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We're losing touch with our British food heritage.
Ingredients that were once commonplace are now under threat.
And teetering on the brink of survival.
By changing the way we shop and how we eat...
-We have a chance...
-To breathe new life...
Into our delicious...
Join our revival campaign...
To help preserve our food legacy...
For generations to come.
And put Britain firmly back on the food map.
That is proper lush.
Prawn cocktail, anyone? You've got to admit it.
Everyone's had a prawn cocktail. We love them.
But do we know where the prawns come from?
Normally they're from Thailand, Iceland,
and our supermarkets are absolutely flooded with them.
Unlike larger prawns, this little shrimp may not be as big,
may not look as attractive but he packs much more in flavour.
I'm Glynn Purnell and I want you to put down your bucket and spades,
get out your deck chairs
and settle down and try one of these little fellows.
A brown shrimp.
Coming up, I go tractor-fishing for shrimp.
I don't fancy walking back six miles.
And I discover how far these beauties travel.
It's got more air miles than Judith Chalmers.
And in the Revival Kitchen, I get this shrimp to pack a punch.
From the sound of my accent, you can tell I was brought up in Birmingham.
Working-class Birmingham. My dad was a factory worker,
my mum was a dinner lady, and we used to go out to social clubs
and we used to get the ultimate treat,
which would be the shellfish man would come round
and you'd have a little pot of cockles, a little pot of whelks,
but the ultimate prize was the potted shrimp.
A little... Either potted or un-potted
with vinegar and white pepper.
Unbelievable, and you'd be running round,
skidding on your knees to the sound of that bell.
You'd be begging for a bowl of shrimps
but you'd often just get the cockles, so this was the ultimate prize.
British shrimp comes in two traditional varieties,
pink and brown,
but most of our supermarkets have given up on them completely.
Instead, we now import over 80,000 tonnes of shrimp
and prawns from places like Thailand, Indonesia and Brazil.
Without a revival, the tasty British shrimp could soon be
wiped from our culinary heritage.
Morecambe Bay in the northwest of England
has been home to shrimp fishermen for centuries.
Low tide exposes a vast expanse of sand
and the chance to catch brown shrimp.
OK, so it's six o'clock in the morning
and we're going to go fishing, get this, on a tractor.
Which I've never done before.
I've never been on a tractor before, let alone in the sea,
so, I'll just go and meet the lads.
How are we? Morning. It is early, isn't it, eh?
-Just a bit.
-Well, it's early for me.
-Are we ready to make way, then?
-Let's do it, yeah.
We head out six miles across the wet sand into the middle of the bay
on our quest for brown shrimp.
Michael is the fourth generation of his family to fish here.
Until the 1950s, up to 50 men would trawl for shrimp.
But in those days they would use a horse and cart to pull their nets.
-So these are the shrimp nets?
So are these going to be pulled along by the tractor?
Most shrimp are found in the deepest channels.
Only a handful of men are brave enough to venture out,
and to do it, they need a very trusty tractor.
So, how old is the tractor?
This one, today, we're on,
is a British Leyland, and it's early 1970s.
So, this is a new one.
This is the newest one on the bay.
Has it got a name, the tractor?
-Named after an old girlfriend, or...?
No. You don't get many Gertrudes, do you?
You certainly wouldn't want to take her out anyway.
Especially if you look at the state of your tractor!
Don't get stuck today, Gertrude, come on.
Come on, girl. I don't fancy walking back six miles.
I'm a fit lad but, you know, I don't fancy walking back.
Michael's problem is that our British shrimp are struggling
to compete with imported farmed shellfish.
The price is so low for his catch now
that he can barely make a living.
Michael, what do you think the future is for the brown shrimp?
Well, it'll keep going as long as I keep going, won't it?
I think it will eventually die out.
It will be a shame to see it go, but I think so.
This technique will die out?
This technique of catching them will die out. Yeah.
Like a lot of techniques have, like the Morecambe trawlers.
There were 30, 40 of them, and now they're down to two.
It's tempting to keep on going, but we're in a race against the tide.
After an hour, it's time to bring the nets in and check the catch.
Got another good trawl, Michael?
-Yeah. Not bad, yeah.
It'll pay the bills.
I think Michael's pretty pleased with his catch,
and there we have it.
Morecambe Bay brown shrimp
and this shrimp is the luckiest shrimp in the bay.
He's going to live another day so let's pop him back.
The problem is that today's shrimp prices barely pay the rent.
ENGINE TURNS OVER
Let alone the cost of a new tractor.
That is pure technology, just right there.
Brown shrimping is so technical.
Michael immediately heads off home with his shrimp.
They need to be cooked as soon as possible.
It's a good job I got the lighter box, Michael.
Hey. Ha ha ha!
Michael uses the same old shrimping shed his father used before him.
Tip them in there, Glynn.
We're going to cook them now, this is the cooking process.
Just a nice boiler-full.
Now, they'll start to get the famous colour in a minute.
They'll go from grey to brown.
A quick boil and they're ready.
The shrimp turn a pinky-brown.
So, that's why they call them brown shrimps, then, Michael?
That's why they call them brown shrimps.
They've gone brown now, and you're going to have a taste of one now.
I can't wait, mate.
And this is all today's catch, yeah?
This is all today's catch.
And the best way to do them is cook them as soon as possible, yeah?
As soon as possible.
-There you are, Glynn. Try that.
Look at that lovely brown colour.
It smells absolutely fantastic and the smell out here is wonderful.
It smells like the sea. Um...
Just so sweet and, um, just unique.
It's not a prawn.
It's a brown shrimp.
