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Book DetailsISBN: 9781920989989
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Book Review: Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander - Reviewed by HelenphH (10 May 2010)
I was really lucky to get this for Mother's Day and am delighted with it. There aren't many books that tell you how to grow your vegies and then how to cook them into the yummiest dishes. The gardening advice includes information about compost, worm farms, container gardens and lots more. For beginners there's a list of essential equipment and a wonderful planting chart for different climate zones. The first thing I look for in a gardening book is whether tropical climates are included and Stephanie gets full marks for covering all Australian regions.
In the main section over 70 fruit, vegetables and herbs are listed and you're told everything you need to get each one growing well. Eggs are included, with advice on how to 'grow' your own chooks. For all the other produce Stephanie lists the required climate and soil type, when to plant and harvest, likely pests and their organic controls, plus suitable companion plants.
Once your precious produce is in the kitchen Stephanie details how to prepare it and includes several recipes. Personally I was delighted to see that there are quite a few vegetarian dishes. The recipes are all straightforward, with none of those fancy ingredients that are only found in tiny, expensive bottles on the top shelf of delicatessens. That said, they are not boring; how about Beetroot and Chocolate Muffins, Lavender Scones or Callaloo (a bacon and veg soup from Jamaica)?
Stephanie Alexander has started up a wonderful program for schools, giving kids the opportunity to grow and cook their own food. So the book, not surprisingly, has 'Especially for kids' sections to help you involve your children in your own garden.
If the book needs any more recommendations it has lots of helpful photographs and I love the removable (and presumably washable) dustjacket that protects it from earthy or sticky fingers.
The front cover sums up this book well: Dig, Plant, Water, Grow, Harvest, Chop, Cook. It shows you how to do all that and more and is great encouragement to grow your own wonderful produce and cook it in healthy ways. As Stephanie Alexander's school garden project spreads countrywide this would make a wonderful gift for the whole family to enjoy, or is just perfect for an old chook like me!
Stephanie Alexander AO is regarded as one of Australia's great food educators. Her reputation has been earned through 30 years as an owner-chef in several restaurants, as the author of 14 influential books and for her groundbreaking work in creating the Stephanie Alexander Garden Foundation. Everything she has achieved and worked towards has been driven by her desire to break down anxieties about cooking, to emphasise the beauty of produce fresh from the garden and to promote the pleasures of sharing around a table. Her fifth book, The Cook's Companion, is regarded as an Australian classic, and has sold over 500 000 copies. in 2013, this monumental work, in response to the new technology, first appeared as an easy-to-use digital app. In 2014 Stephanie became an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.She was named Victorian of the Year in 2010 and, in 2012, appeared in the number one position on Crikey magazine's list of the most powerful people in Australian food. Her strong belief is that the earlier children learn about food through example and pleasurable hands-on experience, the better their food choices will be throughout life. One of Australia's most highly acclaimed food authors, Stephanie has written fourteen books, including Stephanie's Menus for Food Lo
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