This is the first of what I hope will be a series of books. I have chosen basils as I use so many when cooking and have problems sourcing more than just the plain sweet basil. This book will contain the seed from six different varieties of basil.
Choosing 6 different basil plants was really difficult, I managed to get the numbers down to 9 varieties but had problems choosing which of the final ones to drop. Eventually I settled on a range of different basil plants that would give a variety of flavours, smells and visual differences.
The candidates were Cinnamon, Greek, Lemon, Lettuce Leaf, Purple and Sweet. I felt that these would showcase the basil and might encourage people to experiment with the more interesting basil flavours.
The next step was to get the seed paper that was essential for the book. This was much harder than I first imagined. As I only needed a small amount of paper to start off with, no one was interested in helping so I decide to make the paper in house, at least to start with. This sounded very simple to me but it actually started a really steep learning curve. The factors were really complicated, did I make the paper and embed the seed in the actual paper manufacture? That was the first method to try. I managed to master the art of paper making (I say master but really mean the opposite) this worked but the process was so laborious that I couldn’t sanction it.
The second method was to try encapsulating the seed between two pieces of paper, this worked better but as I cut the paper into small sections most of the ed just fell out onto the floor. There were many other methods until I finally came up with a workable solution.
I then had the seedpaper, the seeds, the outline template for the book and a whole load of different young basil plants. (when all the seed fell onto the floor it had become mixed up so I just swept it all together and put it into a seed tray together with all of the other futile attempts, now I had a forest of mixed basil) This was perfect as it allowed me to experiment with different recipes and flavours ready to complete the first seed book about different types of basil.
Ten days and ten kilos later, I had the recipes established and started to write the book. I already had all of the information so it was a case of refining, editing and rewriting. My partner Elaine, had sorted out the photographs and finally the book was almost ready to print.
I felt that I wanted to give something back to an industry that had been my life for many years and contacted the charity Greenfingers. From this point onward, a contribution will go towards Greenfingers from every book that is sold. (if any are sold).
I then realised that I would need an ISBN number. This was a real problem as nothing seemed to be straight forward. I then stumbled across a company in America that could help. ISBN Services nothing was too much trouble and the representative, Josh Pritchard, was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble, even when I was completely stupid. I found an exceptional printing company, Instant print . They held my hand throughout the process of choosing paper and correcting errors and preparing for printing. I could never have hoped for more.
Finally the book came back from the printers and I had the seed paper inserted.