Michael sells some of his shrimp to a factory in Flookburgh,
where spices are mixed with brown shrimp before
they're sealed with butter.
It's one of the oldest known ways of preserving -
traditional potted shrimp.
Quite unbelievable, really, that a couple of hours ago
we were out there, six miles, on a tractor,
dragging, catching these little fellows
and if you could've experienced and tasted
what I've tasted today, you'd be with me
in reviving these brown shrimps.
In the Revival Kitchen, I'm bringing the British shrimp bang up to date,
by giving our shrimp a spice infusion.
When we talk about brown shrimp, we think about potted shrimp
but what a great way of reviving the brown shrimp,
by doing a classic potted shrimp with a Brummie twist.
I really love this recipe.
It reminds me of - as a child, you know, the potted shrimps on toast.
A little treat on a Friday.
But first of all, we need to clarify the butter.
It's an old technique that separates the fat from the milk
and I'm using English salted butter.
We're going to turn the gas off
and then the heat inside the pan, and the butter,
the residual heat will just gently separate that.
I'm going to crack on with the shrimp.
Now, look how amazing these look. They just say, "Eat me."
I'm going to peel my own.
As a commis chef, this was, like, the worst job in the kitchen,
and you'd have buckets of this stuff,
and then the worst thing was, one of the senior chefs
would come past and plunge his hands into the peeled ones,
just take a mouthful and walk off.
And then the other chef would come back and say,
"How come you haven't peeled so many?"
You just can't win.
Skim off the fat once the melted butter has settled.
For me, you know, from Birmingham,
we love spice and there's an element of spice in the Morecambe Bay ones,
but, for me, we're going to use a little bit more Indian sort of...
A little bit of a modern twist on it.
A little bit of me in the potted shrimp.
I don't want to overpower them,
but I do want to give my potted shrimp a bit of a kick.
Hot chilli, ginger, garam masala, curry powder.
The last one is a little bit of smoked paprika.
And it smells absolutely fantastic
and the smell of it reminds me of my first balti.
We don't want to, like, boil it away, we just want to bring it up
so the spices get a little bit of a fizzle on the top.
You can smell the aroma coming out of them
and we're going to add the shrimps.
Just infuse the shrimps. They don't need more cooking.
Now, this is quite a quirky, sort of cute way of serving them, really.
I mean, you can use a little ramekin or a jam jar, if you want to
but we've got these little ones
cos sometimes it's nice to show off.
Blow the neighbours away.
So we've got our two little jars and we've covered them,
the butter's going to almost seal them.
I'm going to pop them there to cool down.
While they're cooling and the butter is solidifying,
I'm going to crack on with the cucumber salad.
We're going to use the cucumber like you would have a cucumber salad
when you go for a fish tandoori.
You would have a little cucumber salad.
You can leave the skin on if you want
but I like to take the skin off so it's really sort of...
There's no effort, so it just melts into your mouth.
I like, as well, to just take the middle out, so it's not so watery.
So a little tip, use the teaspoon.
If you just drag the... The middle, like that.
I'm just showing off, now. Right, so we get our vinaigrette.
You can do this way in advance, so they become a lot softer.
I like mine a little bit more crunchy.
So, we put our cucumbers on there.
Got a few coriander shoots there just to finish,
and then we've got our spiced potted shrimps.
And that's my take on a classic potted shrimp with Brummie fusion.
Look at this fantastic dish. It's so easy.
You guys at home could make this with one arm tied behind your back.
This is the best bit.
Crack into that butter...
And then just drop it on.
Spread it with a spoon or a knife.
It just goes on so easily and the smell is fantastic.
Now, if we just put a bit of cucumber on there, as well.
For freshness. A bit of coriander.
So why not have a go?
Try and bring the brown shrimp back.
The British shrimp has a proud history,
especially on the East coast of England, around the Wash.
This used to be the heart of the old King's Lynn fishing community,
where families, fisherman, lived, worked, fished and died.
-How do you do?
-Hiya. Nice to meet you. Are you all right?
-Nice to see you.
77-year-old Morris grew up in Kings Lynn and fishing is in his blood.
He's my guide to what remains of the North End fishing yards.
So, it's not very big, huh?
-No. Nobody had big places.
-So, this sort of sized cottage,
and there's only a couple left in King's Lynn,
I mean, how many people would have lived in this single cottage?
16 to 17.
-Yeah. Quite easily.
So, how many bedrooms has it got?
-Just the one?
Tell me, who's this lady in the photograph?
Well she's one of the old Lynn fishermen's wives.
-Yeah, that was many years ago.
There you are - she had 17 children in this cottage.
She looks happy, anyway, eh? After 17 kids.
Lives here revolved around fishing.
The 1851 census lists the occupation of residents as fishermen,
fish-dealers, mariners, rope-makers and sail-makers,
but shrimp-peeling would involve the whole family.
And you say, when the shrimps were landed in and they were brought to the house,
they would spill the shrimps out onto the front there?
-Yeah, and peel them.
-And peel them there.
Shall we go and have a look upstairs?
-Yes, you can have a look upstairs.
-Come on, then.
Most of these small fisherman's cottages were flattened
in the slum clearances of the 1930s and '50s.
But these two cottages were preserved.
How old were you when you started?
When you went out on a boat, or when you started shrimping?
I had a little boat in the river when I was seven year old.
You were shrimping then?
-Yeah. But only in the river.
-I didn't go past the dock-head.
What was it like when you got the brown shrimp?
Was it a bit of a treat, or...?
It was always a treat, that was.
People seem to neglect it. What do you think about that?
Well, they're the ones that are losing out, aren't they?
Not having the shrimps.
I mean they're very good, they've got a lot of nutrients in them.
