It's a dream many of us has: plant some herbs close enough to the kitchen door, so that you can simply pick enough for your cooking just when you want them. In reality many of us do not have the knowledge or the confidence (and time) to do this, and this is where Natalie Boog comes in.
Her journey came naturally. First one pot of herbs, then another. She acquired some knowledge of how to use them, then, she says 'I started collecting my own recipes'.
It's a good thing she did as now there is this book, brimful with everything from the perfect potting mix (did you know putting pebbles in the base helps with drainage?) to a sensational basil chocolate cake and chillies in a red curry paste you can store in the fridge for a week, or freezer for a month. The good thing is, of course herbs and spices work equally well for sweet or savoury dishes. In this book, thyme turns up in cookies and a cake, and chilli appears in molten chocolate puddings, while rosemary features in a flourless orange cake.
Of course courtyards are good for much more than herbs. There is a section on lemon recipes as well as strawberries, because even in a relatively small space, these can be raised in tubs or pots.
With her experience as a food photographer and self-taught home cook, Natalie found she had all the expertise needed to provide both the text and stunning images for this unique and useful book.
With in your hands, you'll find yourself unable to stop turning the pages and planning which recipe to try first - but also eyeing up your courtyard for where you can plant your ingredients!
Courtyard Kitchen, by Natalie Boog, published by Murdoch Books, 2015, hardback, rrp A$39.99. ISBN: 978 176011 0659
- reviewed by Sally Hammond
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