Series in which chefs popularise traditional British produce. Michel Roux Jr gets passionate about pears, whilst Clarissa Dickson Wright champions British garlic.
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-Great British Food Revival is back.
-We can save British produce
-But we need your help.
Essential ingredients, here for centuries...
..are in danger of disappearing...
Together, we want everyone to get back to British culinary basics.
And help us revive our fabulous...
..and utterly delicious food heritage.
To put Britain back on the food map.
My name is Michel Roux
and with a name like that, you may think I'm French.
Well, I have French parents and I've worked and lived in France
for many years, but I was born here, in Kent.
Home of an almost forgotten but fabulous fruit,
a fruit that's full of vitamins and minerals.
We used to grow hundreds of varieties,
but now sadly only a handful.
What am I talking about? The Great British pear.
This succulent British fruit is one of my all-time favourites.
The British pear is in trouble.
Over the last 15 years,
production has gone down from 40,000 tonnes to 28,000 tonnes.
If we're not careful, we could be kissing goodbye to our pear.
So I'll be meeting with fruit farmers to get to grips with
the enormity of our pear-producing problems.
There's not enough money in pears to invest in the orchards.
I'll be reconnecting with our pear-drinking heritage.
Mmm! Let's have some more.
'And stand by for the bit I love - cooking.'
I'll be in the Revival Kitchen giving you my twist
on sweet and savoury delights,
to convince you just how versatile the British pear can be.
It is absolutely heavenly.
I love fruit, but I'm passionate about seasonality
and I will champion any fruit as long as it's in season
and it's grown locally, like these Conference pears.
I remember as a child biting into a lovely, juicy,
ripe Conference pear and that juice was trickling down my fingers
and down my chin, they were gorgeous.
In fact, I was brought up no more than a couple of miles away
and I remember with my mum making
my favourite dessert - la tarte aux poire, a pear tart.
Nine out of ten pears grown commercially in Britain
are Conference, with the wonderfully named William Bartlett,
Comice and Concorde varieties making up the rest of the market.
80% of the pears we eat are imported. That statistic appals me.
I'm convinced that a British pear picked and on the shelves in days
must taste better than the ones shipped from thousands of miles away
so I'm putting my theory to the test.
-Have you got a minute?
-Can I get you to try these two pears?
There's an English pear and a foreign pear.
So what one would you prefer?
That one's a bit sweeter, and I do like to have the colour.
-Shall I put you out of your misery?
-You've chosen the British pear, grown around here.
That one is good.
-They're both nice, I think I prefer the English one though.
You prefer that one? You know what, you are a star.
I love you, because this is the British pear.
So without doubt, there is a big appetite for the British pear.
But with pear imports in excess of 130,000 tonnes a year,
British growers are clearly struggling to get their products
onto the supermarket shelves.
-Hello, good to see you.
-Good to meet you.
'Clive Edmed's a third-generation fruit farmer
'who grows 95% of his pear crop for the supermarkets.
'Today's the first day of picking his Conference variety.
'I'm lending a hand to find out just how tough the selection process can be.'
-Right, Clive, let's get picking.
-OK. There's a bucket.
-If you'd like to put that on.
-So that's in through there.
That's right, yeah. Make sure that it's nice and comfortable.
because a bucket is quite heavy when it's full.
-Right, that's it, I'm comfy.
-OK, now picking.
-So show me, please.
We'd normally pick pears with our finger up the back to the stalk
and then lift it off and then lay it into the bucket, very gently,
horizontally, so that the stalk from one pear doesn't puncture
-the flesh of the pear in there.
-Away you go.
-Now, this one... Whoa!
-I can't believe I've done that.
-Don't be afraid to use two hands.
We'll forgive you for that.
-There's one. This one's curious.
Yeah, that's not a very nice shape.
If the supermarket is doing a lower range, it may well go through.
If they're not, then it won't.
But would there not be a market,
a slightly cheaper market maybe, for this one?
If pears are short, there probably will be.
Cos I could use this in my cooking for dicing, a compote,
-when you don't mind about the shape.
It seems a shame not to.
-And the taste would be good.
-Taste would be wonderful.
-Because it's English.
-I'm going to put it in there anyway.
Onwards and upwards.
Supermarkets demand a perfect fruit, but pears are delicate.
Bruising, whether it's caused by heavy rain,
frost or clumsy picking can cost Clive up to 20% of his crop.
OK, so when the bucket's full, we bring it to the bin.
There's an art in this as well, because we mustn't bruise them.
-So come over halfway into the bin, let that down.
-Oh, I see.
And then as you go back, lift it up
and very gently the pears roll out without damaging any.
Brilliant! That's fantastic.
Off with the basket. Give it back to its rightful owner.
I can't believe the work that goes into collecting these pears
and how careful you have to be.
Is it not sad, Clive, that 80% of the pears consumed in Britain are imported?
-Yeah, very sad.
-But why is that?
We grow a good-tasting pear in this country
but we do suffer a little bit of this russet.
That's normally caused by low temperatures.
