Growing up in the eighties I used to enjoy watching The Good Life with my parents. On their bookshelf was a copy of The Survival Handbook: self sufficiency for everyone along with a guide to making your own wine. The thought of owning a smallholding was a dream for liberal Brits back then and it still is, only now we have even more books about self-sufficient living, and perhaps even less chance of achieving it.
Heather Cameron’s Farm Fresh Recipes from the Missing Goat Farm is one of these books but being from the other side of the Atlantic, there is enough novelty here to make me pick it up. Its author, Heather Cameron is a magazine stylist-turned-farmer who owns an organic blueberry farm outside Vancouver, British Columbia. Farming is most certainly not in this woman’s blood; I mean, in the introduction she says of beginning her new life that she ‘had clearly gone mad.’
By her own admission Heather says, ‘I am not a complete health nut or a world famous chef. I am a mom’. It was only after the birth of her daughter in 2007 that Heather learnt to cook, focussed on the farm, and launched a range of jams made from the produce she grows. Heather’s first book Farm Fresh Recipes from the Missing Goat Farm represents what she has learnt since then about ‘cooking, preserving and baking using her own produce wherever possible.’
In the UK we have Jamie Oliver and, recently, the Leon Cook 5 campaign, to encourage families to take up cooking with their kids, and Farm Fresh Recipes from the Missing Goat Farm is written to a similar end. As Heather says in her introduction, the book is ‘simply about taking the time to go old school.’
Perhaps the design is referencing Cameron’s background in styling, but the book looks a bit magazine-y for my preference. Having said that, there are plenty of nice, natural-looking photographs of Heather and her daughter getting busy. The book contains a broad range of recipes, organised by season and time of day. The influences range from Italian pizza and Polish pierogi to French pistou and Mexican tortillas. I am most convinced by and inspired to try the American classics: rhubarb or blueberry pie, savoury cornmeal waffles, iced tea, granola and ‘snow cone syrup’.
I also like the sound of homemade almond butter and ‘garlic scape pesto’, made with the greens from homegrown (or wild) garlic. Reading Farm Fresh Recipes from the Missing Goat Farm I sense that breakfast is going to be a big food trend for 2013. Among the plentiful breakfast ideas I was drawn to what Heather calls her ‘road trip breakfast… disguised as a muffin to go.’ Does Stacie Stewart’s Northern Soul Stack spring to mind?
Farm Fresh Recipes from the Missing Goat Farm is a handy reference for those wanting family meals, easily cooked and without a host of hard-to-get ingredients. If you’re looking for a manual about growing your own produce and rearing chickens, it isn’t for you. But if you’re dabbling with the idea of eating a bit more healthily and conscientiously and doing some more of your own work in the kitchen, this book is a fine place to start.
Full disclosure: my copy of Farm Fresh Recipes from the Missing Goat Farm was given to me free of charge by the publishers for review purposes.
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About Chloe King
I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.
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