Friday, 28 October 2011

The Edible Garden - a book giveaway

last weekend I was fortunate enough to meet a food hero of mine, the very lovely Alys Fowler... she may not yet be an international food celebrity but she is most definitely an inspirational speaker and a forward thinking food-lover who I believe, any of you who are interested in food... which I assume is all of you... will find fascinating.

Alys was speaking at the Louth Riverhead Theatre as part of the Wolds Words Festival 2011. It was a very intimate affair which added to her aura of inspiration.  She trained at the Horticultural Society and Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, has worked as a journalist, an author and TV presenter on the excellent Gardeners World as well as her own show The Edible Garden in which she turns her humble suburban garden into a place which after only 6 months she can rely on to supply vegetables for her household and not have to rely on any supermarkets... a feat which i'm sure you'll agree in both honourable and enviable!

her ideas and methods are not the norm... she is an advocate of permaculture, which, in essence, is when you seed your vegetables in a big old mess in the garden, mixed with other plants and flowers instead of in neat rows of single vegetables (monoculture)... it's an excellent theory which I will be attempting next Spring... don't worry, The Viking is a HUGE fan too...!

clearly I need to read up on how to make the most of my burgeoning permaculture adventure and there can be no better help for me than reading Aly's book, The Edible Garden, packed with hints and tips, guides and know how, as well as some yummy recipes too!

Alys has very kindly given me a copy of this book as well as her brilliant new book The Thrifty Forager to give away to one lucky reader! ( I know... it's give-away heaven this month at Belleau Kitchen!)

Carrot and Sultana Tea Loaf
and in honour of her inspiration I have baked this divine and perfectly seasonal loaf... carrots freshly plucked from the soil at Gunby Hall... its a great dense loaf cake because it's not quite carrot cake yet not quite proper bread...

200g light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs - separated
200g finely grated carrot (you can use pumpkin or squash if you have some around at the moment)
finely grated zest and juice of  lemon
100g sultanas
100g ground almonds
a handful of chopped walnuts
200g self-raisong flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground all-spice

- pre-heat the oven to 170c, lightly grease a large loaf tin

- beat the sugar and egg-yolks together for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy and then lightly stir in the carrots, lemon zest and juice, sultanas, walnuts and ground almonds

- then sift the flour, spice and salt into the bowl and fold them in gently

- in a large clean bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed - fold this very gently into the cake mixture

- pour the mixture into a loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour on until a skewer comes out clean.

so you have 3 chances to win the books:

1: leave a comment here telling me who inspires you
2: tweet the following: i've entered the @belleaukitchen Edible Garden book give-away: and then leave a comment here that you've done so.
3: say hi on the Belleau Kitchen facebook page and leave another comment here that you have done so.

The competition is open to an international audience.  Good Luck!

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. You lucky thing! She is an all round modern domestic goddess. I love that she wore a dress which showed her (slightly bonkers) tattoo on the Chelsea Flower Show programming this year. I always long to ask her what she thinks of Toby Buckland. But moving swiftly on...

    I'm most inspired by Ben Goldacre. I am constantly staggered by his clarity of thought. He's Just. So. Clever.

    My dream dinner party guests would include Ben Goldacre, the late Jon Diamond, Tom Hodgkinson and Monty Don. (with food by Nigella of course!)

  2. Sounds like a great evening and well done for cadging her books ;-) I sent her some of my rye sourdough starter about a year ago, but don't know if she's kept it going or not.

    think there might be a little more to permaculture than that, but it's great that you feel inspired and good to get a conversation going.

    I haven;t seen the book, but would of course love to have it.

    There are just so many great inspirational food people out there, but my currant top hero is Andrew Whitley - founder of the real bread campaign.

