Book Reviews

  • Healing The Vegan Way by Mark Reinfeld

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    Healing The Vegan Way by Mark Reinfeld, softback published by Da Capo Press. ISBN 9780738217772, price 15.99 in the UK, available from www.dacapopress.com

    The health benefits of vegetarianism and veganism are often brought into question. In this book, subtitled "plant-based eating for optimal health & wellness', the author fully describes and shows the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet. You'll find expert testimonials, research, essential information and mouth-watering recipes. There are 200 recipes to get you going on the right track. We really are what we eat and eating the right foods can have a beneficial effect on our well-being. This book offers a way forward through the myriad of confusing claims and counter-claims and provides a straightforward basis for optimal health. This is a practical guide to eating vegan and all the benefits it can bring. Part One is all about healing - the challenges, theories, nutrients, benefits and practicalities; in Part Two you will find all the recipes including preparation, breakfasts, drinks, appetizers, sides, dressings, soups, mains and desserts. Try a digestive tea or a healing broth when you are unwell or to keep you in tip-top condition, eat raw for energy. There's so much in this book that can help you make the most of your health.

  • Naturally Lean by Allyson Kramer

    51vmfqJVHZL._SS300_Naturally Lean by Allyson Kramer, softback published by Da Capo Press in the USA. ISBN 9780738218564, price 15.99 in the U.K. available from www.dacapopress.com

    Don't grab the wrong snack or fill up on saturated fats and high sugar meals. Make everything you eat count towards good health. Get off the diet yo-yo and join the ranks of the lean. Allyson provides 125 gluten-free, plant based recipes under 300 calories. The book is divided into an Introduction - all about lean, healthy and good for you, followed by 6 chapters: Greens & Crucifers; Hearty Grains; Fabulous Fruits; Nuts & Seeds; Legumes; Squash, Roots & Mushrooms; at the end there are suggestions for pairings and metric conversions. The recipes cover everything from breakfasts and smoothies to dips and salads, snacks, cake and desserts or treats, soup, lunches and toasts. Some of the sweet recipes use agave syrup, which is a sugar even though the blurb on the back says no added sugars. Note to publisher - more photos please.

  • Eat It Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton

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    Eat It Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton, softback published by Lifelong Books, Da Capo in the USA. ISBN 9780738218182, price 12.99 in the UK, available from www.dacapopress.com

    Are you throwing away too much food? Find 150 unusual recipes to make the most of all the parts of the food you buy or grow. Use those carrot toppings, cauliflowers leaves and asparagus trimmings. This book is a great reminder of how wasteful we can be. Cut down on the waste and eat it up. New tricks turn food waste into recipes. Simple, practical steps and interesting recipes could cut your food expenditure. Milk going out of date - make cheese, watermelon rind - pickle it, carrot tops - create pesto. No frills recipes with straight text and drawings, no colour pics but easy to follow and use. As a young girl, my mother always bought cauliflower with the leaves and cooked them as greens, now we cannot even usually buy them with the greens. Wake up to the waste in your trash and transform your menu.

  • Botanical Style by Selina Lake

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    Botanical Style by Selina Lake, hardback published by Ryland Peters. ISBN 9781849757133, price 19.99 available from www.rylandpeters.com

    Decorate with style - botanical style. If plants and flowers are your passion, indulge in all things botanical from cushions to wall hangings, plates, chairs, tablecloths and dressing gowns to rugs. Surround yourself with calming green or exotic flowers.Tropicals, ferns and flowers can adorn accessories in your home or you can create botanical 'corners' to connect with the natural world. This book is all about bringing the outdoors indoors and creating a botanical haven. The book is split into chapters: Botanical Inspirations - Vintage, Boho, Industrial, Tropical and Natural. The book features how to display houseplants and how to decorate your home with a love of all things floral and green. It is filled with style ideas. There are projects to make too such as floral wreaths or a botanical pinboard. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout.

  • Raw Food Detox by Anya Ladra

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    Raw Food Detox by Anya Ladra, hardback published by Ryland Peters. ISBN 9781849757287, price 12.99 available from www.rylandpeters.com

    This very reasonably priced book contains more than 70 recipes for low-calorie, raw food. As spring comes along our minds turn to warmer days. We cast off winter clothes that hide a multitude of sins and realise we have put on weight. Healthy raw foods not only mean less calories, they mean a slimmer you. A you full of energy. This book presents detox programmes including a 5-day cleansing detox, 5-day glow detox and a 3-day juice detox. It also includes advice on continuing the cleansing programme. The recipes are easy to prepare and a joy to eat or drink. Smoothies for breakfast, light but energising lunches including great salads and dressings, raw food mains, snacks and desserts. It's got everything covered. Adopted as a lifestyle, your skin will glow, your body will feel lighter as if a weight has been lifted and you will have increased energy. This book has fabulous photography that really makes you want to try each and every recipe. Find out all about the benefits of eating raw that have been propounded by many. Find powerhouse ingredients and learn techniques of preparation. Please note 9 of the recipes require a dehydrator and some dessert recipes use sugar or sugar substitutes. An excellent raw food recipe book.

