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-This is the Great British Food Revival.
-We're flying the flag and campaigning...
To save some of our truly unique...
Oh, it's cold!
Many are teetering on the brink of survival.
We need you to help us...
To resurrect these classic heritage ingredients.
I'm loving it. I could stay out here all day.
Join us now before it's too late.
Can you give us a whoop?
Some things are really worth fighting for.
There's so much choice in your local pub these days -
lager, alcopops, gin and tonic, wine, cider.
I want to revive something that's not drunk as often
as it should be these days - especially by women.
It's the golden nectar that was supped by all.
Elizabeth I drank it with every meal and Jane Austen even made her own.
I'm Angela Hartnett and I want to convince you to give it a go.
British real ale.
It's time to put some girl power back into ale.
Mum, forgive me. I'm not an alcoholic.
And see if I can challenge your bitter preconceptions.
Fear of the dark beer.
And in the Revival Kitchen, I'll show you some real ale food heaven.
It is absolutely delicious.
Traditional real ale has an image problem with many Brits -
especially with us women. It's a bit fusty, bitter and bloating.
Only 14% of real ale drinkers are female, but maybe that's not
I remember once going up to Middlesbrough to visit friends
and I was with my boyfriend, she was with hers,
and we went to a local pub and ordered four pints because we'd
just finished college and, you know, pints were the cheap drink to drink.
We were told that we'd have two pints for the men
and two halves for the ladies.
It was not considered ladylike for a woman to drink out of a pint glass.
But it's not just women who don't drink real ale.
Only 15% of the beer that's sold in pubs is made in this
Real ale loses out to mass produced lagers.
Look at the French, they celebrate their wine heritage
and we need to revel in our own brewing history,
before real ale and our pubs are lost for ever.
Ale really has been a national drink of this country -
we've been drinking it here since the Bronze Age.
But while the men were out fighting and gathering and doing their thing,
it was the women that were the first real producers of ale.
Beer sommelier Jane Peyton has researched the history of women
So, Jane, I mean, you know, you can look back in history books
and people would say that women invented ale.
Historians think that it was probably bread cakes or some bread
product that got wet and a natural fermentation happened,
and somebody tasted it and went,
"Oh, that's different." And by trial and error, they realised that
if they ate or drank that odd liquid that it gave them a buzz
and they liked it, and so that's how beer came about, or ale.
And what were these women called?
In this country, we had the names ale wives.
Brewster, that was also a name - now that's quite a common surname.
Right, so how would they have made it then?
So, we've got our two buckets.
What we would need is malted barley.
-Yes. Which is this stuff here.
-Slightly ground down.
-Which they would have done, yeah.
-Yeah, grist at this point.
-And you need water.
-So we've got some boiling water in this bucket, here.
So you're pouring in the grist.
Now this would have been really sweet because there's
lots of natural sugar in the malt,
so ale would have been a sweet drink.
Nowadays we're used to beer being bitter
and that's the hops that give that bitterness.
But people were slugging gallons and
gallons of something very sweet...
No wonder they had no teeth.
When you see all those pictures, don't you?
Ale wives would use any herbs
and spices they had to flavour their brew.
I'm throwing in thyme, honey and heather.
It's getting thicker and thicker,
-as if it's absorbing all the liquid, isn't it?
-Good, that's good.
Yeast is added once the mix has cooled.
A few days to ferment and ye olde ale should be ready.
Would it normally be this colour?
Yes, it would.
A home-brewed ale, yeah.
It would have been strained through a piece of fabric, muslin
possibly, and it would have been cloudy, you know, a lot of yeast.
-Cheers. Bottoms up.
Actually, it's not so bad.
It is quite yeasty but it's, you know, if you...
I'd be happy with that.
You see, we wouldn't have known any other.
You wouldn't - that's true. But, actually, the taste isn't bad.
You're getting used to it.
What happens is that the brain, after three mouthfuls,
-has got yeast in it.
It doesn't matter, you go, "Whoa, yeah, let's go..."
Now, we would have been drinking this every day -
morning, noon and night. We'd get lots of nutrition from this
and, also, this is a safe use of consuming water.
Water was polluted by tanners or butchers or goodness knows what.
Yes, that makes sense.
So, hold on, would children have drunk this then?
-They would have done?
-But it was called small ale.
It's a low alcohol, but even the children were probably
going around with a bit of a buzz on them.
No wonder everyone was happy. Poor as anything, you know, brilliant.
Anyway, cheers, Jane. Thanks for that.
But the rise of industrialisation meant the female brewsters
were sidelined. In the southeast, ale became big business.
So from the domestic home where all those fantastic women made ale,
I'm now in Kent at Britain's oldest brewery,
Shepherd Neame, and I'm here to meet the master brewer -
naturally it's a bloke.
Shepherd Neame was established in 1698.
Richard Frost is the man in charge.
-Right, this is the first part of the brewing process.
What we're doing is taking crushed malted barley
and we're mixing that with brewing water,
and that water comes from our own wells on sites here.
It's like a supersized version of my ancient ale home brew.
But the magic ingredient that transformed ale were plants
brought over by the Dutch in the 16th century - hops.
It smells really grassy. But you know what it smells?
-Lemony. It smells citrusy to me.
They do actually smell amazing.
I mean, it's a real incredible aroma.
What do they do to it apart from flavour?
I mean, are they a self preservative or something?
Exactly right, because there are compounds in hops which
protect against bacterial growth
and the kind of the things that might spoil the flavour of beer.
So no wonder then it became much more commercial, because suddenly
it's like, you know, when you put oil on something, you're preserving
it, salting it, you're elongating the process that you can keep it.
All of a sudden, beer could be transported further
because it would keep further.
