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The Homemade Living Series: Keeping Chickens and Canning & Preserving, by Ashley English


Reviewed by Elizabeth Edwards

A growing crowd of people are reverting to the tradition of home cooking as they discover the joys and pleasure that come with the experience. However, the prospect of growing and cooking your own food can leave some people a little unsure, but with the help of Ashley English’s Homemade Living Series you can find the confidence “to do it yourself.”

The first two books in the series, Keeping Chickens and Canning & Preserving, contain everything you would ever need to know from making your own chutney to choosing the right breed of chook. Each page contains helpful information and clear, vivid photos as well as additional facts and anecdotes to keep you amused. Written in a friendly and informal style (free of confusing jargon) they are ideal for a novice like me. They make for an interesting read as they contain additional information including different people’s opinions, advice and scientific studies. Most importantly however are the illustrated step-by-step instructions and bullet points that guide you through any new processes, leaving you in no doubt about what you have to do.

Canning & Preserving offers a variety of choices when making preserves: even someone with limited kitchen equipment can make their favourite recipes. What I liked about the book was how it left the choices up to you; every technique from pressure canning to choosing the right gadgets is covered and there is information on almost every fruit and vegetable that you could ever want to make pickles and chutneys from. However if you’re stuck for ideas there are 28 recipes arranged according to seasonal availability to choose from, including the all-time favourite strawberry jam and the more unusual rhubarb and amaretto chutney.

Keeping Chickens is a clear and in-depth guide and covers a variety of subjects from choosing the right feed to looking after a fertilised egg. It provides all the information you need to look after chickens regardless of where you live.
Not only is Keeping Chickens the perfect encyclopaedia but it also offers nine egg recipes, including one for perfect scrambled eggs, and detailed instructions for building a chicken house.

The series is the ultimate guide for a beginner, helping you build confidence and a sense of security to start your own flock or jam making adventure.


Keeping chickens with Ashley English and Canning & Preserving with Ashley English (both £14.99) are published by GMC/Lark

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