Si and Dave explore Essex where they cook a traditional county favourite in Southend-on-Sea. They harvest Colchester oysters and learn how to talk to turkeys.
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-We're the Hairy Bikers!
-On the road to find recipes to rev 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 Essex.
Glorious Essex! Do you know what?
In some ways Essex is the cradle of humanity for England,
as the oldest town in England is called Colchester which is in Essex.
There's so much history here, you know?
XR3Is, dude. Dagenham, Essex, Bob's your uncle.
There also is ancient foods in Essex.
They used to grow saffron in Essex. Saffron Walden, the clue's in the title.
-Look at those mudflats.
Some of the finest seafood in the country comes from there, mate.
You get oysters, lobster. You get cockles.
Well, whatever's out there, we've got to get stuck in.
On our quest to define the true flavours of Essex,
we pull into Southend-on-Sea and give the locals a taste of their great seafood.
We get a gobble on and meet some pedigree turkeys. They're not just for Christmas!
Boys, who wants to volunteer?
Kingy and I visit a traditional jam making factory
where we sample some of the fruitiest preserves in the world.
And representing the Essex in the cook-off later is Mark Baumann.
Will we be able to beat him in a blind tasting chosen by local diners?
Ah, my favourite, we're heading to the coast,
and few British seaside resorts are quite as traditional as Leigh-on-Sea.
We're on the hunt for the food that defines Essex,
and I've got a hunch it's coming from the direction of the water.
How much of this stuff here is local?
Today it's all local except for the prawns.
No! No, your squid can't be local!
Yeah, squid's local. We work down the Thames, get the odd one.
I don't think many people realise you're catching fresh squid in the Thames.
You think of the Mediterranean.
What to you is Essex on a plate?
It's got a lot of shellfish, wet fish. You've got skate, cod, bass, mullet, dabs, flounders.
Look at these clams!
I know you have oysters.
Clams they are, mate. They're all local.
-The weight in these. They're absolutely full.
-Local, yeah. Yeah, farmed in Barling Creek.
Could I have a pot of jellied eels?
Oh, they're lovely. Cheers, Richard.
-But what are the great traditional foods of Essex?
-Pie and mash.
-Pie and mash.
I always want my little dish of prawns and sit on the front. In the sunshine, preferably!
Is there anything else apart from seafood?
Lovely local ice creams called Rossis.
-Thanks a lot.
-I fancy an ice cream.
-Aye, let's have an ice cream. Yeah, can we have two cornets, please?
-Oh! The ice cream's not bad, is it?
It's amazing to walk along here and find it's all just the same as I remember as a kid, you know?
-Is there a big culture of oysters here?
Well, there seems to be now. I don't remember it then.
-Well, I mean, the thing then was scampi was posh.
And cockles were the thing that you generally had.
You can't go wrong with fish and chips.
-Eels. Jellied eels.
-Eels. Jellied eels.
In extreme conditions I come down three times in a week.
-For your cockles?
-You're an addict!
-Yes, I am definitely.
-This is my sort of thing, here.
Could I have some cockles, please?
-Do you sell oysters here?
-Could I have half a dozen, please?
And while I'm waiting can I have some shrimp?
Cheers. Thanks, mate. You see, the tradition is salt, pepper and lots
of vinegar for my monstrously sized bag of cockles.
-This is heaven.
-It is heaven. Dave's got his cockles, I've got my oysters.
I can't eat them because they make me poorly, but I can eat these. These are superb.
These are spectacular. We've got to find out where these come from, man. Really, really good.
Si, well, I'm happy enough. I've got my cockles!
Now, we let you buy your cockles, it's about time I got my oysters, mate. Let's go off and have a look.
So, Essex is seafood. Let's give the locals a taste of their cheapest cockles
and their most expensive oysters.
Colchester oysters are world famous.
The water around Mercy Island helps give them their wonderful flavour.
These shellfish delicacies have been officially farmed here since 1189.
The Colchester oystermen have been working this stretch of the county for 40 years
producing five tonnes every week,
with a steady supply going to La Gavroche and The Fat Duck.
Alex Grundy will be introducing us to these local specialities.
What makes called Colchester oysters so good?
Well, a large part of it is the position of the island.
We're at the confluence of the River Blackwater and the River Colne, which are both very muddy rivers.
They're full of plankton, minerals and nutrients.
-A freshwater and seawater mix, isn't it?
-There is a mix.
You've got the North Sea just round the coast, and you've got the fresh water from the Colne.
I'll take you down on to the boat and we'll see if we can get some oysters.
The tide's come in now so we're going to start to dredge for some oysters.
So, the dredge will basically go into the mud on the bottom
and just hook in and scrape along and the oysters come in.