It was another factor for that growth in hop beer in England
back in the 16th century.
-Yeah. Can you put that in now?
-Yeah, we can pop some in here.
Brewing became an industry away from the domestic hearth of the ale wife.
Men took over. Although, these days, biffing a lid on a cask
is about as physical as it gets.
Oh, that's all right. Oh, that.
Push the button.
This real ale will go out to pubs all over the UK.
And I don't want to leave until I've at least had a little taste.
It's got a beautiful smell, hasn't it? Would you swirl it?
-You swirl it, just like wine.
-Wow. Is that to get...?
That helps to release those volatile...
The aromas and the volatiles come out.
It's absolutely delicious.
All right. Well, let's try another one.
Oh, much lighter in colour, isn't it?
And if it's too cold, you don't get all the flavours coming out.
You don't get the flavours coming through. That's quite nice.
Where's the next one? Come on. What else we got?
Much lighter. You could drink more of that, I think.
Golden nectar. Lovely.
-Thank you, Richard. It's been a top day.
We could stay here all afternoon, couldn't we, really?
After tasting a few, I think I've struck upon a fabulous brew.
I've chosen a light, hoppy ale to take to the Revival Kitchen.
And my first dish is a classic British dish -
beef and ale stew.
So I really want you to start looking at ale as something that
you can cook with on a regular basis.
So we're going to start off just by preparing our vegetables.
First up, onions and carrots.
So...a couple of sticks of celery as well.
Nice and coarse, because you don't want all the veg to mush down.
And rather than use any stocks or any water, it's just going to
be cooking the ale that's going to cook the meat together.
So vegetables in a pan.
Season with pepper, a couple of bay leaves and a sprig of thyme.
We've got some lovely stewing steak here
and I think, classically, people would always put red wine in it.
You know, it comes from that sort of the French cooking,
when they've done things with coq au vins and stews etc
but, like I said, ale is a perfect accompaniment to this dish.
So, this is going to go in there.
We're going to add a spoonful of flour beforehand.
Flour will help thicken the stew.
And then all you're going to do afterwards is add your meat in.
Pour on a tin of tomatoes.
And then, now I'm going to add the ale.
We're cooking it for about three to four hours,
so it's going to cook so slowly,
and the flavours from that ale are going to be absorbed by the meat
and become part of the stew.
Any alcohol will be evaporated off, so you don't need to worry
in that respect, and it's just there as a flavouring ingredient.
And what you want to be able to do at the end of it is cut that
beef with a spoon.
Time to relax with a nice glass of ale, of course.
So the stew is ready.
You can see there how it's this beautiful thick sauce and...
Oh, lovely aromas.
We're just going to chop a little bit of parsley
because that's going to be our garnish.
Like anything that's been braised or cooked for a long time, it's even
better the next day because it gets an even more intense flavour.
I'm serving my stew on buttery mashed potato.
So...that great stew on there, and you can smell it...
the sweetness from the ale - absolutely delicious.
But what you've got here is a beautiful smell of the meat
and the ale that have worked together.
So there you have it - beef and ale stew.
So it looks delicious.
It's got that fantastic stew-y texture and consistency.
It smells amazing.
Hmm. Absolutely delicious.
I really want you to start using ale and start cooking with it,
and you cannot go wrong with this dish.
It's so simple. One-pot wonder, on the stove for three hours,
and you've got amazing supper for all the family. Perfect.
Hops are traditionally grown here in the garden of England.
So it's hops that gives real ale its distinctive flavour and taste.
Here in Kent, years ago, that's all you could
see as far as the eye could see, but change in tastes, and the mass
production of lager, have destroyed the production of hops.
British hops were grown across fields equivalent in size
to 35,000 football pitches,
but today only about 3% of those crops remain.
At the National Hop Collection in Kent, farmer Tony Redsell
and curator Peter Darby are working hard to save our unique hop
varieties from extinction.
So Peter, what does...? What makes this hop archive so special?
Well, it represents nearly 300 years of hop-growing in this country.
It's an English heritage, hop-growing, and we have varieties
here dating from the early 1700s, possibly even earlier.
It's only a few rows, but we have just over 400 varieties...
So this one here, for instance?
This one is the variety Tolhurst, which probably goes back to
one of the original hops brought into this country in the 1520s -
a variety called the Flemish Red Bine.
The hops were once found throughout England
and many of those hop varieties have disappeared, except for here.
It gives us the resources, the genetic resources, to go back
and use interesting material that may have been overlooked in the past
or may have found renewed interest.
How on earth did we almost lose this great British heritage?
So what do you attribute the decline in hop-growing to?
With the...cheap package holidays, people went abroad
and began to taste the lagers, the lighter beers.
I think lager went from less than 1% of production in this country
to something in the region of 70/80% now, probably.
That's huge, isn't it?
I mean, we're a long way from our peak of area.
In the 1870s, I think we got up to 77,000 acres,
that was the highest, and now we're down to 2,500.
Oh, my gosh.
Well, hopefully now we're going to get a bit of an increase.
-At least it's stabilised now, production...
-And we start pushing it.
-I would sincerely hope so.
The maintenance of this hop archive will be
crucial for our brewers of the future.
19th-century London was the ale capital of the world, producing
millions of barrels a year,
but today production has fallen considerably.
But there is hope and, in recent years, a number of small craft
ale producers have started to grow in this country,
and I'm fortunate enough to have one of them right on my doorstep -
here in Bermondsey in London.
Hi Evin, Angela. Lovely to meet you.
Evin O'Riordain started out as an enthusiastic home brewer,
but now his company produces 10,000 bottles of ale a week.
-You bottle everything from here? This is it?
