Si King and Dave Myers explore Herefordshire and cook a traditional county favourite at Goodrich Castle. They also visit a snail farm and discover English cassis.
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BOTH: We're the Hairy Bikers.
And we're on the road to find regional recipes to rip up your appetite.
We're riding county to county to discover, cook and enjoy the best of British.
Today, we're in search of the real taste of Herefordshire.
Look, Si, it's beautiful.
You're not wrong.
Although it's one of England's most rural counties, you know,
it still feels a little bit like the Archers but with a bit of grit.
-Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
-You've got the three major towns.
There's Hereford, Ledbury and Leominster.
And, you know, in some of them you've still got those wonderful black and white medieval buildings.
Over there you've got the Brecon Beacons and Wales, and the landscape, the rolling hills.
Did you notice as we were tootling through, we've seen hops,
we've seen apples, we've seen pears, we've seen soft fruits.
I mean, it's quite remarkable.
It is. Come along, let's go and hit an olde worlde town to investigate.
On our quest to define the true flavours of Herefordshire,
we cook up some of the county's world famous export. Everyone wants a bite.
We head into the fields to find the juiciest blackcurrants and an extra special tipple.
It all gets a bit damp and slimy on a snail farm.
They really are local delicacies.
And representing Herefordshire in the cook-off later,
is James Arbourne.
I bet you're great at chopping logs!
Will we be able to beat him in the blind tasting judged by local diners?
To find out what gets local people's taste buds racing,
we're heading to Ledbury, an old market town steeped in history.
Ledbury's a beautiful town, isn't it?
I mean, you could call it half timbered paradise.
So what do people eat in Herefordshire?
-Well, they drink a lot of cider, will be the first thing.
Herefordshire beef. Very famous.
-Hereford hop cheese is also a good one. That's very nice.
-Yes, cos you produce a lot of hops here, don't you?
What is Herefordshire produce to you?
All the fresh vegetables and fruit.
Local ciders. Local cassis.
Well, if you like a tipple, definitely the Hereford cider cake.
Cider makes me giggle, you see.
It makes me giggle a lot. Yes.
Right, we can't wait any longer,
we need to try some cider.
Local expert James Marsden has offered us a sample.
OK, what I thought we'd try now is a cider made of two different apples.
-Brown's apple, which is a sharp, an early sharp.
And Tremlett's Bitter, which is a bittersweet apple.
I think this is my favourite cider, this year.
The other thing that you'll notice when you taste it, is it was matured in whiskey barrels for nine months.
That's complex, isn't it?
-At first it hits your palate, it's quite sweet and then it goes off in a dry...
-Goes on forever.
What exactly is perry?
Perry is made with pears.
-And not just any old pears but special pears. Perry pears.
There are more than 50 varieties. It should be crisp and quite dry.
Well, that's made with a single pear called Thorn.
-Oh, I like that very much.
-Fermented over two years to give that finish.
I'm very impressed with the bubble cos it's very fine.
It's not something you associate with perry, particularly.
-It is, it's excellent.
I think these are some of England's forgotten flavours.
Ciders and perry has become quite fashionable,
but I think it's important to get back to the fact
they're really old flavours.
Back on the trail of the county dish.
Madam, what is Herefordshire food to you?
Well, it's beef. It's Herefordshire beef.
There's a lot of organic beef here.
Big hairy cows.
Hey, this looks a canny 'in.
Everybody's been telling us about Herefordshire beef.
That's a pure, pure Herefordshire cross, that is. It's the most beautiful, beautiful beef.
-Look at the colour of that fat.
-That is whopper.
OK, look at the bark on it.
-Nice bark on it and especially the marbling that's in the middle.
So as you know yourselves when you cook that, the marbling melts and makes such delicious, tasty beef.
There's another beautiful T-bone. Look at how dark that one is.
That there is the fillet. And that there is the sirloin.
-That's how it gives you your fine T-bone.
This is one of our pork sausages that we mix with a Henry Weston's special reserve cider
which gives it that lovely little unique flavour.
That sausage, that's a thing of beauty.
Oh, that's fabulous. That is fabulous.
You're very kind, thank you.
The locals have spoken,
the traditional taste of Herefordshire has to be beef.
Hereford cattle are one of the UK's oldest native breeds.
They can be traced back to the mid-1700s.
Free Town Herefords, that's the place for beef.
That looks like him.
Richard's family have been breeding Herefords in Tarrington for four generations
and his herd regularly wins show cattle competitions.
So Richard is the man to tell us how good husbandry gives the best flavour.
Are they the proper purebred Herefords that people talk about?