OK, so we've got a lot of stone and shell, but you can see there's some
nice oysters that have come out there, nice fluted, nice size.
Knock all the shell of there and that one is ready to go.
Dan, the guy, the skipper in the boat, he's fifth...
-Fifth generation oysterman is it, Dan?
Fifth, yeah. So, what Dan doesn't know about oysters is not worth knowing, quite frankly.
-It's like Bargain Hunt, isn't it?
-It is great, isn't it?
First, this is where we purify the oysters.
They go into these tanks here.
The water, seawater, is passed through these UV lights here and that purifies the oysters.
They have to be passed through there by law for 42 hours.
It takes all the nasty bacteria out, makes sure they're good and ready to eat
and they're not going to make you feel sick.
-These are some needs native oysters. These are indigenous to the United Kingdom.
The finest ones have always grown along the South Suffolk, Kent, North Kent and Essex coastline.
-These would take four to five years to grow.
-That's the Colchester oyster with the blue.
Why don't we go outside and have a few?
I know! I know it's the obvious choice, but I'm a big lad.
-Come on, come on. Come to Daddy.
-Oh, my good gracious me!
So, I've got the native oyster, Si's got the rock oyster.
What's the differences?
This is much more of a delicacy.
It's a more expensive oyster because it takes longer to grow, because it has a more unique flavour.
The size of the muscle makes the Colchester oyster distinctive.
It gives it that extra sweetness. The rock oyster you can take out of the water all year,
but the native oyster you can only eat when there's an R in the month.
-So they keep that tradition?
-They do, by law, to protect the species.
Describe to us what they taste like.
-That's the native.
-They are absolutely sublime.
On your palette it's a far superior oyster, full stop.
The rock oyster?
but nowhere near the sophistication of flavour of the native.
Oh, this is a side of Essex I didn't know existed.
-You're welcome down any time. It's been really nice to have you down.
We've got the oysters, we've got the cockles, we've got a day at the seaside,
we've got a party!
And we've got a day out, dude, on the longest pier in Britain, Southend Pier.
We're going to Southend-on-Sea to give the locals a perfect showcase for their cockles and oysters.
A cockles chowder, oyster mornay and oysters au naturale. Oh, man, what a treat!
-Southend, here we are.
-I'm allergic to oysters, as I've said before.
-However, I'm not.
-We've been to Leigh-on-Sea and we got some of the best cockles
we've ever had and I can't stop eating them. Cockles are traditional.
Chowder is simply a soup that's been thickened with potatoes and cream.
You start with bacon, onions, potatoes, parsley, thyme and it's cracking.
But, first off we're doing dice, that's like chips but in cubes.
We're just going to get the potatoes on and we just want to blanch them
for about five minutes and there'll be plenty for everybody.
We just brown bacon off. We've got a couple of onions diced up.
Now, that's what you want, crunchy bacon bits! Put the onions into that bacon fat.
A bit more oil. There wasn't as much fat as anticipated come out of that said stripes of pig.
-Right, I'll drain these tatties off.
-You see, in here the onions are sweating and they've gone down.
They clean the pan of all those bacon bits.
On to that now we need to put about two thirds of a bottle of wine.
We've got the best part of this bottle of fine sauvignon blanc.
The alcohol's boiled off. We're ready to get on.
It's quite a lot of potatoes, but it is a chowder.
Stir the potatoes into the wine and the bacon and add a pint of milk.
-Oh, look at that.
-It really is a good thick, curdled soup.
What's happened is I've put the milk in to the wine and the sauce
has kind of, what you'd say, split, which means it goes a bit funny.
So, what you do is to put a spoonful of flour in,
stir that in, and you'll find something miraculous happens.
It was all curdled, it's gone back into one now.
Bring that to the boil.
That's looking good.
This is an oyster knife, a handy implement when dealing with an oyster.
See this little bit here,
that's the hinge. You need to get that part of your oyster knife...
..into it. Take a tea towel...
Now, it's always best to do away from yourself so that you don't
slip and stab yourself in the belly.
Put the end of the oyster knife into the oyster
and then that will lift the top off from the bowl of the oyster.
There's a little muscle here and you just need to release that as you just turn them over like that.
And chew it. Chew it, take the time to appreciate the flavour.
Don't just swallow it. That's just bad.
We're going to get on with this sauce.
It's really, really simple. As fine as you can possibly get them,
chop the shallots. Put them in a little bowl. Just cover in red wine vinegar.
Now, it's best if you let it sit for a little while so all of that onion infuses the, umm...
Infuses the vinegar. We'll do three little options,
au naturale, then we'll join do some with shallots and red wine vinegar,
one with Tabasco and a bit of Worcester sauce, why not?
Time to put in the cockles.
These are cockles as you would buy them and also the cooking liquor, that goes into the soup, as well.