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Up until two months ago we were bottling everything by hand,
so it involved a four-head bottle filler,
which is kind of like...basically I'm milking a cow.
Hold the bottle there, bottles get filled up,
move it over, hand cap it.
We would do, you know, a couple of thousand bottles a day.
This one does a little bit more.
This is just rinsing them with a sanitising solution,
so that anything inside is killed and they're all clean.
And as it goes round and gets pushed up,
the beer just drops into the bottle.
It must be an amazing sort of, I don't know, feeling, vision,
when you think where you started three years ago,
or when you were making it at home.
And now you come and you just see this all going out -
not that you'd ever want to be some conglomerate, you know.
What keeps me honest is that it's about three times more work
to keep this running smoothly than it was doing it by hand back there.
I mean, you can produce a lot more beer, yes.
Right. Let's go and taste some - perfect.
It's great to see British microbreweries rediscovering hops
and moving away from mass produced bitter blandness.
Thank you. It does smell so fresh.
That is fresh!
Well, you know what I mean. It's that citrus...
Well...hops, they're a flower.
They're a plant. You know...they're alive.
I mean, it is delicious.
I'm not going to lie or say anything else.
There's nothing to, you know... You can sit...
The flavours are there, the smell's there, you know.
It's refreshing and you want to drink it.
Cheers, my dear. Delicious.
As well as using interesting hops, I love the fact that Evin's
reviving long lost recipes.
So what is this, Evin?
This is an export stout.
Export stout as defined in 1890, and it came from the Truman's
-The Truman brewery in London?
It's got that ashy, roasty kind of bitterness.
Hmm, really roasty. Real coffee.
It kind of makes me think of leather, tar, tobacco.
I've been bowled over by the sheer range of flavours,
and of course we can cook with them, too.
I can't wait to show you a heady, heavenly pudding.
So my inspiration for my next recipe
I came across while tasting all these delicious real ales.
I tasted this fabulous stout,
so the next recipe is going to be a chocolate and stout cake.
So to start with on this recipe, have your chocolate melting over
a pan of water -
just make sure the bowl isn't touching the water.
And what we're going to do is we're going to add our stout to it
but, before I do that,
I just want to show you the amazing colour of it.
The richness of it. It's got fabulous chocolate flavours to it.
It's got a beautiful coffeeness coming through.
I mean, it really tastes delicious.
You know, it's so going to work in this recipe.
All of it in there.
OK, so sugar all into a bowl.
And stout isn't something I would normally drink personally, you know.
I find it very strong and very rich,
but I think it works absolutely fantastically in this recipe.
We always seem to think stout's only to be used in a Christmas
cake or a really heavy fruit cake, but I'm going to show you,
with this recipe,
it's something that can be used in an everyday cake.
Beat the eggs into your sugar and butter.
And the great thing about adding something like stout to
a cake, it's going to keep it much moister, you know,
and a cake would last slightly longer than a normal general sponge,
which tend to go a bit drier.
Then add your flour.
And we're going to add our chocolate and ale.
So be careful. It's slightly hot, the bowl.
But you can really smell those aromas of coffee, chocolate,
the hoppy-ness, the slight spiciness too.
Just pour a little bit in...and then a nice little stir.
Look at those colours.
Look at that beautiful sort of chocolaty, dark molasses.
And that's not just the chocolate that's done that -
that is the stout as well.
OK. Right, take your cake tin.
Pour that into your tin. We're going to put this one in.
I've got one cooking while I've been preparing.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
Beautiful flavours coming through, that chocolaty-ness,
that nuttiness, that lovely sort of coffee and stout flavours.
Now for a cool bit on the side.
The Italians, known for their great pasta and everything,
don't do a lot of desserts,
they do ice-cream and basically fruit,
but one of their specialities is this thing called affogato, and it's
basically a vanilla ice-cream where you pour a hot espresso coffee.
Put that on there.
And instead of a hot espresso coffee, what we're going to do is
put our dollop of vanilla ice-cream in there,
and we're going to pour over some of the delicious stout instead.
And that's going to be our accompaniment to our cake.
It looks delicious,
it smells amazing and I'm sure it's going to be fantastic
with my new variation of...hmm.
It's so moist. You get that stout flavour coming through,
you get the chocolaty-ness, you get the rich aromas.
It really is fantastic and it works so well... Mmm.
So... I defy any of you to go home and make this ale
and chocolate cake, and not want to make it every weekend -
it is absolutely delicious.
I'm determined to change the fusty image of real ale,
so I'm bringing my revival campaign to Canary Wharf in London.
An award-winning beer writer, Marverine Cole, is going to help me.
She's also keen to get more women tuned into ale.
So, my dear, lovely to meet you.
What's your sort of interest in beer, then,
and how you've been doing it? While I open away.
I've been wowed by beer,
just by the flavours...the potential flavours that
you've got in so many different beers,
and I think that lots of women just think that beer equals lager.
Yeah, I agree.
And then they kind of go, "Ew, its too bitter for me."
And there is a massive fear. Fear of the dark beer, as I call it.
People go, "Is that a dark one? Ooh, it's dark."
And people actually really make their judgements about what
they're going to drink by the colour.
Well, I think the pints puts people off.
You know, it's the amount, isn't it?
I also think that whole thing about beer bellies, Angela.
Come on. You know, everyone thinks, "You drink beer, you're going to..."
Well, it's everything in moderation, isn't it?
You drink lots of wine, you're going to put on weight, you know.
It's a great alternative with food, isn't it?
Without a doubt.
Marverine's an expert on matching different ales with different foods,
and we're starting with mozzarella and a pale ale.
So we'll have a little dig into a bit of the mozzarella
and just see how that tastes.
