Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 16 – In the midst of his passionate endeavor to build a thriving farm, Marcus encountered a series of challenges. The kitchen garden, though meticulously curated, had its share of plants that didn’t flourish as expected. This served as a testament to the fact that farming often requires adapting through trial and error.
Recognizing the need to maintain the hedgerow surrounding the farm, Marcus turned to the wisdom of Paul Matthews. Paul is a maestro in the ancient and intricate art of hedge laying. Under his guidance, Marcus was introduced to the techniques of crafting stakes, skillfully trimming hazel bushes, and weaving them into sturdy fencing that’s both functional and aesthetic.
After his enlightening experience with Paul, Marcus returned to his smallholding with a renewed spirit. There, he took some of his bounteous crop of carrots and artfully pickled them. He combined them with a variety of herbs sourced directly fromhis kitchen garden, adding a touch of homegrown flavor. With the farm yielding more produce than he could use, Marcus made a heartfelt decision. He packed a portion of his fresh harvest and generously donated it to a local food bank, ensuring that his neighbors in the community also benefited from his hard work.
But Marcus’s journey didn’t stop there. Embracing the spirit of camaraderie, he participated in a traditional ploughing match with fellow farmers. And as a nod to his culinary prowess, he concocted a delectable dessert: a velvety bay leaf-infused ice-cream, accompanied by a fragrant thyme crumble, and garnished with sweet rosemary nectarines.
Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 16
As part of his journey to establish the farm, Marcus has also faced setbacks. Not everything in the kitchen garden has done well, and he needs to learn from experience. The hedgerow around the farm needs to be cut back and managed, so Marcus seeks advice from Paul Matthews, an expert in the ancient art of hedge laying. He’s shown how to make stakes, cut hazel bushes and bind them into fencing.
Back at the smallholding, Marcus pickles some of his excess crop of carrots using herbs from the kitchen garden. With an abundance of produce, Marcus takes some of it to a nearby food bank that serves the local community. Later, he joins in a local ploughing match and creates a delicious dessert of bay leaf-flavored ice cream, thyme crumble and rosemary nectarines.
Who is Marcus Wareing?
Marcus Wareing is a celebrated British chef and restaurateur known for his mastery of French cuisine. Born in 1970 in Southport, England, Wareing developed a passion for cooking from a young age, inspired by his mother’s home cooking. At 18, he moved to London to pursue a culinary career, gaining experience at establishments like the Savoy Hotel.
In 1993, Wareing began working under legendary chef Gordon Ramsay at Aubergine. He later became head chef when Ramsay opened the acclaimed Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Wareing honed his skills there for years before leaving to open his own restaurant, Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, in 2008. The restaurant earned its first Michelin stars just one year later.
Today, Wareing oversees several renowned restaurants including Marcus at The Berkeley, The Gilbert Scott, and Tredwell’s. He has earned numerous accolades for his modern French cuisine. He is also a published author of cookbooks like Marcus at Home and has appeared on MasterChef as a judge. Wareing continues to be regarded as one of the top chefs in Britain.
What is Hedge Laying?
Hedge laying is a traditional countryside skill that involves cutting and partially cutting through shrubs and small trees that make up a hedge. The purpose is to encourage bushy new growth while also creating a sturdy, dense barrier.
It dates back centuries as a means of fencing in livestock and delineating property boundaries in rural Britain. Beech, hazel, and hawthorn shrubs are commonly used. The ideal time to lay hedges is winter when the plants are dormant.
To lay a hedge:
- Cut partway through the stem at an angle to bend it over without breaking it off.
- Lay the stems overlapping at an angle of around 30 degrees.
- Lace or pleach living wood between the stems.
- Drive stakes into the ground to support the laid hedge.
- Trim off excess height.
Over time, the bent stems will regrow from the base and provide an impenetrable hedge up to 2 meters high. Hedge laying maintains the health and shape of hedgerows that might otherwise become gappy or unravel. It’s still practiced today both for aesthetics and wildlife habitat.