I'm just going to add some nice herbs, some parsley and some thyme.
All I'm doing is I'm mashing down some of the potatoes, the chunks,
cos that's what's going to make it a nice thick chowder.
You need some seasoning. A good twist of pepper. Some salt.
Now, I've got no seasoning in it until now, so give it a fair old amount.
If it isn't good enough already, let's put half a jug of cream in.
-You know it makes sense.
-Go on, son!
-So, that's done. What how are you doing, Si?
I'm going to dress the oysters. Shallot and red wine vinegar. A little bit of Tabasco.
Just a little bit of Worcester sauce.
-OK, so they're ready, mate.
-Right, the chowder's ready.
So, the last push is the oyster mornay.
We start off with a big block of cheese.
Right, first off, to make the cheese sauce I've melted some butter,
I've got some cornflour and I'm just going to cook that for a few minutes for the flour to cook out.
What I mean when we say cook out is so it doesn't have a floury taste in it. Add some milk and whisk it in.
This will make a white sauce, which is otherwise known as a roux.
If you start, as I do, get lumps in your sauce give it a bit of a whisk.
Now, that's what you call a white sauce. Look at that.
Not to lump near. So, while we're doing that is add a load of cheese.
Sprinkle it in. Watch it go thick.
-Oh, look at that.
-You could stick tiles on with that.
Pepper in there. A nice spoonful in each oyster.
Look at that. Lovely.
You know how you get cheesy chips?
It's like cheesy oysters. A sprinkling of cheese.
Now they need to be grilled. We just grill them till they go golden.
Right, let's chuck them over there. These are just coloured nicely.
The cheese has melted. Let's say the oysters will have a little bit of heat,
-but we don't want to cook them till they're like rubber.
-And that's it.
-That's wonderful cockle chowder.
And we've got oysters au naturale.
And oyster mornay, a classic.
-There we go.
-Time to find out if our take on the seafood offerings
of Essex have hit the spot with the people of Southend.
-Have we done their produce pride?
The oyster mornay.
Oh, aye, just dig in.
I think the cheese gives it a little bit more... A different texture.
-Yeah, it's nice.
-Do you like it?
-Yeah, it's nice.
-You can taste the sea in this, it's really nice.
-I'm thinking about doing that at home.
-That was absolutely delicious.
-The big ones, the real ones.
-Can I try a little bit of lemon on it?
-Have a try.
-Squirt some of that on it.
Oh, that is unbelievable. I can actually taste the sea.
-The other one was nice, but that's was spot on.
-That's the purest way.
Should have brought them first, we could have had two!
Give it a squidge with your tongue on the way down.
That's very nice.
-It's the first time...
-The first time?
-I've tried a proper raw one, so...
Go on, dude, go on.
Here you go, girls.
Three, two, one.
What do you reckon? You're not sure, are you?
I haven't swallowed it yet.
-That's really nice.
-The cockle chowder.
-I'd definitely make this.
-Well, it's all here on your doorstep.
The north side of the Thames, mate. Wonderful food.
Our seafood feast went down a storm with the people of Southend,
and it was great to give some of the locals their first taste of Essex oysters,
but next a bigger challenge is 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.
It will be up to local diners in a blind tasting
to decide who's dish best represents the true flavours of Essex.
Our opponent today is Mark Baumann,
head chef and owner of Baumann's Brasserie in Coggeshall.
Mark began his career in the Champagne region of France,
then gained experience in various British Michelin starred kitchens,
before Peter Langham gave him the opportunity to head up his own kitchen aged just 21.
In 2003 he became a Master Chef Of Great Britain.
Top quality produce is an absolute must and it is readily available here in Essex.
My butcher operates a gate to the plate strategy.
We see the animals bred and we see how they're produced and reared
and then, ultimately, we see how they're dispatched.
It is the coast that really is the highlight.
The fishermen are going out on a daily basis
and they come and deliver to us before it reaches London, so it's a whole lot fresher.
I chair the panel of the Essex Chef Of The Year.
We launched this last year to find the best chef in Essex, let's say the second best chef in Essex!
So, there's an awful lot of talent out there. I'm just happy to keep banging the drum.
To take on the Bikers today, my taste of Essex is boned Colchester lamb
filled with lobster and basil mousse on a cheesy mashed potato.
Come on, Bikers, bring it on!
Hello there, guys.
-Hello, Mark, how are you?
-Nice to meet you, Dave.
-Hello, mate, I'm Si.
-How are you? Nice to see you.
-Very well, thanks.
-Well, welcome to Essex.
-Thanks very much.
So, Mark, headline your dish for us.
Right, I'm doing a boned and rolled loin of called Colchester lamb,
and that's going to have a lobster and basil mousse in it,
and it's going to be served on a mashed potato with mustard ham.
