Review by Gail Thomas

Eager to keep their Italian traditions alive after coming to Australia in 1965 Lina and Tony Siciliano started a new life together in suburban Essendon. With only a small garden they yearned to grow their own food so in 1981 acquired a barren block of land in East Keilor where they planted fruit trees and vegetables and raised chickens. Thirty years on and the couple have transformed the site into a profitable business boasting a productive bounty of 400 olive trees, an orchard, vegetable garden and their Rose Creek Estate vineyard.
Taking a month by month approach author Gabriella Gomersall-Hubbard has documented the family’s sustainable way of life from preserving – think big tomato day and sausage making – to producing olive oil and wine. Colour photos throughout capture the essence of the Siciliano’s seasonal activities in the garden and kitchen while traditional recipes reinforce that achievable goal of growing organically, knowing where your food comes from and ensuring low food miles. Try a spicy pasta with potatoes and cavolo nero or the slow cooked capretto with fresh peas.

Review by Penny Woodward

This lovely book is full of delights. For those of us lucky enough to have visited Rose Creek Estate, to have met Tony and Lina, and eaten their food, this book is a wonderful evocation of their lives and lifestyle. The beautiful pictures of everyday life, and those of the garden and produce, combine perfectly with the text about each season and the delicious recipes from preserved chopped tomatoes to sauteed broad beans and a restorative almond drink (something I would need all the time if I worked as hard as Tony and Lina do). There are so many recipes and I am going to try them all over the next year or so as I harvest my seasonal produce.  The author has done a great job of capturing the essence of the Mediterranean lifestyle lived by the Sicilianos. Growing Honest Food is very reasonably priced for a coffee table sized book full of pictures, and would make a great gift for anyone interested in productive gardening and food. Ask for it at your library (get them to buy it if they haven’t got it), buy it from you local independent book shop or buy buy a copy online from the store.

Gabriella Gomersall-Hubbard

Hyland House Publishing, HB, rrp $39.95