This is the third of my Susan Hill books about her life in the country. After being totally enchanted by The Magic Apple Tree last year, I bought Through the Garden Gate and this title. Susan Hill's voice has an gentle and honest quality, and I have become a fan of her writing.
This book is quite short and you would be able to read it in one sitting. Illustrated again by Angela Barrett, the pictures enhance the main themes of the book, which are home, family, living in a community, and cooking things that you have grown yourself. The whole book is infused with recipes alongside the authors recollections, stories and recommendations.
Arranged seasonally we are taken through a whole year in her kitchen...hearty meals in winter and dishes that help you get over a cold, young greens in spring, picnics, salads and fruit in summer, bottling and preserving in autumn. Naturally each seasonal festival is also included, The Christmas table, Easter treats, and suggestions for using whatever is in season.
The recipes are of a traditional nature with family in friends in mind, Fruity Tea Bread, Dorset Apple Cake, Sausage and Onion Plate Pie. Many dishes are mentioned without the recipe, as a nostalgic memory or appreciation. We also have 'Ten Pleasures of the Winter Kitchen' and sections on Damsons, Asparagus, Rhubarb and many more.
Again this is a book to treasure and dip into, very sensory, and a haven to retreat to during a busy day. Out of the 3 books this is my least favourite, and The Magic Apple Tree remains miles ahead, but if you like books about country living and Susan Hill's mesmerising writing voice, this is worth looking up.
To see more book illustrations by Angela Barrett, who mainly does childrens books, but whose contribution to some of Susan Hill's books can not be understated, use the link.