Nadiya's food tour of Britain begins in the home counties. The first recipe is one of the first things Nadiya learnt to make as a child living at home - cheese scones.
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I'm a busy mum and I cook every day, so I try to keep my food exciting.
I like to experiment with new flavours and ingredients.
Is that yummy?
But I've always wanted to find out more about the food I feed my family.
So in this series,
I am travelling the length and breadth of the country to meet the
-There is a Dover sole!
We got a fish!
-Has anyone ever gone in?
-Yeah. I have!
..the chefs and the producers who go the extra mile
to make British food some of the best in the world.
-Super! Yes! Look!
I will explore some familiar foods...
That is so pretty.
I feel totally inspired.
..and try some that are totally new.
You have to be completely bonkers to cook like this.
And I'll be creating brand-new recipes...
Mm! So sweet!
..inspired by their produce...
-Hope you're hungry.
..as I go on my British food adventure.
I want to begin my travels around Britain by discovering what food is
being produced on my doorstep.
So I am exploring in and around the Home Counties, where I live.
I'll be joining the race to harvest
one of the world's fastest-growing veggies.
Come on! You are a speed demon. I can't keep up with you!
I'll be meeting a man who is thinking outside and inside the box
to create something delicious.
Oh, look at that.
This just might become my new obsession.
I grew up with a collision of flavours.
Mum and Dad's spicy curries at home,
and traditional British meals at school.
And it was at school that I learned a brand-new and exciting way of
preparing food - baking.
Scones are one of the first things that I ever learned to bake,
and I will never quite forget the magic of pulling out a freshly baked
tray of gorgeous, warm scones.
And once you have mastered a basic recipe, your possibilities are endless.
One of my absolute faves are cheese scones.
Especially when they come with delicious chive butter.
Now, I have preheated my oven and I am going to get started
with the flour.
I always use a mixture
of self-raising flour and strong bread flour.
The self-raising flour is going to give the scone a lift,
and the strong bread flour has got added protein in it,
which means that it gives the scone
that "not bread, not cake" scone texture.
Add onion salt.
What works better than cheese and onion?
And then diced, cold butter.
With a light touch, bring the mixture to breadcrumbs.
This takes me right back to when I was about 11 years old and my teacher
had a little trick. She would say, stop and if you give the bowl a shake,
all of the big lumps come to the top.
And then you just squished the big lumps.
You just keep doing that until you have got what looks like fine
breadcrumbs. So now let's move on to the best bit, the cheese.
I find the perfect cheese for this is Red Leicester.
It is not too dissimilar to a mature cheddar cheese,
but cheddar doesn't quite have that lovely, vibrant orange.
Now, that baked into a scone looks...
Tastes delicious! But looks great.
So add that to our flour mixture.
So I have made a well in the centre,
and to that I am going to add cold whole milk.
Mix just enough to bring the dough together.
The secret to light, fluffy scones is not overworking them.
So there is no need for a rolling pin.
Just push it out using the chubby part of your hand.
To about the thickness of about two centimetres.
Don't let any of that cheese escape.
If you see any stray cheese, just stick it straight back in there.
Gently press out the scones.
Do not be tempted to twist.
Because the second you twist, as your scone bakes,
where you have twisted the dough,
it will just curl over and then it will topple over.
So don't be tempted,
just pull straight back up and pop that scone out.
Place them on a lined, greased baking tray,
brush them with milk and pop them in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
And while the scones bake in the oven,
I am going to get going on a really quick chive butter.
The butter has been resting at room temperature.
It is unsalted because I am going to add the salt myself.
Now, I like using rock salt because when you smother that butter on and
then you bite into that butter and that scone,
you get those little nuggets of salt when you bite into it and it's
just... It's like a salty explosion in your mouth and it's lovely.
And to that, I'm going to add a really good handful of chopped chives.
I'm going to serve the butter in rounds,
so I am spooning it into some clingfilm, rolling it into a sausage shape,
then putting it into the fridge to chill for five minutes.
There is nothing more homely than the smell of fresh baking.
Oh, look at those.
And that cheesy smell - yum!
All my scones need now to be utterly perfect is my delicious chive butter.
SHE WHISPERS: Look at that.
One way to test whether a scone is perfect is it should split clean
in the middle. Shall we give it a go?
Not bad. Not bad at all.