Everything that I'm doing today is entirely local to my area here in Essex.
I'm going to make a mousse with the chicken, the salmon.
I've just taken off the skin off the corn fed chicken breast. I've diced that up into small pieces.
Now I've got this piece of salmon. I've just taken the skin off, cut it into smallish pieces, as well.
I love the way you've kept the fat so it's all juicy.
-Absolutely right. Could you put that into the Magimix over there?
Can you give it a little bit of a whizz round?
Dave, while that's mixing, next door to that there's an egg. I want the egg white please, Dave.
-And then put a good pinch of salt into that, please.
Now, would you be kind enough to put this salmon in, please?
There you have it now. We'll leave that just for about 30 seconds.
Next to you again, Davey-boy, you'll see some double cream.
Drop it in. Keep going.
-That'll do us there. We'll leave it for another 30 seconds.
-I think we're there, now.
Turn it off, Dave. Turn it off, matey, please.
-Now, if you be kind enough to scrape that bowl out.
-Is that enough?
-Sling that over here with the double cream?
-You want to loosen it up a bit?
Yes, it is. It's going to be quite light and then after that it'll become fairly elastic.
So, we can see now that it's actually starting to get a little bit shiny.
-It is, isn't it?
-OK? And it's starting to hold itself together.
We want it to become quite tight and then we want to add a little bit more cream.
-Could you pass on the left hand herbs across, please?
-Have a smell of that.
Isn't that nice?
-Oh, that's fabulous.
-That's nice, isn't it? Oh, it's like a jar of pesto.
Dave, if you could pass me that stainless steel container, there?
I'm just going to rip the basil off here
and I'm going to rip the basil off here, like that. Can I've a good quantity of olive oil in there?
Over they're you're going to find a stick blender, OK?
While he's making a noise, from the fridge could I have the lobsters, please? OK. Two lobsters.
What I want to do is take the claws off and then we're going to just...
If you could just take that away from me and just stick that in the fridge, that would be great.
So, chaps, we're just going to pull those little claws apart like that,
and I'm sure you know that we're just going to crack the lobster
and just open it up to reveal that lovely... The meat inside there.
-And we'll do that with both...
I've got a softie!
He makes it look really easy, you know.
Going to crush that lobster shell down and then...
-They're not bad lobsters, are they?
-Aren't they beautiful?
I've just cooked these purely in salted water so that we really get a taste of the sea.
If we just get rid of these, guys, and we'll start again.
What I need to do now is I need to bang this out and this can get a little bit messy.
And if you haven't got a hammer like this, you can use a rolling pin.
We've got baby spinach and I've taken out most of the stalks.
I've got some boiling water with some salt in it. We put the salt in it to keep the colour green.
-Yeah, so it's a blanch, ten seconds, no more?
-There you've it.
In boiling salted water, we put it into iced water.
I've just strained it a bit. I'm putting it onto this cloth to get a bit more of the moisture out.
-It's heaven, isn't it?
-Actually, it is.
And I'm just going to sort of almost paint the fat, if you like.
What we need to do now is just a couple of simple things.
This is baby vegetables.
We've got some baby turnips there and over here we've got some baby carrots
-and then over here have got some leaks.
-What's up, Doc?
-I've got some caster sugar there.
What we're going to do is cook it with the sugar, add some salt and pepper.
We've got some unsalted butter which has been cut into cubes
and we'll allow them just to cook now gradually.
-What's in that pan?
-I've just taken some potatoes,
chopped them up, so we're going to make a mashed potato.
Now I need to put the mousse in and then wrap it up.
Don't forget, we've got to put the lobster in there.
-Please do, sir. I'm now just incorporating the lobster into the mousse just like that.
-Add some chives. Can I have the peppermill, Davey-boy?
I'm going to season up the meat. When you season things, do you know it's important to season from a height?
If you season too close you get big clumps.
So, when you see people seasoning like that, that's the reason.
I'm just going to spread this mousse.
I'm going to roll it over here like this, OK?
I'm going to roll it all the way around.
-It's stomach of either a cow or a sheep.
And then I'm wrapping it around like this, OK?
This should encourage the meat to stay nicely in the lamb.
-That's fabulous. That just it appears, doesn't it? I mean, it all just goes.
-It'll make it juicy.
Just to make sure that we're really extra safe and it doesn't all
fall apart, we've just got some boring old string.
-You go round twice.
And then you do this. And you want it reasonably tight.
Now, is there some butter left?
-Just a tadgel.
-And I want this pan to be nice and hot.
I'm just going to drop that into there. We want it
to be invisible by the time it's actually cooked.
You can see we're getting a little bit of flame going there.
We want to serve it nice and rare if possible. I suppose nine to 11 minutes.