So you get that down and then you see where it goes with the beer.
Hmm. It doesn't kill it actually, the food.
So something as light as this and refreshing as this,
it complements but it doesn't sort of kill it off at all.
It totally does.
-We like that one.
-We're happy with that one.
Next up, a spicy chop.
Let's have a go with the pork.
What we're going to try this with is...Adnams Innovation IPA.
I think that's a great match. I've definitely converted.
Ooh, la la.
-Too much. Cheers to that.
I'm a fan, but now we have to convince 30 city slickers to
ditch their white wine for ale.
Well, lager's really quite fizzy,
so yeah, it just doesn't feel like a girl's drink.
You know, when you've had quite a lot of it.
So what do you reckon?
Could you be converted?
Yeah, I think I could. Going from there to there, taste explosion.
That is so much nicer. That's really nice.
That's very light, yes.
And to really convince them,
we're matching up ales with different foods.
Take a bit of the food, take a bit of...
Yeah, take a bit of the spice, take a bit of the beer,
and then go back to the food, go back to the beer.
See what you think.
Oh, good. Those, yeah, they're lovely.
It almost dulls the bitterness of the beer.
That's exactly what a lot of people say,
the food makes it smoother, it contrasts it and stuff, yeah.
In my mind, Marverine, it seems it's gone very well.
How do you think?
I am over the moon. I think it's been brilliant.
And I just love the surprised faces, don't you?
It's been great working with you, kid!
So I think tonight's been fantastic.
I think Marverine has been brilliant at selling real ale and beer,
and she's sort of made all these women sit up and think,
"This is an alternative to wine." And it's all about moderation.
Everyone keeps saying they're going to be bloated and fat
but if you only drink a couple of half pints, you're going to be fine.
Absolutely go for the flavour, go for the deliciousness
and go for the fact that it can match very well with food.
My girls' night out did make me think about my final recipe,
which I'm sure will turn all of you into ale converts.
So I can't be inspired to use real ale without making
a traditional British dish - fish and chips.
But I'm going to do my version, which is deep fried sole in an ale
batter with tartare sauce.
So I was very fortunate enough to have Italian grandparents
on my mother's side, and they all came over from Italy.
And the one thing they did do was set up loads of restaurants,
but not Italian restaurants.
They all opened fish and chip shops, so this is really
part of my heritage as much as British heritage.
As a kid, I was allowed to go and help in the fish and chip shop,
but I was never allowed to touch the fish and I never made the batter,
I was only allowed to do the chips,
so I'm quite happy I'm getting to do my own batter here.
So we've got some plain flour and cornflour,
and we're going to add some sparkling water.
So we're using the water to, you know,
there's the carbonation in the water that's going to keep our batter
nice and light, but for flavour we want to use some real ale.
That's going to give it that lovely yeasty flavour to it,
it's going to have that great hoppy-ness to it,
and then pour that into your flour and the water.
Secret to a good batter, don't season it up.
One of the things you don't season straight away,
and also allow it to rest for about, you know,
10/15 minutes just before you start to dip anything into it.
Now time to prepare your fish.
So I've chosen sole because it's... I like the flavour of it.
It's great for frying. You don't have to use sole,
you could use cod, you could use halibut,
you can use pollock, you know.
Just make sure, whatever you're using, it's sustainable
and it's come from a good source.
And what's fantastic, I've found, is when I did that
tasting in Canary Wharf, is how great ale matches with food, and you
can really see that it's going to have this resurgence.
I think the key, for me,
is to really look for different flavourings in the ale.
The ale I'm using in this recipe, the honeydew,
was really the one that came out on top and I think partly
because it was very refreshing, and I have to say I agreed with them -
I thought it was delicious.
I was slightly nervous that my mother thought
I might have had too much ale on national TV.
Make a fresh tartare sauce with mayonnaise,
capers and chopped gherkins.
Finally, a good handful of parsley - that's what we want.
Just nicely chopped.
Nice and fine in there...and that's it.
And you can smell, straight away, that lovely acidity.
Now cover the fish fillets in seasoned flour,
before dunking in the beer batter.
Shake off the excess and then straight in the fryer,
and you can hear that sizzle straight away.
You need to make sure it's nice and hot.
Now, I was always fascinated, as a kid,
when I watched my aunt and my uncle
and everyone do the batter because they were so delicate with it -
they'd never waste any of the batter.
And they'd make sure it just dipped in and straight in there.
So you can see there, the batter's lovely.
We're going to just turn it up slightly
and get a fantastic coating on it.
So you can see a nice golden brown colour now.
Keep a close eye on the fryer.
The goujons should only take a few minutes to cook.
OK. So, watercress here with our tartar sauce,
and this really is a real different version from the fish
and chips I was brought up on as a kid.
You certainly wouldn't have had a piece of lemon on the side,
and there'd have been no fancy greenery.
It would have just been in a great piece of old newspaper,
because in those days you were allowed to use old newspaper,
and that's what you would have eaten.
So we're going to put our sole on there and you can hear, as you
put it on the plate, that little sort of crispiness of the batter.
Finish it with a little bit of salt.
And that's what the real ale does to it,
it gives it that real lightness, that real crispiness
and what's most important is it gives it extra flavour,
and that's what we're looking for.
What you have here is sole deep-fried in real ale batter.
You can hear that crunch from the crunchiness of the batter -
it's kept it really light. And the flavour is there,
it's really not too overpowering,
so that's why it's good to use a light ale when you do that.
It really is delicious. I cannot encourage you enough.
This dish, start to finish,
30 minutes and make sure you use some delicious real ale
when you make your batter.
The revival has started.
Let's champion this historic British drink that's packed full of flavour.