-Yeah, and they taste good.
-They taste really good, yeah.
Despite a lifetime on the sea,
Morris tells me something rather surprising.
Course, I can't swim. Ha ha!
Hang on a second. Hang on a second.
You have been fishing all of your life and you can't swim?
I've got a mate who can't even float!
That's the truth, he can't float.
-He just goes straight down.
So, I've met a guy who's been fishing for shrimps all of his life
-and he can't swim.
So, by meeting people like Morris and coming to a place like this,
you realise that it's not just the food that we're losing,
it's the history.
It's not just the fisherman that have made a living
out of the brown shrimp.
It goes a far, far lot deeper than that
so we need to bring the brown shrimp back.
The old fishing community was torn apart
but I'm delighted to say, in one cul-de-sac, it's still going strong.
In the middle of suburbia.
Mike and Tina Castleton peel brown shrimp for a living
and work from home.
How are we, guys? Are we busy?
Yeah, we're always busy. That's the trouble.
Tina is believed to be the fastest peeler in Britain.
I don't know whether to shake your hand, or whether to stop you,
when you're going that fast.
Can I join you?
Yes, of course you can.
I just wanted to find out who's the fastest peeler in the west?
Oh, that is some speed you've got there.
So, how long have you been doing it for, Tina?
-How long have you been doing this for now?
An hour, or just till you've finished?
-Ten hours, normally. It's a normal day.
And what happens once they're peeled? Where do you send them to?
17 hotels in London, including the Ritz.
We supply the Queen, as well, at Sandringham.
I want to learn how to speed-peel from the experts.
Put your finger and thumb on the tail...
There's a natural break there and then that will come off.
It's hard to see what's going on, but slow it down
and it seems the professional technique is to rip off the head,
peel a bit of shell and, holding exposed the flesh...
Pull off the tail.
Halfway along is where it breaks easy.
Give him some big ones.
Make the job easier for him.
Um... To be honest with you, it's really tricky.
Even though these are slightly more robust than the pink one,
they still can tear quite easily, can't they?
-So, in the middle.
It's just, really, about learning about how much pressure to put on...
to peel 'em.
-I think I've got a success there.
-Yeah. You have.
So, Tina, what do you think? How have I done?
-I think you've done really well.
You're not just saying that?
No, I'm not. You have done well.
When we had staff, we paid £2 per pound of meat
and you've got about 6 ounces here,
so you've earnt about 90 pence in an hour.
Do you know, that's the hardest 90 pence,
but the most enjoyable 90 pence, that I've earned?
So thank you for showing me and it's been an eye-opener.
You're more than welcome.
So, I've just done 118g, which, to be honest with you,
is pretty pathetic compared to Tina and Mike
and if it wasn't for those guys keeping the brown shrimp alive
they wouldn't be on our tables.
So what we need to do is go to the fishmongers.
Ask, ask for them and try these. They're fantastic.
Now I've got even more respect for our little British shrimp.
So I've got a recipe that's going to really do it justice.
Most people like roast pork.
What better way of introducing the brown shrimp by marrying the two?
The sweet and saltiness of the shrimp
will cut through the fat of the pork.
So, this is my pork belly dish with apple and brown shrimp.
Now, surf and turf can seem like a strange combination
but this is my interpretation
to introduce people to the brown shrimp.
I've chosen the pork to go with it,
so that the sweet but salty flavour of the shrimp from the sea
will cut through the fat of the pork
and that little bit of acidity through the apple
will make a perfect marriage.
So trust me.
Give your pork belly time to cook slowly.
A good couple of hours on a low heat.
Relax! Your oven's doing the work for you.
So, the pork's out now. It's been rested.
We've cooked this until the skin is nice and crispy
and the meat is really tender.
Well, what we want to do is,
we don't want to throw away the juices.
We're going to create our own sauce, or our emulsion,
to go over the pork with the brown shrimps.
Roughly shred some shallots.
Using shallots cos they're a lot sharper in flavour
and a little bit sweeter as well,
which again is going to really complement
the delicious brown shrimps.
Caramelise and then chop some British apples.
Capers add sharpness.
Some fresh apple juice.
I love the cloudy stuff because it really, sort of,
gives us that wholesome feel to the dish.
Stir in a dash of cream and butter, before reaching for the herbs.
Sage is really going to help the pork and not kill the shrimps.
And then, with any sort of shellfish, fish,
parsley is always a fantastic marriage,
so we'll put some parsley in there.
So this is the shrimp's friend.
Sage is the pork's friend
and together they should marry up really nice.
So, first of all we're going to put some of these shrimps
with the shell on, so they need slightly more cooking.
And again, this is sort of a reminder of, like,
if you went for a paella or are on holiday...
A lovely shell on there.
They've got a really, sort of, explosion of sea flavour.
So, don't be shy. Be a bit brave. Have a go.
For a different texture, I'm also adding some peeled shrimp.
Now, for me, this is the best bit.
We're going to carve the pork.
We're going to lash loads of those brown shrimps on.
I actually can't wait to eat this dish.
So, are you listening?
Oh. The crackling is absolutely...
Look at that.
Again, you don't need any real seasoning.
You've got loads of it on the...
Loads of it on the skin.
So, we've got ourselves a little bit of cabbage,
which we've just cooked in butter.
On the side...
And that'll give a bit of freshness to the dish.
This is the bit where the shrimps really come into play,
and meet the sweetness of the apple, the saltiness of the sea.
So if you just, I mean, if you look at that...
That is absolutely beautiful.
So, this is all about the shrimp, now.
Drizzle there. Drizzle there. Drizzle there. And that is pure...
Well, it's just pure class.
