Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 15 – In the picturesque countryside of Sussex, renowned chef Marcus Wareing embarks on a journey of culinary and agricultural exploration on his sprawling smallholding. One of his newest ventures is the lush pine forest he’s recently planted. Driven by a passion for innovation, Marcus has been dabbling in incorporating pine into his culinary creations. One such experimental delight is a uniquely infused gin that carries the refreshing essence of pine. However, it’s not just humans who are captivated by this distinct taste. The local deer seem to have developed a fondness for these trees, evidenced by the unmistakable nibble marks and damages on a few young saplings.
Transitioning from forestry to livestock, Marcus reminisces about the joy he experienced over the past year while rearing two distinct Mangalitsa pigs. Their charm and character have spurred him to consider diversifying his livestock range, with a tilt towards more commercial pig breeds. In this endeavor, he’s joined by the experienced Farmer Stuart. The duo meticulously scouts a picturesque and pristine area of woodland, perfect for their future porcine residents. To ensure they make informed decisions, they head over to Hampshire. Here, at a well-established farm, they consult with Flavian, an expert in pig farming. Not only do they seek his valuable advice, but they also cherry-pick ten vibrant piglets for their own smallholding. Of course, the highlight of their visit is the tasting session, where they savor the potential flavors of the meat these piglets would eventually produce.
Back at Marcus’s farm, there’s a flurry of activities in anticipation of the new arrivals. A dedicated area, with sturdy fencing, is earmarked for the piglets to ensure their comfort and safety. Meanwhile, Anatoliy, a handyman with a knack for fixing, is addressing the deer-inflicted damage in the pine forest. The air is filled with excitement as Marcus’s close friend and fellow chef, Chris Taylor, drops by. Chris’s mission? To assist Marcus in crafting a rustic fire pit nestled deep within the woods. As a testament to their combined culinary prowess, the duo prepares mouth-watering pork and chorizo burgers, which they roast to perfection over the open fire, making for a sumptuous woodland lunch.
The culmination of their efforts is marked by the completion of the piglets’ new abode. Flavian, ever the professional, pays a visit to oversee the settling in of the young ones. Amidst the joy, a tiny adventure unfolds as one enthusiastic escapee piglet ventures out, only to be gently rounded up and reintroduced to its new home. With everything in place, Marcus and Stuart, gazing at their thriving smallholding, begin to envision the promising future that lies ahead.
Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 15
Marcus Wareing explores new possibilities on his Sussex smallholding. First, he’s checking on the new pine forest he’s planted. He’s been experimenting with using pine in his cooking, including making an infused gin, but it seems the deer also enjoy the taste of it, as they’ve done some damage to one of the new trees.
Next, having enjoyed rearing two Mangalitsa pigs over the past year, Marcus is keen to expand his livestock collection with some more commercial pigs. Farmer Stuart is going to help so together they scope out a new area of woodland that will be perfect for the new arrivals. They visit Flavian at the farm where he works in Hampshire to get his advice, pick out ten piglets for the smallholding and, most importantly, taste test the meat that they’ll be able to produce.
Back at the farm, there’s lots of work to do to prepare for the new pigs to arrive, including fencing off an area for them to settle into. Anatoliy is fixing the deer damage in the pine forest, and Marcus is welcoming his friend, chef Chris Taylor, who’s come to help build a fire pit in the woods. Marcus whips up some delicious pork and chorizo burgers on the fire for lunch.
Finally, the piglets’ new home is ready, and Flavian arrives to ensure they settle in nicely. After one escapee is rounded up and safely delivered to the new pen, Marcus and Stuart can start to plan their future.
Checking on the Pine Forest
Marcus takes a stroll through his newly planted pine forest, breathing in the fresh, piney aroma. He has big plans for these trees – pine has become one of his favorite ingredients to cook with. He’s been experimenting with infusing pine needles into gin, making pine nut pesto, and even using pine to smoke meats. But as he inspects the young trees, he sees that some of the bark has been stripped off one of them. It seems the local deer have also developed a taste for pine! Though frustrating, Marcus tries to take it in stride – sharing the land with nature is part of the charm of smallholding life. He makes a mental note to take some preventative measures to protect the trees in the future. In the meantime, the majority of the pine saplings seem to be thriving in their new home.
