Whole Larder Love. It brings to mind a cosy log cabin of a house in the wilderness, with a warm scruffy from overuse kitchen, a cavernous larder full of preserves and pickles and sauces dotted amongst bags of flour, pasta, potatoes and onions. It makes you think of a person with a sharp sense of humour, one who conjured up that clever name and runs that cosy home and all its natural bounty with a well oiled set of tools. Words are powerful wizards that weave the vision of a world and create a feeling. The words Whole Larder Love evoke that sense of being true to the land one uses, the food one cooks and the harmony one shares. It is Rohan Anderson’s legacy, a photographer turned modern day hunter gatherer who writes a beautiful blog and has produced a cookbook all revolving around those three beautiful words.
I have been waiting to cook from Rohan’s book for a while now and I started as soon as I received the advance copy. Rohan writes passionately and his no nonsense approach to food is infectious. He makes you believe that you can grow a lot of what you put on your plate by a little dedication and a lot of common sense.
Whole Larder Love published by Penguin in Australia is a treasure trove of practical recipes, gardening and foraging tips and advice on the right tools for fishing and hunting. Without being preachy (Not at all Rohan! Your parting statement just sums up your philosophy and projects you for the honest and ethical person you are), the book talks about some sensitive issues when it comes to sourcing food especially meat. Rohan expresses that meat is a privelege and not a right. Very true! He also talks about how hard it is to dispatch an animal no matter how many times you have done it before (Some pictures in the book are not for the squeamish). But it is refreshing to hear a first hand account from someone doing it all by himself, something that stays on the backburner when we shop for food. Out of sight, out of mind is the high road we tend to take, but giving some thought to where and how your food reaches your table is worth looking into.
The book is divided into seven sections that explore gardening, hunting, foraging, fishing, meat and poultry and culminating with the larder and some basics. The style of cooking is sensible and rustic. Personal accounts and experiences dot the accompanying recipes like Aunty’s Zucchini Soup, Gardener’s Reward Breakfast, WLL Burger, Mum’s Tomato Relish and Beachcomber’s Pasta. There are some interesting and delicious looking recipes for Sneaky Eel Dip, Coal Baked Bream, Dark Stormy Shanks, Nettle Pappardelle, Honey Chorizo, Wild Duck Risotto and Tortilla Espanol (finally! I now know what it was that mum used to make for my after school snack. I just called it special omelette).
There are heaps of pictures, very nice ones too. The book has an overall organic feel to it, the recipes are simple, clearly written and open enough for the home cook to tinker with and adapt. It is Rohan’s writing, that I especially enjoyed. It is like having a conversation with him and a very interesting one too. I picked amongst some recipes that I have already cooked, a recipe for a tomato relish with heat. I loved the name, it got my creative juices going and I ended up making a nifty little label to go on my jar just like Rohan’s hand drawn doodles. It is called Hot Atomic Kasundi and it is heavily adapted from Whole Larder Love.
HOT ATOMIC KASUNDI
A spicy tomato chutney with the heat of a million chillies to make and give away as gourmet gifts. Not for the faint of heart.
Makes – To fill two small jars
1kg ripe firm tomatoes, skin peeled and diced (I used truss tomatoes)
8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
2 hot red chillies, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried red chilli flakes
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds (preferably mixed)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon or to taste, salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a large pot, heat oil on medium. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start crackling add the ginger, garlic, chilli, chilli flakes and tomatoes. Mix well.
Add the sugar, salt, vinegar, ground turmeric and garama masala. Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking and burning.
Store in sterilised jars in a cool corner of your pantry or fridge. Leave for a couple of weeks for the flavour to develop or use right away.
I love the book, it is different. With Christmas coming up, it would make a great present for someone you know who loves cooking, gardening, preserving and mulling over the ethics of the food industry. No review is complete without a giveaway, so I am giving away a copy of this beautiful book to one lucky reader of the blog.
TO WIN A COPY OF WHOLE LARDER LOVE
- You MUST have an AUSTRALIAN POSTAL ADDRESS
- You MUST enter via the Rafflecopter Box below.
- You MUST leave me a COMMENT and tell me "What is it that you do or hope to do food wise to make a difference in your family and in this world?"
- You can do the other things in the box for BONUS ENTRIES.
- Winner will be picked at random on November 2, 2012 after give away ends and announced on the blog and facebook page.
For those who would like to buy the book anyways
Note – The review copy was sent to me by Penguin, Australia. The give away copy is sourced by me.