I'm not just saying it, but the pork is cooked perfect
and the shrimps are absolutely amazing.
You've got to try them.
Now, you may be thinking that shrimp fishing in Britain
is just small-scale stuff, but in King's Lynn
fishing boats are catching tonnes of fresh British shrimp.
Here on the east coast...90% of the UK's brown shrimps are landed here
and are we buying them?
Are we heck! We ain't even attempting to buy them,
because 95% of the brown shrimp or pink shrimp are exported to Europe.
Which is unbelievable,
that we're letting these delicious little fellows slip away.
In its heyday, 40 years ago, the King's Lynn fishing fleet could sell
20 tonnes of British shrimp in the UK every day, both brown and pink.
David Mott has been fishing since those glory days
and he's seen the British trade virtually dry up.
Today he's caught the sweeter pink shrimp.
David. How are we?
-I'm Glynn. How are you?
-Pleased to meet you.
Nice to meet you. So, what have you caught then, today?
Er, well, some pink shrimps, like, you know.
-Got about a tonne, I'd say.
-About a tonne?
-Round about a tonne.
-How long have you been out there for?
-We left this morning. Yeah.
So, how many boats would you say, from when you started?
From when I started, well,
on the pink shrimps there was 25 boats but now there's only...
And that's purely down - on the demand?
The demand, yes, there's no demand. That's the trouble.
So what happens if you catch them and no one wants to buy them?
We have to dump them.
-You just dump them?
-Dump them, yeah.
Well, we can't sell them. What else can you do with them?
Yeah. Which is frightening, really.
It is, it is ridiculous, but as I say,
there's just not the trade for them.
I want to find out exactly what happens to the shrimp
once they're landed.
Steve Williamson runs a shellfish factory
where they're sorting out today's haul. Pink and brown.
We've got, um, the first chute is the undesirable size,
and the bits and pieces of rubbish.
Then you've got the small size, the medium size and the large size.
And this helps the fishermen, he gets paid on the quality
of his shrimps rather than the quantity of his catch.
So what will happen, for instance, to the small undesirable ones?
The undesirable ones...
Years ago they all used to go to make shrimp paste.
Yeah, we used to have that at home, shrimp paste on toast.
-Shrimp paste, that's gone.
-It's gone. OK.
They don't make it any more.
So, the smallest shrimp are chucked away.
But what happens to the rest of this local catch?
It goes to Holland.
Then they treat them with preservatives, et cetera.
From there, they transport them to Morocco where they're peeled, fresh,
back to Holland, put into little packets
and distributed all over Europe.
-The biggest consumer is Belgium. They love their shrimps.
But it's a sad thing to see all of these beautiful shrimps
that have been caught on our doorstep, from our coast,
go all the way to Holland, then go to Morocco and come back to Holland.
It seems to have... I don't know.
It's got more air miles than Judith Chalmers.
Yep. I'm afraid it's cheap labour in Morocco.
Why have we turned our noses up at the shrimp?
I can only assume it's - the housewife doesn't want to peel them.
-When they can buy a large imported prawn...
And they can peel it a lot easier.
Or they buy them ready-peeled.
But there's no flavour, they just taste like water.
Don't eat with your eyes. Close your eyes and taste it.
It's miles apart.
Oh, yeah. Definitely.
Look what happens when we forget about foods.
Look at all those delicious pink shrimps
and brown shrimps being loaded and shipped off to Europe.
This is what happens when we forget about food.
We should be eating these. They should be staying in this country
and we should be enjoying the fantastic shellfish
that this country's producing.
Although most of our shrimp end up being exported to Holland,
they still can be found in the UK if you look hard enough.
And I've got a brilliant way to show them off, with my final dish.
I can guarantee that this next recipe will get brown shrimps
back on your table at home.
This is a fantastic, rich, sublime,
delicious dish that takes shrimp and potato salad to another level.
So, we're using really simple, humble ingredients
that are going to make the shrimp sing out.
Slowly melt some butter, then roughly chop some potatoes
into thick chunks.
So, we want to cook them not too thin, so we can...
About that sort of thickness.
Place the potatoes down in a shallow cooking dish.
They will soak up a lot of the milk from the butter.
And I say the word salad - this is probably one of the richest salads
you're ever going to eat.
So, we'll put those in the oven until they're...
Until they're nice and soft.
So, now we're going to make the foundation of the shrimp salad.
We've got some peeled brown shrimps here
and this is a fresh-made mayonnaise.
The lighter the oil, the better the mayonnaise flavour, for me.
So, in with the mayonnaise.
I like to lightly flavour my mayonnaise with tarragon.
And also, if you make the mayonnaise too strong
it will sort of overpower the shrimp flavour.
I'm using brown shrimps, as they're easier to get hold of
at the moment than the pink, but you can use either.
It's got much more of a stronger flavour
than some of those jumbo prawns that we buy from abroad.
For me, it's got... It's got that taste of Britain,
you know, we're an island.
We've got some fantastic produce around it.
This is like a small grenade of flavour.
And, as you can see, the potatoes have soaked up
all of the milk from the butter.
Again we're using salted butter, so we don't need to season them.
I'm using a free range egg to add colour and flavour to my dish.
We're not going to poach a whole egg, which may sound strange.
We're just going to poach the yolk
because that's where, for me, all the flavour is.
We've got the water. It's around about 60 to 70 degrees.
It's not roasting hot. It's hot enough to put my finger in,
but don't put your finger in boiling water, cos that would be ridiculous.
This is the coolest, calmest way that you can poach
and get a flavour from the yolk.
So it stays nice and gooey
and bursts over those beautiful sweet, salty shrimps.
