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Mark Diacono is an award-winning writer and photographer. Known for his commitment to sustainable, ethically produced food, Mark was head of the Garden Team at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage for many years before setting up Otter Farm, the Britain's first and only climate change farm. @MarkDoc / @OtterFarmUK / otterfarm.co.uk
'Otter Farm is all about flavour. It starts and ends with the question: What do I really want to eat?' The taste of a perfectly ripe mulberry was Mark Diacono's inspiration for creating Otter Farm, a unique smallholding in Devon with every inch dedicated to extraordinary produce. Sprouting broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, borlotti beans and chard flourish in the vegetable patch; quince and Chilean guava grow in the edible forest; and pigs and chickens roam freely. Here Mark shares his colourful, beautiful recipes, all brimming with flavour and with fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit - including a warm salad of Padron peppers, cherries and halloumi, a stew made from chicken, pork and borlotti beans, a curried squash and mussel soup, and cucumber ice cream, quince doughnuts and fennel toffee apples. He charts the seasonal challenges and excitements of rural living, and offers practical advice for cultivating the best of the familiar, unusual and forgotten varieties at home. With luminous photography that captures life in the kitchen and outdoors, this ground-breaking book reveals how even the most exotic and exciting tastes can have their roots in British soil.
The content of this book originally appeared in The New Kitchen Garden, published in 2015. 'An endless selection of delicious produce you can plant, grow and then cook with.' Raymond Blanc OBE Now you can create your own delicious edible garden at home! More and more people are being inspired to grow a little of what they eat at home. But while starting your own kitchen garden may seem like a daunting task at first, Grow & Cook makes it easy. Award-winning author and gardener, Mark Diacono, has distilled years of knowledge into this pocket-sized book. Whether you are new to gardening and only have a small window box or you are much more experienced with the space to experiment, this user-friendly handbook will inspire and help you. Mark is here to show you that there are plenty of options for everyone and lots of exciting new varieties to discover. Each variety in the book includes a wealth of information on when to sow, growing tips, potential problems, harvesting and plenty more. There are hundreds of varieties to pick from that can be grown and then used in your kitchen. Mark separates the growing guides into three groups: * Vegetables * Fruit & Nuts * Herbs & Spices Whatever you choose to grow should suit your lifestyle. You might prefer something tough and sturdy that doesn't need too much love or time commitment, or you might get pleasure from the steady graft of looking after your veg patch. Whichever your circumstances, your kitchen garden should bring you joy both in the growing process and then in the kitchen. Grow & Cook is the essential pocket guide for modern gardeners.
Chickens are a fantastic addition to a garden or outdoors space - you don't have to live in the back of beyond to have a few clucking around and giving you fresh eggs. They come in all shapes and sizes: some are layers, some are just born to strut. Mark Diacono begins at the basics, showing how you can raise chickens from eggs, and look after them once they start laying their own. The first part of Chicken & Eggs explains how to think ahead about what kind of chickens you want and how many to get, whether you are going for a breed that lays eggs regularly, or that you might eventually use for eating, or that simply looks decorative. You can choose from Orpingtons, Derbyshire redcaps, Muffed Old English Game, Leghorns and many more. Mark then goes on to show how you can breed chickens, encourage them to lay, work out what kind of eggs you have (are they destined for the eggcup, or will they hatch into baby chicks?), and take care of them day to day, as well as how you can go about getting the birds on the table. The final part of the book is a recipe section that goes far beyond the roast, with lots of delicious ideas for fresh eggs or home-reared chicken. With an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, this is an essential guide for anyone who can't stop thinking about chicks.
Growing fruit at home is a delicious and altogether more enjoyable alternative to buying it in the shops. Mark Diacono offers a practical and accessible guide to making the most of your garden and what it has to offer. The first part of the book is an A-Z of the different varieties of fruit, with old favourites like apples, cherries, plum, blackcurrants, white currants, redcurrants, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries and rhubarb as well as more exotic species like figs, grapes, cranberries, Japanese wine berries and apricots. Each is accompanied by a photograph, with detailed advice on when and how to grow and harvest. In the second part of the book, Mark gives straightforward guidelines on techniques like pruning and training, as well as how to deal with problems or pests. There is a section dedicated to growing under covers and in containers. Introduced by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and with 30 delicious recipes, beautiful, full-colour photographs and a directory of useful addresses, this is the ideal reference for any aspiring fruit grower.
Drawing directly from his experience as an acclaimed climate-change gardener, and of setting up a kitchen garden from scratch for River Cottage, Mark explains the practical aspects of organic growing, introduces us to a whole world of vegetables we may not have previously considered, and does away with alienating gardening jargon once and for all. Mark begins with a catalogue of vegetables that will grow in this country, explaining for each their benefits, what varieties to go for, dos and don'ts, and popular culinary uses. He then invites us to create a wish list of foods, and shows us his own list from his early gardening days. Next, he explains how to turn this wish list into a coherent kitchen garden plan appropriate for our space, whether it be a patch of acidic soil, a roof-top garden or an allotment, whether we put on our wellies in every free moment or are 'time-poor' gardeners. Then he puts all the theory into practice, showing us how to look after nutrients in the soil, how to resist pests and diseases, and how to make our garden sustainable and organic. In clear, concise sections we learn about seed trays, supporting plants with climbing structures, mulching, composting, companion planting, irrigation and promoting pollination, and there are additional tables showing sowing and harvesting times, plant sizes, and alternative varieties of plants for different sites. About thirty recipes and a directory of useful addresses finish the book, and the handbook is complemented by bright colour photography throughout. Practical and inspiring, with a textured hard cover and an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Veg Patch is destined to join Handbooks No. 1, 2 and 3 as an indispensible household reference.