Somewhere like Holland is naturally just two degrees warmer than us
most of the season, but that russet probably wouldn't happen.
How do you think the great British public can help British growers
and get these pears onto the shelves?
By insisting what they're buying is British.
-And if they're not, then walk away.
-Demand British produce.
Then hopefully the supermarkets will then be able to
pay us a little bit more so that we can invest in the orchards
and then we can come up to the Dutch level, but at the moment,
there's not enough money in pears to invest in the orchards.
So the message from growers is clear - demand British fruit,
and that will be the beginning of the pear revival.
As a chef, the best way I can convince you
to fall back in love with the British pear is to show you
just how versatile it is.
I'm going to cook a pear dish that is sophisticated,
easy, but uses pear to its full potential.
It's a pear tart with Stilton and pistachios.
The first job is to peel these Conference pears
which I've brought back from Clive's orchard.
I like to keep the stalk and nick out the bottom.
You can use a pear that's slightly under-ripe or even a bit firm.
It's actually better for this recipe. The reason why
is that it will hold its shape.
If the pear is over-ripe, when you cook it will tend to go to a mush.
Good for a compote but not for this particular recipe.
Once the pears are in the pan, add some red wine.
To intensify the colour, I'm going to put in blackcurrant liqueur,
a stick of cinnamon, a clove and a little dry chilli.
The reason why I like to use dry chilli is it's got
a bit of a smokiness to it, a little edge, and that goes in.
Followed by a bit of sugar.
Once this comes to the boil, it's important to turn the pears around
so they can soak up that lovely colour and that beautiful red wine.
It's almost like a mulled wine.
This recipe reminds me of Christmas.
Pop parchment paper on top and cover the pears so they cook away happily.
Now for the puff pastry.
Flour the board, roll - about 2mm thickness will do -
and try to keep it to a rectangular shape.
If you really want to push the boat out, you can make your own
but there are so many good puff pastries about now.
Then place onto a non-stick baking sheet and prick with a fork.
And this will help to keep this shape.
Place another baking sheet on top.
This also helps the pastry keep its shape and stops it from rising.
If you haven't got a non-stick baking sheet,
you have to line it with a bit of greaseproof paper.
Then put in the oven on around 180 degrees for about 20 minutes
until it's golden brown.
Now, let's check those pears.
It's important to turn them over
and make sure they soak up all that lovely mulled wine.
Right, the pastry should just about be done.
So it's kept its shape, nice and golden.
The pears are ready too.
They've taken on a beautiful red-wine hue.
I think that is absolutely gorgeous.
The pastry's now cold enough to cut, so slice into rectangles.
You can hear that crunch of the puff pastry.
Next, halve the cooked pears.
Wow, look at that. That is beautiful.
The lovely white pear flesh
and that beautiful red-wine exterior.
Remove the pips and stalk,
slice the pears into not too thin but manageable pieces
and place onto the pastry.
Now you're ready to plate up.
I'm using salad leaves coated in pistachio oil.
It's making me salivate just looking at it.
Now, a little bit of Stilton cheese.
We're using British pears and the best of British blue cheese.
There we go. To give this dish texture,
add a few chopped pistachios, then drizzle with the fabulous syrup.
And that's it, my heavenly combination of pear tart
with crunchy pistachios and a wonderful Stilton cheese.
It really is a British fruit at its best.
I like my pears with a little crunch but with lots of juice,
and sweet and sticky, but that's the biggest problem.
Knowing when the pear is ripe.
Pears are a complex fruit.
They can be happily cold stored for up to ten months. However,
controlling when they ripen is something
that we've traditionally left to chance.
But there's one fruit farmer in Kent who's going that extra mile
to produce the perfect pear.
Clive Baxter grows over 1,000 tonnes of pears each year.
He's gone out on a limb, investing huge sums in new technology
to create a room where he can control the ripening process.
And he's about to let me into his secret.
So it's similar to a cold store except that in this case,
we're actually putting warm air in and then the air is
sent above this ceiling and it's forced down
through the actual pallets of fruit
and then it's taken back up through the centre there.
-And sucked up through here?
-So there's like a circular motion of forced air.
It doesn't feel that warm in here
-but obviously warm enough just to ripen them up slowly.
As you probably know,
when you put your normal pear in a fruit bowl,
you have a very firm pear quite often
then maybe for a day, you have the perfect pear,
and then very quickly after that, it's completely gone
and it just falls apart.
The perfectly ripened pears out of here,
they still stay firm but ripe for several days
whereas a standard pear that just ripens in your house does not.
This method of warming fruit has its origins in the ready-to-eat
ripe avocado system developed in Norfolk.
How would you look for ripeness in a pear?
I apply pressure with my thumb.
It should just give a little bit as you push down with your thumb.
-Regardless of the colour?
-Regardless of the colour.
After just a couple of days in the warming room,
Clive's pears are sent straight to the supermarket.
So, Clive, how has this helped your business?
It's very popular with the customers because generally in the UK,
pear sales are quite flat.