The thing is about the brown shrimp,
you may not think you can get hold of them,
but you can get them online, you can get them in good supermarkets,
The fact of the matter is, "Shy babies get no sweets."
You've got to ask.
So this for me is like a little explosion of sauce
which is going to cover the shrimps.
Drop that in the middle.
My mouth is just watering, just looking at that.
Dress with some peppery watercress and some unpeeled shrimp.
As far as I'm concerned,
that's the most explosive potato and brown shrimp salad
you're ever going to get.
Look at that.
The way the egg has just burst all over the potato.
And the pepperyness...
..of the watercress is amazing.
And you'd be absolutely mad not to try this at home.
So, go on, celebrate the brown shrimp.
Please do go and ask for British shrimp.
But if all else fails, you could try and catch your own.
If you're brave enough.
Fishmongers John Botterell and his son George
catch shrimp by push-netting off Camber Sands in Kent.
This is good English weather for fishing.
The water's nice and dirty.
The sky isn't too bright and there tends to be more fish
in these sort of conditions,
so when nobody else is on the beach, we're out here.
Not many, a few, but some nice-sized ones.
And a few pink ones as well.
After a few weary hours, they take their little catch back
to their base to cook.
It's the same with fish and any shellfish.
If it's caught locally, cooked locally, eaten locally,
it just has a magical taste to it.
So, that was hard work.
Usually I'd expect to get about three or four times as much as that.
That's what I tell everybody!
Something my shrimp odyssey has taught me is that you need to taste British shrimp to truly understand
why some people, like me, are crazy for them.
Size isn't everything.
They may be small, but when I compare it to the foreign imports,
the flavour is massive. So, I'm saying to you,
"Get out there, buy them, try them" and save and revive shrimp.
Next up - another chef with a fabulous British produce
which needs bringing back from the brink.
When I first arrived in this country in 1990,
I was shocked that chefs actually believed
the French produced BETTER quality product
than we actually do here in this country.
Nowadays, this product is applauded by chefs like me,
for being mouth-wateringly tender and incredibly easy to cook.
But in the home, it's virtually disappeared.
So come on, Britain.
Listen to me, John Torode -
you'll never eat something so wonderful in all your life.
Get stuck in to the great...British duck.
In my campaign to revive the British duck,
I uncover how close our heritage breeds are to extinction.
Do we let them just disappear or do we try and keep...the real thing?
I'll be going back to school to teach the next generation
how easy it is to cook this thing of beauty.
-Great, that's very good duck. Well done.
And I'll be sharing my recipe for posh duck pie.
It's like the roller coaster of duck.
So when was the last time you ate duck?
Well, chances are it was in a Chinese restaurant like this
with pancakes, hoisin sauce and cucumber.
In China it's a national dish.
They produce over 2.5 million tonnes of it per year.
But when was the last time you cooked duck at home?
Cooked and roasted the good, old-fashioned, British way.
Go on, admit it, I bet it was a while ago.
Now, we all buy chicken.
It accounts for 41% of the meat market
but the poor old duck?
It trails behind with just 5%.
When was the last time you ate duck but not in a Chinese restaurant?
-I don't know if I can remember - quite a long time ago.
Whenever I think of duck, I think of crispy, aromatic duck.
Why do people not cook duck, do you think?
Because it's rich, it's very rich and it's...
..I guess it takes a long time.
You're happy to roast a chicken but you wouldn't roast a duck?
I haven't really thought about it. I'd give it a go, I guess.
I also think duck's quite expensive compared to chicken.
That probably could be a big blocker for a lot of people.
But believe me, good-quality duck tastes SO much better
and it doesn't cost much more than your average free-range chicken.
Although we're all happy enough to tuck in to crispy Chinese duck,
it seems that cooking a traditional British duck at home
has simply dropped off the radar.
Well, I'm here to put you back in touch with your heritage
because we've got some fantastic, British-reared duck
ready to grace your tables.
I'm talking about one of our great British, classic ducks.
It's bred in Aylesbury and Buckinghamshire
but tragically, this breed is fast disappearing.
As a young man growing up in Australia,
I cooked and I ate lots of duck
but it wasn't until I came to Britain I understood
how delicious duck could truly be.
I'm here in Buckinghamshire to meet a man
who says he's got the only surviving flock of Aylesbury table duck
left in the whole country.
Richard Waller's family
has been breeding Aylesbury duck since the 18th century.
They are one of the few surviving, true-British breeds -
great for roasting thanks to their extra-large size.
But what makes these British birds unique?
Obviously the first thing is the pink bill.
-Colour of a lady's fingernail.
That was the old show point thing - colour of a lady's fingernail.
But the bill...is straight?
-Yep, it comes out from the head absolutely straight.
-It's got quite a short neck.
Because you've got a very small neck,
that means your body weight must be quite a decent, meat-giving duck.
Yeah. I mean the average at eight weeks old is,
working on it in kilos, is around about three kilos.
-So you're looking at about six and a half pounds, oven ready.
Did you hear what he just said?
He said on Saturday you're going to be "oven ready".
And these ducks are direct descendants
of those bred by Richard's ancestors.
Dad could trace back Aylesbury duck breeding in the family back to 1775.
-Long, long time.
But of course, it was nothing like this, obviously.
The Aylesbury duck industry
was purely and simply a cottage industry.
In the 19th century, demand for duck was so high
that many of these small producers needed a more prolific breeder.
So they crossed the true Aylesbury duck
with a Peking imported from China -
something that Richard's family decided not to do.
There can't be that many left in the country, is there?
Basically what you're looking at, John,
is the very last of the REAL Aylesbury ducks.
