Reviewer Anna Greenland is an organic grower and consultant
The Pig: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond
by Robin Hutson
Mitchell Beazley, £30
With many restaurants now hopping on the plot-to-plate train, there are plenty of massacred rosemary bushes in raised beds billed as kitchen gardens. Having visited a couple of The Pigs, I’ve seen it done right. What is grown in abundance in the gardens appears on the menu, and now on the pages of this book.
Those who revel in harvests from their vegetable garden, will find plenty of new recipe inspiration here. Kale Tempura, Cylindra Beetroot Toasts, Salad Burnet Dressing, and Apricot Tart with ‘Ginger Rosemary’ and Sweet Cicely. Plus a profusion of pickles, herbal cocktails and infusions, such as Pelargonium Vodka. As founder Robin Hutson says: ‘Right from the beginning, we wanted the kitchen garden to be the heart and soul of the place and to play a big part in influencing the menu.’
There are tips from the garden and a brief Beginners Guide to Growing Veg, but this isn’t necessarily a gardening book, or specifically a recipe book. It is a celebration of the good life adventure that The Pig has embarked on, from raising livestock, keeping bees, foraging and building a smokehouse. Plus it’s an ode to the staff and local producers who have supported it. For die-hard Pig fans there are also sections on how the company runs its festivals, decks out its hotels and creates its outdoor feasts.
This is a quality publication with beautiful photography and illustrations. It reads almost like a novel, with a conversational style that avoids any danger of smugness. What shines through is a genuine passion for homegrown produce. Having grown for chefs for more than a decade, I know the pitfalls – it is wonderful to see when the collaboration between kitchen and garden truly sings.