So it really is time to throw out those misconceptions that
real ale is for crusty old men in sandals.
It's time to take real ale back to where it started,
and that's back to the women.
Stay with us, as we launch a revival campaign for yet another
classic British ingredient.
This product doesn't need reviving, as such,
but it certainly needs reinventing.
It's one of our most favourite vegetables
but the way they're cooked, you'd think we hated them.
Over three-quarters of us boil and steam the things to death -
a real travesty.
I'm Michael Caines and I'm talking about British carrots.
We've got to start treating our carrots with some respect,
so stay with me and I'll show you how and why.
I'll be getting carrots to help me see in the dark.
It's awesome. It really is awesome. Just fantastic.
Discovering how they can magically turn into apricot.
You can guess, of course by the colour,
carrot is the main ingredient.
And in the Revival Kitchen, carrots rule supreme.
This dish unashamedly celebrates the carrot in all its glory.
It's a bit of a looker, isn't it?
At my two Michelin-starred restaurant in Devon,
we have a passion for fresh produce.
As a child growing up, I used to love growing my own carrots.
Nothing beats that crisp sound of the carrot breaking open
fresh from the ground, and now here at the restaurant I have
my own kitchen garden, and nothing beats getting them straight from
the garden into the kitchen as fast as possible, so they're served fresh.
But most people don't grow their own and are happy with what
they buy in the supermarket.
And, of course, they have their place, but there's
so much more to carrots than that.
As well as big donkey carrots,
there's a rainbow of heritage-like varieties
and delicate baby carrots that can be used as garnish.
It's a shame that so few appreciate this amazing range.
In my kitchen, they all have a place. Take it out.
Put it on a tray for me, Jack. Keep the plates moving, please.
But the real sin, for me, is the way we treat our carrots.
We see carrots as just a side dish and we cook them
in just the same old boring ways.
Just sliced and boiled.
I might eat them raw - just like that.
I don't do anything special with them.
-Cut them into little sticks and boil them.
Well, we do sometimes...
-You're right, we sometimes roast them, don't we?
I usually boil them.
Obviously Max likes them as mushy as possible.
Three-quarters of our carrots are boiled or steamed,
which means they lose a
third of their nutrients and you're left with a flavourless vegetable.
It's a crime against carrots and it's got to stop.
So to begin my carrot crusade, I'm heading to Thetford to find someone
who lives and breathes carrots and would never take them for granted.
Tom Will is an agronomist for the Elveden Estate,
and he specialises in root vegetables.
Well, this is the development area.
What we're doing here is we're producing a range of niche
products for restaurants, exclusive farm shops, etc.
But in bringing us the future of carrots,
he's had to look to the past.
Right. What we have here are some modern crosses, which have the
-characteristics of the heritage types.
The original carrots came from Afghanistan about 5,000 years ago,
and those carrots were red or yellow and extremely bitter.
Originally they were used for medicinal purposes,
they weren't eaten. But, over time, they were cultivated
and came into Europe about 1200, but we didn't get the first
-orange carrot until the 16th century.
And that was bred in Holland,
and some of the first varieties were called orange horn carrot.
These new heritage-like varieties take the rich
history of the carrot, with all its sizes, colours and flavours,
and marries it with the reliability and sweetness of modern carrots.
They are still a very, very small part of carrot production in the UK.
In terms of percentage-wise...
-It's hardly measureable.
It's less than 0.1 of a percent.
With my love of unusual varieties, it's nice know
I'm in the presence of a like mind,
and Tom's got a carrot collection that puts even mine to shame.
Wow! Look at this amazing array of carrots,
and I can see a very familiar-looking one here.
Yes, the Nantes carrot is the most popular carrot grown
and sold in the UK - this is the standard carrot.
What we have around is developments beyond the Nantes.
We have a Chantenay here, traditionally triangular in shape.
Chefs tend to like these.
If we look at the heritage types... And these different colours are caused
by anthocyanin, and anthocyanin is an antioxidant and that provides
not only health benefits,
but also a slight overtone in terms of flavour -
it makes them rather more bitter.
What we have here is the dark purple haze and when you cut
this in half, you'll find that's purple right the way through.
Anthocyanin is a pigment that is also found in blackberries
and blueberries, and scientists are investigating its possible
-A slight deeper flavour - it's lovely.
It's subtly different but, in this day
and age, we're looking for those subtle differences.
You often find that the lighter coloured ones actually taste
When we're thinking about what the carrot taste is, now, it may not be
the flavour of carrots in the future,
if this type of carrot becomes
more popular and people start to go into those heritage-like elements.
There are over 100 carrot varieties you could be growing yourself but,
first of all, we need to appreciate what's right under our noses.
To ease you into my carrot revival, I'm heading into the kitchen
with a dish that'll make you feel right at home.
So to get you thinking more creatively about using
carrots, I've got this delicious, lovely, simple curried carrot soup.
So for this simple recipe, I'm using the Nantes carrot.
It's a bog-standard carrot that you get in most supermarkets,
but I think size does matter for this recipe in particular.
Too large a carrot, you get that woody centre -
and I don't like cooking with that.
I like to have them tender and sweet,
so we'll just have a medium-sized carrot here.
We're not going to peel them,
we're just going to chop them up and put them
with this lovely spice and onion and garlic, which will be great.
The reason why I'm not going to peel this is
because I want some of that flavour from the skins.
I think one of the motivations for me
becoming a cook is I just thought that, at meal times, I thought that
food could sometimes be a little bit boring.
I used to like the idea of making things more interesting
and I think carrots sort of
typifies that sort of Sunday roast mentality,
where it's just seen as an
accompaniment but not as a main dish or attraction.
