James Martin’s Food Map of Britain episode 2: He explores the varied and beautiful landscape of South Wales to discover why Welsh mountain lamb is so prized by foodies. The United Kingdom, our cherished homeland, serves not only as our dwelling but as our abundant pantry. The celebrated culinary mastermind, Chef James Martin, embarks on an incredible airborne expedition, weaving through the sky to delve into the intricate relationship between the captivating, diverse landscapes of the British Isles and their cornucopia of region-specific, delectable ingredients that capture the essence of each locale.
Amid his exploratory journey, he ventures into the undulating, verdant expanses of South Wales. Here, his pursuit for culinary excellence guides him as he seeks to unravel the secret behind the highly coveted Welsh mountain lamb, a culinary treasure highly esteemed by gastronomes across the globe. These exquisite sheep graze freely on the lush mountainous terrain, their diet comprised of the myriad native flora and fauna, which lends their meat an unparalleled taste profile that has food connoisseurs raving.
Chef Martin’s exploration doesn’t end there. He ventures further, to the wild, unspoilt beaches of Pembrokeshire, where nature’s bounty is ripe for the picking. Here, he delves into the ancient practice of foraging, finding an array of nature’s offerings, free for the taking. It’s a true testament to the land’s bounty, showing that the most beautiful ingredients often lie hidden in plain sight.
Throughout this journey, he exhibits his culinary prowess by creating two awe-inspiring dishes that exemplify the spirit of the regions. First, he presents a mouthwatering lamb dish, which pays homage to the iconic Welsh mountain lamb. The lamb is expertly cooked in hay, a method that imbues it with a rich, earthy aroma and flavor. This rustic main course is beautifully complemented by a vibrant tabbouleh salad, its freshness echoing the lush greenery of the Welsh mountains.
Then, inspired by the Pembrokeshire shoreline, Chef Martin crafts a spectacular seafood starter, utilizing his freshly foraged finds. This delicacy pays tribute to the natural richness of the region, capturing the essence of the sea’s bounty in one tantalizing dish. In this journey, Chef Martin not only highlights the delicious ingredients of the British Isles but also showcases how the breathtaking landscapes uniquely shape the flavors of the regional produce.
James Martin’s Food Map of Britain episode 2
Welsh lamb in hay with tabbouleh salad
Deliciously tender lamb chops, lovingly smoked in-house to perfection, are presented on a plate, enticing your senses with their mouthwatering aroma. These chops are partnered harmoniously with an exceptional salad of bulgur wheat. This isn’t just any salad – it’s an extraordinary medley that bursts with the natural sweetness of ripe fruits, the crunchy texture of assorted nuts, and the aromatic freshness of handpicked herbs. Each bite promises an exciting gastronomic adventure, capturing the essence of a balanced meal in an explosion of flavors and textures.
- Place a large pan over a medium heat and put the hay in the bottom. Add the vegetable oil, rosemary and garlic. Top with the lamb chops and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Seal the pan tightly with aluminium foil and a lid (to prevent the smoke from escaping). Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning the lamb half way through. When cooked, add the butter to glaze the chops.
- For the salad, drain the bulgur wheat then just cover in boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the harissa paste and stir well. Stir through all the remaining ingredients and serve with the lamb chops.
Embrace the delightful flavors of the ocean with a delightful dish of clams and mussels. Each piece is carefully prepared and served in an exquisite sauce that’s been infused with a creamy richness. This sauce not only complements the natural flavors of the shellfish but also elevates them to a whole new level of culinary delight. To top it all off, a garnish of fresh seaweed, adding an unexpected twist to the dish, gives a nod to its maritime roots. It’s an absolute must-try following an adventurous seaside foraging trip, a beautiful way to turn the bounty of the sea into a sumptuous feast.
- Prepare the shellfish by cleaning the shells and removing any beards from the mussels. Discard any with open shells that do not close when given a sharp tap.
