Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

"Grow Harvest Cook" book review

I was sent Grow Harvest Cook to review some time ago and have only recently got around to using it, but am glad I did!

The press release which came with the book says
Grow Harvest Cook is a collaboration between experienced gardener Meredith Kirton and food writer Mandy Sinclair. This comprehensive guide, offers advice on growing your own produce, indispensible tips on harvesting, storing and freezing, and finally over 280 recipes for what to whip up from your home-grown yield. Grow Harvest Cook shows you how to grow everything from peppers to passionfruit and has recipes ranging from delicious Apricot Tiramisu and Caramelised Parsnip & Chorizo Salad to Pork Cutlets with Sage and Prosciutto.  

This book has instructions for growing ingredients, harvesting them and then some recipe ideas for cooking them.  If I am perfectly honest, I was a little dubious about the availability of some of the ingredients as the authors are Australian so I expected a lot of the recipes to contain things not easily grown here.

But I was wrong ! Some of the ingredients are probably more common "down under" - I certainly can't grow lemons easily in my back garden, but I know from reading blogs based in Australia that this is very common, there. The few items which we don't grow here ( lemons, papayas, watermelons and persimmons were the main ones I spotted)  are available in the shops if you want to use them.

The book is well laid out and easy to use, with a good list of contents at the front and a very useful index at the rear. The growing tips seemed easy to follow and the harvesting/preserving ideas I  looked it seemed to follow what I know to do.

I found lots of suggestions for combining some ingredients which were fresh and new to me and I think that is this book's best feature - it gets you thinking about different ways to use familiar ingredients. I particularly liked the idea of combining prawns, peas and avocado as a salad ( I added pea shoots as well) and the spinach and ricotta pie was very good.  I was intrigued by the idea of Jerusalem artichoke bread but have not tried making any!

This  is a solid, hardback book - which looks like it will withstand being handled in the kitchen without falling to bits, a huge bonus if you have ever had old favourite paperback books disintegrate due to handling! This book also has some lovely illustrations and beautiful photographs by Sue Stubbs.

So, I was impressed and "Grow, Harvest, Cook" has been added to the bookshelves :)

With thanks to Hardie Grant books for sending me a review copy.

Grow Harvest Cook retails at £20 hardback


  1. So good to read a book review that includes comments on the index. Until a year or two ago I was a member of the Society of Indexers and the journal included reviews where the index, or lack of it was mentioned.

    The underestimated skill of an indexer has not been usurped by machines especially for academic or very specialist works.

    My best wishes to the Compost family for the new year, with thanks for enabling us to visit the Hampton Court Flower show.

    1. Hi PixieMum and thank you for commenting :) As a research scientist I valued a good index and the habit has continued into "civilian" life :) To me a decent index is an essential :)

      And I was so pleased I could ( thanks to Ecover) help a couple of other people enjoy Hampton Court Flower Show, even if it was VERY hot!

      Hope you have a Happy New Year and best wishes to you and yours xxx


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