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I remember this book from a few years ago. Looking at all the local fruit here in Tenerife (yes, I currently live where others holiday), this book suddenly came to mind and I realise now I probably didn’t appreciate it as much at the time.

It popped up six years ago on a library shelf and I picked it because it was a small library without a big selection, but also because it was relatively local.
Jacky French lives in the Southern Tablelands in New South Wales and the beauty of this book comes from its simplicity. A Year In The Valley is about just that: A year in the valley. In other words, seeing all the seasons through in the Araluen Valley of New South Wales and having each time of year be appreciated for what it has to offer.

Imagine this home in the Australian countryside: the house, the landscape surrounding it, the animals, the plants, the vegetables growing all around. The book is full of ideas for the home, recipes based on the seasonal fruit and vegetables found in the garden and the valley, the smells you encounter and the sounds during the day and night and the animals.

My memories of this books (it was six years ago after all) are of the recipes in almost every chapter, actual recipes all laid out and ready to try, and of the wombat. Maybe because it is so typically Australian, or maybe just because it reminds me of the animals living in my own garden, who I hope will show their face when summer comes and who I love to have in my garden. For me, it is Henry the hedgehog. In French’s garden, it is a wombat.

A Year In The Valley, by Jackie French
First published 1998
ISBN 0732290643; ISBN13: 978732290641

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