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Devon Association of Smallholders

From the Garden by Hattie Klotz

DASH members love their smallholdings (or dream of having one) for a huge range of reasons, but near the top of the list must be an enthusiasm for sourcing and creating good food. With that in mind, for the first of our new series of book reviews we've chosen From the Garden by Hattie Klotz. It's a collection of recipes from her family home at Pashley Manor in Sussex, where the Sellick family have been renovating their garden – which is open to the public - since the 1980s. The author shares her love of the gardens through trusted family recipes and excellent photos by Leigh Clapp.

If you're a DASH member, click here for the chance to win the review copy for yourself. If you’d like to buy your own copy, publisher New Holland are offering a discount for DASH members. Go to the Member Benefits page for details.

From the Garden's biggest attraction is straightforward, well-thought out recipes which make good use of the kinds of produce that tends to come in quantity in the kitchen garden. It offers imaginative ideas but steers clear of those lists of exotic extra ingredients that get you a funny look if you ask for them in the village shop. Some of the recipes like grilled figs might sound a bit grand when you spend your days dressed in Mole Valley's Autumn/Winter 2008 range, but it's about making the most of a treasured crop that you might suddenly find overwhelming, not about buying expensive ingredients.

I tried the berry terrine, which sounded a little plain as it's “just” summer fruits in a plain sugar syrup, layered with madeira cake then chilled for a couple of hours. It's reminiscent of a trifle base but is surprisingly rich for so few ingredients and made me utter the unexpected phrase “Actually I don't think this even needs any sherry”.

I also made the cucumber, mint and sultana salad, which sounded an unusual combination – it was delicious and I promptly made it again the following day. We've kindly been given permission to share this cucumber salad recipe so do log in to the members’ area to try it – don't leave out any of the ingredients, it's a really well-balanced recipe. Click here to see the recipe

Both the recipes I tried are the kind of thing a distracted smallholder could knock together when faced with another glut and simultaneously trying to shear the children and help the sheep with their homework. It's also worth noting that although the recipes are naturally focused on garden produce, it's not a vegetarian cookbook and meat, fish and poultry feature in some of the recipes.

I'd have loved to read more about the development of the kitchen garden and the growing techniques at Pashley Manor – because the recipes, anecdotes and photos make the gardens look fantastic and well worth a visit. The book starts with a short introduction to the gardens and each chapter offers growing or storage tips for a different family of fruit or vegetable before the recipes. These are quite brief so it's not a how-to bible for growers or cooks but there are plenty of inspirational harvest and landscape photos. In fact the photography is a key part of this book's appeal - every recipe has a clear photo of the finished dish which is especially welcome.

The book ends with a chapter on essential basics like stocks, sauces and preserves, which means a good few extra recipes and tips without lots of repetition. One good tip was throwing the ends of parsley, leeks and carrots in to the freezer to add straight in to a stock without defrosting – saving waste and tidying up. A more detailed index would be really helpful (the index is just the recipe titles) so that you could find things like dressings and accompaniments, but the book is very clearly laid out so it is no hardship to flick through to retrieve a favourite recipe.

I don't think this book would suit you if you just need one book to tell you how to garden or cook, but it would be a lovely gift for anyone looking for something a bit out of the ordinary – especially a Christmas present to help you look forward to the next season. I could also see it being a good addition to the bookshelves of smallholders who run B&Bs or offer lunches or teas on open days, as it's handy to get ideas from a successful visitor attraction. I'd definitely make more of the recipes and I'm reluctant to give my copy away, but you can win it if you log in to the member's area, or you can buy your own using the code below. And don't forget to try the cucumber salad recipe!

From the Garden by Hattie Klotz is published by New Holland Publishers at £19.99, hardback and available from all good bookshops.
www.uk.newhollandpublishers.com - Photography by Leigh Clapp

If you're a DASH member, click here for the chance to win the review copy for yourself. If you’d like to buy your own copy, publisher New Holland are offering a discount for DASH members. Go to the Member Benefits page for details.