They are pedigree Hereford cattle. Yes, this is the Free Town herd.
-We've been in action for 102 years, now.
-It is, indeed.
-Come on in, boys.
-Thanks very much.
These are some first calving heifers
with their calves at foot, as you can see. We calve them when they're two and a half year old.
-So these are young mothers.
A cow's a heifer until she's had her first calf.
-Then she becomes a cow.
The main features is the white face, the red coat, the white crest, the white socks.
-Are the Herefords farmed outside of Herefordshire?
-Oh, yes, certainly, they're all over the world.
They estimate there's about 100 million plus Herefords or Hereford Crosses throughout the world.
In over 120 countries.
That's a wonderful Herefordshire export to the rest of the world, isn't it?
I think it's our main agricultural export, yes.
When do you slaughter, normally?
The Hereford is fairly early maturing compared to some cattle,
but 20, 22, 24 months. They're quite a slow-growing breed compared to some of the continentals.
-I think that slower growing keeps the tenderness and succulence.
-Let's go in here, this is our stock bull.
-He's a whopper.
-Two and a half years old.
So, Richard, what do you mean by stock bull?
He's a stock getter and stock is cattle.
He'll have the life of Riley. He's the dude.
What would a bull like that be worth?
-I paid £2,000 for him as was a year ago.
That would not be a top price. A top price breeding bull is 6,000.
-I think we'd better leave him to his empire, really.
This is my son, Tony, he prepares one of our young bulls for showing.
-It's an important part of pedigree breeding that you show your stock to other breeders.
You advertise your wares, in effect. First, they have to be washed and then hairs clipped,
to try and improve the profile a little bit of the animal.
Sort of blow it to keep all the dust out.
You mean, you hair-dry your cows?
We do, yes. It's an important part of the preparation of cattle for showing.
Tony, can I have a go, cos I've done an elephant?
-Certainly, course you can.
-Brill. Are there any rules?
-Brush gently upwards. You're raising the hair up.
He's enjoying that. Look at his tail.
You're a bonny lad. Is there, like, rules for grooming a bull?
There's definitely techniques to emphasise the bull in the right places
and to groom him in the best possible way you can.
With Richard and Tony's Hereford meat,
we're on our way to the kitchen. We're cooking in Goodrich Castle.
Built in the 11th century, it stands majestically in the valley of Symonds Yat.
We're cooking up the perfect Herefordshire roast beef with a homemade horseradish sauce.
You can't come to Herefordshire and not cook beef.
We visited the great Herefordshire beef producer...
who's there. The way we're doing the sirloin, it's actually...
something, well, it's your gig really. It's your recipe.
First time I had it was at the christening of one of your children.
Yes, of which I have many. It's very simple.
Take some peppercorns. You take some English mustard and then some salt.
-And you make a rub. This rub goes all over this beautiful piece of Herefordshire beef,
but before we do that, what we have to do is we take the beef and we sear it.
And what we're going to do is we're going to leech some of the fat out as it just sears.
One thing that I've got...
about a tablespoon black peppercorns.
I'm just grinding it down cos you want it quite gravelly.
Some sea salt. About a tablespoon.
English mustard, it was built for beef, wasn't it?
We are going dead traditional on this one.
And you can't do beef without mustard or without onions.
So, all that wonderful rendered down fat...
we're going to put some butter in there and do a whole heap of fried onions to go with the beef.
It's my sort of food.
It's great! OK.
That's the bone.
We're gonna use that as a little trivet.
We've seared the beef off and now, the rub that Dave made, all you do, it's very, very simple.
Rub it nicely into the skin. And it's a good coating. Don't be frightened of it. Just rub it in.
So, here, we've got the rendered down beef juices, the fat...
the big knob of butter... and put the onions in.
And just let these sweat down till it's like a big onion cake.
Now, then, the rules of cooking beef.
Set your oven to 220 degrees centigrade, a hot oven.
Put the beef in for 30 minutes at that.
Now, after that first 30 minutes,
you turn that down to 160 degrees centigrade,
then you calculate depending on the weight of the beef.
For rare beef, it's 20 minutes per kilo.
Whatever you do, though, you need to let the beef relax.
Bring it out the oven, chill out for 15 minutes before you carve it,
and the core temperature of the meat will go up ten degrees.
This piece is two kilos.
-And we want it rare.
-Rare going on to medium rare.
So, we need that to go in now at 220 degrees for 30 minutes.
-So we want two lots of 20 minutes, that's another 40 minutes.
-An hour and a half.
-No, it's not, actually,
it's one hour and ten, total cooking time and rest for 15.
To go with our beef, we have another super traditional accompaniment, but we're making our own.
