Kent The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain


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Kent

Si King and Dave Myers explore Kent, where they cook a traditional county favourite at Leeds Castle, forage for wild vegetables and sample the county's fine ale.


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We're the Hairy Bikers on the road to find regional recipes to rev up your appetite.

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-We're riding county to county to discover, cook and enjoy the best of British.

-Come on!

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We're here to define the true taste of Kent.

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-We're in Kent.

-We are. Over there we have the English Channel and France,

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-and those famous white cliffs.

-Yes. Closest county to France, got to be an influence there.

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What I do know is, there's loads of history in Kent.

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-Canterbury's in Kent. The seat of religious power.

-We've got Chaucer

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and all his tales. I think, the Garden of England.

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-Let's do a bit of digging.

-Let's off, eh?

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On our quest to define the true flavours of Kent,

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we charge into Leeds Castle to cook up a traditional county favourite.

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At the oldest brewery in Britain, we test out the power of Kentish hops.

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And we take a trip to the seaside to forage for some free wild food.

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And representing Kent in the cook off later is David Pitchford.

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Will we be able to beat him using the county's finest ingredients?

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First stop on our tour of Kent is Canterbury,

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and we've heard about the local spot that brings together the very best of the county's produce.

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-The Goods Shed in Canterbury.

-Yes, a gold mine of Kentish food and suppliers.

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-Come this way.

-Come on, have a look.

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-Susanna, this is your place, isn't it?

-It is.

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What's the story behind this? How did you get here?

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This building was empty for 20 years.

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When I came to have a look at it for a restaurant, it was just too big.

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I've grown up as a farmer's daughter, blessed with having fresh fruit and veg from Mum's vegetable garden.

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It's about recreating home and childhood, really.

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It's also about lots of different people owning their own small

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enterprises and trying to create our miniature high street here.

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Try a Cox from the Cox's pippin.

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-Absolutely right.

-OK.

-That'd be great with a ploughman's lunch.

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This is the Bramley, so be prepared for this.

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That would wake you up, wouldn't it? Dear me!

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-Look at this smoked mackerel.

-The smell is amazing.

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Look at that.

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For me, though, the Dover sole, that has to symbolise Kent.

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-This is the best way to taste cheese.

-Absolutely!

-From the middle,

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-when the cheese has just been cut.

-This is cheese without the chew.

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Cheese without the chew. Wow!

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We've lost him. Guess where he is?

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He's snaffling oysters, look!

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-The free lord enjoying...

-Want one?

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No, I'm allergic. I'll have a langoustine, though.

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Fabulous! What's special about Whitstable oysters?

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They're a protected name, as in Champagne or Cornish pasty.

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Down here they're regarded almost as the gold of the sea, aren't they?

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Food for thought there. But what do the good

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people of Canterbury think is Kent's signature produce?

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What's the iconic Kentish food or ingredient?

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-Well, apples, obviously.

-Apples.

-Loads of different types of apple.

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At the Euro fair there was always Kent apples everywhere.

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We've also got cobnuts.

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You can put them in with the apple and make a nice crumble.

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That's a great idea.

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We're looking for a taste of Kent,

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something you can't find anywhere else.

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We have the huffkin, which is a traditional Kent bread roll.

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It's been around for about 300 years. It's flavoured with hops.

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This is the sausage puffkin, a puff pastry case filled with

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fantastic, locally sourced and well-seasoned sausage meat.

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-That's lovely.

-Ah!

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-What sums up Kent on a plate?

-I always like a good sausage myself.

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-Steady on, girl.

-We've only just met, you know.

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Dover sole, I guess. Cobnuts.

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That's come up twice now.

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I love cobnuts, I used to pick them as a child in the hedgerows.

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Most people said apples or Kent cobnuts, so we've got to find a way of combining them.

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Let's get inspiration from the place that specialises in both.

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We're on our way to Brogdale Farm, home to the National Fruit Collection,

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the largest collection of fruit varieties on one site in the world.

