting tips and produce-forward recipes [The Great Dixter Cookbook] is the perfect guide for amateur gardeners, farmers market regulars or anyone who wants to explore seasonality in their cooking." —Food & Wine

"Gives us an insider look into the famed vegetable garden." —Tory Burch Daily

"Taking us beyond the ornamental garden and into the kitchen."—Town & Country

"A brilliant resource for keen gardeners. "—Grow Your Own

"Aaron Bertelsen, vegetable gardener at Great Dixter in Sussex, shares some of the recipes from his new book inspired by the crop he grows. They are delicious looking, wholesome and not too tricky as he's a home cook, not a trained chef. I have a mental block about baking - I can't remember when I last baked a cake. But he's inspired me to give beetroot and chocolate cake a go."—Hatta Byng, Editor, House &Garden

"Finally, here's the one we're waiting for. A chance to visit in print Christopher Lloyd's legendary kitchen garden that surrounds the historic house and garden located on the borders of Kent and Sussex. But more even than that, along with the seventy seasonal recipes, this book is a valuable growing guide for more than twenty varieties of fruit and vegetables."—elledecoration.co.uk

"The intrinsic link between garden and kitchen at Great Dixter is evident in this new volume, which is a both a cookbook and a growing manual. It is hard to say which part of this book is most useful, the growing advice [. ] or the recipes, for both are laced with advice that is easy to put into practice."—English Garden

"Great Dixter is so suffused with good food and so devoid of pretension that I don't want to leave: I long to roll up my sleeves and cook."—Daily Telegraph, Saturday Magazine, Diana Henry

"User-friendly. Old-style cookbooks, with an emphasis on enormous quantities of written information, are not easy to navigate. The Great Dixter Cookbook has the advantage of clarity I may have many recipes for fruit fool but have never looked at them properly. Apparently, it is just a matter of simmering fruit and whisking cream. The sober photography of Andrew Montgomery suits the interiors of the medieval house, and no doubt would have met the approval of Christopher Lloyd."—Gardenista.com

"A celebration of robust and seasonal ingredients. Plenty of hearty, soulful recipes. Such a useful book for growers too with lots of recommendations on which varieties to grow and how to get the best crops. All of which is lavishly illustrated with Andrew Montgomery's beautiful images. This is already one of our kitchen shelf favourites - and, we suspect, will be referred to often." —A-LittleBird.com

"Shares the great joys of growing your own fruit and veg with seventy delicious and seasonal recipes from the kitchen garden at Great Dixter. "—SoMagzines.co.uk

"Embrace the satisfaction found in growing and cooking your own produce with this new release. Delicious yet simple recipes [. ] celebrate seasonal ingredients."—Homes & Gardens

"Full of enticing photos and refreshingly down-to-earth recipes that celebrate the best of simple British cooking."—Toronto Star

"Great Dixter [. ] has always been better known for its lush planting that its produce - but that's changed with the publication of the estate's first cookbook. Tips on cultivating everything from damsons to Swiss chard sit alongside seasonal recipes for classics such as pies, crumbles and chutneys." —Vogue

"The Great Dixter Cookbook brings the Dixter tradition of flavourful food to the fore once again."—Gardens Illustrated

"A comprehensive, delicious selection of some seventy recipes regularly cooked up in the kitchen in Great Dixter House. Supported by the most evocative photographs. I have found the recipes I have cooked easy to follow, and on canvassing my friends - beetroot and chocolate cake, tarragon chicken, baked cheesecake - they agree, so over to all of you!"—RyeNews.org.uk

"The design, the personal writing, the pictures - everything about this book brings on a frisson of pleasure."—Globe & Mail

"There are recipes for various smoothies to Baeckoeffe, an Alsatian casserole my grandmother made, to mashed potatoes and kale cakes to a garden for each of the four seasons. Gardener checklists and growing guides and wonderful photographs."—The American

"Captivating."—Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Anyone who loves cooking from a classic garden will enjoy this beautiful work."—Garden & Gun Online

"It's a recipe book. It's a gardening book. It's a look into the history of the family home of the celebrated British gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd. Delightful to read and look through, this is a teaching cookbook."—Greenville News

"We all know we should breakfast like a king (or queen) and these delicious recipes, from the newly released The Great Dixter Cookbook, are fit for royalty."—TheEthicalist.com

"[Aaron Bertelsen's] recipes are simple and make the best of ultra-fresh produce."—Country Life