  3. Love the post!
    The loaf looks delish. Is that your tea set or maybe Gunby Hall's?
    I would love to win the book - would like to widen my Borders and grow some edible things.
    Who inspires me?
    1. Little Macaroon. She has amazing little veggie plot and shares the beautiful bounty when she is home.
    2. Nigel Slater. Love his food. Love his writing. Love his garden.
    3. My Grandma. She had the most amazing garden right up until her late eighties. She and my Granda were self sufficient in fruit and veg and cut flowers. I have her chutney recipe. I meant to make it this year but missed the gooseberry season. Hopefully next year. Now, how much is a quart?

  4. Hi Dom I've tweeted :-)
    What a treat of a give-away - and what fun for you to meet Alys.

    I'll pop over to your FB page in a mo.

    My heroes are:

    Joy Larkcom - she can be thanked for making salad more interesting, but also her ideas for growing vegetables and having a beautiful garden were truly ground-breaking and are still inspirational.

    Jane Grigson - if you don't own a copy of her Fruit Book and her Vegetable Book - get onto Amazon RIGHT NOW and put that right. Every cook who loves local seasonal produce and/or grows their own needs these books.


  5. Hi Dom

    Got a tad confused with the FB thingy. Have you got a page? or just a group which you need to be a member of to comment?

    Anyhow, I visited but wasn't able to say hi.


  6. You might have guessed that I'm a huge fan of fresh grown local vegetables. I only wish my small yard had enough room for a veggie garden. I love these types of cake/bread. I would spread a little cream cheese on my slice and be in heaven.

  7. Sniff! PDNFTA bloglove! (may I be permitted an 'OMG'?) I'm a snivelling puddle of gratitude and missing you tonnes Lou. x

  8. Hi Dom,
    I am inspired by Monty Don. He is someone who uses his garden and skills as a talented plantsman to get him through the tough times with his depression.
    I suppose I love my garden and my allotment in some ways as a form of de-stressing and during this half term looking after my 3 kids, I am crying out to get planting!

  9. I know it might sound sycophantic but it's my fellow bloggers who inspire me!

    Dom - this cake will be just perfect for my other half (minus the walnuts, which he think's he's allergic to!!) Thanks.

    I'm really going to have to get into this Tweeting thing!

  10. tweeted as instructed

    who inspired me: Huge W-F, Nigel Slater and was inspired by Great british food revival last night on BBC2

  11. Beautiful, been looking for a good loaf cake recipe for a couple of weeks now and I think this one will hit the spot!
    Tiny bit jealous you got to meet Alys, loved the Edible Garden and how much she managed to squeeze into the space she had.
    My biggest garden inspriation is my Dad. Some of my earliest memories are with him and my siblings in the garden (snaffing soft fruit, apples and picking the sweet peas he grows for my Mum every year) whilst he dug up potatoes, shook the branches of the damson tree so they rained purple and pulled giant onions.

  12. What a great gift - If I don't win this book will have to put it on my Christmas List.
    There are so many people who inspire me and my cooking. I love Nigella (which goes without saying) but my house is addicted to chinese food so would have to say Kylie Kwong, her book is well thumbed, her flavours are so clean. Donna Hay can always be relied upon and of course Maggie Beer and then again there is Stephanie Alexander who has forged a great path with her Kitchen Garden project in primary schools down here in Australia. Oh and I love Jamie and his endeavours to get school children's diets on a healthy track.
    Might have to give Alys' book to my sister for Christmas she is always trying to get her garden in the Uk to produce! She is a great inspiration to me always. That tea loaf is a must too.

  13. What a lovely tea loaf ... your photo is perfect ... the light, the light!

    As for Alys, I have never heard of her, but I do know what the concept of permaculture is all about ... years ago, SB and I lived in Beverly, MA a little New England town along the North Shore of Massachusetts. near our house lived a woman who planted her entire front yard in this way ... a picket fence served as a grid for climbing beans, a pumpkin vine that escaped to the sidewalk, morning glories, and some gorgeous yellow climbing rose. Her walkway wended through clumps of eggplant, sweet pyramids of tomato frames, delphiniums, mallow, etc etc. Her beans grew in clumps with her nasturtiums. Her window boxes along the front of the house flopped full of herbs ... it was amazing to see. Her neighbors thought she was crazy because their lawns were so pristine and smack dab in the middle was her glorious Garden of Eden!