Perfectly ripened pear sales are really increasing
and you can see why when you start to eat these pears.
So it's been well received by the public even though
they have to pay a couple of pennies more,
because they've got a perfectly ripe
and really tasty product at the end of it.
Yeah, it's like anything else, isn't it?
People will go to your restaurant
because you do something a little bit different than the ordinary,
and in the same way, if you're getting something
that genuinely tastes that much nicer,
most people are willing to pay a bit more money for it.
It's great to meet someone who is so passionate about growing pears.
But not just that, prepared to go that extra mile
to deliver ripe and beautiful British pears.
Perhaps we are already on the cusp of the pear revival.
What I love about pears is that they're brilliant in savoury dishes.
Now I'm going to cook a really unusual combination -
braised beef cheeks, with pears and bitter chocolate sauce.
Beef cheeks are a really unusual cut,
but they are coming into fashion now.
They're a muscle that works, a really tough piece of meat.
You can't just sear it and eat it like that,
it needs long, slow cooking to tenderise it.
Start off with a good heavy pan,
and get that hot with a generous glug of oil.
Then season the meat.
Once the oil is piping hot, sear the beef.
It's very important to get that caramelisation,
because that is where the flavours are.
Once the beef is beginning to brown, take it off the heat and set aside.
Chop up the onions and garlic, and gently fry them.
For extra flavour, add orange zest.
Now the onions are nice and soft and brown, put the meat back in.
You can put all of that juice in there as well.
Add a very generous glass of port -
this will give a sweet edge to the dish -
followed by the juice from the orange.
This may sound a very weird combination,
you've got orange, onions, garlic, port, beef, chocolate and pears,
but believe you me - it is absolutely heavenly.
Once the port has evaporated, add beef stock,
then cover, and put in the oven for some long, slow cooking.
About three hours, at 140 to 160 degrees.
Right, now to prepare the pears.
This is a Comice pear, which I am chopping into cubes.
Heat some butter in a pan.
Pears, they only last for about a day when they are at their optimum,
so maybe we should think about cooking pears more often.
Squeeze on some lemon juice, and cook until they are soft.
That's the pears done.
Now I have to wait until the beef is cooked.
It's smelling beautiful already.
All the onions have melted down, the garlic is completely gone,
the sauce has reduced down, and has intensified with flavour,
and the beef has reduced down to almost bite-size morsels.
Remove the beef from the pot, but keep it warm.
I'm going to put foil on there, so it doesn't dry out.
Pop it back into the oven.
And switch it off.
The final element to this recipe is the sauce.
Add the leftover pear trimmings to your pan, and bring to the boil.
You could actually serve this as it is,
with the onions and these bits of pear,
but I think the sauce will look far nicer
if it's finished off like you would in a restaurant,
that is to say, passed through a fine sieve.
So now we have a lovely, rich braising sauce,
reduced and intensified in flavour.
All we need to do now is to add the chocolate
which will add a subtle, rich flavour to the dish.
I'm tempted to eat this, but no.
Not too much. It's not a chocolate sauce.
Nonetheless, you want to be able to taste that lovely chocolate.
Followed by a knob of butter,
and stir in on a low heat.
And it's done.
So let's put this dish together.
I'm serving with a puree of white beans,
which I blitzed with butter, rosemary, and a bay leaf.
Glazed onions and soft buttered pears.
And there we have it.
Braised beef cheeks, with pear and bitter chocolate sauce.
Mmmn, this looks absolutely divine.
The beef just melts in the mouth. It's sweet and succulent.
That chocolate sauce gives a slight bitter edge to it,
but we've got the fruitiness from the orange and the port,
and of course the pear is there for the texture,
and its lovely sharpness.
It really is a marriage made in heaven. I urge you to try this.
In my revival campaign, I want to champion all British pears.
That includes even the most unusual varieties.
I've come to the West Country, the regional home of the perry pear.
There are over 100 different varieties of perry pear,
but they're not for eating.
They were popular in the Middle Ages,
when people used them to produce perry - the original English wine.
But today, hardly anyone outside of
the three counties of Worcestershire,
Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire has ever heard of them.
But this pear enthusiast has taken it upon himself to establish
a living link to our perry heritage.
With over 120 pear varieties,
for some, this collection is the only place where they still exist.
-So what's this one? It's very tall, and has very small fruit.
These are Thorn pears, we call them,
which is one of the typical perry pears.
-It is very small.
-That is typical size for them.
-You'd only use that for the perry?
You wouldn't want to eat that for pleasure,
but you wouldn't spit it out straight away,
-which you would do with some.
-You get the dryness in your mouth, the tannins.
And that's what makes the perry from it.
So what have we got here?
The only fruity example of the Betty Prosser.
It was a pear we discovered just in the neighbouring village.
Collected it from the orchard, and when we went back
a year or two later, the whole orchard had been grubbed out.
It's the only fruiting Betty Prosser.
I think if it tastes as good as it looks, it will make a good drink.