"Aaron Bertelsen has been at the famous Great Dixter garden for 10 years and, usefully, he lists varieties and problems. His recipes are simple and male the best of ultra-fresh produce."—CountryLife.co.uk

"Beautifully photographed. Full of simple, achievable recipes. And anyone who's visited the beautiful stately home and admired its gardens [. ] will find its pages as inspiring as a walk around the grounds themselves."—HelloSussex.co.uk

"Packed with useful growing advice." &mdashWaitrose Weekend

"Sumptuous. The book and recipes celebrate the seaons and are mix of traditional and modern flavours. Tuck in to a book that will become a classic."&mdashMy Weekly

"Classic English recipes from an iconic garden."&mdashBBC Gardener's World


Book Review: Herbal Cooking for Self-Care

In Recipes From The Herbalist’s Kitchen, discover how herbs can help create meals that are not only delicious, but help you live your best life.

Related To:

Author and Herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson

Author and Herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson

When you sticky-note nearly every page of a book, do the sticky notes become meaningless? This is the question I’m pondering as I look at my copy of Recipes From The Herbalist’s Kitchen, a new book from Storey Publishing by herbalist and Thyme Herbal creator Brittany Wood Nickerson. Every page features a recipe I want to dive into based purely on promised taste and creative use of ingredients — and it’s a welcome bonus that those ingredients promote good health. As a devoted edible gardener, I love how this cookbook shows innovative ways to use plants in cooking while also making old practices feel new again. The book’s beautiful photography and Brittany’s insightful explanations also make the book a new favorite for my collection.

In my first week of perusing the book, I made Baked Eggs With Parsley Pesto, Lavender Fizz, Apricot-Cashew Bars With Coconut and Rosemary, Herbed Flax Seed Crackers and Lactofermented Dilly Beans — or, I should say, I started the Dilly Beans and Lavender Fizz, as these recipes, along with others in the book, delve into home fermentation, which takes a little time and patience to achieve. (For those wondering, the Dilly Beans rival any pickled version I’ve tried in fact, I like them better.) Do I sound a tad too excited about this book? Maybe I have a little crush on it and its author, one I’ll indulge, and you should too — just read on for my conversation with Brittany about the book, herbs, and the role of self-care in today’s world.

I love the subhead “Kitchen Medicine” in your introduction. Rather than simply thinking of herbs as medicine, your approach seems to be about thinking of meals as medicine, and herbs as essential ingredients in healthy meals. Can you sum up how this approach to herbalism is different, and perhaps more accessible, for the average daily cook/eater?

Herbs are a part of culinary traditions from around the world for reasons far beyond flavor. Culinary herbs support digestion and absorption of nutrients and help prevent food borne illnesses. Traditions surrounding cooking with herbs are embedded in the herb's medicinal properties. This means that anyone who has ever cooked with herbs (or even just sprinkled black pepper on their eggs in a diner!) has participated in the tradition of cooking medicinally. The primary project of Recipes from the Herbalist's Kitchen is to help teach people why we cook with herbs so that they can more fully understand the blurry line between food and medicine. The concept of "Kitchen Medicine" transcends the idea that we should cook with and eat herbs simply because they are "good for us" – but rather that we should employ them to carry out a certain medical intention that can support overall health in the body. The concept is rooted in a very holistic understanding of health, vitality and larger patterns of wellness. My hope is that learning the medicinal reasoning behind traditional (and not so traditional!) herb and food combinations can deeply empower the home, professional or aspiring cook.

What herbs do you think everyone interested in healthy, medicinal meals should grow at home? For those already growing the basics, what are a few less-common herbs everyone should plant?

I always recommend people focus on growing the culinary herbs that are better used fresh rather than dried. For example, I prefer fresh basil, cilantro, dill and parsley over dried. Focusing on a small kitchen garden or window box with a few of these is bound to liven up your cooking. I also enjoy having a rosemary plant. Rosemary does not overwinter in cold climates, so I pot mine up and bring it in the house where I can enjoy its beauty, fragrance, and flavor all through the winter months.

Beyond strictly culinary herbs, I love growing calendula (a medicinal herb in the marigold family). Calendula is commonly used for external skin care preparations, and internally it supports the eliminatory organs. It is an easy to grow annual that will self-seed itself in the garden year after year. It has beautiful yellow and orange flowers that bloom all the way through September. It makes a great cut flower and you use the edible petals in your cooking. I love to garnish cakes, salads and other dishes with the vibrant orange and yellow petals. Just last week I made a roasted beet dish with feta cheese and calendula petals – it was beautiful.