What is a Ploughing Match?
A ploughing match is a traditional competition dating back centuries that tests the skill of ploughmen driving horse-drawn or modern tractors. Events are still held annually by plowing societies around Britain.
In a ploughing match, competitors must plough a set plot of land as straight, even and tidy as possible within a given time. The furrows cut should be uniform in depth and width. Judges scrutinize everything from the symmetry of the furrows to how well corners and edges are handled.
Competitors are graded on plowing style, general workmanship, and fineness of the finished plots. There are classes for different equipment like vintage horse plows or modern reversible ploughs. Ploughmen dress in traditional attire like flat caps and white coats.
Ploughing matches originated as a way for plowmen to show off their talents and maintain ancient skills. They also helped disseminate improved plowing methods in agricultural communities. While fewer ploughmen compete today, matches continue to attract crowds celebrating traditional rural craftsmanship.
What is Bay Leaf-Infused Ice Cream?
Bay leaf-infused ice cream is a uniquely flavored frozen dessert made by steeping bay leaves in cream or milk to lend their aromatic flavor. Bay leaves have a mildly herbal, woody and slightly mentholated taste that infuses the dairy base.
To make it, heat cream or milk with washed fresh bay leaves or dried leaves to just before a simmer. Let it steep for at least 30 minutes to fully extract the bay flavor. Strain out the leaves then chill the infused dairy completely before using in your preferred ice cream recipe.
The bay leaf’s subtle herbal notes pair creamily with the sweet ice cream base. Complementary flavors include vanilla, honey, thyme, citrus, stone fruits, or berries. Toppings like thyme crumble or rosemary roasted fruit add savory complexity.
When using dried bay leaves, use less since their flavor is more intense. Start with 2-3 leaves per cup of dairy. Adjust to taste. Infusing too long can make it bitter. Bay leaf ice cream delivers a uniquely aromatic spin on traditional ice cream.
How do you Pickle Carrots?
Pickling carrots helps preserve an abundant crop and adds delicious flavor. Here are some tips for pickling carrots at home:
Start with fresh, firm carrots. Peel and slice them into coins or strips. Pack tightly into sterilized jars.
Make a brine of vinegar (cider, white wine or rice vinegar work well), water, salt, and sugar. Add spices like peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic, or dill. Bring to a boil.
Pour the hot brine over the carrots to cover. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims clean.
Seal jars and process in a water bath canner for 10-15 minutes to seal and sterilize. Once cooled, store for 4-6 weeks before eating to allow flavors to develop.
For quick refrigerator pickles, boil brine and pour over carrots in a container. Chill 1-3 days before eating.
Play with different seasoning blends in the brine. Slice carrots in various ways for texture. Enjoy pickled carrots as a crunchy side, on salads, sandwiches and more.
How do I Donate to a Food Bank?
Food banks rely on donations to serve people struggling with food insecurity. Here are some ways to donate:
- Drop off non-perishable goods like canned foods, grains, oats and shelf-stable milk at your local food bank or affiliated collection drive.
- Donate fresh produce from your garden or excess purchased produce. Some food banks can store chilled items.
- Give financially through food bank websites. Monetary donations allow food banks to source exactly what’s needed most.
- Set up recurring monthly donations for sustained support. Or organize a fundraiser event for your community.
- Donate your time by volunteering to sort donations, pack food boxes, or assist clients.
- Advocate for policies and resources to address hunger issues on a systemic level. Write to local representatives.
- Start a virtual food drive through social media to encourage others to participate.
- Check the food bank’s website for their current needs and most wanted items to target your giving.
Giving to food banks helps strengthen food security for all. Even small donations make a meaningful difference.
Where Can I Find Traditional Farming Courses?
Many opportunities exist across Britain to gain hands-on experience in traditional, sustainable farming practices:
- Look for apprenticeship or volunteering positions on small mixed farms focused on heritage methods. Duties may include caring for livestock, tilling fields, carpentry, fence mending and more.
