Our kitchen garden is looking fabulous. Green shoots and flowers are everywhere.
When I open the gate and step into the plot, despite the trials and tribulations of the day, a weight is lifted and I start to smile.
I have another big reason to be happy. After many years of planning the Kitchen Garden Cookbook, it’s on general release. I still can’t quite believe it has actually happened. More than 150 recipes, all inspired by my Italian Scots roots, some fun family stories, a celebration of many of our favourite suppliers and, at the heart of the book, the story of the garden.
It is a thank you to my family, my friends and our suppliers, without whom we simply couldn’t do what we do. The book is also packed with great tips about produce. The biggest gift our garden has brought is the knowledge of growing. The project has given our teams in the restaurants access to ingredients they would never be able to get without the garden. Early shoots, flowers and, of course, all the fruit and vegetables now guide what we do. The garden is beautiful to look at, but the point of it is to help us all eat well.
As a novice gardener I was unaware of how much could actually be grown in Scotland. Our gardeners have tremendous skill, which is half the battle, but the varieties and quality of produce such as fennel, beetroot, chard, garlic, courgettes, apples and cherries have thrilled us.
This season is probably my most special. Broad beans, peas and asparagus are at their best and without a doubt they are my favourite greens, so here are some recipes to help you share my passion.