Baked Eggs With Parsley Pesto. Photography by Keller+Keller photography, from Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen by Brittany Wood Nickerson, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Baked Eggs With Parsley Pesto. Photography by Keller+Keller photography, from Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen by Brittany Wood Nickerson, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

The term “self-care” seems to be growing in popularity and reach. What does “self-care” mean to you and how can people start incorporating it into their daily life and mindset?

For me, self-care is the practice of prioritizing caring for one's self. It involves two aspects – the logistical caring of the body (for example taking a shower or eating a meal), as well as caring for the spirit and one's emotional world. In many cases, the two can overlap and I believe that is the most productive and sustainable type of self-care. In Recipes from the Herbalist's Kitchen, I talk extensively about the ways that cooking can become a nourishing component of care for both self and others. And it beautifully illustrates the overlap between how we care for our physical and emotional body. I dive into this deeply in the introduction to the Nourish chapter, "Our relationship with food gives us access to our inner landscape. There are countless moments in food production, harvesting, cooking, and eating that ask for reflection, that engage our senses, our instincts and our relationship with our deep primal nature."

I loved reading about the five taste categories: sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter. Most of us grew up learning about the four food groups and creating a balanced plate. Would our meals be better off health-wise if we thought about including the five tastes instead? And what tastes are most of us missing?

What most dietary systems, trends, philosophies, etc. overlook is the importance of digestion. They focus on what foods to eat, but not how well those foods are digested and how many nutrients we are able to absorb and utilize from them. What the five tastes help us understand is how flavors affect our physiology. When we combine highly nutritious, but harder to digest foods like grains, legumes, dairy or meat with metabolically stimulating pungent and bitter tasting herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, etc. we support our body's ability to absorb all those good nutrients.

The flavor that is most absent from the average American diet is bitter. Bitter is the most metabolically active of all the flavors. We have taste buds on our tongue that only pick up and respond to the bitter flavor. This taste bud reflux stimulates the entire digestive process including the release of digestive acids and enzymes in the stomach, pancreas and intestines and bile from the liver and gallbladder. It also stimulates peristalsis, the muscular action that moves food through the GI tract. We do not need to eat a lot of bitter foods, just a taste is most important. That is why bitter tasting foods are often reserved for small courses, side dishes or herbal accents to heavier foods. Examples include a salad of bitter greens or a bitter cocktail before a meal, rosemary to season chicken or basil on a heavy pasta dish. Pesto, gremolata and other herbal condiments often have a bitter flavor alongside other salty or pungent accents.


Here are fresh herbs and plants you can grow that are great to have handy in the kitchen.

PARSLEY

Parsley is a mild bitter herb that can enhance the flavor of your foods. Many consider parsley just to be a curly green garnish for food, but it actually helps things like stews achieve a more balanced flavor. As an added benefit, parsley can aid in digestion. By reading articles such as unify health labs reviews and other digestion related discussions, many supplements and herbs are uncovered as great helpers for the digestive system. Parsley is often grown as an annual, but in milder climates, it will stay evergreen all winter long. Parsley plants will grow to be large and bushy. Parsley is a good source of Vitamins A and C.

MINT

There are several varieties of mint. You can use it in drinks like mojitos or mint juleps. Or add some mint to your summer iced tea. Mint freshens the breath and will help to calm your stomach. But if you grow mint, remember that it’s considered an invasive plant. Mint will spread and take over your garden. It’s best grown in containers.

DILL

Dill is a great flavoring for fish, lamb, potatoes, and peas. It also aids in digestion, helps to fight bad breath and has the added benefits of reducing swelling and cramps. Dill is easy to grow. It will also attract helpful insects to your garden such as wasps and other predatory insects.

BASIL

Whether you choose large leaf Italian basil or large purple sweet basil, this plant is popular in many cuisines but is a feature in Italian cooking like pizzas, salads, sauces, and pesto. Some people think basil is great for planting alongside your tomatoes but there’s no real evidence that it makes your tomatoes taste sweeter. Basil has health benefits of antioxidants and is a defense against low blood sugar.

SAGE

Sage is an aromatic herb that is great for seasoning meats, sauces, and vegetables. But be careful because sage will have a tendency to overpower other flavors. Sage also helps to relieve cuts, inflammation and helps with memory issues. It was once thought to be a medicinal cure-all. Sage is an easy herb to grow and is relatively easy to care for. It’s great in your garden for attracting bees.