    Inspirational ... right now, I'm readig nigel Slater's memoir, Toast - the story of a boy's hunger. he's pretty cool. I'm also inspired by Jamie Oliver ... think he's a young man with a laudable mission, and Michael Pollan is a neat guy too.

  14. Okay - have requested to join your facebook group and will say Hi when it allows me to do so.

  15. This would be the best prize ever... especially now we have the new allotment as well as the kitchen garden we've converted our back garden into...


  16. Oops, forgot to add the bit about who inspires me (in my previous comment).

    Lots of people, but for gardening, first and foremost, my mum. When we were kids, she'd get us involved, and we had our own little patches where we could plant our own chosen fruit and veg and flowers, in our own patterns, and tend and nurture them. She's green fingered, she gets it from her dad, actually... he always had a garden to grow lovely fruit and veg, in India where she grew up. They moved a fair bit but always a garden...

  17. And lastly, I did try and find a FB page to "like" but all I can find is a Group, which one must join, rather than a regular page. Is that right one? I requested to join, anyways,

  18. Yes, it's the tea loaf! And I've got just enough squash left to make some this weekend... x

  19. Love the idea for the tea cake, looks just the thing to eat with a nice cuppa. Very civilised ;0)

  20. PS - Already following you on facebook

  21. Who inspires me? Hmmmmmmmm. My Granny and my Mum are both awesome home cooks so I guess it would be wrong not to say them!

  22. A GREAT gift! The cake looks so moist and would be wonderful with a cuppa tea!

  23. I already follow you on Face Book!

  24. Who inspires me? Lots of people, my mum, my dad, my grandparents, Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, Nigel Slater, lots of bloggers I have met.......too many to mention!

  25. What can I say darling? You always inspire me - mwahahaha! But remember I am fickle ;-)

  26. I have tweeted the message @serialcrafter - go Alys!

  27. Have been to Belleau Kitchen FB page and commented. Thanks so much XXX

  28. I absolutely loved Aly's TV series.. Lucky you to have met her x

  29. "3: say hi on the Belleau Kitchen facebook page and leave another comment here that you have done so."

    Done :0)

  30. Yay, I can finally enter a giveaway... !!

  31. And I have now said I like you on FB too!

  32. I get inspiration from everywhere - other bloggers, reading restaurant menus and watching tv chefs. It's so difficult to narrow it down to one person - maybe I'd have to say that this year it's been Masterchef contestants.

  33. I've tweeted. @Corinathecook

  34. I am inspired by Jamie Oliver

  35. Just entering the conversation to mention my Food Heroes.. Nigel Slater, HFW, Joy Larkcom (she got me interested in growing my own veg), and more recently Yotam Ottolenghi, and Luke Nguyen.
    I'd dearly love it if you would visit my blog! Living in the "wilds" of rural Linconshire, I bet you are a Grow Your Own person too.

  36. My heroes...
    1) My Mum - she taught me to cook. Growing up nothing in her kitchen was wasted, and virtually every meal was home made.
    2) Hugh F-W - he speaks a lot of good sense, and has some fantastic recipes, not to mention good patter
    3) Yotam Ottolenghi - his recipes have taught me to combine flavours in new and very delicious ways.

    The carrot cake looks gorgeous to - now I'm positively hoping for a surplus of carrots in our veg box sometime soon so I can give it a shot!


  37. My parents have both been an inspiration to me... they always work so hard for their children.

  38. culinary speaking, my best friend Sarah is my inspiration. She has taught me many new cooking techiniques and has encouraged me in my developing adventures with new ingredients.

    She has also been kind and sweet on the other end of the phone when I have phoned up in tears "It's burned/It's sunk/It's turned green/It's completely inedible"!!!


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