BYRON SMITH & TESS ROBINSON, MURDOCH BOOKS, P/B, $45
This book is all about giving us the know-how and the inspiration to grow our own food, experiencing the immense satisfaction of cooking with our own harvest, and benefitting from the time out that gardening and cooking can offer. Expert horticulturist Byron Smith focusses on 40 plants to try, those that he’s grown most successfully in urban courtyards, backyards, rooftops, balconies, verges and windowsills. Then, come harvest time, the recipes serve up your bounty in simple snacks, salads, pickles and drinks. Snipping some home-grown leaves for a salad isn’t just about growing your own food, it’s about the reassurance of knowing what’s gone into it and what you have got out of it. I confess my gardening style tends towards overenthusiasm at the garden centre, staggering home with armfuls of seedlings, then it’s plant, neglect, die, repeat. Delighted to find my rented house is planted with citrus trees, I’ve been hanging out for harvest time, only to reap a solitary lemon and a tree full of maggoty mandarins. Ah well, as Smith says, you often find the process more fulfilling than the harvest itself.