ROSEMARY

Rosemary is one of the most flavorful herbs and is great for adding to things like poultry, meats, and vegetables. Around Christmastime, you’ll see tree-shaped rosemary bushes for sale. You can bring them home and keep them for planting in the spring. The fragrant plant is a delightful scent and is sometimes used in floral arrangements. Rosemary likes its soil a bit on the dry side, so be careful not to overwater. Allowed to flourish, a rosemary plant will grow into a full-sized bush.

THYME

Thyme is a delicate looking plant. It is often used for flavoring egg, bean and vegetable dishes. Thyme is frequently used in the Mediterranean, Italian and Provençal French cuisines. Pair it with lamb, poultry, and tomatoes. Thyme is often added to soups and stews. Thyme is part of the mint family. The most common variety is garden thyme which has gray-green leaves and a minty, somewhat lemony smell.

CILANTRO / CORIANDER

Cilantro is also known as coriander leaf or Chinese parsley. Cilantro is perfect for adding into spicy foods like chills, and Mexican, Chinese, Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines. The seeds of cilantro are known as coriander. The plant grows early in the season and doesn’t like it when the ground becomes too warm.

FENNEL

Fennel is very flavorful and aromatic, and along with anise is a primary ingredient in absinthe. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean region and does best in dry soils near the ocean or on river banks. The strongly flavored leaves of fennel are similar in shape to dill. The bulb can be sautéed or grilled, or eaten raw. Fennel bulbs are used for garnishes or sometimes added to salads.

CHAMOMILE

In the United States and Europe, chamomile is most often used as an ingredient in herbal tea. It is one of the world’s most widely consumed herbal teas. But it has also been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine for settling stomachs and calming the nerves. Chamomile also helps reduce inflammation and treat fevers. You can grow either German chamomile or Roman chamomile. The two are interchangeable when it comes to making tea, but they are grown very differently. German chamomile is an annual plant that grows up to three feet tall. Roman chamomile is a perennial but only grows to about a foot high. German chamomile is more commonly known for its blossoms.


Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots Aaron Bertelsen

Price AUD$49.95 Price CAD$49.95 Price &euro29.95 Price £24.95 Price T39.95 Price USD$39.95

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Expert planting advice for growing fruit and vegetables in pots from the acclaimed English garden - with 50 delicious recipes

Beautifully illustrated, Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots provides clear, practical information on growing fruit and vegetables in containers, whether that be a window box or a terracotta pot on a balcony. Aaron Bertelsen of the acclaimed English garden at Great Dixter will guide you through what to grow, which pots to use, give personal tips on varieties to choose, and advice on cultivation and care. Featuring more than 50 delicious recipes, Bertelsen shows that lack of space is no barrier to growing what you want to eat, and proves that harvesting and cooking food you have grown yourself is a total pleasure, with dishes that showcase a few perfectly chosen - and personally grown - ingredients.

Specifications:

  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 270 x 205 mm (10 5/8 x 8 1/8 in)
  • Pages: 240 pp
  • Illustrations: 150 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714878614

Originally from New Zealand and trained at Kew Gardens in London, Aaron Bertelsen joined Great Dixter in 1996 as a student and has worked there as the vegetable gardener and cook ever since.

"Wow. The text is entertaining and informative, the images are good enough to eat and the practical advice is sound, as it's based on experience."&mdashMatthew Biggs, gardener, writer and broadcaster

"Super-fresh seasonal dishes from Aaron Bertelsen, the kitchen-friendly gardener at one of Britain's greatest country houses, will take you from plot to plate in minutes. and the good news is you don't even need a garden."&mdashMail on Sunday YOU magazine

"Great Dixter gardener cook, Aaron Bertelsen, shares his knowledge of growing edibles in pots."&mdashGardens Illustrated

"Following his bestselling debut, The Great Dixter Cookbook, Aaron Bertelsen has turned to containers. In Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots he has created a beautiful, practical guide including over 50 delicious recipes as further incentive."&mdashELLE Decoration

"Super-fresh seasonal dishes from Aaron Bertelsen, the kitchen-friendly gardener at one of Britain's greatest country houses, will take you from plot to plate in minutes. and the good news is you don't even need a garden. There's nothing more satisfying than cooking with homegrown fruit and veg. Aaron Bertelsen, head gardener at Great Dixter House, reveals just how simple - and super-tasty - this can be."&mdashYOU magazine, The Mail on Sunday

"Over 25 vegetables, fruit and herbs that can easily be grown and cropped in containers."&mdashGarden News