If it wasn't for Jim establishing this collection,
we'd have lost this variety, along with many others forever.
Perry pears are such a huge part of our heritage.
We were producing a sparkling drink with them
50 years before the French started their own process with grapes.
And we all know how successful they were at that.
Welcome to the Orchard.
Sadly the art of making perry has fallen flat too.
But here at the National Collection master brewer Peter Mitchell
is not only reviving that lost tradition,
he's winning awards for it.
So where shall we start?
This is a single variety Moorcroft, lightly sparkling,
nothing sort of too much in terms of fizz.
This is this pear, one of my favourite perry pears.
This one typically comes off in late September,
and you almost need to stand underneath the tree,
catch the pears, and run to the mill to press them,
because if you don't,
you have 24 hours, because they'd then rot.
And pears rot from the inside out.
-You like that one?
When you first put it in your mouth, you think, no, it's dry,
but it's got a residual, a length.
-Let's have some more.
-Let's have some more.
This one's a bit light, a bit more less sparkling.
Wow, the nose on that, it is like a ripe pear.
It's very refreshing.
This is a dry one, fairly subtle flavoured, let's see.
-And there it goes!
-That's champagne, that.
A beautiful crown, beautiful notes on the top there,
like we say with champagne.
Very fine bubbles.
Here's to history and heritage.
I'm feeling quite merry, all in the name of revival, of course.
-Thank you. Cheers.
We can all play our part to help support and revive British pears.
Whether it's visiting this National Collection,
making the effort to seek out delicious perry drinks,
or you could get involved in a local community orchard project,
like these residents in Nottingham.
Covering 75 acres, St Anne's allotments is the oldest
and largest Victorian town garden in the world.
At the height of pear popularity in the 19th century,
we had over 600 varieties.
Here in Nottingham, identifying their trees is an ongoing project.
We have identified
40 varieties of pear. Many of which date back to the 19th century,
French and Belgian varieties.
Things like Comte de Paris, Belle Guerandais, Louise Bonne Jersey,
you can see behind us. Many surprising varieties.
And if you have a pear tree in your garden, pick the fruit,
cook with it, share it with your neighbours.
Together we can all help revive the British pear.
For dessert, I'm cooking a pear omelette souffle,
with salted butter caramel sauce.
First off we need to prepare a sugar syrup.
Pour water and sugar straight into a pan,
and flavour with a vanilla pod.
Very important to get the seeds out.
That's where all the flavour is.
These Concorde pears are already peeled,
so squeeze on lemon juice to stop them from going brown.
As the syrup has now boiled,
pop in the pears to poach gently for about 20 minutes.
Perry pears, or the old heritage pears take a bit longer.
Put all that lemon juice in there as well.
Which helps to keep them nice and white.
Now start on the caramel sauce.
I've added together a big wedge of butter
and unrefined caster sugar.
Now blast away until it bubbles to a lovely caramel colour.
Add double cream, and it's as simple as that.
These pears are perfectly cooked.
Put half the pears
and a few spoonfuls of juice into the blender and blitz.
Pour the puree into a pan.
To thicken, mix together cornflour and pear brandy.
You just soften it up and slake the cornflour
until it's a lovely smooth paste.
Mix together with the puree,
and as soon as it comes to the boil it will thicken up.
Then transfer to a mixing bowl.
Now the egg whites, they have been whisked until they're soft,
so they're nice and glossy.
Beat in half the egg whites into the puree.
A lot of people are worried, and they think "Oh, I mustn't over mix",
and they are too delicate with a souffle.
You can be quite rough, you can go for it.
Especially that first mix.
Then the second mix,
you have to be a little bit more delicate, and a lightness of touch.
So this time, fold in with a spatula until it's smooth.
Now is the critical time not to overwork,
just until that last little lump of egg white has been mixed in.
Heat up a knob of butter in a mini omelette pan,
pour in the mixture, and leave it on the heat for a few seconds.
But watch out, as it could burn.
You can see the caramel there.
You can see the butter frothing, you can see the colour,
and you can most importantly smell.
If it smells of caramel, you know you're in the right direction.
So into the oven it goes at 180 degrees for five to six minutes.
Meanwhile, I have just enough time to dress the plate
with the poached pears, pear brandy, and caramel sauce.
Now the moment of truth.
That is just, just right.
It's bouncy, it's got the right texture,
it smells divine.
And there you have it, my omelette pear souffle with caramel sauce.
This looks and smells beautiful.
Breaking into it like that, that lovely soft souffle.
Salted butter caramel, the pear brandy and that lovely, soft,
unctuous souffle but you can feel the grain of the pear.
It's so delicious.
I've met some incredibly passionate people.
Passionate as I am about food, but they are fighting an uphill battle.
We must be prepared to pay a few more pennies to buy seasonally
but above all British.
Because if we don't, it may well be the end of the great British pear.
Now here's a lady who's passionate about reviving a surprisingly British ingredient.
I'm Clarissa Dickson Wright and I want you to help me revive a great British ingredient
which has been overlooked and taken over by foreign invaders.