-Horseradish root. Look.
Fresh horseradish and it's a good root, that.
Horseradish? Call that horseradish. That's a root.
Excuse me, can we borrow your root?
-You certainly can.
-Did you grow that yourself?
-My mother did.
-Look at that.
We're gonna make a creamed horseradish cos that's kind of slightly mellower,
nice and sticky and it's great for a beef sandwich.
Look at the cream. You can tell the quality of the root
and the quality of the horseradish by the colour of it.
It's so, so beautiful.
We want about four teaspoons. It's going to be quite lively,
this horseradish sauce so you're not going to need much more than that.
Next step, I want a tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
And if it wasn't hot enough, a good pinch of English mustard powder.
Teaspoon of sugar.
That's just to counteract the vinegar and all the sharp things.
Salt and pepper. Guess what comes next?
Si, have a taste of this, see what you think.
Is that or is that not the best horseradish ever?
That's been half an hour now, let's have a look.
Yes. Look, that's searing up, beautifully.
So we knock that down to 160 degrees centigrade.
And as it's a two kilo piece of meat, we want it to be done rare, so we leave it now for...
20 minutes, per kilo.
-40 minutes in total cos it's a two kilo bit of meat.
And then we leave it to rest for?
-About ten, 15 minutes.
-Well, it's looking good.
-It certainly is.
Let's see if it works. Right.
What we need to do now is to put a temperature probe in that meat
to see the temperature inside.
We want about 45 degrees for rare.
It's now 60 degrees for medium.
52 degrees. 53.
That's perfect for carving. Go on, Kingy.
Oh, that for my money's perfect.
Take the bap and just press it in there...
in those juices, like so.
Look at that.
Not much of this horseradish.
We don't want to kill the beef.
-It's a work of artness.
Blob of horseradish there. Compote of onions there.
There we have it. That's our tribute to the Hereford beef, the pride of Herefordshire.
So, thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
It's time to give the local people a taste and get their verdict.
What will they make of our take on Hereford roast beef and homemade horseradish?
OK. There you go.
-It's good and rich and sort of farm-y.
I'm not normally much of a horseradish fan but this is really, really good.
Words can't describe it. It's too scrummy.
Look at that, they like the baps.
I shall be making my own horseradish in future.
-Tony, have we done you proud?
Very well cooked. It's got the sweetness there.
-You've got a bit of the horseradish, as well.
-Have we done justice to your horseradish?
-We have, indeed.
Look at the littl'un. Is that good, sweetheart?
Our beef and horseradish baps went down a treat but a bigger challenge is just around the corner.
As always, we're taking on one of the county's top chefs in their restaurant, using local ingredients
to see who can best define the taste of the region.
Local diners will decide whose dish best represents the true flavours of Herefordshire.
Our opponent today is...
head chef at The Bridge At Wilton.
Local lad, James, came to The Bridge four years ago.
His imaginative cooking is adored by locals and he's quickly gaining a national reputation.
It's great being a chef in Herefordshire because we are surrounded by the best produce.
If Herefordshire didn't have the best produce, I wouldn't use it,
but it's pointless me going anywhere else cos I can't get it better.
Lots of our produce we use is from less than ten miles away.
We use Dairy House, at Weobley, for our dairy products.
Our eggs we get from Winn's Free Range Eggs. They're not far away, at all.
My butcher, Andy Cornwall, in Ross, will call and say,
"I've got some fantastic wild boar from the Forest of Dean,"
or "The beef's particularly good at the moment."
My suppliers are always on the phone to me.
We've got a vegetable garden, our gardener tends to grow us things
that we can't pick up at market all the time, things like Jerusalem artichokes,
but also he grows the staples, root vegetables, peas, broad beans, strawberries.
The beauty of having the supplies so close is that it's so fresh.
If I want to change something on the menu, you know, I can source that ingredient within minutes.
Flavours of Herefordshire Awards we've won now for a couple of years running.
It's an award for using local produce, it's very satisfying to win,
but we do understand that we're only as good as our last meal.
To take on the bikers today, my taste of Herefordshire is...
best end of Phocle Green pork
with a twice-baked Herefordshire hop souffle and a Broome Farm perry reduction.
Here we are at The Bridge At Wilton.
I hope James knows what he's letting himself in for.
So, James, what you cooking?
What we've got is best end of Phocle Green pork,
with twice-baked Herefordshire hop souffle and a Broome Farm perry reduction.
-What we've got is the loin on the bone.
-So we're going to take it off the bone.
-Look at that there.
-That's coming off the bone lovely.
I'm not going to take any bone off this side here.