"Expert practice advice. Beautifully photographed."&mdashThis England

"Just the opening spreads of images of leafy gardens and stacks of terracotta planters in a romantically lit potting shed are worth pausing over on a cold winter morning. The follow-up to the English countryside-based gardener Aaron Bertelsen's bestselling The Great Dixter Cookbook, this lovely tome shares container gardening tips that are as practical in Birmingham, England, as in Birmingham, Alabama. "&mdashGarden & Gun Online

"Practical gardening tips for even the smallest of spaces. This really is the perfect book for learning the joys of growing and cooking your own produce."&mdashCountry Homes & Interiors

"Aaron Bertelsen's ultimate guide to getting back in touch with nature if your outdoor space is limited to a minuscule balcony or yard."&mdashStylist

"A gourmet gift to green-fingered gastronomes."&mdashTown & Country magazine

"Beautifully illustrated. Including easy-to-make preserves and pickles."&mdashWomen's Weekly magazine

"A real treat."&mdashThe English Garden

"Recipes for breakfast muffins with home-grown figs or tempura baby courgettes will encourage me to get my compost and trowel out."&mdashBlanche Vaughan, House & Garden Food Editor

"A beautiful guide to container gardening with advice that's relevant to gardeners all over."&mdashGarden & Gun Online

". Fascinating reading. Gardeners who are just getting started with containers can find valuable advice."&mdashChristian Science Monitor

"Bertelsen offers useful information on how to grow everything from root vegetables to herbs including the kind of pots to use. Beautifully photographed."&mdash360 West Magazine


My bounteous kitchen garden: growing tips and recipes from Michelin-starred chef Merlin Labron-Johnson

These days, there’s many a country restaurant and pub proclaiming a “fork-to-table” philosophy, serving organic vegetables from the establishment’s own kitchen garden.

Few, though, are the chefs doing the actual growing stuff themselves, and rare as hen’s teeth are chefs with a Michelin-starred restaurant under their belt who would start such a garden from scratch, spending long days heaving tons of horse manure over a garden wall.

Merlin Labron-Johnson, late of London’s Portland restaurant (which gained a Michelin star in 2015, nine months after opening), Clipstone and The Conduit, had not intended to be quite so hands-on this spring. Having grown up near Totnes in Devon, the modest, quietly spoken 29-year-old had achieved one ambition, though.

“I had a lovely time in London, but after a couple of years I wanted to be back in the countryside. All I wanted to do is have a very simple restaurant where we grow our own vegetables and maybe eventually have some pigs and chickens.” So he decamped to Bruton in Somerset – something of a foodie hub – and opened Osip, a tiny restaurant in the town’s former ironmongery, last November.

Along with Number One, the 12-bedroom boutique hotel it is nestled within, Osip got rave reviews, and he was working flat out in the kitchen. There was neither the time, nor the money to start his dream veg plot – even though David Mlinaric, interior designer to the grandest of the grand, and his wife Martha, offered him the use of the kitchen garden on their idyllic Spargrove estate nearby.

An allotment for herbs and edible flowers at Durslade, owned by Hauser & Wirth gallery and a short walk from the restaurant, would have to do.

And then came lockdown. But out of adversity comes opportunity: “I’ve taught myself the fine art of running an e-commerce shop and a takeaway, and we do a pop-up shop every Saturday. We had to do that for survival,” says Labron-Johnson.

He has also taken the term “gardening leave” literally and, over the last few months, taught himself to raise his favourite varieties of vegetables. “I was starting to grow in my allotment and I thought: ‘I am crazy if I don’t get this garden going now, I will regret it for the rest of the year.’” So he plunged into the Mlinarics’ kitchen garden.

We meet at Spargrove on a sunny afternoon late in June. The first thing I notice, once through the narrow gate, is the long double row of mature artichokes that occupies a whole bed along the top of the third-of-an-acre sloping garden (see above).

“David and Martha have been growing artichokes since they have lived here,” says Labron-Johnson. “They were given them by a friend in Italy and usually they are producing never-ending artichokes.” Frustratingly, “this year they are having squirrel problems they have finally figured out that artichokes are quite tasty.”

On the slope below, where once there was only grass, are three new beds (each 18m x 3m), home to rows of young veg that have appeared over a matter of weeks – Labron-Johnson took a gamble on when the restaurant would be able to reopen and has planned for his crops to come into abundance by late summer. It has been hard work, especially as he doesn’t drive and has to cycle over the hill from home in Bruton. “I can’t actually believe how much we have done in this time.”