What I want to show you is that the carrot
can become the main focus of the meal.
Start by sauteing the carrot, onion and garlic in butter.
Whilst we have that sweating, I'm going to toast some cumin spice.
Toasting the cumin brings out a much stronger flavour in the seeds.
I've got this lovely bouquet garni.
Very, very simple to make at home.
Just a little bit of leek and inside that we have some celery,
some parsley, thyme and a fresh bay leaf, and just wrap that up, tie
it with a bit of string and we'll put that into the soup as well.
You'll be amazed what the sort of layering of flavour from the
spice, from the cumin and of course from this little bouquet garni.
That all just makes it a delicious soup to enjoy.
And we're going to add a pinch of curry powder.
Now this is a madras curry.
It has a little bit of heat to it but not too much.
So just a little bit of chicken stock.
If you're vegetarian, you can just use water in this.
You'll get enough flavour from all of the spice,
carrots and of course the bouquet garni.
Bring that up to the boil,
reduce it to a simmer and cook that out for about 20 to 30 minutes,
until the carrots are completely cooked through.
Hmm, you can just smell that wonderful flavour coming through.
Now remove the bouquet garni and then blend the mixture until smooth.
How easy was that?
Hmm, ah, so delicious.
And you can see the lovely colour of this carrot,
and it just smells so inviting.
So there we have it, a wonderful celebration of carrot.
Curried carrot soup.
That really is good.
I really do wish my mother had this recipe
when I was growing up as a child, because my love affair with
the carrot would have started a lot earlier.
Today, carrots may be seen as little more than a side dish, but at
one point in history they played a much more central role in our diets.
In my bid to champion the versatility of the carrot,
I've come to the Imperial War Museum in London.
Senior Historian Terry Charman knows
all about the adaptability of carrots.
Here's the section on wartime food and wartime rationing.
Rationing started in January, 1940 and continued
until the end of June, 1954. 14-and-a-half years.
-But vegetables, of course, carrots weren't rationed.
So, Terry, why in particular did they choose the carrot to champion
Well, the thing was I think it was easy to grow and there was
a great glut of carrots, especially in the spring of 1941.
Rumours began circulating that, as well as feeding a nation
at war, carrots were taking a more active part in the war effort.
Up in the skies, the Allied advances in radar were giving the air force the upper hand,
but the Ministry of Food decided to put their success down to
something more edible.
Our night fighters and especially one night fighter, John Cunningham,
who was known as Cat's Eyes Cunningham, was able to shoot down
German bombers because he ate his carrots and could see in the dark.
Of course that was a lie.
It was an untruth, shall we say, yes.
But of course the idea was, "Boys, if you want to go up
"and be a night fighter pilot
"like John Cunningham, Cat's Eyes Cunningham, then eat your carrots."
A food legend was born and it was great PR for the carrot.
But it wasn't just carrot sales that took off.
The Dig for Victory campaign encouraged everyone to pick
up a spade and the number of allotments more than doubled.
VOICEOVER: You'll soon be growing your own tomatoes,
peas that melt in your mouth, carrots that will be a revelation.
"Dig, dig, dig for victory" was the song at the time.
"Feel your muscles getting big. Keep on pushing in the spade."
I can imagine, carrots, very, very easy to grow
and also good because you can keep them in the ground and
-store them over a period of time.
There was now a mountain of carrots,
but what were they supposed to do with them all?
The Ministry of Food bombarded the public with ideas
and carrot recipe' flooded the airwaves.
There was a BBC radio programme each day called The Kitchen Front
and that was always revolved round recipes,
and how to make the food more palatable.
And Terry has some examples of this culinary explosion for me to try.
What's this idea of a raw carrot?
Supposedly, a treat for children.
In lieu if an ice-cream or an ice lolly, you had a carrot on a stick.
Now, if I turned up to my kids and said,
"Guys, I've got you a treat",
and gave them a carrot stick, they'd think I'd be having a laugh.
Sugar was heavily rationed but carrots have
one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable, and they were
the nearest thing to a lolly most wartime kids would ever get.
May I offer you some wartime carrot fudge?
Now there's obviously carrot there, also gelatine,
but also the addition of orange juice as well.
I was going to say, you can taste the orange juice.
It's not very fudge-like,
it's more like a jelly than it is a carrot,
but I can imagine, as a kid, that could be quite a treat.
So what else have we got?
This carroty drink was actually ahead of its time.
Carrolade. There's something else in there as well though, isn't there?
It's carrot juice and juice of swede, as well.
Yeah, I can get that.
It's quite incredible
because, nowadays, it's something you can get from the health shop.
Now people would pay a fortune for it.
Soft fruit, of course, was in very short supply.
This is mock apricot.
Apricot. It's mock apricot.
And you can guess of course by the colour,
what was the main ingredient.
Hmm. That actually is very pleasant.
That was what I would call a proper carrot fest.
It was the carrot's finest hour and, even if some dishes worked
better than others, it did our nation proud.
Since then carrots have been pushed to the side of the plate,
but I've got a recipe that's a fitting tribute
to their moment of glory.
I'm going to show you a wonderful sweet recipe -
my classic carrot cake.
So for this recipe we're peeling the carrot,
because we're going to just remove
those bitter tannins from the skin,
so that we just have that lovely, sweet, tender carrot -
which we're going to grate.
The bitterness of the skin is great in savoury dishes,
but this one is all about the sweet carrot flavour.
What I love about grated carrot is it's not just
good for baking with.
In France, we used to have these lovely salads.
We used to call it crudites of salads,
where I used to just grate the carrot and serve it with
a little bit of a vinaigrette, mustard, vinegar and oil,
season it with salt and pepper,
and perhaps a little bit of chopped dill in there.