That's kind of accurate, that.
-We've got some bones there.
None of our beautiful Herefordshire produce goes in the bin.
Basically, with this dish, all we want is the eye of the meat.
When people are coming and spending good money,
they don't want to be chewing through sinew and fatty bits.
Expertly done, chef.
-It is, isn't it?
-Takes a little time. Bit fiddly.
Absolutely trounce you in the cook-off, unfortunately, gentlemen.
There's many that have said that, James. Many have said that.
These little bits in to make a bit of stock.
So, basically, all we've got there is the eye of the meat.
So this is a full larder trim now.
The finishing touch for this...
just gonna wrap it in a slice of cured ham.
-One more of those.
-Look at those.
We're gonna get these little beauties in the fridge.
What we're gonna do now is our souffles. First bake.
The beauty of a twice-baked souffle is that you get to tip it out
-and then you get a nice golden crust around it, as well.
-What have you put in here?
-A little olive oil.
OK. In here, I've got some breadcrumbs and some toasted hops.
-Now, did you know, Herefordshire produce more than half the hops in the UK?
-So unlucky Kent.
Hops give a great flavour, don't they?
-It's just a bitter note, isn't it?
What we setting fire to now?
In here we have got milk, some grated Hereford hop cheese. Just gonna melt that.
Got flour here for our souffle.
Going to pop that in there and what I've tried to do is get a more seriously cheesy flour.
-So we've taken the butter content of the souffle, so we can't make a roux anymore.
Bake the flour first, cook out the flour cos you can't cook it out in the butter for the roux.
-Bit of salt and pepper in here.
Just waiting now for our cheese to melt, even, and our milk.
Right. There's our timer for our flour.
Five minutes. Right on cue.
All of it, bang it in there.
-Right, give that a good old mix now. See it all come together.
But we still need to cook that out a little bit more.
A little blend over here, make sure there's no lumps in there. Put it back on the heat.
Cook it out a little bit more.
Just work that flour.
This is a bit of milk now I'm just adding, just to loosen the mixture.
Give it a good old mix.
See, just dropping, dropping consistency.
Bit more salt going in there, now. Pepper.
So we've got egg whites in here.
-Pinch of salt in there.
To help the egg whites break down. I'm going to whip my egg whites up.
Give them a good old whisk.
Just gonna add a little lemon juice to that.
-What does the lemon juice do?
-Just helps them rise.
-You see these just starting to come up now.
It's getting there. Egg whites going in there, so we're folding them in,
bit by bit, gently. Basically, we've got quite a bit of mixture here,
but with a souffle recipe, it doesn't divide down very well.
-So you make a big batch up.
-I've made plenty.
Here we go. So we're going to put a little bit of mixture in there.
About half full. Half full cos we've got a little extra going in there now.
We're gonna pop a little chunk of cheese, the Hereford hop, in the middle.
Now, when you cut through it, and this opens the souffle, it's going to ooze.
Now, we don't have a fan-assisted oven here, otherwise you'd have a fan-assisted oven a bit less, 175.
-And cook them for ten minutes.
This, what we're doing now, is known as a bain-marie.
-In we go. Timer on.
It's a myth you can't open the oven door when you're cooking souffles.
Just be careful. Next I get my perry on to reduce. Nice big pan on.
Now, this is Broome Farm perry.
Broome Farm is about a mile and a half that way.
If you drink too much of this you won't be able to stand up.
What I'm going to do with this, I'm gonna reduce it.
When it comes down to a certain level, I'm gonna add a little bit of glucose to it,
should thicken it up. That's very sour. We're gonna sweeten it up.
-Sweet and sour. Sweet and sour pork.
-Everyone's a winner.
Little bit of oil in there.
-Just some roughly chopped vegetables there.
-This consists of onions, carrots.
We're going to get a little bit of colour on that.
Put some caramelisation on there.
Just going to give it that sweet flavour. In with our perry.
Then we're going to reduce that down, as well.
What I'm going to do next is I'm going to put my mash on.
What I'd like to do, as well, just rinse them off, as well.
Coming down to a syrup, you can see there. Liquid is reducing nicely.
-We're gonna add some of our pear juice to that.
-These juices are all from Herefordshire.
How are these looking now?
-Yeah, happy with those. Don't mess around with salt, though. Get it in there.
So that's the mash on, the sauce and our reduction ticking over nicely.
Now going to do the crushed roots. Same principle with the mash.
I'm going to cut these into manageable size pieces.
It is quite fashionable now to serve crushed vegetables.
So we want a little bit of oil in the pan.
Weobley Dairy House butter.