So, if this is the last lot of breeding stock
of the actual Aylesbury duck, how many have you got?
Around about 8,000 or 9,000 ducklings a year.
-Which you say, "Hmm, that's absolutely nothing."
I mean there are big producers, mass producers,
that are turning out that in a day.
Yes, but let's be fair about this, you do this by yourself.
-You do everything still by hand?
You feed by hand, you breed by hand, you slaughter by hand.
Yeah, "wow" is the word.
But Richard's traditional business is under threat
from the large-scale producers,
leaving the true Aylesbury table duck on the brink of extinction.
Why the dedication?
Why have you decided then THIS is going to be your cause?
Um, I think, to be quite honest, John, in all truthfulness...
it was a duty, what else could I do?
We've all forgotten the Pennine White, the Norfolk White.
They've just gone, they've been forgotten.
Do we let them just disappear? Let them interbreed?
Or do we try and keep the real thing?
This is an extraordinary thing.
If I was in France,
"I'd be lauded, applauded and well rewarded", I tell people.
The French would not let a national dish get down to this level.
They would do everything they could
to make sure that they kept the thing going.
Me - no help at all.
It's heart-breaking to learn that
we've let this Great British product get THIS close to disappearing.
It's been a sobering visit really.
One where you come face to face with the simple fact
that actually we may lose this great product for ever.
And it goes to show we've got to do more and more
to support our local farmers, our community and buy the produce.
The great British roast is worth celebrating
and this is my great British roast Aylesbury duck.
I'm cooking this dish in honour of Richard Waller,
the man who farms this beautiful Aylesbury duck.
But there's a couple of, what I think are, quick and easy tips
about cooking a duck and especially a roast duck.
Take the duck itself.
There it is in all its majesty.
Open up the cavity at the end
and inside here you'll see some fat.
This fat in here is really important
because that keeps the duck itself moist.
So don't cut it off!
And stuff the duck with rosemary, salt and pepper.
Seal it up,
pick it up and then you literally shake it like this.
Then pour in some water and leave it to marinate overnight.
And take it out of the fridge nice and early the next morning.
It should be at room temperature before it goes in the oven
and this is a trick that I was taught
the first day of my apprenticeship when I was...
quite young, not that many years ago.
Actually a very long time ago. The duck itself...
is now coated with boiling hot water
because it opens the pores and it starts to just
make the fat that sits underneath the skin a little bit softer.
The next bit is very clever indeed.
Sprinkle the outside of the duck with a little bit of vinegar.
Which will close the pores and make the skin nice and crispy.
Wipe the excess of the vinegar off.
Then lay over some bacon,
cover the whole thing with foil and steam it in the oven.
That gives me time for a cup of tea.
Half an hour later, remove the foil and the bacon,
reduce the temperature and roast it for a further hour
until it's golden brown.
Now, that is smelling fantastic.
Roast duck, bacon.
I mean it's what... It's what hunger is made of,
is being, sort of, enticing people and this is why a piece of meat
sitting on a bench resting away is also quite a good thing on a Sunday.
It means that whoever walks through the door and becomes ravenous
and when they sit around the table,
they actually want to dive in and eat it.
And you carve this duck like you would any other bird.
But unlike chicken, duck is a dark meat so you can serve it pink.
The same as you would lamb or beef.
There's a huge amount of meat on this thing.
And the flavour? Well, it's rich and delicious,
with less fat than you'd ever expect from a duck.
A good amount of watercress on top of our duck.
The grand British, roasted Aylesbury duck.
British duck is having a renaissance in our restaurants
and this is thanks to a handful of farmers
who are putting quality before quantity.
Over the last 20 years, a new process of rearing duck in Lancashire
has helped revive the fortunes of this extraordinary bird
and that's why I'm here, in the shadows of the Pennines,
to meet a man who's dedicated his life to the duck.
I'm in Goosnargh and this is home to Reg Johnson,
who's spent over 20 years
developing quality British duck for the restaurant trade.
He switched to specialised poultry farming in the 1980s
to meet the demands of the local chefs
and has since built up quite a business -
supplying top restaurants all over the country.
The Goosnargh, as it's now known,
has become the toast of the culinary world.
In fact, I've sourced ducks from here myself
but the great table bird doesn't have to be reserved just for foodies.
You'd spent £15 on a joint of beef that would feed a family of four
and a duck would cost you about the same amount of money.
Reg produces 3,000 Goosnarghs a week.
They are sold in butcher's shops and online,
so you can enjoy this great meat at home.
But what makes this modern, British bird so unique?
The story begins in the mixing plant.
-The most important bit.
Goosnarghs are an Aylesbury/Peking cross like the commercial birds
that took over from the true Aylesbury.
But what sets his birds apart is their totally natural diet,
of wheat and corn, which he mixes himself, with no additives,
growth promoters or antibiotics.
So this is going to take how much? How much is going to go in here?
-One tonne and that's going to feed a few ducks today?
That'll feed some of the little ones today, yeah.
The ducklings arrive from the hatchery once a week
and are covered in down for the first 10 days.
Whoa. So how old are these?
-These are this morning's.
-Five hours ago.
Five hours ago.
That's amazing how big they are in five hours.
They stay in a nursery shed for the first couple of weeks
where they get their first taste of food and water.
And here, how many hatchlings are there?
-Hatchlings, ducklings - about 2,6 this week.
And they all think you are their mummy and daddy.
Do they? Is that what they're coming for?
Yeah, they don't lose their parents, they're wandering round.
They also don't know where food is or water.
They tend to find their food by accident running over it.
They tend to find the water by the lights twinkling.
Then they just go and dabble in it.
A couple of weeks later, they find themselves here
in one of the 17 fattening sheds.
