Book Review: The Creative Kitchen

What Steph brings to the kitchen through this book is a thorough experience not just in how to put the right ingredients together to create incredibly inspiring and colourful plant-based dishes, but a practical understanding of growing these crops in season from her own allotment garden.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Steph has put pen to paper and provided us with sound advice from her experience in the garden and kitchen. Steph co-authored the award-winning No Dig Organic Home and Garden with Charles Dowding.

This book feels even more personal. We are taken inside her kitchen and the process of her culinary mind as Steph thinks creatively and utilises the homegrown harvests to provide for the table during the contrasting seasons of the year.

“I love food!” Declares Steph in the book’s introduction. And as you adventure through the pages, heaving with dish after incredible dish, it will leave you with no doubt to how true this statement is.

This is honest to goodness home cooking. Simple in design but packed full of flavour – I know this because I’ve had the opportunity to sample Steph’s cooking when I visited her at Charles Dowding’s Homeacres garden back in September. Amazingly, she pulled together a selection treats for the entire group. All plant based, all made from fresh, in season homegrown ingredients and absolutely delicious.

Reading this book as an allotment gardener and a passionate cook, I found as I licked my lips over the dishes presented on the pages, I was just as inspired to grow as much of the produce used to create them. It is this synergy between what is possible in the garden and into the kitchen that Steph, because of her personal experience, has transferred onto the pages so clearly.

But wait. If the recipes are not enough to whet your appetite, the book provides even more inspiration for all your homegrown produce through sections on drinks (my favourite being booze!), salad dressings, infused oils and vinegars (including how to make your own vinegar) and a bumper selection of homemade crafts such as soaps, scrubs and even a lip gloss from beetroot!

This is such a beautiful, practical book and it will provide so much inspiration for anyone who grows their own produce and wants to maximise the crop’s potential. You could even plan ahead and grow and make some incredible Christmas presents for next year and get a wee bit tipsy sipping your own homemade boozy tipple while you wrap them.

I am so grateful to Steph and the team at Permanent Publications for providing me with a copy of the book to review. I can’t wait to revisit the pages as the crops from my own allotment garden reach the kitchen in 2019.

The Creative Kitchen by Stephanie Hafferty is published by Permanent Publications and is available from Stephanie’s online shop here:

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