Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 11 – In the picturesque landscapes of Sussex, Marcus Wareing has embarked on a journey to redefine the boundaries of culinary flavors. Nestled within his quaint smallholding, Marcus delves deep into the realm of unique and unconventional food flavors that could potentially revolutionize his cooking techniques. This curiosity led him to the coastal town of Shoreham in West Sussex. Here, he was greeted by Christian, a culinary artist of yesteryears who has now embraced the art of foraging for delectable wild produce.
As Marcus wandered alongside the tranquil banks of the River Adur, he encountered a treasure trove of edible sea vegetables, each offering a unique palette of flavors waiting to be integrated into his culinary creations. The setting sun saw Marcus returning to his farm. Here, with the combined efforts of Anatoliy, the resident gardener; Stuart, the dedicated farmer; and Stuart’s spirited son, Fred, they began the taskof completing the fencing around the paddock. This fencing was essential to ensure the safety of the crab apple trees Marcus was eager to plant. Employing the power of heavy machinery and collaborative teamwork, the fence was erected efficiently.
However, Marcus’s culinary curiosity was far from satiated. Eager to further enhance his dishes, he turned to his trusty smoker, this time experimenting with the rich and fiery flavors of smoked chilli butter. Eager to explore even more, he ventured to Rye. There, he was introduced to the renowned hop farmers, Simon and Phil Wheeler. As they walked through the hop fields, Marcus contemplated the possibility of introducing hops as a flavoring component in his food and even incorporating it into his smallholding’s crop repertoire.
The sun’s rays illuminated the towering 15-foot hop vines as Marcus assisted in their harvest. Witnessing the meticulous process of drying and preparing the hops for breweries, he couldn’t contain his excitement about the vast culinary possibilities that hops presented. Yet, life on the farm brought its own set of challenges. Marcus’s tranquility was momentarily disrupted when he discovered that his two Mangalitsa pigs had cunningly escaped their enclosure. It was a race against time, and with the valiant efforts of Stuart and Fred, the adventurous duo was safely returned to their pen.
As the day drew to a close, Marcus, invigorated by his earlier foraging expedition, crafted a mouth-watering fish dish. This masterpiece was elegantly complemented by the crispiness of samphire and the succulence of fresh shellfish, a fitting end to a day filled with culinary exploration.
Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 11
Marcus Wareing explores new possibilities on his Sussex smallholding. One is to investigate unusual food flavours that he can use in his cooking. So, he pays a visit to Shoreham in West Sussex to meet up with Christian, a former chef who’s turned his hand to foraging for edible produce.
Along the banks of the River Adur, Marcus discovers a whole range of edible sea vegetables that he can incorporate into his food. Back at the farm, Marcus, along with gardener Anatoliy, farmer Stuart and his son Fred, finish installing the fencing in the paddock so he can get on with planting his remaining crab apple trees. With help from some heavy machinery, they get the job done in no time.
Foraging for Sea Vegetables Along the Sussex Coast
The early morning air is crisp and fresh as Marcus heads down to the pebbly shoreline near Shoreham. He’s meeting up with forager Christian, who has lived in this area for over 20 years. As they walk along the water’s edge, Marcus is amazed by the variety of sea vegetables Christian easily spots growing among the rocks.
“Most people don’t realize you can eat many of the seaweeds and algae that grow along the seashore. With a little knowledge, this bounty can provide mineral-rich additions to soups, salads, and more,” Christian explains. He points out pepper dulse, sea lettuce, and the prized sea vegetable – samphire. Marcus is particularly drawn to the succulent samphire, which can be pickled and served alongside fish.
After collecting a diverse harvest, they head back to Christian’s home, where he demonstrates quick recipes like seaweed tapenade and wakame seaweed salad. Marcus’ mind is spinning with ideas of how to integrate these compelling ocean flavours into his cooking. Though foraged foods are often overlooked, they connect us to nature and offer intriguing new tastes.
Installing Protective Fencing for the Crab Apple Orchard
Back at the farm, there is still work to be done fencing in the area where the remaining crab apple trees will be planted. Anatoliy, Stuart, and Fred meet up with Marcus and together they manage to finish installing the post and wire fencing around the paddock.
Crab apple trees can be susceptible to deer and livestock, so a reliable enclosure is crucial before planting the orchard. Marcus chose a steel post system that will be sturdy enough to hold up over time. Though hauling and setting the heavy wooden posts is laborious, the group works efficiently together.
In just a few days, the dozen bare-rooted crab apple trees Marcus ordered will arrive. Thanks to the fencing completion, these tart little apple varieties like ‘Red Sentinel’ and ‘Golden Hornet’ can be planted on schedule. Marcus looks forward to harvest time, when he can use the bright fruits in relishes, preserves, and even crab apple wine.
Homemade Smoked Chilli Butter Adds Intrigue
Still inspired by the seaweed flavours earlier in the week, Marcus decides to experiment again with his smoker. He loves how smoked foods add dimension and richness. After preparing a batch of his compound butter with chillies, lemon zest, roasted garlic, and herbs, he puts dollops into a smoker pan.
