I bought this book as I am a keen cook who is on the waiting list for an allotment. I thought it would be interesting to see how this book bought those two aspects together. I knew little about Paul Merrett but have seen him on a couple of food magazine type programmes.
As a diary/account of how to (or is that not to?) start an allotment I found it generally amusing and interesting. However, not as good as Allotted Time: Two Blokes, One Shed, No Idea
, a book which Merrett mentions. There isn't enough real detail to help you avoid the pitfalls that Merrett himself makes, but maybe thats the whole idea of having an allotment and learning from your own mistakes. The story, which covers just over a year, flows well and held my attention enough to get through it in only a couple of sittings.
The recipes, which take up just under 150 pages, cover the usual suspect veg you would find on an allotment and range in complexity from 'root vegetable mash' (can this really be classed as a 'recipe'?) to 'slow-roast shoulder of lamb' (whose allotment ingredients consist only of garlic & rosemary). The section on preserves and sauces seems decent and I feel this is the section I would use the most.
Overall this is a really well presented book, with lovely pictures throughout both sections of the book. The recipes seems well written and easy to follow. I did enjoy this book, and found myself laughing out loud at certain points however, there are better accounts of allotment life out there and there are more useful recipes too. Saying that this is a book which brings the two together quite nicely, and gives you more information about the allotment side of things than Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life