A vegetable largely imported from China and Spain
that's more British than cricket.
And it's potency will make sure you always have lots of friends,
lovers and even enemies.
What am I talking about? Garlic.
As part of my campaign to revive British garlic,
I'll be finding out why we should be eating more of it.
British garlic gives you a slight kick.
I'll be tucking into some of our own British grown varieties.
Ooh! Argh! Ooh!
There's relatively few people who can do what you've just done.
Oh good, another talent to add to my list!
And sharing some exciting ways to use this versatile vegetable,
like this luscious mediaeval chicken with garlic bulbs.
Straight from the 12th century, the recipe not changed at all.
I fell in love with garlic at a very young age.
My mother was born in Penang,
and so I grew up, very fortunately, with all sorts of ingredients that
others of my generation would have considered weird and exotic.
One of these, of course, was garlic.
And to me, garlic was as commonplace on our table
as salt and pepper and I grew to love it.
But love affairs grow bland and boring,
foreign imports now account for 99% of the garlic
consumed in the UK, leaving home-grown garlic out in the cold.
My revival campaign is to get YOU to eat
and grow even more British garlic.
An ingredient most of us don't even consider British.
I really don't check the label, I just look for garlic.
I never look at the label with garlic, no.
I pay attention where meat products come from.
I've never thought about it with garlic.
I think garlic comes from abroad, mainly. Probably France?
You tend to think it's going to come from abroad,
but whether it does, I don't know.
In fact, garlic is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning spear leak
and we've been growing it here since Roman times.
So what's the story with British garlic?
One of the main problems is we can't get hold of it. Supermarkets don't stock it. So to track some down,
I'm heading to the heart of London's East End, New Spitalfields market,
supplier to some of London's top restaurants
and one of the few places that sells British garlic.
-Are you Albert?
-Hello, I'm Clarissa.
-Hello, nice to meet you.
How much garlic do you sell in the course of a year?
Around 750 tonnes.
-That's a lot of garlic!
-Yes, around five tonnes a week.
And, where does most of your garlic come from?
Most comes from China.
But you also buy from the Isle of White?
Yes, we only started last year. The new season has just started.
'And surprisingly, for someone who usually sells Chinese garlic
'to Chinese restaurants, Albert prefers British, when he can get hold of it.'
What, in your experience, is the difference in taste
between the British and the imported garlic?
The imported garlic is what we taste every day.
The British garlic gives you a slight kick.
Are your customers happy with the British garlic?
They're very happy with the British garlic, but by the time it
launched in our market, it just got quickly evaporated.
When we tried to order more, they haven't got any more availability.
So we've got a problem - merchants like Albert want to buy it,
but we don't grow enough of the stuff.
Nevertheless, traders in this market are being actively encouraged
to sell British when they can.
Tell me, what is your role in all this magnificence?
My role is to introduce British farmers
to the traders in the market,
to try and bring more fresh produce into London for Londoners from Britain.
Of course, what I'm here, particularly, to examine is garlic.
Yes. Unfortunately, garlic isn't commercially grown in this country
to the extent it could be.
Obviously, in local farmers markets,
in local farm shops, there's a certain amount being sold.
And do the restaurants buy it when they can?
A lot of restaurants are going that way. They're trying to be more seasonal
and change their menus accordingly.
And if British garlic is good enough for our restaurants,
it should be good enough for you at home.
So go out of your way and buy British online or at farmers markets.
It's got stacks more flavour than the imported stuff.
And to show you just how incredible it really is,
I'm going to use an extraordinary British garlic and one you
probably won't have seen before - super-sized elephant garlic.
This dish is a perfect starter.
What I'm going to cook is beefsteak tomatoes stuffed with garlic prawns.
Here I have some lovely elephant garlic.
I think elephant garlic goes rather well with prawns
because it's got a subtle and rather mild flavour.
It doesn't overpower the prawns and all you have to do is just
cut off the end and the outer papery skin will come away really easily.
Look at the size of that, isn't that beautiful? Absolutely beautiful.
And we only need one of these cloves for this particular dish.
I'm just going to chop it finely.
The great thing with garlic is the finer you chop it,
the hotter it gets.
And, conversely, if you don't cut it or have it in large chunks,
then it'll be really quite mild.
I cut it through every which way first, then dice it.
It's the same as chopping an onion.
Gently fry in olive oil in a moderately hot pan
so as not to burn it and keep an eye on it.
Give it a nudge every so often before addressing the prawns.
You want to chop them up too into fairly small pieces before adding the prawns
to the garlicky goodness.
These prawns are, of course, cooked already.
If you're cooking them from raw, you need to cook them a bit longer.
Otherwise, it's really just to let them pick up the flavours from the garlic.
And then I would remove it from the heat because it'll keep on cooking.
'While you prepare your beefsteak tomatoes by slicing them
'in half and gouging out the seeds.
'A messy job, best tackled with a knife and spoon.'
Get through the bottom bit of the stalk
without making a hole.
'Something easily done, so watch out.