It's just absolutely fantastic,
great texture, wonderful flavour.
Be careful of your fingers.
Then we add some texture with walnuts.
So...just a light chop.
They have a slight bitterness to them,
and that contrasts really nicely with the sweetness of the carrot.
So now we're ready for our mixture.
Combine some flour, eggs, cinnamon, sugar and bicarbonate of soda.
For me, one of the key things about carrot cake that I love is the
moisture of it and that sweetness that you get from the carrot.
Natural sweetness is just absolutely delicious, and then
the texture of the nuts and, of course,
that lovely cinnamon flavour
that gives a lovely persistent length on the palate.
For this recipe, it's important to use oil rather than butter -
it helps give the cake its moisture.
The moisture of the cake is coming from the oil
and, of course, the carrot themselves.
My grandmother, when she was making her Christmas cakes,
swore blind that, if you added a little bit of grated carrot,
it gave it that
real dark colour that she used to get from her Christmas cakes,
and it's something of a tip I use today in my own recipe.
When mixed well, put it into a lined cake tin.
Here we are.
Now we're going to put that in the oven and bake.
Once it's baked and cooled, turn it out onto a plate.
I've got a little tip for you.
I've turned it upside down so that the dome of
the top of the cake fits nicely into a bottom of a plate,
and that gives you this lovely flat surface to be able to ice.
I'm using a simple icing mixture of butter, sugar and cream cheese.
There we go.
And then, to finish, I've got a few candied carrots, which I've just
blanched very quickly.
There we are. My classic carrot cake.
Ah. You can just feel it's so moist.
You can just see how lovely this cake is.
I love this recipe.
Hmm. It's so moist.
You've got the texture of the nuts and then you have that
cinnamon spice that persists on the palate,
but it's just stunning.
When we shop for our carrots, we generally buy one kind -
the orange Nantes variety.
They make up three-quarters of all carrots on sale.
I'm going to investigate their success
and to do it, I'm staying up way passed my bedtime.
Blimey. I didn't sign up for this.
Its 11.30 at night and we're somewhere in the middle
of carrot country near, well, I don't know, in Norfolk somewhere.
Giles Abrey is the carrot farmer in charge,
and his working day is just kicking off.
We've just starting the harvesting of the new English season
carrots, and we harvest during the night to ensure the freshness.
We're trying to keep the gap between harvesting and packing to a minimum.
If we harvest in the day, in the heat of the day, the carrot
dries out and the quality, as you can see how... The freshness is
a lot better compared to harvesting during the heat of the day.
So if we're picking these tonight, how long will it take to
get them into the supermarkets?
The load we're picking at the moment, it will be
delivered at 6am in the morning.
These night-time manoeuvres are like a military operation,
and Giles has got some heavy duty carrot-seeking hardware.
So what's happening here, then?
Well, basically, the front sections are called the torpedoes
and they're guiding the tops of the carrots into the belts.
It plucks the carrot up and then it travels up to the top,
-and, basically, the top of the carrot is pinched off.
The tops of the carrots go out the back.
The waste and the carrots go up into the trailer.
It's awesome. It really is awesome. Just fantastic.
In the UK every year, we get through 700,000 tonnes of carrots,
and our insatiable demand for them has meant that,
since the 1990s, carrots have been harvested for 11 months of the year.
A carrot was regarded as a summer vegetable...
But more recently, through sort of changes in husbandry
techniques, we have been able to produce a carrot from British
-growers that nearly covers the full window.
I'm beginning to see why heritage-type varieties couldn't be
harvested on this scale.
It takes a tough carrot to grow all year round
and handle this kind of rough treatment.
What are we looking for in a variety?
You look at it, I suppose, from two aspects.
Firstly from the consumer.
The consumer is looking for a carrot with good taste
but, in terms of something sort of commercially viable, you have
to look at the growing side as well.
We're looking for a carrot that's quite hard,
so when we're mechanically lifting we're not breaking it.
And finally, I suppose, is the yield.
At the moment, we're growing predominantly Nantes types,
so Laguna and Nairobi, but the Nairobi seems to be
the predominant variety which ticks most boxes.
In terms of a sort of commercial viable crop,
we haven't found anything yet that can beat Nairobi.
Hmm. Really sweet. Worth being here for.
Let's get another. Ha-ha!
This has been such an eye-opener for me.
Farmers like Giles and varieties like the Nairobi do
an amazing job of keeping us all in carrots but, whatever
the variety, we shouldn't be taking our carrots for granted.
In London's Mayfair, I've heard there's a Michelin two-starred chef
who's taking the carrot and really celebrating it.
When I was starting out as a chef, I spent two-and-a-half years in France
and there I learnt how to respect the carrot,
so I'm off to see a good friend of mine -
a French chef who's absolutely passionate about carrots.
-Hey. How are you doing?
Great, thanks. It's great to see you.
Claude Bosi does something I've never done -
serves a dish that is made entirely from carrots.
We've got different type here.
OK. Oh, we've got a heritage variety.
Yeah, you've got some different heritage.
-They flavours are fantastic. I love using them.
We've got the yellow, the white, the purple.
-You know we call this donkey carrot?
Donkey carrot, what we use for stock. We use for stock.
The carrots look familiar to me,
but to give them their two-star twist, Claude has put them
with an ingredient you might associate with animal feed.
-I like the flavour of hay.
It takes two-and-a-half hours to cook.
And because it cooks in a butter, all the juice of the carrot...
Oil and butter, oil and butter don't go out together
so with the oil and butter, all the juice of the carrot will stay inside.
Yes, that's right.
These carrots are cooked in butter infused with burnt hay,
but that's what makes a chef like Claude master of the carrot.