So these are the... Coming to the two-week ones...
for a contrast.
That's a big difference, isn't it? Two weeks?
Two weeks, yeah. Yeah, but just natural growth.
No induced growth, no excessive over-feeding.
It's just feed to appetite.
After just eight weeks, they're ready for the table.
-How old are these?
-These are next week's harvest.
These will be 56 days next Wednesday.
So, eight weeks old?
Eight weeks old - they're at their optimum then.
Beyond that, it's past its most tenderness.
It's starting getting tighter and stringier.
These are ready for the next harvest.
That's quite incredible growth though -
eight weeks to get to this stage
and they seem to have lots of room to wander around, lots of space.
Well, we do try to give them the best life.
-Like you say, there's plenty of space, plenty of room to roam. Fresh straw every day.
We have them in smaller barns.
We could put twice as many birds in here legally - we don't.
We rear them in small batches, multiple batches.
Do they taste different?
They taste different.
We like to think so.
These have a high meat-to-bone ratio,
a slightly shorter muscle structure that keeps them tender
but they also have a low fat content.
Unlike commercial birds, these ducks are hung for 24 hours
after slaughter to enhance their flavour
which makes a world of difference.
It is true, isn't it?
A duck is about the same amount of money as a joint of beef?
Probably less really with beef having gone...
going up and in the future, beef will probably get dearer
because duck is easier to breed and easier to...
I love a farmer's straight face, I love that.
"Oh, no, it's cheaper, of course it is."
Do you want a game of cards?
So, the next time you're forking out for your Sunday roast,
give duck a chance.
It's a great British product that we all should be eating.
Here we go, John, this is what it's all about - hopefully a bit of fuss.
-Mate, thank you.
-A corn-fed duck and a wheat-fed duck.
-So the yellow one's corn-fed?
-It's corn-fed, yeah.
-And then the white ones the wheat-fed one?
-Mate, thank you very much indeed.
-All the best.
-I'm off to do some cooking.
So now a chef's dish.
I'm going to push myself a little bit.
Take the great duck and make it something truly amazing.
This is John's posh duck pie.
I'm going to de-bone a whole duck, stuff it,
roll it and wrap it in puff pastry.
Nice and simple!
The skin's going to be the casing for the duck dish itself.
Then start to slowly...
take the skin off.
Now, I can do this because I've done things like this before
but I would suggest, should you want to do something like this,
you can either follow a few instructions in a cook book or two
or get your butcher to do it and I think butchers
are probably the people who should be doing it.
This is a Goosnargh duck.
It comes from Reg Johnson who we visited
and if you think about all the hard work Reg and his team
have put into growing these ducks,
it's something nice about using the whole thing.
But also...taking the duck and spreading it across many meals,
utilising all of the bird plus the addition of pastry and stuffing,
makes this, although quite an opulent dish, quite a cheap thing to make.
I'm filling my posh pie with a delicious duck-and-chicken stuffing.
The stuffing itself now gets turned
into a sausage shape down the middle.
We turn the whole into a parcel.
Use a skewer to hold it together and prick the skin to stop it shrinking.
It also means the heat can penetrate the skin as it starts to cook
and the filling starts to cook properly.
Then seal the outside in a hot pan.
Just keep on rotating the duck...
..and when it's brown all over,
pop it onto a tray and into your fridge freezer to cool.
This is good-quality, butter, puff pastry.
And do me a favour, don't make it yourself, go and buy it.
You can buy it anywhere you like.
So...there we are.
When using puff pastry, try not to touch it.
Your hands are quite warm and it starts to melt the pastry.
Use the paper. I've left the skewer inside the duck.
I'm not going to leave it inside for all the time
but for this I'm going to start with the skewer in it.
Beef wellington or a turkey wellington or a chicken wellington
or whatever it might be -
they are a great thing.
My grandmother, when I lived with her and when we grew up,
didn't have a lot of money. She used to use minced beef.
Make minced beef and turn it into a shape like a big beef roll
and then turn it into a wellington.
It was served as a posh dinner.
I think Australia and posh were not known to each other.
It looks pretty ordinary - wait until it comes out the oven.
30 minutes later, it will be puffed up, golden and gorgeous-looking.
Carving something like this, to me, is an art
and there is a very, very clever tip here.
You need two knives.
A serrated-edge knife and then a sharp-edge, straight knife
because the first bit is to make the incision into the pastry
with a serrated-edge knife...
..and then cut through the meat with a straight-edge knife.
Look at this, look.
There he is inside.
That was just a cheeky peek.
The smell...of this is unbelievable.
That's my posh pie of duck and blackberry sauce.
Imagine taking THAT to a table and showing your friends
and saying, "It's like the roller coaster of duck."
One of the problems with duck is that people don't know how to cook it.
Something I'm determined to change.
I feel, if I'm going to get this great country to eat duck,
I've got to start with the next generation
and of course great cooks start young.
And today, I'm here to teach a group of young people
how simple it is to cook a duck.
This is Rutlish School, a South London comprehensive
with some budding young chefs who have never cooked duck before.
Anyone not ever eaten duck?
-You've never eaten duck?
I might have had it once but that's about it.
-Where would you have had it?
-Probably in China.
-You went to China?
-School trip, sir.
I want to go to YOUR school(!)
I'm going to show these guys how to cook a simple duck breast.
Score it, season it.
Place it in a cold pan, skin-side down, until it's nice and crispy.
But it's interesting how quickly that fat starts to render out of there.
-Is that all the moisture coming out of there?
-That's fat only.
There's no moisture coming out of that duck at all.
So, now look.
Then turn it over and cook the other side for two or three minutes.