I'm just going to bung that in the oven for...
-It's still alight.
-That's still alight?
-I was just going to ask if I could have those asparagus.
I'm going to put it into the boiling salted water and we're going to leave it for about 30 seconds.
We wanted nice and al dente.
So, I've just got some grated cheddar and I'm putting that into the potato.
-That's never local!
Oh! You're right! We've got some grain mustard to go in that today.
-That's a lot of mustard!
-It's going to have some good bite. Stir the mustard into the potato.
You can see we're not going to have to do too much
mashing up here. We're getting some good colour.
I'm now going to put this rosemary in the bottom of the pan.
Oh, it's like a Tuscan bonfire!
Let me just have a few more herbs, please, chaps. We've got some flat leaf parsley.
-Some! It's a tree!
If you ever think you've got enough, just double it.
-That's an Essex motto!
-If you ever think you've got enough...
-Double it. Geezer!
-Come on, son!
What we do to test it is we just put a little knife in,
not a lot of blood coming out of that. You put it onto the most sensitive part of your body,
the bottom of the lip, and if it's hot on the lip you know it's cooked, right?
-Chef, have you forgot to put the basil puree in?
-No, we didn't tell him.
Into my jus, into my demi-glace, put a load of butter into that
and I'm going to put some basil puree into the potatoes.
That should have gone into the lobster mousse.
-That's probably rested for about five, six, seven minutes?
We'll put those over there. I'm just putting a bit of that in the middle of the plate.
-Now, the moment of truth.
-Oh, yes! Oh, yeah.
-Can you see the lobster in there?
That's so nicely seasoned, as well.
Mark, can you give us the title of your dish?
Colchester loin of lamb with a lobster mousse on a basil and cheese mashed potato.
-That looks lovely, doesn't it?
The potato is so bursting with flavour.
The lamb's cooked just perfectly.
All of those flavours just go together really well.
I have to say, I was kind of thinking, umm, seafood, lamb?
Oh, really, really good.
-The lobster's still there. It hasn't been destroyed.
-No, not at all.
-It adds to it.
But this mashed potato!
It's got so much going on, but it tastes fabulous.
Yeah. It absolutely compliments all of the flavours on the dish. It's really clever food, this.
There's nothing pretentious about it.
It's all very well what we think, but the real judges are the locals,
who will decide who's dish is best in a blind tasting coming up.
Mark's dish was packed with local ingredients, so to beat him we need something really Essex.
Turkeys have been bred in the county for generations.
Hundreds of years ago they were reared here and then walked to London to be sold at market.
Paul Kelly has been breeding these birds since he was six years old and in 2007 was named
Turkeyman Of The Year. There's nothing he doesn't know about these birds.
Hello, all right? How are you?
-You look great.
-Hey, hey, hey!
-How are you, Dave? Hello, Si.
-All right, Paul? How are you?
-Come and see the turkeys.
You're gonna love them. These are the bronze turkey, the black feather type?
On the end of the feather there's a bronze sheen, that's why it's called the bronze turkey.
-Some of them have got blue heads.
-They're all males.
They go purple if they want to show off,
and also if they want to lose heat they get all the blood to the head, because turkeys don't sweat.
No fowl sweats. He's a grown male now.
-He weighs about...
-Eight or nine kilos.
Look at these little black feather stubs, that's the only reason the bronze turkey disappeared.
Back in the mid '50s, late '50s, the modern retailers wanted nice pearly white skin for the plastic bag
and they were seen to been unsightly in the skin, which of course they are.
So, in the space of four years the bronze turkey went out of fashion,
the white turkey came along and all the genetic work is being done on the white turkey now.
-The crazy thing with this is the white turkey has got the same amount of feather stubs.
-But because it's a white pigment you don't see them.
Boys, who wants to volunteer?
So, guys, what these are, these are what we called show plucked turkeys.
This is how turkeys used to be plucked and they'd go to the London markets
and if you can remember they'd actually hang them like this in butcher's shops.
We talked about black feather stubs. You can see them in the skin.
-That's the reason the bronze turkey disappeared. You can see the fat on there.
-Oh, look at that.
-If you get meat and it's got a good cover of fat on it,
that means it's mature and flavour comes with maturity.
With turkeys like yours that have been hung,
because of the fat content you don't have all that nonsense with streaky bacon and butter on there.
You just cook them and eat them.
We recommend cooking it breast down to begin with because all the fat deposits are in the back there,
and then just turn it over for the last hour of cooking to brown the breast.
Enough talk, it's time to get tasting these turkeys.
-What have we got, Paul?
-What we've got here, guys, is we've got turkey sausage.
-That's really, really good.
-This is just turkey.
In France it's coq au vin, here we call it turkey and plonk.
-Turkey au plonk!