And you will have something very juicy and full of flavour.
In France you've got a lot more care
-and attention going into the cooking of the carrot.
I mean, I remember my mum doing some roasting on a Sunday
and put some big shank of carrot and cook it with it...
You fight to get the vegetable from that stock.
It's just full of flavour and that's where it came from.
That's why vegetables, for me, are very important.
And this is an orange puree.
It's been cooked, blitzed and that's it.
We were looking at some of the recipes that came from the war,
-and there was a fudge of carrot.
It was more like a jelly, to be fair,
but they used orange there as well. It's an interesting combination.
Carrot and orange - one of the most classic.
I mean, we're doing a pudding at the moment with coconut, which
is very classic. Carrot and coconut go very well together.
The nuttiness with carrot goes fantastically.
Carrot and coconut is a classic, yet you wouldn't see
that as a classic mix in England,
but only the French would come out with that as a statement.
OK, let's dress it.
Plating up these carrots is a precision job.
Claude adds shavings of crisp raw carrot to his carrot confit.
So much flavour is hidden in these little skins
and Claude doesn't want to waste any of it.
Even the green tops that most of us throw away
become an edible carrot-y garnish.
Of course, that is what we cook the carrot with.
Any juice that's gone from this, drop in the bottom of that pan.
You know why we cook it? Then you just put it back on the plate.
That's got the hay, the butter and all the flavour of the carrots.
All the flavour of the carrots. That's it.
Beautiful, isn't it?
It looks beautiful and I can't wait to taste it.
As a final treat, Claude serves me his own version of carrolade.
That butter and the hay, just delicious,
but do you know what I love about it...
It really celebrates that flavour of the carrot.
That's the beauty about it.
You know, there's so many things you can do with it.
Bless my mother. She's a good cook,
but she could never cook a carrot quite like this, Claude.
And this is a little...
Yeah. You've got an apple soda with carrot top.
Oh, that's delicious as well - very fresh.
Well, this is absolutely stunning and it's given me
a little inspiration for...for my dish, which is great.
I'm not going to compete with Claude,
because I'm going to give you a dish
that elevates the carrot but is also one that you can do at home.
This recipe treats the carrot with the respect it deserves.
Here's my baked heritage carrots with pan-fried scallops.
So, for this recipe, we're going to be using these wonderful
heritage-style rainbow carrots. You leave the skins on.
Don't peel that off, cos that's where the flavour is.
The thing that really inspired me
with Claude, I loved the way that he confited,
you know, cooked in the butter, very, very slowly the carrots
and it intensified the flavour.
And he had a little bit of hay in there. Well, I'm choosing to do mine
with some spice, just to bring to life this wonderful dish.
I'm just going to crush that garlic.
The orange zest can go in, and then we'll just take a few
slices of ginger.
I'm also adding thyme and a touch of tarragon.
It may seem a lot of flavour but the carrot can handle it.
I can assure you that the carrots really will be
the star of this dish.
In the oven we go, and now we're ready to make our vinaigrette.
All you need is a little carrot puree.
I've made that earlier, and all I've done is steam the carrots
until they're completely cooked and then blended it down to a puree.
Now add carrot juice and then the orange,
lemon and ginger juice, and a pinch of cinnamon.
They all complement the carrot perfectly
and, last of all, a splash of rapeseed oil.
Now we're just going to whisk that,
and this vinaigrette is just going to go over the top of the
pan-fried scallops and the baked heritage variety carrots,
just to give it a lovely freshness on the palate and a bit of a lift.
Perfect. Let's have a look at our carrots.
Ah, yeah, here we go.
They're going to be beautifully cooked now.
A little bit hot. Look at them. Stunning.
Now, we know that orange goes really well with the carrots
and, like Claude, I've chosen to put a little orange marmalade
flavour with my dish. But I've taken normal marmalade
and just blended it to create this lovely puree here, which is going to
sit underneath these lovely baked heritage carrots.
So nice and hot pan, put the scallops in.
Beautiful. They don't take long at all.
Take a little bit of our carrot puree.
I'm just going to put some of that...
And now, finally, some vinaigrette and herbs.
Just sprinkle round the vinaigrette.
The thing I love about those carrots is they're much more robust,
more flavour, far much more depth in flavour than your normal
variety and for such a small portion of the market,
they really do need to be championed.
So there we have our beautiful dish of baked heritage carrots
with pan-fried scallops.
It's a bit of a looker, isn't it?
Let's have a look.
This dish unashamedly celebrates all of the aspects of the carrot
in all its glory. The textures of the puree,
the beautiful deep roasted flavour of those wonderful
heritage baked carrots are just a perfect match for those scallops.
Beautiful. It really is a great combination.
So there's a world of carrots waiting out there for you,
you just have to buy and cook more creatively. Be more carrot-y.
So come on, Britain, get behind me and join my carrot revival campaign.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Only 15 percent of beer sold in pubs is real ale, and Angela Harnett champions it's revival as she challenges a group of city women to get rid of their prejudices and swap their wine for ale. Michael Caines celebrates the charms of hard working British carrot and proves it can be much more than just a side dish.
Real ale used to be the golden nectar supped by all, and celebrated chef Angela Hartnett is determined to get us all drinking it once again. She discovers that women, or ale wives, were the original brewers of ale and challenges a group of city women to ditch the white wine in favour of real ale. In the revival kitchen she cooks with ale to prove just what a great addition it can be to a number of dishes.
We're boring when it comes to cooking our carrots, and Michelin starred chef Michael Caines wants to change this. He searches out some glorious heritage varieties and finds out how carrots helped to win a world war. In the revival kitchen he makes the carrot the star of the show in three mouth watering dishes.