Anyone who has visited Great Dixter will be familiar with the sprawling kitchen gardens – and certainly with the enormous compost heaps that are strewn in late summer with a web of pumpkin plants. So it’s no surprise that the debut cookbook from Dixter’s resident cook and kitchen gardener Aaron Bertelsen, is first and foremost a celebration of robust and seasonal ingredients. In his introduction, Bertelsen explains how the kitchen garden was created when the parents of Christopher Lloyd (the gardener and writer who made Great Dixter world-famous) first moved to the house; a century on the house and gardens hosts an endless stream of visitors, students and guests and the kitchen garden feeds them all. As you’d expect from a gardener cook, there are plenty of hearty, soulful recipes here including soups and pies, quiches and cakes. There are recipes from Christopher Lloyd himself – including a delicious mackerel pate served with crispy baked potatoes – a novel idea that we have already adopted. But this is such a useful book for growers too with lots of recommendations on which varieties to grow and how to get the best crops. All of which is lavishly illustrated with Andrew Montgomery’s beautiful images. This is already one of our kitchen shelf favourites – and, we suspect, will be referred to often.
If you want to hear Bertelsen talk more about Great Dixter then head to the V&A on April 11th where the gardener/cook will be giving a talk on the history of the great house and its amazing gardens.