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When endangered in 1990, Prince Charles stepped in and set up

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the Brogdale Trust to ensure the 4,000 varieties of fruit here were protected.

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-John's showing us around.

-So if anybody can tell us why

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-Kent is the Garden of England, you're the man.

-I hope so.

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We're standing actually in the National Apple Collection.

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In here there's 2,300 varieties of apple.

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-Cor.

-There's about 40 varieties of Golden Delicious just in this

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little bit here, and there's about 20 or 30 varieties of the Cox apple.

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You'll notice, too, all the trees are planted north to south

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so they get equal sun all the way round.

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I can just imagine what this is like in blossom, absolutely beautiful.

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John, when we were in Canterbury, people said time and time again

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that Kent was the Garden of England and they mentioned apples, but a lot

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-of people also mentioned the Kentish cobnut. Have you got any?

-We have.

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-We've got about 40 varieties.

-What? 40 varieties of cobnut?

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-Yeah. Why don't we go and have a look at some?

-Aye.

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-I'm following you, sir.

-OK.

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Come on, lads, I know you're foodies.

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Let's get in the kitchen.

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-Hello!

-Hello!

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-Hi, Joan. Give us a kiss.

-Is that a Kent cobnut?

-That's a Kent cobnut.

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-Try one of those that we've cooked, look.

-Thank you.

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They're cooked in the microwave, just with a knob of butter, for about three minutes.

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-These are lovely.

-It brings back my youth, really,

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when we used to pinch them straight from the hedge.

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We'd take them home, and my gran would cook them in a frying pan with a bit of butter.

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Absolutely beautiful.

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Is the cobnut a hazelnut?

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It was a hazelnut years ago, but they've been bred and interbred,

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so now instead of being a tiny round thing, when they're picked green, they can be about an inch long.

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-Joan has cooked some other nice things here.

-It's a crumble.

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It's plums from our orchards, and the crumble on the top has got

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-cobnuts in it.

-Got oats as well in your crumble?

-Definitely.

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-This is lovely.

-Good!

-Lovely, hazelnutty, crumbly thing on top.

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Kentish cooking at its best. We've got another thing that

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-Joan has cooked, look.

-Cobnut meringue. Fabulous.

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-So is the cobnut ground up in the meringue?

-Yes.

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My goodness, you guys have got an appetite, haven't you?

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-An appetite for life.

-Well, there we are.

-We're in training, John.

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We're only here once. It's not the rehearsal, is it?

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Well, the humble cobnut isn't so humble after all, is it?

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It's not. It's very versatile.

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You know, John, I think we've found a little bit of the heart of Kent.

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We think the best way to combine Kent's signature ingredients

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is a traditional cobnut cake, served with an apple compote.

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It's time to get cooking, and we couldn't have a more picturesque setting.

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Oh, look, man.

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Leeds Castle. That looks like a noble place to bake a cake.

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-How's this for a nutcracker suite?

-Look at that, we're at Leeds Castle.

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-Kent cobnuts.

-And do you know why they're called cobs?

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-Cos they're round.

-Are we there, Kingy? I'm getting sore.

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-We need 300 grams.

-We've got 415. Stop!

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Would you like to taste a Kentish cobnut in all its raw glory?

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Next step is, put your nuts in a blender.

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Look at that.

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That's enough there for two cakes.

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Now then, the usual thing in making a cake, flour.

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About 450 grams.

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And you rub in a packet of butter, good, Kentish butter. Rub in till

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it goes to crumbs. If you haven't got self-raising flour, use normal,

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stick in a couple of teaspoons of baking powder.

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Whilst my friend here is rubbing the butter in to make crumbs,

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I'm going to need six eggs for this, and it's six eggs per cake.

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Good Kentish eggs.

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From a Kentish hen that lives in Kent.

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But this is like a moist cake,

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like a tea bread cake, kind of sticky inside.

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Like a teacake, like a tea bread,

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and you can put jam or honey or something with it.