-These are turkey...turkey testicles in a sweet chilli sauce.
-He's only joking.
-They're not really.
-It's minced turkey with Thai flavours.
-They honestly are turkey testicles.
All I can say, viewers, is turkey nuts rule.
Paul's shown us just how versatile turkey can be,
so we're going to do a ballantine of breast meat stuffed with veal and chicken livers
served on saffron mash.
But to complete this dish,
we should capitalise on Essex's strong fruit-growing heritage
and there's a place that makes brilliant use of it.
The Wilkin family have been growing and preserving fruit
on the 1,000 acre Tiptree Farm for almost 150 years.
They have over 100 different recipes for jams and jellies.
Surely this will be the place to find the final local flavour to give Mark a run for his money.
Mulberry bush, dude!
It's bad luck, you've got to go around it.
# Here we go round the mulberry bush
# Mulberry bush, mulberry bush
# Here we go round the mulberry bush on a cold and frosty morning!
# This is the way we wash our face, wash... #
Hello, Dave. Welcome to Tiptree.
-That's Si. He's going round and round the mulberry bush.
-Simon, come and meet Walter.
-Hello, Walter. Sorry about that.
-It's bad luck. See a mulberry bush, you've got to around it.
You have factory, fruit trees. There's not many food miles there!
-It's very close!
-Do you use those mulberries in your jam?
That's our sole supply of mulberry.
-Yeah. Those trees have been there about 150 years.
-Cor, they've earned their keep!
-Yes, they don't owe us anything, no!
-Do you grow other fruits?
-All the fruits that grow well in Essex.
Strawberries, raspberries, loganberries.
We've got Victoria plums, damsons.
And then on top of that we've got the old English fruits that are quite rare nowadays, medlars,
quince and the mulberry behind us.
So, you've got very traditional fruits and orchards.
Is your jam and preserve making done in the traditional way?
It is. We're cooking in open pans, on copper.
You get a better jammy flavour when you cook on copper than on stainless steel.
-So, we've kept all the traditional methods.
-Can we have a look?
Tiptree Jam sell 25 million jars a year in over 60 countries
and bountiful Essex supplies them with almost all the fruit they need.
Cor, it's very Willy Wonka!
It is a bit. You can see the jars coming through here.
These strawberries were in the field yesterday.
And then they go through the washer on to the belt. We pick out anything that shouldn't be there.
Will that end up being strawberry jam?
It will, yes, by this afternoon.
They're dancing with happiness, these strawberries!
"Oh, I'm going to make a pot of jam!"
They smell really is quite spectacular. It's lovely.
-It smells wonderful.
-How long have you been working here?
39 years in November.
-Oh, about 16.
-Linda, how long have you been?
-20 odd years.
-Go on, Linda! Hey, that's great, isn't it?
-They're good employers then, obviously.
I tell you what, after 50 years I bet you get a golden shred!
To us, it's critically important to start with fruit rather than a concentrate.
So many people now start with a concentrate and reconstitute it
in a factory to make the jelly down to marmalade and it tastes awful.
-It's like the difference between freshly squeezed orange and the concentrated orange.
Once this is cooked we take it to the press,
which is like a big sort of muslin bag. We squeeze it gently to get the juice.
You know, it's just like Granny's kitchen but on a bigger scale.
-The fruit goes in, gets squeezed,
juice comes out, makes a jam.
Lush. It's that smell, as well. It's really comforting, isn't it?
It's real fruit, isn't it?
I think it's safe to say that Dave and I are desperate now for a taste of the final product.
We'll see if we can find some we made earlier.
Oh, good man, good man. I'll follow... We'll follow you.
-Right, this bit's compulsory.
You've got some interesting things.
There's the medlars.
-There's the mulberry.
Tell me what a medlar is.
It's related to the apple and we make a jelly out of it,
so we put it through press like you saw, squeeze the juice from it and make a jelly.
Not as sweet as say a cranberry or...
What do you have this with?
I have it with white meat, pork, chicken, turkey.
-Crab apple jelly. That's one of my favourites.
-Give me a taste.
You can tell it's great fruit because it leaves a perfume on the back of your mouth.
Oh, the crab apple, it starts off sweet
and it goes to quite a sophisticated kind of sourness to it. It's lovely.
-How about making a crab apple gravy?
-Yeah. Just whip it through.
Like you do with redcurrants with venison.
-Crab apple jelly with a turkey.
It's the one for us.
Let's hope it gets you well on the way to winning.
You're going to love this. Let's headline the dish.
A ballantine of turkey stuffed with a veal and pistachio stuffing.
-Yes, with a saffron cream and garlic potatoes.
And a crab apple jelly gravy.
And roasted fine green beans with thyme and rosemary.