Coat our vegetables in that. Salt and pepper.
Give it a good old turn over. Just turn it over.
Put a lid on top of that. That's to stop the steam coming out.
-We've got our reduction now of our sauce and you can see our perry and our juice.
It's reduced down to almost nothing.
-We're gonna add to that is reduced pork stock from the bones that we had earlier.
A little simmer of our reduced pork stock and our perry and pear juice.
And that is our sauce. Do you see how they're starting to sweat there?
-And you've got the nice sort of syrupy, the juices coming out of there. Can you smell that?
-Buttery sweet vegetables there.
Now, for a garnish for the dish, I'm going to make a little pear compote,
almost like a little chutney, a light chutney, to go with it, so it's like a posh apple sauce.
-Right, OK? I'm gonna do a couple of little pear crisps to sandwich my pear compote.
So nice thin slice.
-They're conference pears?
-Yeah, there we go. Going to dip those in syrup.
This paper is phenomenal.
Put them on to some siliconised paper and dry them out in the oven.
And you just pop them in an oven,
-turn it right down.
In the bottom.
-How long for, James?
-It's better to leave them all day, just very, very low heat. Dry them out.
Have you done some earlier, chef?
I have. Just dried out. Little bit of golden on them and you end up with something like that.
Perfect, aren't they?
We're going to peel these.
Chop them. I'm going to cook them with some perry pear juice,
a little bit of vinegar, maybe a little bit of sugar,
cos you're gonna cook it right down to, like, a jam.
So, basically, just throw this in the pan.
Bit of perry. Splash. Bit of pear juice.
-Supercharge the pears.
-Yeah, and we're gonna reduce that.
We might add a little sugar, we might not,
depends on how sweet the pears are. Put this sauce now through a cloth.
-It strains off any sediment.
So I'm going to let that just pass through into there
and we should have a lovely clear glass-like sauce,
you can see through it.
See, good old-fashioned.
-You know when the potatoes are done, stick a knife in.
Stick a knife in. Nice and soft.
Give it a shake. I'm going to put them in the oven for a minute,
-dry them out, so we get a nice firm mash.
Stops you getting a sloppy mash, then you can add more butter, hence more flavour.
So that's your 'tatoes dried.
Spuds dry. A little mash.
-We're just going to pass it through here. This just ensures there's no lumps.
No mash goes out of here without being passed.
That's seen some action, that.
-It has, hasn't it?
-It's a really dry, fluffy mash.
-That's without the butter?
-Back in the pan.
We've got a good old spoonful of butter that's gone in there.
-Can you see?
-Lots of butter, cos it's just...
-You guys know that. A little bit of a mix before service.
Make our mash up nice and fresh.
Hereford potatoes in there.
Herefordshire butter, not a lot else.
Salt and pepper. And that is it.
-Bag it up.
Cut the end. So we've got our roots there come right down. Just going to give these a good old mashing.
Put that to the side of the stove.
The moment of truth. The one that you're praying all goes wrong.
Well, I am praying.
Silicone paper in there. Give them a little shake.
-Ah, so get it out now.
-There we go.
And what happens when we reheat them in the oven for the twice-bake,
is the breadcrumbs and the hops outside toast up.
Fantastic. They look like a big macaroon.
Two pounds on there for the pork. Little bit of olive oil.
I'm going to season the other side of these, now.
Going to cook them both sides.
Again, look, you've got a nice golden ham there.
Bit of Herefordshire butter in there now.
Nice foaming butter over the top. Yeah. Just feel that.
It's still very rare...
so we're going to roast that in the oven now for a few minutes.
-They look edible, don't they?
Let's put four minutes on the timer there. Put the souffles in.
-How long do the souffles take on the second baking?
-A couple of minutes.
Purple sprouting, straight in the boiling water.
-It's all coming together now.
-That's your crushed roots.
-That's the crushed root.
-They're only gonna need another minute, but see how they're puffing back up?
There's our mash in our piping bag.
Little rosette, there.
So I'm going to drape some purple sprouts now over the mash.
-That's our perry that's reduced down.
And then finished with glucose syrup.
So there's our pear sandwich.
Nice, light chutney.
Keep it nice and warm while we do the dressing.
Just like an ice-cream sandwich.
Salt, pepper... on there like that.
So, James, just headline your dish.
We've got a best end of pork,
twice-baked Hereford hop cheese souffle
and a Broome Farm perry reduction.
Now then, that's something I would order in a restaurant.
It's fabulous. Perfectly cooked.
It's gorgeous. The hops go through that root mash, don't they?
-It's good, isn't it?
It's all very well what we think but the real judges are the locals
who will decide whose dish is best in a blind tasting coming up.
