The Lavender and Lovage Cookbook: A Culinary Notebook of Memories & Recipes From Home & Abroad. Part travel diary, part memoir, part history, and all cookbook, Lavender & Lovage is an invitation from Karen Burns-Booth to join her on a personal culinary journey through the memories of the places she has lived and visited.
A Culinary Notebook of Memories
Recipes From Home & Abroad
As most of my readers and followers will have seen and heard on social media, my first solo book was published today, the 13th November 2018. I am extremely excited, as you can imagine, and also a bit overwhelmed by the response, which has been very positive, supportive and generous in their praise. 2018 hasn’t been a particularly kind year, and so this is a much-welcome start, hopefully, to a better end of 2018 and beyond. The book has been in the pipeline for nearly three years now, as I was signed up by a literary agent who represented me and a similar book in early 2016. But, although I received some very positive feedback from the proposed publishers, it seemed at the time that a memoirs style book combining travel and recipes wasn’t what they wanted. I have co-authored two cookbooks before, We Love Kale and We Love Quinoa, but this book, Lavender and Lovage – A Culinary Notebook of Memories & Recipes From Home & Abroad was the one I wanted to publish.
The book has been described by the publisher as:
“Part travel diary, part memoir, part history, and all cookbook, Lavender & Lovage is an invitation from Karen Burns-Booth to join her on a personal culinary journey through the memories of the places she has lived and visited.
Born from her eponymous award-winning blog this book contains 160 unique recipes, all beautifully photographed by the author. They showcase the breadth and depth of her travel. Karen has lived and travelled all over the world and has brought some of her favourite recipes, experiences, and memories to share here with her readers.
Karen focuses on the best of traditional recipes, preserving the ways of eating that kept our ancestors healthy, a vital contribution to the modern food landscape. If you would like to see the old made new again, to taste slow food instead of fast, to make food personal yet international, you will find it here.”
The publisher has been sending out review copies for the last two weeks, and as I mentioned before, I have been overwhelmed and very humbled by the response. My friends, both offline and online, have made numerous recipes from the book, which they have shared on their blogs, Instagram and Twitter, and have left come wonderful comments about how it is “more than just a cookbook”. I’d like to share some of the reviews below, before I share a recipe from the book…….
“Each chapter reads like a carelessly put together travel itinerary, taking you where the fancy leads you rather than a meticulously planned voyage. The “snippets” are like snacks, to be eaten between meals and inevitably sharpening the appetite for more.
Turning each page is like rounding the bend to a new vista, each chapter feels like you are stepping on a plane or a train, either heading or somewhere new and exciting or the bittersweet journey, bringing you back to home comforts and familiarity.. Familiarity may be the essence of what you remember, but the reality has been updated, is fresher, as though every room in the house has been redecorated in brighter, more vibrant colours.” Read more here
“One thing that’s charmed me in particular is that the chatty style of her memoirs is carried on throughout the whole of the book. Little titbits of information (or ‘snippets’ as Karen’s labelled them) interspersed the recipes, punctuating the food with relevant and endearing information. Sometimes she applies a geographic reference, explaining her experience with the recipe in context, sometimes it’s about the taste and the reasoning behind bringing the flavours and ingredients together or something else entirely that’s jogged her memory. It all ties the book together as a whole. Most cookbooks have a stand alone intro, then are divided rigidly into sections without considering continuity. By interweaving smaller stories and anecdotes between the recipes, Karen’s woven a holistic book, where the recipes only make full sense with the voice, and vice versa.” Read more here
“Last week I was lucky to receive an advance review copy of the book ‘Lavender and Lovage – A Culinary Notebook of Memories and Recipes from Home and Abroad’ by Karen Burns-Booth.
I’ve known Karen for many years now and her recipes can be trusted to actually work and her photography is truly stunning. She’s a very busy person and so I’ve never actually met Karen in person but we have spoken on the phone before and via FaceBook messenger. Now this book stands out from many cookbooks because it’s full of ‘snippets and memories’ of Karen’s life. It’s just so interesting, I sat there on Saturday morning and couldn’t put the book down.” Read more here
“This is no ordinary cook book, this is a more of memoir and an ode to food. Karen has been fortunate to have lived in all corners of the globe and travelled even further! Which means she has tales to tell. These tales and anecdotes are scattered throughout the book for the readers enjoyment. Memories are cheekily intertwined with the recipes and ideas that they have inspired. Even if you have never met Karen you get a taste of her life, her influences and how she has come to put this beautiful collection of recipes together.
The recipes have meaningful introductions and descriptions. You learn what inspired Karen to create them or who shared them with her and why. The recipes are uncomplicated and very achievable for cooks of all abilities. Ingredients are easy to find and the reader does not need to be a Masterchef finalist to cook something delicious for their themselves, friends or family.” Read more here
“If you’ve ever searched the internet for recipes, you may well have visited the blog Lavender and Lovage, where Karen Burns-Booth writes beautifully about food, travel and food-related travel, as well as producing regular recipes.