'Once surgery is over, you can get the prawns back on the heat with
'a generous handful of breadcrumbs and some flat leaf parsley,
'a brilliant pairing with garlic.'
Parsley takes away the smell of garlic on your breath.
Not quite as good as more garlic.
I had a boyfriend once who loved garlic
and when I arrived at the door of his flat for an evening
of passion, he would greet me with a little mashed garlic on a crouton
and give it to me to eat so that I couldn't smell the garlic on his breath.
And all that's left to do now is spoon the garlic
and prawn filling into the awaiting shells.
Make sure you've got breadcrumbs over the top, to protect it while it's in the oven.
And dot each one with butter.
My idea of a little bit of butter is usually rather more
than most people's.
But I think we're allowed butter now, they've decided it's good for us again.
I never had any doubts.
'And that's it!' Yummy.
All that remains is to pop your garlic tomatoes into a hot oven
for 20 to 25 minutes until they're nice and sizzling.
While they bubble away, you can prepare a salad.
Decorate the plate.
Actually, personally, I think salad is a waste of time
but other people like it so you have to keep your friends and guests happy, don't you?
'And this is guarant9eed to do just that.'
Just put a little on the side of the plate
and bring forth the tomatoes.
There you are, doesn't that look absolutely delicious?
And it smells wonderful.
Absolutely wonderful, I love the smell of garlic.
And then you can have that as a starter,
either in the depth of winter, cos the garlic will keep
the colds away, or out on the patio in the summer,
drinking, in your case, probably a large,
chilled glass of white wine and in mine, a nice ginger beer.
I'm in pursuit of British garlic,
a brilliant ingredient we don't grow enough of commercially.
I'm off, via a blustery ferry crossing, to Newchurch
on the Isle of Wight to visit one of just a handful of garlic farms
in the UK, to see how we can help.
I get really angry that only one in a hundred garlic bulbs sold in this
country is British garlic.
It's something that grows naturally in this country and just
because you're going to have to go out and look for it
doesn't mean you shouldn't be eating it.
And the more we encourage our garlic producers to grow it by buying it,
the more will be available to us.
Colin Boswell supplies farmers markets
and farm shops across the UK with his British garlic.
It's a crop with a long, illustrious history.
How long have you been growing garlic here?
We started growing garlic in 1976.
-But there's no doubt that the Romans grew garlic here.
We know that because we can find all their sherds and pottery on this land
so they were manuring it.
Just think of it, striding across here in their tunics and sandals, it's a lovely thought.
'The island's mild climate makes for perfect growing conditions.
'Garlic is planted in late autumn and harvested in summer.'
We'll let it extend its roots all through the winter
and by February, it might be three or four inches tall.
We give it some fertiliser, hoe it in-between the rows,
keep the soil free, and hopefully by May/June, we've got a crop ready to harvest.
Sounds so simple and I bet it isn't.
'It takes six people five hours to hand pull an acre
'and that's with the help of a tractor loosening the soil.
'Once lifted, they need to dry out first in the island sun,
'then in glass houses to be tidied up for the market.'
Colin, this is amazing, sitting here surrounded by this sea of garlic.
How many different varieties do YOU grow?
In any one year, we grow about 12.
'And I can't wait to try some.'
Right. See what you make of this. Solent white.
What's the smell? What does it smell like? You're not feeling it, are you?
It's quite hot, but I'm somebody who eats raw chillies for pleasure.
When my brother died, he left me his chilli collection.
It took me five years to get through it.
But yeah, I can see that the general public would, by and large,
think that this was quite hot.
We now come our purple Moldovan garlic.
I'm going to give you a nice little chunk. OK.
And it's got a... Argh!
Has it bitten you?
-It's got... Yes.
-It has bitten you?
-Yes. It's got quite a slow start.
-It's a slow start.
-But then wow!
-Now, that will be interesting to cook with.
I see you still got some left?
Yes. I'm taking it cautiously.
I know your type, Colin, trying to get a girl to weep and weep visibly.
Ooh! Argh! Whoo! That was too big a bit.
There's relatively few people who can do what you've just done.
Oh good, another talent to add to my list.
There's no question in my mind that British garlic is far superior
to the supermarket stuff, but will the great British public agree?
I've got some samples to put to the test in the garlic farm shop, so let's find out.
Here's a nice willing looking gentleman. Can I lure you?
What I want you to do is taste each of these and tell me
what you think of each of them in turn.
OK, sure. OK, I'll try this one first.
That's really strong.
And this one.
That's a lot milder.
Well, that's the imported one.
That's a lot better, more flavour. That's fantastic.
That's more acidic than that one. The first one.
-And this has got more pow to it?
Now, who can resist the gentleman with the hair-do? Which do you prefer?
Which do I prefer? Um...
Probably the local one.
More of a kick.
Hoorah! The home-grown has conquered the Spanish pretender,
and I'm impressed, especially with this youngster. Hot, isn't it?
Well done! I think you're a very brave young man to do that taste test.
Can I have the other bit of that I picked?