James' pork with local pears was really delicious and a great taste of the county.
We need something special to take him on.
-Hereford is home to a traditional British ingredient that's recently fallen out of favour.
And the local breeder, Tony Vaughan, is making the introductions.
They're bigger than the average garden snail, aren't they?
-Yes, they're a slightly larger cousin of them.
-They're very juicy, aren't they?
-These ones are, yes.
What is that trail?
You know when you see this trail...
Well, that's a protective trail that the snails will lay down
so that they don't rip the bottom of their foot,
so they lay this down so that it glides across a rough surface.
So, Tony, who buys your snails?
-We sell them to Heston Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White, Shane Osborn.
-Crikey. So these are top-end snails.
Yes, certainly in the West Country, they were known as wallfish
cos where they were located, they were simply knocked off the wall.
We are one of the largest consumers of snails in the world,
We just don't know it. They're just called welks and winkles.
We eat somewhere in the region of about 18,000 tonnes of these a year, yet we don't regard them as snails.
Yeah, Let's have a look at one, Tony.
-Right. Let him grab hold of you.
-I will. Are you on?
Very clean and beautiful things.
How did we used to eat them?
Certainly, steak and snails has been a tradition in this country for as long as I know,
that steaks were being sold with, or prepared with snails.
-It's a match made in heaven, isn't it?
-Could you show us how to farm snails, Tony?
Yeah. Go on then. Gonna go in to our breeding room.
The room has a light system which emulates the sunlight and dark.
The humidity in here is 85% and the temperature is 20 degrees centigrade.
It does have the atmosphere like an old mouldy cellar.
Yes, and also, it has that characteristic smell.
What do you feed them on, Tony?
We feed them on a cereal-based meal...
-..which contains everything they would normally need.
It's a dried substance, as well,
because we couldn't use wet leaves cos they'd just rot.
What I'm going to show you now is the different stages.
We've got the breeders which'll mate and lay eggs.
-It's like caviar.
-Soft, aren't they?
-These are the eggs.
They will take 14 days to hatch.
-These are the babies.
And then, gradually, they get bigger and they go from this stage
to these ones here which are about seven to ten weeks old.
So, Tony, how long from egg to table?
Roughly 20 weeks from the egg to the finished product which would be these ones here.
Right. The bag of beauties.
It's a whole world that I didn't even know existed.
-Brilliant. Thanks, Tony.
Tony's suggestion of serving snails with beef is great,
so let's crown some Hereford beef with a snail crust and a snail beignet on the side.
I think we need just one more taste of the county to really give this dish the edge. Something fruity.
Despite its French reputation, cassis is being produced in the UK, right here in Herefordshire.
And it's not just any old cassis, it's won two stars in a Gold Tastes Award 2008.
Jo Hilditch is going to show us the fruits of her labour.
Here's one of our plantations of blackcurrants.
We've got eight varieties growing on the farm.
These are not quite in full flower but we don't want to see a big frost now, that's for sure.
Why is Hereford so good for making blackcurrants?
Well, this sloping land is really good. The frost all drains away.
The quality of the soil is good.
And the sun shines, sometimes.
My family has been here about 150 years
and they started growing fruits in the 1880s when they were first here.
I know that my grandfather was supplying Smithfield Market
cos I've got wonderful old marketing material.
And then it went on from there.
My dad started supplying a local jam maker
and then this big UK drinks maker, so, it's gone from there.
We sell some locally in the supermarkets and the grocers.
We have to find a new avenue to get rid of the excess crop now.
So you've got your cassis.
Got the cassis. Come in. This is the winery.
Blackcurrant Central. Tell us about cassis cos, I mean, from going to France, we know the Kir,
-which is white wine and cassis. We know the Kir Royale, which is champagne and cassis.
-But what is it?
-It's an alcoholic product and we only make it up to 13%.
-They make it a lot stronger in France but here we do it to 13%.
-How do you make cassis?
We take our blackcurrants from the field which we harvest by machine.
We send them off to somebody to be crushed and pressed and they come back just as the pure juice.
-And then we put them in the big vats which are just next door.
-And there's about 200 gallons in each vat.
And then we start the fermentation process.
We put in some yeast and some nutrients to begin with, get it bubbling, get it going.
That takes a couple of weeks. And then we just keep it going with more yeast and maybe some more sugar.
We'll try and just keep it going up to 13%.
-Do you want to try a bit?
Oh, madam, I thought you'd never ask.
-Just a sip cos we are on the bikes.
Normally, you wouldn't drink it on its own, but it's great in cooking.