Leave it to rest for the same time it took to cook.
OK. Duck breast.
-That simple. It's all right, isn't it?
Time to see if these budding young chefs can master my technique.
Have you ever sewn anything? Needle?
So far so good - in fact, these guys are naturals
and to think, before today,
some of them hadn't even tasted this wonderful British meat.
It's so easy, so...
You see that no water has come out of it because it's pink enough.
The meat hasn't shrunk too much. It's very good duck, well done.
Slow but steady.
And at around £3 a breast,
it's not much more expensive than free-range chicken
and has SO much more flavour.
Right, scoff it. Come on, guys, eat some of it.
So what do the boys think?
There's still a lot of moisture and stuff in there.
Quite chewy but it has loads of flavour still.
The thing is that it's not chicken.
You know, it should have a bite to it.
You should chew it, which is a good thing to do, but that's good.
I think that's great, well done.
And now they've cooked and tasted it, there's no stopping them.
-So after this, do you think you can do this at home?
-It's not hard, is it?
-No. Just got to find duck first.
-Just got to find?
Just got to find some duck.
Every supermarket has them, most butchers will have them
and just ask for duck breasts.
Don't tell your parents you've done it today.
Go home, impress them, "I cooked you dinner."
This is living proof.
It goes to show how easy it really is to cook duck.
Six 14-year-olds, some of them never eaten duck before in their lives,
are cooking these breasts beautifully.
Don't just wait for your Chinese takeaway, go out,
get yourself a great British duck and cook it, eat it and love it.
We can now see why restaurants up and down the country use the duck breast,
because it's quick, it's easy to cook.
It's just one of the most delicious meats in the world.
But what happens to all the legs?
Well, I'm about to show you the simplest of ready meals ever -
a classic duck confit.
We're going to serve it with parsnip puree and some cobnuts.
This classic dish, duck confit, is all about planning ahead.
It takes 24 hours to make but actually it's really simple.
This duck confit is something you can put in your fridge.
You can leave it there for a couple of weeks.
Pull it out whenever you like.
You can either heat it up or you just strip the duck legs down
of their meat, toss it with some watercress
and you've got a beautiful salad.
First of all, salt...
in the bottom of the tray.
..and some juniper berries.
Take the duck leg. Skin-side down.
And that's the first process.
They need to marinate for 24 hours in the fridge
and once the salt and the herbs have worked their magic,
they're ready to cook. Bye.
First, we need to get rid of all these bits of spices and flavourings
and dry the duck leg back off again.
So, take the paper and away you go.
I first got to London in 1990
and when you cook professionally,
you have to go for a day's trial in a restaurant.
One of my trials was at the famous Ivy
and I went downstairs into the cavernous kitchens
and I was tasked
with confiting 250 legs of duck.
I sat there for most of the day...
salting duck legs down, scraping them with paper
and strangely enough,
I never went to work there.
Now I'm going to cook the duck legs in lots of lovely duck fat.
Thankfully now, with all the supermarkets
they are selling duck fat and goose fat.
There's been a revival in people cooking their potatoes in duck fat
and in goose fat, so it's really easy to buy in little plastic tubs.
Put the duck legs in to the soft fat and push it down.
All of them
and the four will get into this place here...
..if I'm clever and understand a bit of geometry.
And once you've squeezed them all in, throw in some peppercorns,
a couple of bay leaves and leave it to cook for an hour and a half
while you prepare the parsnips.
I love parsnips, I like the sweetness of them.
But sometimes they're a bit too sweet so the way I'm cooking them
takes a little bit of the sweetness away, adds a bit more savoury to them
and this I was making
when we first opened Quaglino's in 1992.
Huge pots of it and we realised that the more oil we added to it
and the more milk we added to it, the more velvety it became
and that's how these restaurant dishes evolve.
Because you keep on playing with ideas and adding bits and pieces
until the stage where you get the consistency and the flavour you want.
And this creamy, white puree goes brilliantly
with the dark, rich, duck meat.
With some roasted cobnuts for added crunch.
Are you ready?
There they are.
I promised you a tender piece of duck.
Take the leg with a piece of paper...
..twist the bone and the bone literally...
Duck confit, parsnip puree and cobnuts.
You can taste the juniper, the taste of gin running through the duck,
the crispy skin, the saltiness of the flesh.
It is a joy.
I'm not the only one trying to find new ways to get you all eating duck.
Gressingham foods in Suffolk is also trying hard
to win over the British public with a range of quality duck products
that have animal welfare, flavour and convenience at their heart.
The original idea for Simply Duck
has come from trying to take out the worry of people cooking the duck
and giving them a complete solution for a midweek meal,
without the worry of having to cook something that's a bit different.
All the duck breast ones are cooked under half an hour.
It's just add a sauce.
The duck leg is simply like putting it into the oven
and then ten minutes before the end, putting on a glaze
and it's as easy as that.
-This is fruity duck.
-This is the fruity duck with the cherry plum.
And these guys are coming up with new ideas all the time.
Like duck with blackcurrants and duck with chilli, lime and ginger,
proving there's more to this great British meat than just hoisin sauce.
So there you have it.
There's no reason why you shouldn't be cooking duck at home.
This isle has the most exceptional farmers,
producing the most wonderful birds.
But it will only continue to have them if we support them.
It's time for you to get in your own kitchen
and love the duck.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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The Aylesbury duck is one of our oldest breeds but Masterchef presenter John Torode discovers just how close this ancient bird is to disappearing for good. At a south London school, he shows some budding young chefs the delights of cooking with duck and in the revival kitchen sets out to prove there's more to this tasty bird than a Chinese takeaway.