  • Heirloom Plants by L. Harrison & R. Warner

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    Heirloom Plants by Lorraine Harrison & Ray Warner, hardback published by Ivy Press. ISBN 9781782403173, price 18.99 available from www.ivypress.co.uk

    Heirloom seeds are dear to my heart and that's why I featured them in my book the Seed Search. In fact Ray Warner's seed company, Thomas Etty Esq, was featured in it. This book is based on their seed lists of heirloom plants, giving information, detailed profiles and cultivation for many heirlooms. Growing heirlooms contributes to biodiversity. Although there are laws governing the registration of vegetable seed, many heirlooms are not registered because they are not deemed to be commercially viable - in other words, they would not sell enough packets of seed. Gardeners are therefore presented with a limited variety of unusual veg. With heirlooms you can enjoy something different. These varieties have often been passed down through seed saving from generation to generation. This book is full of heritage vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. It also has good historical notes. Grow something interesting today.

  • Garden Made by Stephanie Rose

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    Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, softback published by Roost Books. ISBN 9781611801743, price 16.49 available in the UK from PGUK

    This book is sheer delight for any gardener who loves to craft. 40 down-to-earth projects will keep you busy all year round. Enjoy creating personal and individually crafted items for your garden. You'll see mini photos of all the projects arranged by season at the front of the book. Get closer to nature, involve the kids, have fun and create practical gifts or items for your own garden. Beautiful photography enhances this book. My favourite project is the felted acorns, so colourful and lovely. The bug hotel is a close second. This book has a wide variety of projects with broad appeal.

  • Silent Beauties by Leendert Blok

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    00004037.tifSilent Beauties by Leendert Blok, hardback published by Hatje Cantz. ISBN 9783775740371, price 39.55 available from www.hatjecantz.de

    This book has a sumptuous cover, that looks and feels like silk. It shows an image of old florists' tulips. Such is the photography throughout the book, taken from 1920s photographs. It is of interest to gardeners and photographers alike. The original edition was published in France by Xavier Barral in 2014, and the reproductions of the original images have been made in France. There is a short introduction by Gilles Clement expanding upon the work of Blok and of flower art in the eyes of 1920s photographers such as Karl Blossfeldt. Blok was a pioneer of colour photography in the Netherlands. He experimented with panoramic formats and new techniques. Some of the images are small, single flowers, predominantly tulips. In the groups of flowers, the tulips are arranged their bent stems having purpose and reminiscent of Blossfeldt's work. Sometimes the name of the tulip is given, but no other information. Since many of these tulips are still grown today, it would have been an idea to include a little information. Narcissus also feature in the book as well as Dahlias, Hyacinthus, Iris, Gladiolus, Muscari, Allium and Eremurus. These photographs represent the advances in new technology, new beginnings and discoveries and this is a wonderful book that shares the recording of these plants.

    Images courtesy of and copyright www.hatjecantz.de

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  • Garden Design Solutions by Stephen Woodhams

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    Garden Design Solutions by Stephen Woodhams, hardback published by Jacqui Small. ISBN 9781910254028, price 25.00 available from www.quartoknows.com/brand/1026/Jacqui-Small/

    In the introduction of this book, Stephen talks about the 'communication and language of gardens' and I immediately felt an affinity. Garden design is all about choosing the right materials, hardware and plants to suit a given lifestyle and purpose. He shares the details of garden design. The book is divided into chapters Planning & Designing, Scale & Proportion, Textures & Surfaces (my favourite bit), Features & Focal Points ( a failure of many gardens), Garden Rooms, Planting plus resources and index. The book, like a garden, is a journey through contemporary garden design. Discover the essentials of putting together a garden design, no matter what you want from it, or where you live. This book with its many examples, sound advice and practical solutions will provide you with the possibility of creating a stunning garden. It shows many examples of design, answers to questions such as layout, levels, irrigation, lighting and so much more. It's filled with fabulous illustrations and gardens you'll love.

  • Little Bites by Christine Chitnis and Sarah Waldman

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    Little Bites by Christine Chitnis and Sarah Waldman, softback published by Roost Books. ISBN 9781611801774, price 17.99, available in the UK through PGUK

    My first reaction was 'wow I'd like to eat that', but this book is aimed at children to wean them off packaged snacks and fill them with goodies. At the same time teach them to share those goodies, because you WILL want to tuck in too. 100 great vegetarian snacks for all the family. Good food habits start at home and this is an excellent idea to educate your child's palette, tastes and get them involved in cooking too. The book feels good, looks good and does you good. It's full of homely photos, great ingredients and recipes. You'll also find great ideas for cutting the cost of produce - buy in bulk or join a local gardening community. There's an essential cupboard list and a favourite produce list. You can see at a glance if recipes are gluten, nut or dairy free to help with any allergy sufferers. There's also information about how and why the food will be good for you. You can also see if they are baby friendly. The chapters are split into seasons and the recipes are well, mouth-watering. I love Asparagus fries (would never have thought of that), Yogurt-Granola Cups (but too much sugar), Leek Fritters, all those strawberry recipes and that's just spring. Inventive, tasty and good for you - who could ask for more?

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