My Dad was a wonderful gardener. After we moved into our home seven years ago, he developed the most beautiful vegetable and fruit patch for us. From spuds to loganberries, a little of everything was planted that first year. Even though I would never describe myself as an avid gardener, I found over the years as my passion for food heightened the love of growing my own food was ever so satisfying. Many of the recipes I develop are driven by what’s in season, and quite often what’s on offer to me from my garden. So, when the opportunity came about to contribute a couple of my recipes to a new Irish Grow It Yourself cookbook I accepted the invitation immediately. The book is called Grow, Cook, Eat, and its author is Michael Kelly, who is the founder of Grow It Yourself Ireland. The book was released last month, and already it has received an array of wonderful reviews in the media. I must say that I can see why; it’s a beautifully put together book and it is extremely informative. The book is essentially a month-by-month GIY guide to growing and cooking your own food, and it includes an abundance of tips and practical advice on how to be a successful kitchen gardener. Each month’s guide is supported by seasonal recipes, which have been contributed by some of the top chefs and cooks in the media, including Darina Allen, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Donal Skehan. It really is a wonderful piece of work, and I feel truly honoured to be included in such a prestigious book. If you have a loved who has any sort of interest in growing their own food, this would make an ideal gift for them this Christmas. Grow, Cook, Eat, by Michael Kelly, is edited by Cristíona Kiely, and published by GIY Ireland. All proceeds from sales will be invested back into the GIY movement and will go towards funding Grow HQ, the organisation’s national food education centre, which will open in Waterford in 2015 on a three-acre site at Ardkeen. You can pick up a copy of the book online or in any good bookstore.