These are best eaten whilst they are still warm.
I could sit here and watch this butter melt.
But it won't wait.
That is a match made in heaven.
With a nod to my baking teacher at school,
my cheese scones with chive butter, and, for me,
the perfect taste of home.
But now it is time to leave home and start my culinary journey.
I am intrigued to find out what food is being produced in and around the
Home Counties. My first stop is less than an hour from my front door.
I am heading just outside Oxford to learn about one of the area's most
highly prized crops.
I can remember the first time I ate it. It is so delicious.
Whenever I see British asparagus in the shops,
it brings a smile to my face, and today, I get to pick some for myself.
I'm meeting Imogen Stanley, who grows 75 acres of asparagus on her family farm.
-How are you?
-How are you?
-I'm very well.
I can't quite believe that there is anything growing here.
From a distance, it looks like you are not growing anything.
We are. Definitely grow a lot of asparagus out there.
The land may look unproductive,
but the conditions here are perfect for growing one of my favourite veggies.
This soil is quite sandy and has really good drainage,
and asparagus need good drainage.
It has really, like, fleshy roots, a bit like spaghetti,
that is planted in March.
And then it takes three years before you can really pick the crop.
After all that waiting,
the asparagus harvest season is short-lived -
around ten magical weeks.
This asparagus, that is good to pick.
Good height, nice thickness, nice and straight.
-Is that what supermarkets look for?
-They have a strict specification.
It's got to be up to the knife, just above the ridges.
So this one, obviously, is perfect.
Yeah? And that's the perfect asparagus?
-So that one is probably a little bit short for supermarket.
How long will that take to grow?
On a hot, sunny day like it is today,
-they will grow up to five inches in a day.
-In a day?
-In a day.
-I can't believe that that will be ready this afternoon.
-It's like Mary Poppins' endless bag of asparagus.
Asparagus thrives in hot conditions.
Once the spring sun emerges, so do the farm's fleet
of primed pickers - who work from dawn until dusk
selecting the perfect spears as they reach their peak.
It is a job made infinitely easier by a clever bit of kit.
And who wouldn't want to take one for a spin?
Wow, this is very ladylike.
-Yes, it is very ladylike.
-It takes me back to childbirth.
-So this pedal here is what drives you forward.
-And you steer with your feet.
-Yeah, like wheeling.
-Oh, I see!
I get this. Whoa!
-OK, I don't get it.
-You've missed one already.
I have to go and reverse now. I haven't even mastered forwards!
I think I may have found the perfect supermarket asparagus.
-That is always good.
-Oh, I have got three here.
Look, look, they are running away!
-There you go.
I might have damaged an asparagus in the process.
Sorry about that.
Asparagus has been cultivated for millennia.
-It is quite thick.
-That is quite fat, actually.
-It's quite fat.
-When the Egyptians were busy building the pyramids,
they were also harvesting these delicate green spears.
They could have done with one of these.
I see now, at supermarkets,
when you go and you see them in packets all in a line like soldiers,
I did not realise that somebody is hand-picking each individual asparagus.
If you came through with the machine,
you'd cut the ones that are wonky.
I feel sorry for the bent ones.
Oh! Do you fancy a race?
I'm feeling competitive!
Are you? Ready?
They are so slow!
We could be racing and having a cup of tea at the same time.
With a top speed of 3mph,
this is never going to give Formula 1 a run for its money.
Oh, I missed one. Here we go.
Danger cut. Yes!
You are a speed demon. I can't keep up with you!
I can't hear you. I'm too far ahead.
You gave yourself the better buggy - that's why!
Right, let's have a look at what I've picked.
I think I might have picked more asparagus than you -
I might have won that competition.
You did pick all the bent ones, though.
I'm not letting all the wonky ones go to waste.
I'm going to create a hearty lunch for Imogen,
her family and the picking team.
Even if she did beat me in the race.
I'm using this lovely, fresh asparagus in my Indian five-spice vegetable stir-fry.
Asparagus does not get fresher than this,
and the best way to enjoy this delicacy of the veg world
is to keep it simple.
There is nothing nicer than having all of these colourful vegetables
and then cooking really quickly.
Then you have still got the colour,
you have still got that crisp texture from the vegetables.
There is a lot of chopping happening today.
A whole red chilli.
And now for the courgette.
I like to cut them into matchsticks.