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This is a great old English spice.

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-Ground ginger. Don't be shy with your ginger.

-Lovely.

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Who needs a food processor when you've got a friendly Geordie?

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-Are you doing all right?

-The butter's cold, it's freezing...

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Yes, I am actually quite enjoying this. It's very good.

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There is, of course, an easier way. You know the food processor

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that we used for the nuts? You stick your flour and butter in there and it's done.

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I'll go and have a cup of tea while mine is doing, shall I?

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It's doing great.

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-Look at that. Mint, innit?

-Mine's more golden, though. That's more processed.

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Don't forget the ginger.

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-Don't forget your ginger.

-That's why his has gone golden.

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-All good cakes contain sugar.

-How much do we need, dude?

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225 grams. In old money, about half a pound.

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That goes into the crumbs?

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-Look at that.

-Then you give it a good stir through.

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If you wanted like a worthy, thicker cake, you could use dark muscovado.

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-You could.

-It might be a bit treacly.

-Or organic cane.

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To that, add half a dozen eggs.

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I think it's important to mix them up beforehand

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so you get more distribution.

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-Have you heard them geese? Swans.

-They're black swans, aren't they?

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Shut up!

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I blame the parents.

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My mother used to do it like that. She'd clasp the bowl to her bosom.

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I look like my mother.

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-LAUGHTER

-Especially with the beard.

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Now, a little treat that we've worked into this recipe

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just to make it that bit more Hairy Bikerific...

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put half a tub of cream in. That's about 100ml in each.

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Tell you what, mate, it smells lovely.

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I think now's a good time to add nuts.

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-About right, isn't it? That'll do.

-It's a generous cake, isn't it?

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-It is very generous.

-You go to some places and you get a fruit scone,

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they'll be two currants in it. Ask them to put more in.

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-What's happened?

-I've had a bit of a kerfuffle.

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-Have you kerfuffled?

-We know this is non-stick,

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but we've had stuff stick to non-stick stuff before.

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-We have indeed.

-So, just to be sure, put a bit of butter in.

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What happens is as well, it gives us a nice crisp outside.

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Yep, it's lovely.

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We like greasing our tins.

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We like butter.

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Come on, come on, out you come. Come on now.

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You just push it around the bowl, like that.

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Remember, when it heats up, it's going to find its own level.

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-You don't want any air pockets, though.

-No.

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If you get air pockets, which is why you're pushing it around the tin, you'll get a cake with holes in it.

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The good bit.

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-Lovely.

-# Na na na naa naa. #

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Does anybody want to lick the bowl? There you are, my love.

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-Nice, isn't it?

-It is good.

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Just simply pop this in the oven at about 200 degrees centigrade for about 30 to 40 minutes.

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Right, it's time to make an apple compote to go with that cake.

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First off we need to peel apples and melt some butter.

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We're using a local apple. They're called Jongolds.

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What to do is chop it into chunks, put the apples in the butter.

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They're a dessert apple, these.

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Not a Bramley, which is really taut and stuff, but they're great because they come down really quickly.

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-They've got a big water content.

-It's a treat, isn't it?

-Yeah, 'tis.

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I'm just going to put a little bit of sugar with them.

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We don't want this to burn or caramelise. More sugar, more cinnamon.

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Again, the ginger, the cinnamon, all these flavours work together, don't they?

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They do that, don't they, though?

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Put the lid on and sweat them.

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All we need to do now is to whip up the double cream.

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Mind your scarf. They're ready to drop already, those apples.

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-There we are.

-There's something scrumptious about cream, isn't there?

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There is when it's like that.

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-Hey, honestly.

-I'm going to mash these a bit.

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-Not like chunks of apple.

-They're coming down beautiful.

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-I think the cake's done.

-Look at that.

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It's beautiful, isn't it?

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-Oh, Yes.

-I think this is done, Si.

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Are you excited?

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YES!

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Now, the moment of truth.

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OH!

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There we have it, folks. Kentish cobnut cake with an apple compote and cream.

