You may not have heard of Guy Watson, but you'll probably have heard of Riverford Farm. With 20 years experience of growing vegetables and building a business based around them, his is a passion and an insight that you rarely come across.
Part of his vision was to set up a Field Kitchen at the farm to cook the vegetables he grows. He joined forces with Jane Baxter, ex-River Cafe amongst much else, who cooks the harvested bounty with inspired enthusiasm and serves it - refectory-style - to eager customers.
Now between them, they've published their Riverford Farm Cook Book with Guy's notes and Jane's superb recipes. You won't be able to resist the likes of Beetroot Hater's Soup, a warming autumnal Dev-Mex Pumpkin Stew or Caramel Apple Pavlova. Each ingredient is prefaced with notes on how Guy came to grow it and his own storage and preparation tips before you dive into Jane's innovative recipes.
I particularly love his whimsical notes. For example, Guy on white cabbage: "When we grew vegetables for the supermarkets, we used to send off lorry load after lorry load of white cabbage. I was always at a loss as to who ate them all. How much coleslaw can the nation eat? Just about every other use of a white cabbage is better served by green cabbage of kale." And he's probably right.
A combination of sound advice and good cooking, Guy's book will get you out of a hole with uninspiring vegetables you might get in your delivery box, or encourage you to try new varieties when shopping. In these credit-crunch days, it's sensible that vegetables should be not just the supporting act, but the stars of the show.