Choosing the New Pigs
With two friendly Mangalitsa pigs already happily settled into their paddock, Marcus has caught the livestock bug. He and his friend Stuart, a longtime farmer, have decided to expand into rearing some commercial pigs as well. Commercial pigs require a bit more space than the wooly Mangalitzas, so together Marcus and Stuart scope out a new section of woodland on the smallholding that can be fenced off for the new arrivals. Excited by the prospect of producing their own pork, they pay a visit to Flavian, who works on a professional pig farm in Hampshire. Flavian gives them a tour of the farm and offers his expert advice on selecting healthy piglets, proper housing setups, and diet.
After donning some stylish farm boots, they head to the barn to choose their new additions. Ten adorable, spotted piglets catch their eye, and they pick them out one by one, gently placing them into a trailer for transport back to the smallholding. But first, Flavian invites Marcus and Stuart into the butcher room to sample some of the farm’s sausages and ham. The flavour of the fresh, ethically raised meat is unbelievable – now they know what they have to look forward to!
Preparing for the Pigs
Back at the smallholding, there is much preparation to be done before the new piglets arrive. Marcus and Stuart work hard building a shelter and fences to create a safe space for the young pigs to live. A nearby pond will provide fresh water. They section off part of the wooded area that will allow the piglets to root around and forage naturally. Though commercial pigs are less hardy than breeds like Mangalitzas, Marcus wants to provide as natural an environment as possible.
In another part of the smallholding, Anatoliy is hard at work patching up the deer damage to the pine trees. He carefully trims the stripped edges so the tree can start re-growing its bark. Marcus has asked him to place protective covering around the base of the most damaged trees to prevent further harm. Though disappointed by the deer’s destruction, Marcus is taking it as a learning experience. The local fauna is just another aspect of coexisting with nature.
Building a Fire Pit
With the piglet housing underway, Marcus turns his attention to another little project he’s been wanting to tackle – building an outdoor fire pit. His chef friend Chris Taylor has come to lend a hand and provide some expert advice. They scout out a nice clearing in the pine forest not too far from the house. As the men collect stones for the pit border, Chris shares some tips on fire pit safety and how to get the most cooking functionality. Marcus’s mind is already racing with ideas for meals he can cook over the open fire.
Once the pit is dug and lined, they pile in logs and get a perfect fire crackling. Marcus brings out a batch of his freshly made pork and chorizo burgers and tosses them directly onto the flames. The smell of the smoky meat sizzling over the fire makes their mouths water. They pull up camp chairs, crack open some cold beers, and gorge on the juicy burgers. Marcus is thrilled with how his first fire pit creation turned out, and they chat about future culinary projects they can tackle together.
Welcoming the Piglets
After days of hard prep work, the big day arrives – moving day for the 10 little spotted piglets! Marcus and Stuart finish the final touches on their housing setup just as Flavian pulls up with a trailer full of squealing cargo. It takes both men to handle the rambunctious piglets, who squirm with excitement to explore their new home. Each piglet is individually carried from trailer to pen, but amidst the chaos one escapee makes a break for it! Stuart dashes after the runaway pig as Marcus gets the rest of the group settled in.
After the adventurous piglet is recovered and returned safely to the pen, Flavian shows Marcus and Stuart a few techniques for handling the young pigs. Getting them used to human interaction early is key. Flavian will be stopping by periodically to check on their progress and make sure the piglets are growing well on their pastoral smallholding diet. For now, the piglets seem happily occupied snuffling around in the dirt and foraging for tasty morsels. Marcus and Stuart stand back and admire their new livestock addition, already imagining the day these pigs will be turned into savory pork treats.
Looking to the Future
With another successful project underway, Marcus takes a moment to bask in the glow of smallholding life. Who would have thought a Michelin-starred chef could find so much joy getting his hands dirty on a rustic farm? But with every new experience – be it planting pine trees, raising pigs, or building a fire pit – Marcus feels more connected to nature and passionate about ethical food production. Cooking is still his first love, but now he approaches it with a whole new perspective and appreciation for the source.
Marcus looks forward to nurturing the new piglets, experimenting with pine recipes, and hosting more fabulous meals around the fire pit. And those are just a few of the possibilities he dreams up for the smallholding. He’s also been brainstorming ideas like beekeeping, foraging for wild mushrooms, and planting an orchard. The potential seems endless when you have imagination and a willingness to learn as you go. Of course there will be challenges, like the deer munching his pine trees. But as a chef, Marcus knows there are always solutions to try when faced with disappointment – you just have to keep improvising!
