Lavender & Lovage by Karen Burns-Booth {book review}

Part travel diary, part memoir, part history & 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 & visited.

That is an excerpt from the back of the book and it gives a brief idea of what this book is all about, but it's so much more. With books it's always hard to describe what's inside to make a potential reader pick the book up, buy it and take it home with them. It's hard to tell them what they will feel when reading it because books, yes even cookbooks, resinate with people for different reasons.

One of Karen's first memories is of food. As she tells us the story of her first bowl of sweet sticky rice, on a hot day during the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong in the 1960's, we get the feel for the rest of her story. If you couldn't guess it features food.

In Karen's book, like her blog, food is the constant. It's the rest of life that is the variable and makes this book a real gem amongst all the other cookbooks out there. I had the pleasure of meeting Karen at a Food Blogger Connect conference back in 2014. It was a brief 'hi what's your blog name?' and I have been a follower before that encounter and since.

The break down of the contents follows most traditional cookbooks with breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and everything in between. Karen's style is all her own, but the way the book is laid out and the passion that shows through reminds me a lot of Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater respectively.

Each recipe has an introduction and tells us where the recipe is from (the index is broken down by continents and countries.) Not only do we get the intros, but some of the recipes have memory snippets, taste notes, travel notes, or historical recipe notes. A few of the recipes even have more than one of these in various combinations depending on the recipe.

As mentioned already this book is more then a book of recipes, it takes you places you may or may not have ever been. The photography is beautiful and all of them are the author's own photos. If everything I have just written doesn't convince you or you want a taste of what to expect the book to be like visit Karen's blog Lavender & Lovage.

It's one of those books that you will keep for years and refer to time and time again. If you or someone you know is a big foodie you can't lose by picking up, yourself or a loved one, a copy of this book.

*I was provided a copy of Lavender & Lovage: A culinary notebook of memories & recipes from home & abroad  to review by the publisher, Passageway Press, retails at £31.37 and available now on Amazon (Kindle edition less, but the physical book is beautiful)! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.


  1. It is a lovely book and just the kind of book to keep by your beside as well as in the kitchen.

  2. Wow it looks like a fantastic collection of recipes!

  3. I've really enjoyed reading the memoirs and introductions to the recipes, and really like the wide variety of the recipes too.

  4. Thank you so much for reviewing the book so eloquently Lisa! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed reading the book as well as making the recipes. I hope it will be a book you’ll dip into many times in the future. Karen


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.