I'm using carrots for colour, and for sweetness, peppers.
Now my wonky asparagus.
I like the wonky ones.
These are the ones that would never make it onto a supermarket shelf,
and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.
So that is my gorgeous asparagus.
The trick to getting a really crisp,
fresh stir-fry is to make sure that you have got all the preparation
ready. So as soon as that pan is on,
it is about cooking it really quickly.
And now I am going to add some oil to a very, very hot pan.
All of my chopped veggies, along with whole mangetout go in together.
There is nothing like that smell of fresh vegetables
cooking in a hot pan.
This literally takes two minutes.
All I am going to do is just warm the vegetables.
You can see that courgette has gone all floppy.
That means... For me, that is an indication to take it straight off.
I don't want soggy vegetables.
In a different pan, I'm going to start building up the flavours.
So I am frying the garlic separately,
and this is quite traditional in Bangladeshi cooking.
It is a way of adding the garlic without it getting lost.
I love that smell.
That reminds me of home.
Fried garlic and shouting.
My parents are very competitive cooks,
so someone is always doing something wrong.
And it is usually my dad.
Along with my garlic, more aromas of home.
I like to buy mine separate and then mix it up -
just much more cost-effective.
Onion seeds. Fenugreek seeds.
Some fennel seeds.
And I like to use a blend of black and yellow mustard.
I am adding a generous scoop of my spices.
Oh, that is an incredible smell.
Fry them just for a minute to release the flavours.
And you can hear the spices squeaking.
And they are popping. Just very slightly.
I'm going to throw that straight on top of the vegetables.
I like to spice my stir-fry up with a popular garlic and chilli sauce
called Sriracha, which you can buy in the supermarket.
Now, you can put in as much as or as little as you like.
Just stirring the Sriracha through so it just coats all the vegetables.
And then a final flourish - just fresh coriander.
Loads of chopping, but so, so simple and so quick,
so colourful and absolutely delicious.
I think it is a great way to celebrate asparagus.
And I'm hoping Imogen, her parents
and the picking team enjoy their asparagus with a bit of heat.
Dig in. Go for it.
I don't normally have spicy food with asparagus.
Do you eat asparagus every night?
The Home Counties has some great food producers,
and it is an area not afraid to experiment.
When I heard about a man near Milton Keynes who runs a cookery school
with a difference, I had to check it out.
I have come to meet a retired fireman who runs classes
in the art of smoking food. For me, this will be a first.
-Hi, Nadiya. How are you?
-I'm very well.
-How are you?
-Nice to meet you.
Yeah, very well, thank you. Shall we go and do some smoking?
-Yeah, round here.
Round the corner?
Before the advent of cans, fridges or freezers,
smoking was used as a way to preserve food.
But these days, it is valued more for the flavours it imparts.
Today, I am learning about cold smoking, which, it turns out,
begins not with smoke, but with salt.
We've got two lovely sides of haddock here and we're going
to put these in a brine before we smoke them.
OK, so we are brining first?
Yeah. We can't just put this fish directly into a smoker because we
are going to be smoking at sort of room temperature.
So if we were to put fresh fish in that environment, it will go off.
So we need to get a kilo of salt in there.
Bacteria does not like a salt solution,
so we are dissolving salt in cold water to create a brine.
So when did you start smoking?
-When did you get into it?
-It was about 12 years ago.
Started off as a hobby when I was in the fire brigade.
Wow. So you went from putting out fires to making them?
I spent 30 years telling people how dangerous smoke is,
and now I am telling people there are certain smokes that are great.
-How great it is!
I can actually see my spoon now.
It didn't take that long, really, did it?
No, it didn't. Fish in?
Simply pick it up by the tail and just drop it in the brine.
And then we will leave that there for about 20 to 25 minutes.
-Straight in the fridge?
Straight in the fridge.
While our fish is doing its thing, we are moving on to stage two -
building our smoker.
And for that, we are using the most unlikely of materials -
a cardboard box.
I could smoke myself in that.
Not only is our smoker cheap to make, it's super-easy, too.
We'll just reinforce that with a piece of tape.
It is like Blue Peter.
It is. Totally Blue Peter.
-There we go.
-There you go.
-Getting the hang of this.
-Nadiya, we are done.
That is as basic as it gets.
I am slightly confused.
How are we not going to burn this box down?