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-Looks to me like it's time for a bit of tea.

-Great, great, thank you.

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It's the taste of Kent.

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The true taste of Kent.

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Very nice.

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-Would you like some cream and some apple as well?

-Yes, please.

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OK, well, if you hold your cake, my darling...

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Do you like it?

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-Mummy.

-Lovely favour.

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LAUGHTER

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Really nice.

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This is like a Kentish Cornish tea sort of thing.

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You've got your cake, your cream, and you've got your apple, instead of your cream and jam.

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That cobnut cake hit the spot. But now it's time for our big challenge.

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As always, we're taking on one of the county's top chefs in their restaurant,

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using local ingredients to see who can best define the taste of the region.

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It would be up to local diners to decide whose dish best represents the true flavours of Kent.

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Our opponent today is...

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David Pitchford, head chef and owner of Read's Restaurant in Faversham.

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David has held a Michelin star here for 17 years and is highly respected,

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regularly judging competitions alongside Gordon Ramsay.

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We're so fortunate to be in Kent.

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It's an absolutely great part of the country to be a chef.

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We're just 10 miles from the coast here, so fish supply is great,

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we're about 70% self-sufficient during the summer with vegetables.

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There are lots of butchers locally, which we use.

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Over the 32 years we've been here, we've built up a network of local suppliers,

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and it's the best food available in the country.

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What we're trying to do is to give people a modern, British approach with a classical background.

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We try and stipulate that all our produce must come from Kent.

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We have very knowledgeable customers these days.

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People expect for their food to be identifiable.

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They want to know where it comes from, so we'll say on our menu it's going to be Charlton Farm lamb,

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or where the asparagus comes from.

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We also encourage the customers to go out into the garden

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and see where some of the produce that they've just eaten have actually been grown.

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As a chef you go through various degrees of complication and over elaboration,

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usually when you're younger.

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As I get older, I move back to perfect simplicity.

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To take on the bikers today my dish is a celebration of Kentish lamb. Rump of lamb. Loin.

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Kidney. And a little shepherd's pie.

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Lamb cooked four ways.

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-Hi.

-Hello, David.

-Nice to see you. Welcome.

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Thank you for having us. What are you going to cook for us, Dave?

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Well, we're going to do a celebration of Kentish lamb.

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We're going to use a saddle of lamb, we're going to break it down into its component parts,

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so we're going to use the rump, the loin, the kidney, a bit of the fillet

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and a little individual shepherd's pie as well.

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So, shall we start with a bit butchery?

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As long as it's not us!

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You've got to be careful with kidneys, haven't you? That's what puts a lot of people off.

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If they're not prepped properly, then you get stringy bits...

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-And it can be very chewy.

-Yet got to core them, haven't you?

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Yes, take these little gristly bits out, as you quite rightly say.

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A self-taught butcher?

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It's one of the things you don't see so much in the trade these days.

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People tend to have suppliers who do pre-portioned meats.

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They come in, it comes in all ready. But for people of my age,

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back in the old days down in the dungeons at the Dorchester,

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it's something that every chef used to be able to do.

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-That's the rump.

-The rump's a lovely cut of lamb.

-Lots of nice flavour.

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Usually, when the muscle works a bit harder, it tastes a bit better.

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It takes a bit longer, but that's the theory, yeah.

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Right, those are the two rumps.

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-Simon, can I just get you to take the skin off those?

-Hey!

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-Hold on a minute.

-Simon and David.

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Dave and Si. Si and Dave. If we lose this, we've lost our jobs.

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OK, what we're going to do now is take the loin off.

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A nice, sharp knife helps.

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While Simon is taking the skin off the rumps, I just want to take it off the loin as well.

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The reason we do that is because the skin tightens up during the cooking process.

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Is that the fillet, David?

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That's the fillet, this one, yes.

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You can actually do that without using a knife, really, because it usually pulls off.

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Simon, have we got the rump?

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Let's have that. OK, lovely. Let me move some of this away.