Pork and chorizo burgers
Dive into one of our top summer delights, a burger recipe that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Infused with the deep, smoky essence of paprika, combined with the fiery kick of spicy chorizo, and brought together by a layer of irresistibly oozy melted cheese. It’s not just a burger; it’s an experience of barbecue perfection that evokes the very essence of a sun-soaked summer day. Enjoy each bite as a celebration of the season’s best flavors!
For the meat patties
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100g/3½oz cooking chorizo
- 300g/10½oz minced pork
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
- 2 free-range eggs
- 6 water biscuits, finely crushed
- ½ tsp table salt
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the spiced mayonnaise
- 6 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce (hot chilli sauce)
- 8 pickled gherkins, finely chopped
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 50g/1¾oz rocket or lettuce leaves
- 4 burger buns
- Fry the onion in a drizzle of olive oil, with a pinch of salt and pepper, until softened. Set aside to cool.
- To make the patties, remove the skin from the chorizo and finely dice or crumble the meat (blitz it in a small food processor if you have one to hand). Put in a bowl and combine with the remaining patty ingredients, including the cooled, cooked onions.
- Shape the mixture into four patties. Place on a plate in the fridge, covered, for at least 2 hours (you can make them up to 24 hours ahead, if you wish).
- Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise in a bowl with the chilli, sriracha and gherkins. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and fry them for 2½–3½ minutes on each side until dark brown, then transfer to a roasting tray. Cook in the preheated oven for 10–15 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Place a slice of cheddar cheese on top of each burger for a final 5 minutes.
- To serve, halve and toast the bread buns and spread the mayonnaise on the inside of the top and bottom of each one. Sandwich them together with rocket and a patty in each.
In this latest installment of Marcus Wareing’s smallholding adventures, we saw him dealing with both the rewards and challenges of sustainable country living. He’s clearly developed a passion for ethical food production, whether it be planting new pine forests or selecting piglets to rear for pork. But nature doesn’t always cooperate – local wildlife damaged some of the pine trees and one chaotic piglet briefly escaped on moving day. Yet Marcus handles these setbacks with patience and a flexible, positive attitude.
Marcus also continues to find creative ways to pursue his cooking craft like building a fire pit to grill with and sampling the delicious meat being raised right on his land. He’s clearly come a long way from simply being a big city chef. We can all learn something from Marcus’s openness to new experiences, willingness to get his hands dirty, and eagerness to keep expanding his knowledge. Most importantly, he never loses his childlike wonder and joy at the simple pleasures of smallholding life.
The episode inspires us to reflect on where our own food comes from and consider getting more in touch with nature ourselves, whether we live in a countryside smallholding or city apartment. We don’t have to fully eschew modern life and become farmers. But we can all find small, fulfilling ways to connect with nature and support ethical food production. Marcus shows us how rewarding the journey can be if we simply open our hearts and minds to new possibilities.
Q: What kind of pine trees did Marcus plant on his smallholding?
A: The type of pine was not specified, but likely options for the UK climate are Scots pine, Corsican pine, or lodgepole pine.
Q: Why did Marcus visit the commercial pig farm in Hampshire?
A: Marcus visited the Hampshire pig farm owned by Flavian to get expert advice on selecting healthy piglets, learn about proper housing setups and diet for commercial pigs, and choose which 10 piglets to bring back to his smallholding.
Q: What preparations did Marcus and Stuart make before the piglets arrived?
A: Marcus and Stuart built a shelter and fences to create a safe living space, sectioned off part of the wooded area for foraging, set up a nearby pond for fresh water, and made sure the area met the piglets’ needs.
Q: What dish did Marcus cook on the new fire pit?
A: Marcus cooked up a batch of his homemade pork and chorizo burgers on the new fire pit he built with his chef friend Chris Taylor.
Q: How did Marcus demonstrate a positive attitude when faced with setbacks?
A: When local deer damaged some of his new pine trees, Marcus took it as a learning experience and came up with solutions like protective coverings instead of getting discouraged. He kept an open, flexible mindset.