Um... there. That bit there.
Excellent! A fine young man!
What better advert for British garlic?
But don't just take our word for it, seek it out.
You'll me amazed by its flavour, especially in this age old recipe
that proves garlic really is a great British ingredient.
When I suggested garlic as my ingredient for this programme,
the BBC said, "But garlic isn't British."
And in order to prove my point to them,
I decided to do a medieval chicken dish. This is straight from a form of curry which was compiled
by the cooks to King Richard II in the 12th Century,
and so what I'm going to make for you is medieval chicken with garlic bulbs.
I'm going to take five bulbs of garlic, whole bulbs, not cloves,
and you need to cut just the top off the garlic so that the liquid
can get through into the garlic gloves.
Interestingly, this is a recipe that is still very popular in France.
But of course, if you remember that in the Middle Ages,
it was a lot of Norman French influence,
then you'll realise that this is a very old recipe indeed.
'That uses just a handful of prime ingredients.'
Saffron is the world's most expensive ingredient.
If you come across people selling you, or purporting to sell you, cheap saffron, it isn't saffron.
You just want to put your strands into a little bowl.
Pour over some wine and let it soak,
and if you can't get hold of it, use turmeric.
It won't have the same flavour, it won't have quite the same beautiful colour, but it has colour.
'While that relinquishes its golden hue, we can get back to the star of this dish.'
I'm going to put the garlic bulbs around the chicken.
'Pour on some olive oil and give it a quick rub down.'
When they roast, you squeeze out the paste and it's absolutely delicious.
Whether it's slathered on ciabatta or served with roast chicken like this one,
tart it up with plenty of black pepper, a handful of salt,
some punchy, fresh ginger - very medieval ingredient -
and lots of fragrant ground cinnamon.
Which came back with the crusaders and it was greatly loved.
You just want to massage it in a bit.
Then douse it in the saffron-infused wine. Don't waste any.
Then put it in the oven for an hour or so, depending on the size of your chicken.
You will need to baste it about halfway through its cooking time.
But apart from that, you just let it get on with it.
'Giving you ample time for some recipe research.
'Prepare to be fascinated.'
Roast chickens were almost a new thing in medieval times,
and think how appealing this must have appeared at the court of King Richard II.
Just as appealing as it is today.
Look at that. Doesn't that look lovely?
You'll know it's done if the juice runs clear when you stick a fork in it.
So put it onto the dish.
There, like that.
There you have your lovely roast bulbs of garlic.
Which, by the way, smell incredible.
I'm just going to carve a bit.
Another of my boyfriends was a brilliant carver. Could feed six people off a chicken this size.
With second helpings.
And I'm pretty sure you'll want more of this, too.
I like the skin. They say, "You shouldn't eat the skin, it's bad for you."
Well, I've had a lifetime of eating things that are bad for me.
Mmm. Really nice, and you can really taste the spices.
But what you want to do...
..is break open the garlic.
Then you take a clove and you just squeeze it out.
So you've got this lovely paste and it's really soft and gentle.
It doesn't taste harsh or strongly of garlic at all.
It's just a very subtle flavour.
Mmm. So good.
There you have it, medieval chicken with garlic bulbs.
Straight from the 12th century, the recipe not changed at all.
I want you to eat British garlic at every available opportunity and I've got a plan.
I'm off to Wisley in Surrey,
home to the Royal Horticultural Society's flagship test garden,
to enlist the help of another garlic enthusiast.
We've established that supermarkets don't sell British garlic
and that the farmers can't produce enough for all our needs.
So I've got another option for you - grow your own.
Mario de Pace has been growing garlic at Wisley's world-class kitchen garden
for nearly three years now.
He's got some useful tips for growing it at home.
So, what are you doing here?
I'm planting some garlic.
I'm removing the individual cloves,
take off the outer papery layer,
then I'll plant it at 15 centimetres apart,
then I gently pull the soil over the cloves,
about 2.5 centimetres of soil.
'And if you plant it in winter, come summer, the cloves will have swelled into bulbs.
'Then you can dig them up, dry them and enjoy your own home-grown garlic.'
How many different types of garlic have you tried?
Last year was a bit of an experiment and I tried about 20 different varieties.
Which of the varieties has been the most successful for you, so far?
From the growing point of view, Solent Wight is a very good variety.
On the other hand, I found that the taste of Chestnut Wight is really, really excellent.
If people wanted to grow garlic at home in a pot, say,
would they find it easy to do?
I did try, in fact, even elephant garlic to grow in a pot
and it's very, very successful and very, very easy.
How long before you harvest it?
Well, again, depends on the variety.
There are some varieties, like early Purple Wight,
and can be harvested at the end of May.
Other varieties, like Solent Wight,
you will harvest it as late as the end of August.
So basically, with those two varieties, you have fresh garlic supply throughout the year.
'Which means we can wave goodbye to the bland imported supermarket stuff.
I find it very exciting that people are experimenting with ways to grow garlic in this country,
different varieties that perhaps haven't been grown here before.
