Growing and Using Herbs and Spices 

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       October 23, 2013


Author  Don Burke

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781921517303
Publisher:         New Holland Publishers
Release Date:    


At last! A book written for the basic and essential gardener in all of us who really only wants to potter in the garden, is in love with the romantic idea of growing herbs  and spices in their garden that is, or if space is limited in tubs and pots, then cooking great food with the results of one’s labours.

 Don Burke has compiled just a small part of his knowledge on gardening in Australia to construct an encyclopaedic collection of Herbs and some of the Spices which can be grown very easily in our harsh climate into a fantastic collection with ,wait for it, recipes to complement your flourishing herb garden.

 As one who is in love with the idea of growing herbs in the garden, please note I have tried and failed many times, this inspires me with hope for my gardening skills which may yet allow me to succeed in growing more than parsley.

Beautifully presented with an excellent introduction on herbs and spices, their particular flavours, practicalities (very useful) and how to  do just about everything else required to be successful in your garden endeavours, even a section on making your own herbal teas, this is one book that is a must for the occasional gardener and serious cook.

Commencing with Allspice and ending with Yarrow of all things, each plant comes with a full list of information. For instance Cumin has its Latin names and description, Growing Tips, Harvesting, Uses, Goes With, Black Cumin and Cumin Tea all explained clearly and succinctly. You now know what it is, how to plant and grow Cumin and what to do with it.  

On the following page there is a delicious recipe for Tikka Skewers using many of the ingredients listed in the book that you may have successfully grown. Very tasty and great for summer BBQ’s.

 To brighten the herb garden marigolds, roses, poppies and nasturtiums are just some of the more colourful plants which are utilised in so many ways both in the kitchen as well as medicinal uses all of which are clearly detailed, adding another perspective to what can be grown in the garden to compliment the pantry.  

The illustrations gracing the pages are of exceptional quality as recognition of species, other than the basics such as parsley and mint are often beyond the beginner’s scope, making a good quality picture very important.

It would seem each of the recipes has been created to give a better understanding of the use and taste sensations which can be achieved when using herbs and spices correctly, coupled with the right basic ingredients.  I have taste tested a few and find them easy to create, cook and even easier to eat.