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What I'm going to do now is try and use some of these pieces,

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because we're going to make an individual shepherd's pie.

0:18:000:18:04

So I'm going to butcher these little pieces out

0:18:040:18:07

so we can slowly braise them while we're doing everything else.

0:18:070:18:10

And a shepherd's pie is always lamb, because a shepherd doesn't do beef mince. That's a cottage pie.

0:18:100:18:17

You'd be surprised how many people don't know that.

0:18:170:18:19

So I'm going to get that on to cook.

0:18:190:18:22

-There we go.

-So what have you put that in, David?

0:18:220:18:25

-A bit of stock.

-Just a little bit of stock.

-Chicken stock.

0:18:250:18:28

So, David, what have you put into the pan there now?

0:18:280:18:33

A little bit of olive oil, and we're just sealing the meat on the outside.

0:18:330:18:36

The two rumps and the one loin.

0:18:360:18:39

Then we're just going to turn that over. I even seal the end pieces as well.

0:18:390:18:45

Providing you rest it correctly after cooking, you keep the juices.

0:18:450:18:50

We're just going to transfer that to the oven.

0:18:500:18:53

Fillet's going in now.

0:18:530:18:55

-That's just in olive oil, yeah?

-Just in a little olive oil.

0:18:550:18:57

Each chef that we've visited has been so free with their information.

0:18:570:19:02

It's been brilliant just to see some of the different techniques.

0:19:020:19:06

Actually, in my day, you were talking about the 60s,

0:19:060:19:08

some chefs used to turn their backs when they used to do things

0:19:080:19:11

and wouldn't let the young chefs see them because they thought they were protecting their jobs.

0:19:110:19:15

OK, they only need a very short cooking time.

0:19:150:19:17

So we're done there now. Also we can put the kidneys.

0:19:170:19:20

They'll take next to nothing, won't they?

0:19:200:19:23

That's it, yeah.

0:19:230:19:25

OK, now I'm going to put each of the component parts on a little separate garnish.

0:19:250:19:30

Do you have a calm kitchen or are you a screaming kitchen?

0:19:300:19:32

No, we're not. We don't allow lots of the confrontational stuff that goes on in some of the kitchens.

0:19:320:19:36

You see guys throwing things around and being nasty to each other,

0:19:360:19:40

and you also see confrontation between waiters and chefs. We won't have that here.

0:19:400:19:45

I'll just let that rest.

0:19:460:19:48

What we've got now is some leaf spinach.

0:19:480:19:53

-So you're blanching that in water?

-Blanching that in water, yeah.

0:19:530:19:58

We're putting in the courgettes, again, in a little bit of olive oil.

0:19:580:20:03

Then I'm going to pour the excess oil off and just bind it together with tomato.

0:20:030:20:07

So it's like a Provencal thing really.

0:20:070:20:10

We're going to take this for Simon so he can chop the lamb up into a little dice.

0:20:100:20:15

-And that diced lamb will make the shepherd's pie?

-Yeah. That's it.

0:20:150:20:19

We need to get the lamb out of the oven as well.

0:20:190:20:24

-Look at that!

-Oh, Mum!

0:20:240:20:26

OK. And we're just going to put that out there to rest.

0:20:260:20:29

You just poked it and you know by the feel of the meat that it's cooked?

0:20:290:20:33

That's right, yeah. I'm just going to bind this courgette with a little bit of tomato.

0:20:330:20:38

So then we can just pour that on the side.

0:20:380:20:41

The spinach needs to come out now.

0:20:410:20:43

So what we have to do is to plunge it into iced water, which stops it cooking.

0:20:430:20:48

We then squeeze it out and we can reheat it very quick.

0:20:480:20:51

Simon will squeeze that out for me hopefully.

0:20:510:20:54

What Simon's done here is to chop the lamb we cooked into little pieces,

0:20:540:20:59

and all we're going to do now is add a bit of reduced lamb stock,

0:20:590:21:04

which I've got here, and we're just going to heat that...