Using applewood chips, Marcus smokes the butter gently for just 20 minutes. When cooled, the resulting smoked chilli butter has a wonderful mahogany hue and the flavours are vibrant yet mellow. Marcus can already envision serving it with grilled bread, swirled into soups, or melted over steaks.
Playing with unique smoke and spice combinations allows Marcus to come up with clever new twists. Though the process takes time, the possibilities of homemade flavoured butters are endless. He may have to try his hand at beer butter or coffee butter next!
Discovering the Potential of Growing Hops
Inspired by the smoked chilli butter, Marcus decides to explore another flavouring ingredient – hops. He meets up with hop farmers Simon and Phil Wheeler at their farm near Rye, where they grow hops for local breweries. Marcus is amazed walking between the 18-foot poles heavy with hop bines.
Simon explains that hops add bitterness and flavour to beers, while also acting as a preservative. But Marcus wonders if he could use them to flavour foods or add interesting notes to homemade vinegar. After seeing how labour intensive commercial hop production is, he isn’t sure about going that far.
However, he helps Simon and Phil harvest cascades, fuggles, and other aromatic hop varieties which are then dried and processed. The fresh hops have a lovely lemony aroma that Marcus could see pairing well with chicken or fish. He leaves with a greater appreciation for these flowers and some ideas for his own small-scale hops grow.
Rounding Up Escapee Mangalitsa Pigs
Marcus arrives at the farm to find Stuart and Fred trying to catch two loose Mangalitsa pigs who’ve escaped their enclosure. These unique Hungarian pigs love to root and dig, which can cause chaos. Marcus pitches in to help herd the pigs along the hedgerows and back into their paddock.
Though Mangalitsas are slower and friendlier than typical pigs, they still require sturdy fencing to keep them contained. After re-capturing the escapees, Marcus and the team will need to scan the paddock for weak points and dig-outs. Mangalitsas are also adept climbers, able to get their front hooves on a fence to lift themselves over surprisingly high barriers.
In the end, everyone works together to get the adventurous pigs safely home. Marcus has become quite attached to his Mangalitsas, with their shaggy fur coats and meat flavoured by the acorns they forage. Keeping Houdini and Lola secure will be an ongoing job, but their quirky personalities make it worthwhile.
Samphire – A Foraged Coastal Delicacy
After his foraging adventure earlier in Shoreham, Marcus is keen to experiment with samphire. Though it has a short season in the summer, samphire is abundant on coastal mudflats in July. Sometimes called sea asparagus or sea beans, it has a crisp, bright taste.
Marcus finds fresh samphire at the market and makes a simple pan fried fish dish withshellfish and lemon samphire relish. The mineral-rich samphire adds a delicious crunch and brininess that pairs perfectly with the fish. Its health benefits are also impressive – high in vitamins A and C, magnesium, calcium and antioxidants.
Foraged foods like samphire connect us intimately to the seasons and regions we live in. Marcus is newly inspired to seek out the edible bounty along the Sussex shoreline and incorporate those bright, pure flavours into his cuisine. Though samphire has a short season, he looks forward to harvesting it again next summer.
This episode of Tales from a Kitchen Garden has provided Marcus with new inspirations and flavour possibilities to explore. From unusual sea vegetables like pepper dulse to succulent samphire, foraged foods offer healthy and tasty ways to add variety. Smoking and herbs allow Marcus to create special butters and salts to use in cooking. And ingredients like hops reveal untapped potential.
Though managing the orchard, pigs, and hop dreams brings its chaos, Marcus continues to learn and grow from the experience. Being intimately connected to food from plot to plate satisfies his creative spirit. The discoveries and experiments on the smallholding all provide inspiration that Marcus can translate into stunning new dishes. He looks forward to continued adventures, both growing and foraging, to find intriguing new flavours.
Frequently Asked Questions – Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 11
What are some benefits of foraged foods like sea vegetables and samphire?
Sea vegetables and samphire provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Foraged foods also connect us to nature and offer unique flavours not found in common vegetables. Incorporating foraged ingredients into cooking helps us become more attuned to what the land and sea offer seasonally.
Why does Marcus value creating his own smoked chilli butter?
Making his own compound butter allows Marcus to control the ingredients and flavour profiles precisely. He can experiment with different woods for smoking and layer flavors like spices, citrus, herbs, and even coffee. The homemade process results in a high quality, artisanal butter ideal for finishing dishes.
What maintenance does an orchard of crab apple trees require?
Crab apple trees need full sunlight, well-draining soil, and sufficient watering while establishing. Annual pruning helps maintain their shape and productivity. Deer fencing and spraying for pests may be needed. Crab apples tend to be hardy, low-maintenance trees once settled.
How did Marcus help recapture the escaped Mangalitsa pigs?
Mangalitsas are intelligent pigs and prone to escaping enclosures. Marcus helped track and slowly herd the pigs by encouraging them with food. Their paddock was then checked for weak spots they may have climbed over or dug under to assess containment. Maintaining fencing is crucial with this curious breed.
What are some ways to cook with samphire?
Samphire’s crisp texture makes it perfect for quick cooking methods like sautéing, stir frying, or blanching. It pairs well in seafood dishes, salads, brothy risottos, and more. Samphire can also be pickled for longer preservation or puréed into a bright, green sauce.