Cookbook Review: Homegrown Kitchen

Homegrown Kitchen:
Everyday Recipes for Eating Well
Nicola Galloway
Potton & Burton, RRP $49.99

I have a lot of cookbooks. The sticky ones with loads of flour and fingerprints on are of course my favourites, but every time a new one comes in, I’m like a kid at Christmas. I can’t wait to open it and I get really excited at what I’m going to find; a good recipe book for me isn’t so much an instruction book as an inspiration source.

Nelson-based Nicola Galloway’s style is very focused around eating well, and after three cookbooks and a 14-year career as a trained chef and nutrition consultant, she’s got her niche pretty perfectly carved out. The recipes are definitely set towards modern cooking, with more than the occasional nod to traditional styles: for example, the fruit preserves and chutneys have much more fusion of flavour than in the more traditional jam and preserve books. Stone fruit Caramel Sauce rides happily alongside a Tomato & Carrot Kasundi; and having just acquired a scoby, I’m very excited to see Nicola has a section on kombucha. Watch out for those recipes coming soon!

In keeping with Nicola’s background, there are a lot of nut and seed-based recipes, many of which are appearing more and more on restaurant menus, which always gets my juices flowing: creamy labneh dips with your crudites? Not a problem.

My favourite part of the book, however, is that while Nicola sets her sights firmly on feeding the family well, there’s no shock and horror at the idea of sugar: if the recipe needs it, it’s there. Not loads of it, but it’s allowed. And thank you for that, Nicola. If there’s one thing I can’t bear, it’s someone telling me a taste of sugar/butter/fat/red meat will have immediate and catastrophic consequences.

My rule of thumb for a good recipe book has to be that I want to cook more than half a dozen of the recipes. And Nicola’s book, I suspect, will acquire several of those sticky fingerprints before very long.