But will the local diners think our dish is good enough to beat Mark's in the blind tasting?
First up, I'll put my spuds on.
Just potatoes, water, boil.
But ours are going to be saffron.
Essex, Saffron Walden. Saffron, you see?
We've just got the crown of the finest Essex turkey.
-Turkey isn't just for Christmas.
-This is a game bird.
The crown is the breasts that sit on top of the bird.
A ballantine, basically, is a stuffed piece of meat.
It can either be poached or it can be roasted.
Clingfilm. Could I borrow your meat hammer?
I'm going to make a blanket of Essex smoked bacon.
While Dave's lining this up, I'm going to make a white sauce.
-We've got unsalted butter...
-We've got some cornflour.
We need a heaped teaspoon of that. We're just cooking the flour out a little bit.
Yes, I understand, yeah.
Now, this is about 150 mil of milk.
-Look at that.
-So, what we need to do now is make the veal and pistachio stuffing.
Could you process me some veal mince and some chicken livers?
Meanwhile, I shall chop up some sage leaves.
So, we're going to get a slightly sort of gamy taste into the veal,
-with the livers, is that the idea?
Fabulous. So, to that we put three chopped up sage leaves.
One finely chopped green pepper.
-Two egg whites.
-Two egg whites.
So, what... You've got the egg whites...
Kingy's going to whip them to firm peaks.
You know you add your cheddar cheese?
-This is our cheddar cheese.
-It's not from Essex, it's pistachio nuts.
-Look at the colour.
-Half a teaspoon of nutmeg, ground nutmeg. Now, salt and pepper.
Holy moly! Hey, dude, I thought... Cut that out, will you?
-That's for the mash. You should always use white pepper with mash.
It tastes better. Have you got the roux, Si?
Yes, it's there and all.
-So, we put the thick roux in there.
-One thick roux.
Now, what we need to do now is to fold the egg whites into there.
Now, Delia says when you are folding egg whites
always use a metal palette knife, then you get it folded and not mixed.
-What Delia says goes.
-You're absolutely right.
-Now we have to stuff the turkey.
-So, we put that over there.
This is good. This is nice.
This isn't cookery, this is a martial art.
-I tell you what.
How many are we feeding?
Three. It's fine.
Have you noticed, sometimes it grows bigger than you think?
Right, now foil.
I know what you're thinking at home. How is he going to get that clingfilm off?
You know what I'm thinking? How am I going to get that clingfilm off?!
Peel that off there. That's doing nicely.
-It has grown!
-Hasn't it, dude?
I need two or three layers.
Let's go tight with this second layer, Dave.
I have to admit, I didn't think it would be that big.
Now, all we need to do is to put that into a medium oven at about 150 degree Centigrade...
-For six weeks.
-No, for an hour and a half.
Why have you wrapped it up three times?
We want it to cook in that shape, but the bacon is going to look a little bit tired.
-When we unwrap it it'll be congealed.
Then we can blast it under the grill so it's golden. Oh, crikey!
-It's got some weight in that.
-I'm not surprised, dude!
All that remains is to make the trimmings.
I've got some cream in here, single cream.
Some butter. We're doing some garlic butter.
I'm just going to crush that just to release all of that lovely garlic flavour.
-And could you put that...
Now, what we want to do is take a pinch of saffron...
I'm going to bruise it just so it releases the flavour.
You can smell that!
We're just going to infuse this cream with the saffron.
-This is the most expensive ingredient in the world.
-It's more expensive than gold.
-I'm just drying the potatoes out there.
-Drier potatoes means fluffier mash.
-You've very slowly melted the butter...
..with the garlic, so you're trying to infuse the garlic.
-Yeah, absolutely right.
-Now, we'll have another infusion with green beans.
-We're going to roast them in an infused lemon oil.
-Yeah. So, first off, lemon zest. Mr King, sir?
Would you mind sizzling that zest with olive oil?
This is sounding quite nice now.
I'm worried about the presentation.
-There you are.
-I'll put some herbs. Let them sizzle.
That looks very good, chaps.
There's the beans. Have you got that oil?
Fire that onto the beans.
Nicely coloured with that wonderful fragrance.
Spread them out.
Now, they need some salt.
I've never seen a bean cooked like this. Seriously, I haven't.
-It's a beautiful idea.
-I got that idea out of a magazine.
It said once you do your beans like that, you never do them any other way.
-Right, we'll put them in the...
-Quite a hot oven.
About 180 for about 15. Oh, come on Kingy, bring out the beast!
-It hasn't shrunk!
Dude, it's a zeppelin!
-How do you know it's cooked?
-We want 70 degrees in the middle,
and I think that will do us nice.
# The temperature's rising... #
I can feel it, dude, it's there.
# We're having a party! #
-Come on, up you go.