Enjoying the heat of the wall are outdoor tomatoes, such as ‘Black Russian’ and ‘Gardeners’ Delight’ in the beds are purple sugar snap peas red orach for salads courgettes, including yellow (‘Gold Rush’) and green (‘Romane’), spring onions beetroot ‘Chioggia’ and ‘Cylindra’ salads (especially spicy Oriental varieties), cucumbers (“I probably have about 50” – he makes pickled gherkins out of some) and edible flowers such as calendula: “It is a good companion plant and you can put the young leaves in salads, too”.

There are also carrots, parsnips, leeks, onions, radishes and chard. Among the broad and runner beans are dwarf and climbing French beans, including ‘Fortex’, sent by his grandmother from France. “She says they have no string and are completely tender and you get so many from each plant.”

The door into the garden is too narrow for vehicular access – hence he and his brother Ruben shovelling the eight tons of muck over the wall by hand – and he spent four days bringing in six tons of food-waste compost with a wheelbarrow. “It was mad.”

They did, however, manage to squeeze through a mini digger to create the beds. The third bed, recently made, is like a delicious earthy cake: over a layer of the upturned turfs from the first two beds went a layer of cardboard to suppress weeds, then that was dug in and manure added, liberally topped with straw.

With scaffolding boards laid around the edges to make it raised, it is now home to ‘Crown Prince’, ‘Musquee de Provence’ and ‘Red Kuri’ squashes.

When Osip reopens its doors on July 30, what Labron-Johnson can’t magic up from the Spargrove kitchen garden will come from local suppliers or be brought in by neighbours and friends. As customers sit down to eat in the 16-20-cover Covid-compliant space, he won’t be giving out menus (unless requested).

Diners will be told about the local produce into which they are about to sink their forks and asked to “put their faith in the kitchen, knowing that we will cook from the heart. The idea is that our guests will really understand that we are cooking with whatever we are given that day.”

Labron-Johnson still intends to run the garden himself, as an antidote to hot days in the kitchen – “It is very good for my mental health,” he laughs.

All is looking productive now, but what about winter and that tricky “hungry gap” at the beginning of the year? “It is the test of a true talented chef. It is hard to make a restaurant-standard, ‘fine-dining’ dish with something as humble as Swiss chard or kale in the colder months. You need to be creative. You really do.’

The proof, as they say, will be on the plate.

Osip and Number One Bruton both plan to reopen on July 30 (osiprestaurant.com numberonebruton.com).

Top tips

  • Merlin is very fond of brassicas – spicy oriental salads kale kohl rabi, radishes and so on. But so are flea beetle, cabbage white caterpillars and pheasants, so the plants need to be covered.
  • In the fight against holes in his radish leaves, Merlin has used pallets draped with enviromesh, which can be moved along the beds as each batch of the crop matures. He does the same with a set of small portable wooden cold frames to protect young salads.
  • As with a restaurant, make sure you stagger your planting so that you don’t have a glut and then nothing to follow. Many vegetables have a long growing season.
  • Charles Dowding, the guru of “no dig” vegetable growing, lives nearby and gives advice. Merlin is an avid watcher of his YouTube channel.
  • Covering the soil with hot-rotted compost smothers most weeds and leaving the worms to do the “digging” work for you also saves time.
  • Many weeds, such as dandelions, nettle and young ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) can be of culinary use. Merlin also forages from the local lanes: elderflowers, meadowsweet and damsons all go into his menus.
  • Don’t take “sow-by” dates too literally. Martha Mlinaric gave Labron-Johnson some seeds of runner beans she rated.
  • “I looked at the packet and they were seven years out of date,” he says – but there they were, growing away happily.

Preserved courgettes

Prep time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 750g courgettes
  • 250ml olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 25ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Bunch of marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
  • Peel of one lemon
  • Salt

METHOD

  1. Slice courgettes as thinly as possible, spread them out on a tray and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave for one hour then blot dry with kitchen towel.
  2. Heat 50ml oil and fry courgette slices in batches. Place slices in a bowl and add lemon peel, sliced garlic, sugar, herbs and vinegar. Mix well and place in a sterilised jar.
  3. Heat remaining olive oil and pour over courgettes, making sure they are submerged. Keep in the fridge and use within one month.

Chard, potato and Caerphilly cheese pie

Prep time: 1 hour, plus chilling | Cooking time: 45 minutes