The Allotment Kitchen came into being when it was suggested that I publish the recipes I had collected and used with allotment produce in mind and Carrie Hill, a near neighbour, agreed to draw the illustrations.
The other team members are Sally Geeve, the book’s designer, Rosemary Cole, the initial proof reader and indexer, Rodney Lyons, a final proof reader, Chris Hill with an eye for detail, Mike Pugh who has publishing experience, Peter Leach, the printer, and Simon Strawbridge who is manning this website.
This is the home page for our cookery books. Let us introduce ourselves.
Susan Williamson, the author
I live in Marlborough Buildings, Bath. Best likes would be cats, horses, cooking, gardening, learning Chinese, Radio 3, Badminton Horse Trials, The Bath & West Show and our holidays in Madeira. I studied History of Art at UEA (1967-70) and had a great job at Penguin Books as picture researcher for the Buildings of England, Pelican History of Art and Viking books for 17 years before turning freelance.
I cook every day and for us the evening meal is one of the most important times of the day.
Marlborough Buildings is a special place. Urban in the front on the street with noise, traffic, and litter. Behind the houses, on the allotments, it feels rural. Foxes, deer, woodpeckers, jays all visit and, individually on our plots, we grow our vegetables. Each allotment has an individual style as we stamp our personality on what we grow and how.
Some years we have plenteous crops and in others we have failure. Beetroot eaten by woodlice, blight on the tomatoes, broad beans bending with the weight of black fly are disappointments that we learn to overcome. There is always next year.
We have a second volume underway, The Herb Kitchen. Recipes from this second book feature along side ones from The Allotment Kitchen. Both are directly inspired by what we grow to eat.
Carrie Hill, the illustrator
I am a neighbour of Susan’s, and share allotment space outside our back garden behind a high Georgian terrace in Bath.
I am painter and printmaker, and have been illustrating craft, textile and cookery books for many years. After receiving a freshly picked bunch of asparagus from Susan and William’s allotment, I sent a simple drawing to thank them…
This was the beginning of a project which has occupied us for the past year.
First a cool drink of white wine provided by William under the honeysuckle in their back garden, where our friend, Sally, was drawn in as the designer.
Then the recipes began – sampled often at our allotment get-togethers on the warm evenings of last year, and illustrated while I could still taste and savour them. As they grew in number, and the summer ended, there were frequent visits to Susan’s kitchen to taste more recipes and to discuss the size, format and printing of the book.
In the winter months, we sat by the Aga planning the layout, sticking labels on pages of plans, calculating how many pages would be needed for Apples, Pears, Cucumbers…
I would often have to break away from my illustrations to find something to eat, my appetite whetted by the delicious ingredients and dishes…
Chris, my husband, was a valuable addition to the team, with the skills of his days in advertising and design. His handling of large government catalogues became invaluable when checking and managing the final printed book.