It's really good venison stew or sorbets or something like that. Enjoy.
-Oh, yeah. Thank you.
-It's not as syrupy and sweet as the French one.
-Oh, man, that's fabulous. It's got a great acidity to it.
I'd like that with ice and a glass of lemonade. Or with beef.
Yeah, because the thing is, it's not sweet, it's not sticky.
So if you made a red wine and cassis sauce,
you're not going to kill the beef, are you?
-You're not going to turn it. Your cassis rocks.
-Thank you very much.
And all the best. Good luck for using it in the cooking.
We're going to do a garlicky snail topped fillet of Hereford beef.
Served with a snail beignet and a little quenelle of spinach.
Accompanied by straw potatoes and with some roasted garlic and a cassis and red wine sauce.
But will the local diners think our dish is good enough to beat James in the blind tasting?
Snails have been eaten in this country for centuries.
OK. They went a bit out of fashion but, you know, in the olden days, they were known as wallfish,
so from this point on, gentlemen, this shall be known as a wallfish.
That's our first ingredient.
Step one, I need, first, some melted butter.
Now these snails, these are what you call blanched.
So these are blanched wallfish.
All I'm doing now is roughly chopping them.
Don't they look lovely? Finely chopped shallots.
Has to be done with care cos it's classically French, reducing a shallot to atoms.
-Well, it's a wallfish gratine, do you know what I mean?
-Bit of garlic going in there, mate.
-You can't have wallfish without garlic, can you?
-Effectively, this is a crust you're making, with breadcrumbs, butter.
-It's like a wallfish gratine.
Some breadcrumbs, which are pretty dry.
Plenty of salt on the snail wallfish.
Now what we do, melted butter...
That on now.
Can you pass the parchments?
Two bits of baking paper.
Can you pass us the rolling pin, chef? Roll this, like that...
gently. I'm not making pasta.
Thank you. Now, just put this in the freezer till it goes firm, then I'll be able to cut out roundels.
What we're going to do is straw potatoes, draw them across
and we're going to have like a julienne, small but long strips.
-Yeah, and then we're going to rinse them off
to get all of the starch off them.
So these are snails for the beignet.
A beignet, basically in English is a fritter, yeah?
Yes, like choux pastry.
What I'm gonna do, while Dave's chopping the herbs,
I'm going to take these over to the tap and rinse them cos I want the water to run clean.
I've got chervil, tarragon, parsley and thyme.
To that I'll add a good glug of olive oil...
and pepper. And leave these little fellas just to marinade for about half an hour.
Just going to do a couple of heads of garlic.
Going to start the process of our sauce.
What we've got is about 200mls of red wine.
And just to sweeten it, we put some port in there, two bay leaves,
six juniper berries in there. We're going to reduce this by half now.
Two heads of garlic, topped and tailed. Sea salt.
I'll roast that for about 20 minutes.
-This is fantastic, this product.
-Wonderful, isn't it?
When you mix that cassis with a wallfish, it can be like nitro-glycerine.
I've got to be honest, guys.
I never thought I'd see snails, Herefordshire fillet of beef
-and Herefordshire cassis on the same plate.
-You're not the only one!
-If I lose, I will put it on the menu. How's that?
So I'll make the croutons, mate.
Nice marbling in that fillet, guys.
-Isn't that beautiful?
That's reduced by about half.
I've taken the juniper berries and I'm putting the crouton in
the oil and butter, that's all I've got to say
and the rest will do itself.
Next minute you see 'em it'll be golden.
Onward. I'm going to put that back into the pan.
This is what you get in proper kitchens. Proper beef stock, isn't it? That's beef gold.
Be careful with that cos, you know, it's powerful stuff.
I'm going to put a tablespoon of cassis into there.
Look at these, like three golden doubloons.
-Clear the decks.
-I'm just about to sear these steaks off, OK?
-Nice hot pan.
This side goes on to the hot surface.
Salt on at the end. A little bit of pepper on again.
They should just lift off now lovely, look at those.
-A lovely bit of beef, that.
Now we're going to add some butter and take it off the heat.
Look how gorgeous they are.
-Now, we're going to finish them off in the oven with the snails.
So really, they can just rest, now.
The next bit of preparation before the final push is to make the batter for the beignet.
So, first thing is to get some water.
Put that on the boil and we're going to emulsify some butter in with it.
Listen, while you're doing that, I'm just going to sweat off the old spinach.
As you can see, I have seemingly achieved the impossible.
I've emulsified fat and water and made one, but the flour needs to go in. Now, I do this off the heat.
Go on. Mix it in.
This'll be better, won't it?