- Place all the seafood in a large, hot pan. Add the white wine, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. Discard any shells that have not opened.
- Strain and reserve the cooking liquor. Remove all the flesh from the shells and chop the white meat from the razor clams into 2cm/1in pieces. Place the razor clam shells onto a serving plate or flat stone.
- In the same pan, melt half of the butter and add the samphire. Season generously with pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Spoon the cooked samphire into the razor clam shells.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan along with the shallot and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the reserved cooking liquor (taking care not add the dregs from the bottom of the bowl). Stir in the cream and simmer until the volume of liquid is reduced by half and the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- To finish, add the seafood and tomatoes to the sauce and gently warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper then add the lemon juice.
- Spoon the sauce over the samphire and top with red seaweed to serve.
Chef James Martin
James Martin, who first arrived on this earth on the 30th of June, 1972, is a distinguished chef and television presenter who hails from the United Kingdom. His impactful influence over the landscape of culinary arts has been substantial, where his initial profession as a chef served as merely a stepping stone into the broader universe of food and cooking.
He has been pivotal in transforming the way people understand and appreciate food through his television presentations, which span popular culinary shows across major broadcasting networks, the BBC and ITV. For a decade between 2006 and 2016, Martin was the face and culinary genius behind the massively popular BBC cookery series, ‘Saturday Kitchen’. Upon his departure from BBC, he further expanded his television portfolio with ITV.
His culinary journey with ITV included hosting ‘James Martin’s French Adventure’ in 2017, ‘Saturday Morning with James Martin’, which started airing in 2017 and continues to the present day, and ‘James Martin’s American Adventure’, which premiered in 2018. His programmes blend his culinary expertise with entertainment, creating a unique experience for viewers.
Born into a family of farmers, Martin’s passion for the culinary arts was kindled in his early life. It was the time he spent helping his mother in their homely kitchen that he developed his initial culinary interests. This led him to the prestigious Hostellerie De Plaisance in Saint-Émilion, France, where he received formal culinary training. Further honing his skills, he spent two fruitful years as a Pastry Chef at the renowned Chewton Glen Hotel in the South of England.
His transition into television happened in 1996 when he made his debut, gracing various cooking-related programmes. His infectious charisma and culinary knowledge quickly established him as a firm favourite with viewers. Alongside his television journey, Martin embraced journalism. Until 2013, he wrote a motoring column for the esteemed UK newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, showcasing his passion for cars and motorsports.
As a restaurateur, Martin launched several eateries, adding yet another layer to his impressive career. These include The Leeds Kitchen, which served customers until 2013, a restaurant nestled inside The Talbot Hotel from which he departed in 2015, and James Martin Manchester. Despite facing adversities like the closure of some restaurants, he kept evolving, striving for new heights in his culinary journey.
Martin’s culinary prowess also saw him partnering with the potato company, Albert Bartlett, in 2021, marking the revival of the SpudULike by James Martin chain of restaurants. The same year saw Martin making his mark in the wine industry, introducing a selection of premium French wines in September.
In his quest to educate and inspire, Martin imparts his culinary wisdom at The Kitchen – Cookery School at Chewton Glen, an establishment that doubles as a cookery school and dining restaurant. Apart from cooking, Martin has a few other interesting hobbies and accomplishments. He’s earned a private pilot license and even qualified as a helicopter pilot, further showcasing his versatile talents. As a car and racing enthusiast, he regularly indulges in motorsports.
Balancing his bustling career, Martin has been sharing his life with Louise Davies, a television producer, since 2011. His stellar contributions to culinary arts and television haven’t gone unnoticed. Martin has been the recipient of several awards, including the ‘TV Personality of the Year’ at the Fortnum & Mason Awards in 2015 and again in 2021. His passion for food has also been encapsulated in his numerous cookbooks, with his book “James Martin’s Great British Adventure: A celebration of Great British food,” winning ‘Best Cookbook’ at the Great British Food Awards in 2021.