That is why you have got a firefighter teaching you.
This is... Well!
The real answer lies in a clever bit of kit.
This is a maze-style smoke generator, and it burns in a very,
very controlled way.
It doesn't generate a lot of heat, so...
Heat is one thing we do not want in this smoker.
Cold smoking like this produces a delicate, aromatic flavour,
and because the fish does not actually cook,
the smoke can penetrate the flesh more deeply.
-So, skin-side down?
And the next time we see this fish, it will be cold-smoked.
So that is oak dust.
Fill it right up to the top.
That is working nicely now.
And we can pop that into the smoker.
That is such a lovely smell.
We are leaving the fish to take on the smoke for four hours.
I'm intrigued to see how well some burning sawdust in a cardboard box
-Should be ready now.
-The big reveal.
Oh, look at that! The colour on that is sensational.
It's translucent almost, isn't it?
Yeah. And the shine on top.
That is called a pellicle.
-It's called a pellicle, and it's just a thin,
sticky salt glaze that gives it that shine.
-And that is a good sign that it's been cured properly and smoked.
This just might become my new obsession.
I have got a dad who would be very happy doing this with me.
-Yeah. This is dad territory.
-This is dad territory.
-All day long.
-But I've got an amazing recipe that I'm going to make using this gorgeous haddock.
I'm going to create an exquisite version of a simple snack I started
making as a young mum.
I'm doing a rarebit, which essentially is just posh cheese on toast.
Not rabbit on toast, like I used to think it was.
In honour of such a simple smoking process,
I'm making a recipe that is also as effective as it is straightforward.
Remember, it has been cold-smoked, so it still needs cooking.
I'm going to simmer the smoked fish in milk.
So, I'm adding the haddock flesh-side down.
Two-to-three minutes is all it needs.
The fish has just poached gently, and it's cooked,
so I'm just going to lift that off.
Don't throw that flavoursome milk away, you'll need it for the sauce.
Once the haddock has cooled, gently flake it.
It doesn't need much work, you literally just press it,
and it will just fall away.
Now for the sauce.
Start with melted butter and plain flour.
This will act as a thickener.
Now, I'm going to add this lovely smoky milk a little bit at a time,
and just keep stirring.
You can see that thickens up straightaway.
And then add some more of that milk.
It's so important to keep whisking,
because what you don't want is lumps.
I'll just take that off the heat.
I've got some grated mature cheddar,
and I'm adding roughly two thirds and leaving the rest of it
for the top.
Add a splash of Worcester sauce,
and add a couple of teaspoons of wholegrain mustard.
And then a pinch of pepper.
And an egg yolk.
Remember, it is a fancy cheese on toast,
so adding the egg yolk just makes it a little bit richer.
Finally, the star of the show, my smoked haddock.
Just gently mix that through,
being careful not to break up those big flakes of fish.
That is the kind of rarebit bit done.
Spoon generous amounts of the smoky haddocky sauce onto some toast,
and top with the leftover cheese.
I'm going to pop that straight under the grill.
Two or three minutes, and your rarebit will be ready.
There is something quite therapeutic about watching cheese melt.
There is nothing better than molten cheese.
I'm serving this with a simple chicory and radish mix.
And that bitter, sharp, sweet salad works so well with that smoky, creamy
smoked haddock rarebit.
There it is. An exquisite Welsh
rarebit using my very own smoked haddock.
I just hope Turan likes it.
Wow! That's amazing, that looks absolutely delicious.
-You have the big bit.
-Let's give it a go.
Well, I love cheese,
and I love smoked haddock, and that is just the perfect combination.
I like the yummy sounds that you're making!
Can't help it!
That is absolutely delicious,
and you can taste the smoky flavour of the fish, very delicate.
-Can I have that bit?
-It's all yours.
You could say that was a success.
The Home Counties food scene can boast fantastic people and produce.
But, for me, its greatest culinary claim is being the birthplace of one
of my favourite desserts - Eton mess.
So I'm going to recreate it, Nadiya-style.
So, I'm making a cheesecake and an Eton mess all rolled into one.
This refined mash-up is my homage to the legendary dish of meringue,
cream and fruit, created at Eton College.
I'm going to get started on the meringue,
the Eton mess element of this dessert.
Like every meringue, it starts life as egg whites.
Just turn on the mixer.