Now, put that back on the heat. This is the profiterole bit, isn't it?
-You've got to beat that flour in there, you've got to get it working.
-I'm working it.
Last thing you want is your shell in your eggs.
-I'm going, Kingy.
-Oh, do go.
-Is someone setting me up?
What about the whisk?
-I've passed that point of no return, now.
That's what you want. Just look at that. Strange but true.
So, mix that together.
That's it, it's got a lovely texture, hasn't it?
Two pans of hot oil.
One for the beignet, one for the straw potatoes.
Look at that. Snail butter biscuit. Look.
Wallfish, let's see if it'll cut.
-I will put these in the oven.
-Are you timing, Kingy?
I'm timing, dude. Two minutes.
Just going to test the beignet mix. Which pan do you want, Si?
-I'll take the far one.
Hasn't fallen to pieces, yet.
Right, dude, there's the timer.
-I think they may be slightly... we should finish them off under the grill.
-I think so.
I want to get the beignets in. The beignet mixture is here.
It's looking quite nice, that.
Kingy, you beauty.
So when they stop singing, means that's sizzling, means they've released all their moisture,
they're going to be nice and crisp. That's what you want.
Right, Dave, steaks are out and resting.
Beignets are nearly done. Time to get the plates and plate up.
-Got this juice in your sauce.
-Got to have green on the plate, haven't you?
That looks all right.
What can I say, gentlemen, you've surpassed yourselves.
There we have it, James. That's a taste of Herefordshire.
It's a gratine of snails on a Hereford beef fillet.
Garnished with the most lovely cassis and red wine reduction.
Snail wallfish beignet,
served with a confit garlic and buttered spinach and straw potatoes.
Have a bit of everything, chef. Look at that.
It's gutsy. It's got oomph.
Fillets, good and flavoursome.
It's nicely caramelised, juicy. Loads of garlic.
You did say there was garlic but it works. Beignet's lovely.
Straw potatoes, crispy.
And the jus is...
It's the moment of truth. The diners here will taste both dishes but without any idea of who cooked which.
First up is James' best end of Phocle Green pork with twice-baked hop souffle and a perry reduction.
-It's very delicate.
-The chutney's really, really nice with the pork.
It's really nice, these are crunchy.
First impression of the dish was fantastic. Had the wow factor.
The pear chutney topped with that little pear crisp,
it takes time to do, I'm sure, but it's well worth it.
A bit chewy, got stuck in your teeth.
You don't normally serve pears with pork although that is a wonderful alternative.
For me, it was a Herefordshire meal, with the pork, the Herefordshire hop.
Souffle was very good, very nicely double-baked and finished off and mashes were perfect.
No lumps or anything. Absolutely lovely.
I thought the pork was really well cooked.
It was really moist and I could never get it to taste like that.
They seem to like that.
Next to be served is our dish.
Quite a strange combination. You wouldn't expect snail with the beef.
I've had snails before.
Bit chewy but these ones weren't, so cooked to perfection.
The snails and everything else, I didn't enjoy at all.
I think I'd try them again, possibly with a little less garlic so you can taste the flavour more.
Cassis was very good with it. Fillet was a little bit too rare for my liking.
The crispy potatoes cos they were hard to get round. I prefer a chip.
Hello, hello. How are you?
I must say, we had a brilliant time in Herefordshire.
I mean, you've got incredible kind of landscape and rolling hills and products and cider...
-Kingy's giggling juice.
-I love it.
Well, we're going to name both dishes.
For the dish that you like the most and you felt represented Herefordshire most,
we'd like a show of hands.
For the pork dish.
So could I have a show of hands, please, for the snail, beef and cassis dish?
One. Two. Three. Four.
Five. Six. Seven.
The pork dish was James and the beef dish was ours.
We definitely need a recount.
I think that both dishes were really, really fantastic.
I think maybe some of us plumped for the snail and beef
cos the beef was the traditional Herefordshire but then with the quirkiness of the snails
but I do think that James' dish was very complex and very much fine dining and it was totally delicious.
Yeah, it was very delicious.
Absolutely. Absolutely. James, we'd just like to thank you so much.
We've learnt so much from you and thanks for having us.
The beef is an undeniable winner in this county
but James was a brilliant competitor and so impressive in the kitchen.
His food is exceptional.
Herefordshire has so much on offer and a great variety of produce. It's well worth the visit.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Si and Dave explore Herefordshire, where they cook a traditional county favourite at Goodrich Castle. They also visit a snail farm and discover English cassis. Finally, they face a cook-off against top chef James Arbourne. Restaurant diners decide who has created the best taste of Herefordshire in a blind tasting.