It's a wonderful thing.
And I'm now going to amaze and dazzle you with the versatility of garlic
by showing you a pudding which is something you would never, never have thought of.
Yes, a pudding using garlic, which, believe it or not, is extraordinarily delicious.
If you've got a starter and a main course, you really need a dessert.
So I came up, with much imaginative thinking, with garlic fudge tart with nectarines.
I'm going to put everything into this food processor.
I've peeled a couple of cloves of garlic and...
..they're going to go in.
Along with my first shortcut.
This is ordinary fudge and it's quite crumbly
so I'm going to put it in the food processor with the garlic.
And some caster sugar.
Don't worry that it's going to be too sweet. It's not.
I'm going to grind all this up together first.
There we are.
And when it's nice and breadcrumby, crack in an egg.
And whizz that about.
And throw in another surprise ingredient, Cheshire cheese.
Which is nice and crumbly and gives a bit more bulk.
Two eggs yolks...
..and some cream and milk.
And it has to be whole milk. I never bother with semi-skimmed milk.
It tastes revolting.
And that's the filling done.
You CAN make garlic ice cream which, in fact, they sell on the garlic farm.
We had at home...
My mother had an old book from which she made - or she got the cook to make - garlic sorbet.
The cook came from Derbyshire. Cook was my role model.
My mother was a slim, elegant woman who bought her clothes in Paris,
and the cook the cook came from Derbyshire and weighed 20 stone.
And she made the garlic sorbet.
Can't say it was wonderful but there we were.
I can, however, recommend this garlicky delight.
Stage two is the tart itself.
Here is a pastry case that I baked blind earlier.
Mine has ground almonds in it as well as flour, but any sweet short crust pastry will do.
As far as the fruit goes, I'm using three nectarines, but peaches or plums will do.
I'm just going to cut them in half.
And just take the stone out.
And then I'm just going to score them across.
This will help them cook through evenly and I think they look prettier.
Then simply pop them into the tart, skin side up.
And then I'm just going to pour this into the pastry case.
Doesn't it look heavenly?
Then put it into a hot oven for 20-25 minutes...
..until it's cooked and golden and utterly delicious.
Then leave it to cool, and half an hour later, you can cut yourself a slice.
Look a that. How lovely.
And what does it really taste like?
The whole thing blends together impeccably.
You can't taste cheese, you can't really taste the garlic.
You have this hint of something that you don't know what it is
and the juiciness of the nectarine makes the whole thing work.
It's really nice. Really good.
I've had a great time trying to convince you to buy and cook British garlic,
but if all that hasn't persuaded you, then maybe this will.
It's the annual Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, a hugely popular event
that celebrates British garlic in all its glory.
We actually come from Essex, so we've travelled over.
We've come here specifically to come to the festival.
This is our annual pilgrimage. We love the garlic festival.
We love garlic so we come here every year.
There are plenty of varieties to choose from, including seed garlic
so you can grow your own.
I've never really thought about growing garlic until today
but we've bought some cloves and we'll have a go at growing some ourselves.
There are all sorts of weird and wonderful garlicky treats.
There's plenty of samples here. You can have it roasted,
you can buy the chutney, you can buy a jam.
We're going to have some garlic sweet corn.
Bake them in the oven for about an hour and a half. We drizzle them with some olive oil.
Get the garlic, squeeze it onto your bread, then put your hummus and tomatoes on top, and just enjoy.
I think the strangest thing I've tasted today is garlic beer.
And garlic ice cream.
The strangest thing is the garlic hot dogs!
I found that the vampire relish looked a bit iffy.
But there really is nothing to be scared of.
After all, 20,000 festival goers can't be wrong.
My love affair with garlic has been rekindled.
I'm passionate on my new quest to get all of you to go out and eat and grow British garlic,
because if YOU don't do it,
future generations will be deprived of this wonderful heritage of ours,
this product that has been with us for centuries.
Don't let it die out again. Go and pursue it!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The UK has a fantastically diverse range of produce, yet it seems to be widely ignored in favour of cheaper or more exotic foreign imports. Some of our heritage varieties are genuinely in danger of being lost forever unless they are used once more for cooking and eating. Each episode of the Great British Food Revival sees chefs and foodies champion a different piece of British produce and demonstrate how it can be used in the kitchen.
Michelin-starred chef and host of Masterchef - The Professionals Michel Roux Jr gets passionate about our heritage pears. Concerned that eighty per cent of the pears we eat are imported, Michel wants to find out what can be done to persuade people to buy British. He also inspires us all to cook with homegrown pears as he prepares a delicious selection of dishes including a fabulous pear soufflé.
Veteran food campaigner Clarissa Dickson Wright takes up the plight of British garlic, often not even recognised as being a British-grown ingredient. Clarissa takes us to one of only a handful of garlic farms to discover the amazing taste and range of garlic that is grown in the UK. She digs back through her history books to prove that garlic has a long and illustrious heritage in Britain and to prove her point, she cooks a recipe straight from the medieval court of Richard II.