- Check local colleges, community centers and museums for short courses on skills like vegetable gardening with hand tools, beekeeping, cheesemaking, cider pressing, or butchery.
- Attend farming heritage events like ploughing matches to connect with preservation societies and practitioners who provide workshops and classes.
- Enroll in full-time training programs like Capel Manor College’s one-year diploma in traditional rural skills in Enfield.
- Do a working holiday on a farm stay that teaches agrotourists traditional practices. WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) facilitates placements.
- Seek training in specific methods like dry stone walling, coppicing, charcoal burning, wheelwrighting or animal husbandry. Specialist schools exist.
- Join agricultural preservation trusts like the Scottish Machinery Ring that aim to conserve rural heritage through education.
Immersing yourself in traditional farming helps preserve invaluable knowledge and skills for sustainable food production.
What are Some Rural Life Skills?
Embracing a rural lifestyle involves learning a unique set of practical skills. Here are some examples:
- Gardening skills like sowing, propagation, pruning, pest control, and composting to grow vegetables and ornamentals.
- Animal husbandry skills including feeding, housing, birthing assistance, shearing, and health management for farm animals.
- Food preservation skills such as canning, pickling, curing, fermenting, drying, or root cellaring.
- Traditional crafts like carpentry, wool processing, candle making, natural dyeing, soap making, and basket weaving.
- Outdoor skills such as fire building, camp cooking, hiking, orienteering, fishing, and shooting.
- Foraging knowledge to identify, harvest, and eat or use wild edible plants.
- Conservation practices like stream restoration, hedgerow planting, erosion control, and timber stand improvement.
- Survival abilities including wilderness first aid, emergency shelter building, navigation, and edible plant identification.
Learning rural skills promotes self-reliance, resilience, and independence for the unique rural lifestyle. Passing them to the next generation keeps heritage arts alive.
What are Some Dessert Recipes with Bay Leaves?
Here are a few delicious ways to use bay leaves in desserts:
- Bay Leaf Panna Cotta – Infuse heated cream with bay leaves before mixing with gelatin and sugar to make this silky custard.
- Bay and Berry Sorbet – Steep bay leaves in simple syrup before mixing with pureed strawberries or blackberries for a refreshingly herbal frozen treat.
- Bay Leaf Pot de Creme – Add bay leaves to the cream mixture before baking individual custards for depth of flavor. Top with whipped cream and berries.
- Bay Leaf Rice Pudding – Simmer bay leaves in milk before cooking rice to absorb the flavor. Fold in sweetened whipped cream.
- Bay Leaf Shortbread Cookies – Add finely chopped bay leaves to the dough or use leaves to line the pan for subtly fragrant cookies.
- Bay Leaf Cupcakes or Cakes – Use bay leaf-infused milk or cream in the batter or frosting then garnish with leaves for decoration.
- Bay Tea Lemonade – Steep bay leaves in freshly brewed tea then mix with lemonade and sweeten to taste for an herbal drink.
Use dried or fresh bay leaves in these recipes, just adjust amounts based on intensity of flavor desired.
Bay leaf ice cream with nectarines and crumble
For the ice cream
- 480ml/17fl oz milk
- 225ml/8fl oz double cream
- 5 fresh bay leaves
- 3 free-range egg yolks
- 120g/4½oz caster sugar
- pinch of salt
For the crumble
- 100g/3½oz plain flour
- 75g/2½oz golden granulated sugar
- 50g/1¾oz cold butter, cubed
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
For the nectarines
- 3 nectarines, halved
- 2–3 tbsp honey
- 1 sprig rosemary
- pinch salt
- pinch sugar
- To make the ice cream, put the milk and cream in a medium heavy-based saucepan on a low heat. Break the bay leaves in your hands and add them to the pan. Heat gently until it is about to simmer (make sure it doesn’t boil), stirring frequently to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat. This is just to infuse the milk with the flavour of the leaf, like making tea. Taste to make sure it is strong enough for you; if you can’t smell or taste the bay, feel free to add more leaves.