Karen has now written a book, a collection of recipes and writings about her food and travels. It will be available in Kindle format and print version on November 13th, and her publisher kindly sent me an ARC so I could review it. This is a book to sit down and savour – the writing is beautiful, reminding me of Nigel Slater or Elizabeth David, the kind of writing that makes you undecided as to whether you want to grab your pinny or your passport. Recipes are interspersed with anecdotes, memories, photographs and menus reproduced from places she has visited.” Read more here
“Imagine you are a guest in Karen’s home, a beautiful old Welsh schoolhouse close to Snowdonia.
Each day the menu of what you can choose to eat is a cornucopia of culinary delights, each with a memory for your chef and memories in the making for you.
Lavender and Lovage transported me into a world of international food. I was introduced to the origin of some ingredients and inspired to make familiar and unfamiliar recipes. I connected with Karen’s passion for real food made from scratch with best quality ingredients. I learnt about Karen’s life in food and how it drives her passion to share it with her readers.
As a keen baker and preserver I was delighted to read tried and tested baking recipes, with clear instructions; recipes I know will work and not cause disappointment. Similarly, the chapter on preserves has a perfect range of traditional recipes. I guarantee they will get you reaching for a preserving pan and repeat each season. No cookery book works without photography and in Lavender and Lovage there are stunning photos of the recipes, shot by Karen to a standard I rarely see in many cookery books published each year.
An unforgettable and unique book, it left me motivated to cook beyond my comfort zone and hungry to read about Karen’s future adventures in food.”
“Packed with evocative memories of Karen’s much travelled and multi-faceted life, an exciting variety of mouth watering dishes inspired by that life, fascinating snippets of factual and historical information, and the visual treat of her beautiful photographs to bring it all alive – this book has everything. A real treasure trove!”
You can read more reviews on the Amazon page here: Customer Reviews. And now for a recipe taken from the book, I am pleased to offer you a British classic, “Just Bacon and Eggs”, which is taken from the “Beginnings – Breakfast and Brunch” chapter.
Just Bacon and Eggs
(Great Britain, Australasia and North America)
We are so conditioned to the “Full English Breakfast” now, that it’s hard to remember that not so many years ago, a full cooked breakfast comprised of just bacon and eggs, and maybe a round of toast with marmalade. There were no extras added such as beans, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried potatoes, black pudding or fried bread. It was just bacon and eggs. Now, I’m not saying that a full English (or Scottish, Welsh or Irish) breakfast is not worth cooking or seeking out, but sometimes all you need are a couple of rashers of good quality dry-cure bacon with two golden-yolked fried eggs.
2 to 3 rashers of dry-cure back bacon per person, trimmed of excess fat
2 free-range eggs per person
Bacon dripping or oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fry the bacon in a frying pan, with a little bacon dripping or oil of your choice. Keep pressing down on the fat in order to make it crispy. Once the bacon is cooked to your preference, push the rashers to one side of the pan, and add a little more dripping or oil if needed to fry the eggs. (You can keep the cooked bacon warm in the oven whilst you cook the eggs if you wish.)
- Increase the heat and crack the eggs into a teacup before sliding them into the pan. Keep spooning over the hot fat to cook the top of the eggs, and once cooked to your liking, gently ease them out of the pan with a spatula and serve them on a warm plate with the fried bacon. Season the eggs with a little salt and pepper.
- Serve with a round of toast and marmalade, and a pot of tea.
The book is available to buy now on Amazon, in a hardback printed book and Kindle format. ONE REALLY IMPORTANT note, if when you to buy the book is says “temporarily out of stock”, please IGNORE this. PLEASE DO order as they ARE in stock! Amazon likes to play this game according to my publisher, for small publishing houses. He says: “They may have run out at their warehouses, but the book is print on demand and shipped directly to the customer, so if people order they will get one. The more people who order, the quicker they will change the status of the book back to available” You can buy the books here:
The wonderful front cover and chapter headings were designed by Callie Jones. Callie lives just down the road from me in North Wales.
About the front cover design: The front cover is taken from a bespoke linocut that was designed and created by Callie Jones. It is a representation of our home in North Wales which is an old Welsh schoolhouse. The flora and fauna that surround the house in the design are what we see on a daily basis. The two cats are Cherie and Nina, our Burmese and Korat feline companions and we are in the picture too, Malcolm with a book and a spade and me with a basket of flowers and foraged herbs.
Callie Jones is an artist, illustrator and printmaker, originally from Cornwall. She graduated from Kingston University in 1986 with a first-class honours degree in illustration and has had 25 years’ experience working as a freelance illustrator in London.
Having swapped their urban lives for the hills of North Wales, she and her husband have renovated a 17th century farmhouse where they live with their two children.
In her studio, surrounded by views of the Menai Strait and the Snowdon range, she produces linocuts, screen-prints and pen and ink drawings inspired by the dramatic landscapes and wildlife that surround their home.
The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that I have also had a new look here, to coincide with my new book. Jo and Leeann at Callia WebWith thanks to for that….it feels cleaner and more streamlined and I am really happy with how it looks. I hope you all put the new Lavender and Lovage book on your Christmas lists, and please do let me know if you buy it and what you think! Thanks so much, Karen