-Up you go.
It's going to be dry. Yeah.
Could you light the grill for us, Mark?
This may look a little bit anaemic.
Now, these juices, when mixed with the crab apple jelly,
are going to make a crab apple jelly gravy.
It smells delicious.
Look at that!
Clear gorgeous loveliness!
-Shall we just leave that to rest?
You do the gravy, I'll do the potatoes. Clear the decks.
Si, all I'm going to do is pass those potatoes through a ricer.
You see here? The saffron floats to the top,
so if you didn't want it in, you just skin the lot off.
-Then you've just got the cream.
Look at this baby! Crab apple jelly.
I'm just adding the jelly a little at a time
because once it's in, you can't take it out, can you?
For the mash I'm just putting in a monstrously large knob of butter.
I'm adding the saffron cream.
Garlic butter, I don't want the big lumps of garlic in there.
Then just the seasoning. That's the mash.
Warm it through in a pan. Look at the colour. White pepper,
-which we always use with mash. Look at that!
-That looks good.
Yeah, I wasn't expecting it to be as nice as that! That's very good.
Look at the beans, Mark.
Oh, thanks for that. All we need to do now is to crisp up the turkey,
and load the piping bag up with potatoes. Let that settle.
That's it, ready for carving.
That was delicate.
-That's a good...
Yeah. Like that.
I think a bit of chervil.
That'll do it.
-And there we have it.
-Well done, guys.
Essex on a plate.
We've got a ballantine of turkey, stuffed with veal and pistachio.
Served on a cream of saffron mash with garlic butter.
And we've got the crab apple jelly gravy.
Yes. With some roasted fine beans with lemon and thyme oil. Wonderful.
And plenty for sandwiches for everybody.
Well, yes. Half of Essex, actually.
Let's start with the saffron mash because...
You don't think it perhaps looks a bit vivid?
The saffron mash is absolutely perfect. It really is.
Now, the beans, I thought this was a nice idea. Equally, I love the sauce.
The three flavours are fantastic.
I was a little bit concerned about the turkey.
Not as concerned as we were!
Because it was a big piece of meat.
We've never cooked a torpedo before.
The combination is fantastic.
I love the bacon going round the outside. That has kept the turkey succulent and juicy.
I would be prepared to give you eight out of ten for that.
It's crunch time. The diners here will taste both dishes,
but without any idea of who cooked which.
First up is Mark's lamb stuffed with the lobster mousse,
served with the cheese, mustard and basil mash.
-Shall I cut them all?
-It looked professional.
I'm not too sure about the mousse that went with it.
The lamb spoke for itself, and I thought that was great.
I've not tried to seafood and lamb together before, but I'm a convert.
I thought it had a very, very delicate flavour,
but I'm not certain whether or not it was an ideal combination.
The mousse, I felt the flavours got a bit lost in.
There was a lot of things in there and I don't think, for me,
all the flavours came out.
The mash, a very interesting combination of herbs and mustard
and I'm certainly going to try one... Pinch that one and try it at home.
It's an excellent representation of the county.
Traditionally reared meat, we've got the best of seafood,
we've got the best of locally grown seasonal vegetables.
To me, that is Essex on a plate.
This lot seem to really know their food. How will our dish go down?
Time to find out.
I thought the turkey was really bland.
And I think it was made to feel a bit more bland
because the bacon was quite strong.
I think the presentation was rather slapdash
and amateur and almost childish.
The crab apple in the jus was nice.
I liked the beans, the way they had been roasted with the garlic and herbs.
That came across very well.
The saffron and the lemon worked really well together.
Unfortunately, they overpowered almost everything else.
The mash reminded me of a few Ford Escorts I've seen
driving around Basildon before now, so that reminded me of Essex!
Well, thank you very much for having us in Essex. We've had a blast.
-I've dressed up!
-Yes, it's the first time he's put the tie on for many a year!
-We've had the right good craic.
-Yeah, especially with this man.
Now, down to the nitty gritty of it, really.
Could I have a show of hands please for the lamb dish?
That's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.
OK, good. Well, that's nine for the lamb dish.
And a show of hands for the turkey dish?
Great, smashing. That's grand.
I can announce that the lamb dish was Mark's.
It's been a pleasure to have you guys here. The Hairy Bikers!
Well, that was a bit of a landslide,
but you can't really argue with a result like that.
Mark's a brilliant chef.
Despite our thrashing, it's been a great trip round Essex
-and we've enjoyed the food, especially the cockles.
-And the oysters!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Si and Dave explore Essex where they cook a traditional county favourite in Southend-on-Sea. They harvest Colchester oysters and learn how to talk to turkeys. Finally, they face a cook-off against top chef Mark Baumann. Restaurant diners decide who has created the best taste of Essex.