For an indoorsy urbanite like me, there is something of the idyllic daydream about many of Gill Meller’s recipes in his new book, Root Stem Leaf Flower, with their inclusion of such ingredients as just-plucked nettles, elderflowers and sea kale. But, and it’s a very important ‘but’, it is not the whole story. For, poetic as this book is, it is also full of recipes that speak practically to cooks whose shopping comes from the supermarket rather than the garden. More than practically, I should add, but also enticingly. It’s impossible to read this book without getting very hungry indeed. Among recipes I have earmarked so far are the Chard, Leek and White Bean Soup with Herbs and Olive Oil; Roast Little Gems with Peas, Peppercorns, Parsley and Cream; Roast Squash and Plums in Garlic, Ginger and Chilli; and Red Onion, Sage, Blue Cheese and Potato Farls. But, given the time of year, I had to go for the Tomatoes in the Hole, a luscious take on a classic, perfect for those summer nights coming up, when there’s still enough of a breeze to make you want to eat something warming. Obviously, this is a book that will make vegetarians happy, but it is a reward for any of us who seek flavour and fulfilment in food.
Root Stem Leaf Flower: How To Cook with Vegetables and Other Plants by Gill Meller (Quadrille, £27).
Photography: Andrew Montgomery