So I've got 100 grams of caster sugar,
and I'm going to add that one spoon at a time.
What you don't want to do is throw all that sugar in,
because it will deflate the egg whites.
Whisk until you get stiff peaks.
That is perfect for meringue.
Here's a clever little trick that turns ordinary meringues into works
of art. Paint lines of food colouring along the inside
of a piping bag.
It is always lovely to take something that is really simple
and decorate it so that when you turn up with a dessert,
it just makes people's jaws drop.
To get these, squeeze gently, and then lift quickly.
What can get more satisfying than that?
While my meringues dry out in a cool oven for one hour,
I can get on with the cheesecake base.
The one thing that inspires me to bake a cheesecake is when I have
five biscuits from five different packets.
Broken biscuits, whatever biscuits you've got at the bottom of your tin.
Combine your crushed up biscuits with melted butter,
and then carefully shape them into a loose-bottomed cake tin.
Take your time. Start with the base.
And then work your way up the sides.
Set it in the fridge for 15 minutes,
ample time to make the cheesecake filling.
First of all, I take double cream and icing sugar and whisk it up.
Add a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste,
and mix in lashings of cream cheese.
We're making a dessert, and it's a decadent one at that,
so do not skimp on anything.
Full fat will taste better.
Pour all of that in.
This might be a lick-the-bowl kind of day.
Fold in a generous helping of chopped, freeze-dried strawberries.
And this is when a vanilla cheesecake gets fancy.
These zingy little nuggets of fruitiness will give my filling
an enticing burst of flavour as well as colour.
Now, let's get that filling in.
Once my biscuit base is loaded with all that scrumptious filling,
it goes back in the fridge.
After an hour, my striking, stripy meringues are ready.
Look at those!
And by the time they are fully cooled,
my cheesecake is set for decorating.
I think the strawberry cheesecake, as it is, is beautiful,
but it's about the little elements that you put together that make it
a little bit spectacular and really put a smile on someone's face.
First, I am topping it with a strawberry coulis made from fruit,
icing sugar and lemon juice.
It adds a lovely freshness to the top of the cheesecake.
Next, some chocolate-dipped strawberries.
I have melted some white chocolate and dropped a couple of drops of
dark chocolate in, rippled it with a little fork,
and then dipped them in.
So simple, but so effective.
And for my final flourish,
my candy-striped mini meringues and some freeze-dried strawberry slices.
And that is my Eton mess cheesecake,
all the elements of an Eton mess in a cheesecake.
Almost too good to eat.
That is not going to stop me, though.
It's a decadent summer treat,
and a delicious way to celebrate the culinary traditions of the Home Counties.
Guys, do you want some cheesecake? ALL: Yes!
And my sister and her kids seem to agree.
Is that yummy?
Next time, in the Peak District...
Oh, my goodness! ..I try my luck making local oatcakes...
-Brilliant, the last three, perfect!
..and get a taste of all things pickle.
Subtitles by Ericsson
Nadiya's food tour of Britain begins in the home counties. The film's opening recipe is one of the first things she learnt to make as a child living at home - cheese scones. Here she serves it with chive butter. Stop one on her tour of the home counties is a visit to an asparagus farm on the outskirts of Oxford, where she helps with the harvest. Joining young farmer Imogen Stanley, Nadiya learns about how the sandy soil here is perfect for asparagus farming and also gets a crash course in harvesting, using specially designed asparagus buggies. Nadiya can't resist a challenge and, in the end, even offers Imogen a buggy race. Nadiya uses the asparagus in a super fresh Indian five-spice stir fry, a very different take on the traditional Chinese one, and a welcome thank you meal for Imogen, her parents and the professional asparagus pickers. Nadiya's final stop on her tour of the country is Milton Keynes, where she meets Turan T Turan, a former fireman who now runs a cooking school dedicated to teaching people how to smoke their own food. Working with Turan, Nadiya builds her own cold smoker and smokes some haddock. Nadiya then uses the smoked haddock to cook her delicious smoked haddock welsh rarebit, served with a chicory and radish salad. The final recipe of the episode takes its inspiration from Eton College, as it is an Eton mess cheesecake that marries the famous dessert created at Eton School with a cheesecake base. Nadiya shows off all her creative skills making a dessert that looks as stunning as it tastes, with candy striped mini meringues and chocolate swirled strawberries.