Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell

Writer and lllustrator

https://www.walledgardens.net/
Susan Campbell co-founded the Walled Kitchen Garden Network in 2001 with the late Fiona Grant. Susan began researching the history of walled kitchen gardens in 1981. She has personally visited and photographed over 600 walled kitchen gardens in the UK and abroad, making her a foremost authority on the subject. "I could easily list ten cookery books that are my favourites simply to read or to look at – glossy books with incredibly complicated or exotic recipes and beautiful illustrations - but they are not by any means the ones I regularly use as books to cook from. Below is a list of ten of the cookbooks which I use year in, year out; favourite standbys, given in the order of their publication and, because many are paperback editions, showing their age by falling apart."

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Behind the Cookbook: 50 Years of Poor Cook

Behind the Cookbook: 50 Years of Poor Cook

In 1971, half a century ago, two young mothers wrote a book that captured the spirit of the time, and still has strong resonance to this day. Poor Cook focuses on good simple cooking from scratch. Its “do what you can with what’s available” ethos is very much in keeping with today’s imperative to reduce food waste. We spoke to the two co-authors who told us how they came to write the book….

Susan's favorite cookbooks

Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book

Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book

Jane Grigson

With over a dozen recipes for courgettes, and almost as many for broad beans, this book makes a regular godsend for anyone with a glut-filled larder from their kitchen garden. As the majority of the recipes are from France, they usefully broaden the scope for English cooks.

Jane Grigson's Fruit Book

Jane Grigson's Fruit Book

Jane Grigson

Perhaps unusual fruits were easier to find by the time this book was published (1982) but it’s still rare to find recipes for exotics such as carambolas, feijoas, cornelian cherries or sapodillas. The format, as in the Vegetable Book is alphabetical, and the dishes are accompanied with intriguing little histories of the ingredients, the chefs who use them, and the gardens from which they come.

Pasta for Pleasure: The regional recipes of Italy

Pasta for Pleasure: The regional recipes of Italy

Going by its date this must be one of the very first books to cover the many varieties of pasta that come from Italy. It is a pasta encyclopaedia, with recipes listed by the different areas in which they are specialities. It acted, when I first read it, as a wake-up call to someone who mostly cooked spag bol and lasagne.

The Sauce Book

The Sauce Book

Pepita Aris

There is a sauce in this book for every dish that a good English or European cook might need. It is not by any means up to date with all the modern sauces that are now de rigeur, but it is nevertheless extremely useful.

A New Book of Middle Eastern Food

A New Book of Middle Eastern Food

Claudia Roden

This book is based on the first of Roden’s cookbooks introducing us to Middle Eastern food, which was a revelation when it was first published. To be honest, I could have chosen any of her other cookbooks, but taking into the account that this is the most battered one of hers in my bookshelf, I take it to be the favourite.

Secrets from an Italian Kitchen

Secrets from an Italian Kitchen

Anna Del Conte

All of Anna’s books too, are pretty much tops with me, but the format of this one – a chapter each for Italian ingredients ranging from pasta (again), through edible weeds and wild mushrooms to olives and olive oil - I find most inspiring.

Under the Sun

Under the Sun

Caroline Conran

I have to admit that I had a hand in this one, being Caroline’s sous chef for executing the recipes in a borrowed house in Provence, while the stylist and photographer worked on the pictures for each dish. It was a job, but sourcing the ingredients and eating the results was pure pleasure.

The Kitchen Diaries

The Kitchen Diaries

Nigel Slater

There is a number of books on my shelves by this author too, but I like this one best because its diary format is incredibly useful when one is at one’s wits end as to what to have for dinner. What did Nigel have on any given day? We’ll have the same. It’s seasonal, too.

The Modern Italian Cook

The Modern Italian Cook

In an effort to catch up with more topical recipes, I heard that Joe Trivelli, head chef at the River Café, was the one to bring my Italian cooking into the 21st century. So it has proved, though there is also a delightful number of his grandmother’s and auntie’s recipes here as well, albeit many that are new to me. A nice addition to the many Italian cookbooks I already have.