- In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and salt, until the mixture becomes aerated and slightly paler. Then pour in a third of the hot cream mixture, whisking continuously. Continue until all the cream is incorporated into the egg mixture. It’s important to stir well at this stage to ensure that all the sugar dissolves into the liquid.
- Rinse out the pan, pour the custard mixture back into the pan and return to a low heat. Cook the custard, stirring constantly and gently with a spatula or spoon, for 5 minutes, or until it thickens to make a smooth custard (don’t boil the custard as it can split or scramble the eggs). To check the custard is thick enough, coat the back of the spoon with custard and draw a line through it with your finger – if the line holds, the custard is ready.
- Remove the custard from the heat and pour into a clean heatproof bowl or jug. Cover the surface of the custard with a piece of greaseproof paper or cling film, pressing it onto the surface to prevent a skin forming. Allow the mixture to cool for a couple of hours then transfer to the fridge to cool completely.
- Strain the chilled custard to remove the bay leaves. Pour into the churning chamber of an ice cream maker and churn following the manufacturer’s instructions until thick but not fully frozen. Transfer to a lidded container and freeze for at least 3 hours, or until required.
- Meanwhile, to make the crumble and nectarines. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Mix the flour, sugar, butter and thyme in a bowl and rub the dry ingredients into the butter using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle the mixture over the tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden-brown. Leave to cool.
- Place the nectarine halves onto a hot barbecue or griddle pan. When they have bar marks, remove from the grill. Transfer to a frying pan with the honey, rosemary, salt and sugar. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until the honey begins to caramalise and the flavours have infused.
- Serve the ice cream with the nectarines and a spoonful of crumble.
Harnessing the rich flavors of fresh kitchen garden herbs, renowned chef Marcus Waring masterfully incorporates bay, thyme, and rosemary into an exquisite dessert creation. Delight in a palate-refreshing bay leaf ice cream, complemented by a fragrant thyme crumble. To top it all off, indulge in the sweet and sticky allure of rosemary-glazed nectarines, a perfect harmony of savory and sweet.
Marcus Wareing’s journey in developing his farm has involved learning essential rural skills, facing challenges, and celebrating the bounty produced. Important traditional practices like hedge laying, ploughing, and food preservation speak to Britain’s agricultural heritage. The bay leaf-infused ice cream represents how even simple farm ingredients can be transformed into something special.
Wareing’s tale highlights the hard work and cooperation involved in sustainable farming. It also shows how safeguarding time-honored skills helps preserve culinary traditions. His experiences on the farm provide inspiration for readers to get more in touch with their rural roots and support local agriculture. We can all find little ways to honor food culture, care for the land, and build community.
Frequently Asked Questions – Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden 2023 Episode 16
What rural skills does Marcus Wareing learn about in this episode?
In this episode, Marcus Wareing learns the traditional skills of hedge laying from expert Paul Matthews and pickle-making as a way to preserve an abundant carrot crop. He also attends a ploughing match to connect with the rural community.
Why does Marcus make bay leaf ice cream?
Marcus infuses cream with bay leaves to make unique flavored ice cream, demonstrating creative ways to utilize ingredients from the farm’s kitchen garden. The bay leaf ice cream with complementary flavors like thyme crumble and rosemary nectarines showcases Marcus’ skills as a chef.
How does Marcus give back to the community?
Marcus gives back to the local community by donating excess produce from the farm’s bountiful harvest to a nearby food bank serving people in need. This shows his generosity.
What is the purpose of hedge laying?
The purpose of hedge laying is to encourage new growth and create a dense, stock-proof barrier from shrubs or small trees by cutting partway through and interweaving the stems. It maintains old hedgerows.
Why are plowing matches still held today?
Plowing matches continue today to celebrate the skill and tradition of plowmen. They help preserve heritage farming methods and allow plowmen to demonstrate their prowess at this ancient rural craft.