Posted by: Naomi Slade | September 28, 2010

The Garlic Farm Cookbook – a review

 

Garlic of all sorts and sizes

Coming across family run The Garlic Farm exhibit at Hampton court, I was intrigued. Not only were there more varieties than I had imagined, but they genuinely seemed to love the stuff. Spotting the new Garlic Farm Cookbook, I resolved to lay hands upon a copy and find out more.

I was expecting a straightforward recipe book but it turned out to be more of a garlic bible. Something of a team effort for the Boswell family, they run down their history and involvement, how they got into farming garlic on the Isle of Wight in the early days of garlic popularity and how they had a hand in making interesting varieties available to the amateur gardener. The style is friendly, approachable and anecdotal. A bit like having a chat with a garlic-savvy friend who has your best interests at heart and knows all about health, folklore and the best way to prepare the garlic bounty.

They explain the background of 15-odd varieties with tips on growing, feeding and care, when to plant, when to lift, how to dry and the difference between hardneck and softneck garlics. One comes away feeling thoroughly informed and ready to bore the pants off people at dinner parties with in-depth garlic wisdom. And if keeping up with the joneses is a priority, there are instructions on how to plait and grappe the bulbs to store and display them to the envy of all.

The recipe section is divided into seasons and is tasty and straightforward – spring, for example explores the delights of green garlic, eaten when it is mild, juicy and young and I liked the way that they suggest specific varieties – eg purple Moldovan for garlic ciabatta and include recipes with garlic scapes – the flowering shoots.

As a veggie many of the recipes are a bit meaty, fishy or eggy for my personal taste but the likes of Oak Smoked Garlic Dauphinoise, Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Elephant Garlic Soup sound rather jolly and there are plenty of other ideas to take away and adapt.

All in all, this good-looking, friendly little book is an excellent resource and would make a good present for kitchen gardeners and cooks of all abilities.

The Garlic Farm Cookbook, Edited by Natasha Edwards, £9.50 http://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk; 01983 865378

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