0:21:040:21:07

Cor, look at that.

0:21:070:21:09

-And that will make the shepherd's pie.

-Yeah.

0:21:090:21:12

What I'm going to do is leave that on the side to slowly melt down,

0:21:120:21:15

and that should be ready to pipe the potato on top.

0:21:150:21:19

I didn't think you'd want to watch me making mashed potato.

0:21:190:21:25

There you go. We'll put a bit in that bag ready to pipe that.

0:21:250:21:28

And in the meantime, we're just going get the spinach and gently reheat that in butter.

0:21:280:21:34

The only thing I need to do now is reheat flageolet beans.

0:21:340:21:37

We soak them overnight, and then just simmer them until they're cooked.

0:21:370:21:43

-I'm just going to start the individual shepherd's pie.

-Oh, yes!

0:21:430:21:47

That's bursting with flavour.

0:21:470:21:49

I can taste it from here!

0:21:490:21:52

-Have you got that, Kingy?

-No, I haven't.

0:21:520:21:54

Stick your head there.

0:21:540:21:56

-Oh, what?!

-Then we have the mashed potato.

0:21:560:21:59

Little treasures.

0:21:590:22:01

And then we're going to put it under the salamander, and we're just going to glaze that and cook it.

0:22:010:22:08

Beautiful.

0:22:080:22:09

Right, we're going to assemble the dish now.

0:22:130:22:15

-Lovely. I think spinach and lamb go together beautifully.

-They do. Here we have the rump.

0:22:150:22:21

Add a little bit of the flageolet beans.

0:22:220:22:26

-Just cut this.

-Is that the fillet?

0:22:270:22:30

That's the fillet as well.

0:22:300:22:32

-Little kidney on the corner.

-Look at it!

0:22:320:22:34

A little lamb's kidney.

0:22:340:22:36

And then, finally, two slices each of the loin.

0:22:420:22:46

Right. And the sauce is a simple reduction.

0:22:470:22:50

Is that the lamb stock that's been cooked for a long time?

0:22:500:22:52

Yeah, that's it, overnight, with the bones and fat because we get flavour from lamb from the fat.

0:22:520:22:58

There you go. A celebration of Kentish lamb.

0:22:580:23:01

Fantastic, absolutely fantastic, chef.

0:23:010:23:04

Let's try the shepherd's. Look at that.

0:23:070:23:10

It was never like this at school.

0:23:100:23:12

It's a powerful flavour, but it's like David said, it's not overpowering.

0:23:150:23:19

What I like about it is David's confidence in letting the produce speak for itself.

0:23:190:23:23

Kidney. It's great having the big puddle of gravy that you can soak it in.

0:23:250:23:30

Loin and the beans.

0:23:310:23:34

The fillet is just superb.

0:23:340:23:36

You can go from one back to the other.

0:23:360:23:38

-Yeah, you can.

-None of the flavours jar or clash.

0:23:380:23:40

The spinach is great.

0:23:420:23:44

The only chance we've got is to out-Kent the Kentish man.

0:23:440:23:50

-That's not going to be easy, is it?!

-Nah.

0:23:500:23:53

But it's the locals who will decide whose dish is best in a blind tasting coming up.

0:23:530:23:58

What better start than hops and beer? Hops were first brought to Kent by the Romans

0:23:580:24:03

and have been used for brewing beer here since the 16th century.

0:24:030:24:07

We're here to see the oldest brewery in England, Shepherd Neame.

0:24:080:24:11

It's in the air here!

0:24:110:24:14

This is the place, mate! Smell that!

0:24:140:24:17

Hops, dude, hops!

0:24:170:24:18

Hops!

0:24:180:24:20

-Fancy a pint?

-I wouldn't mind!

0:24:200:24:24

Faversham brewery was founded in 1698.

0:24:240:24:27

We're being shown around by master brewer David Holmes.

0:24:270:24:30

Oh, amazing, David!

0:24:340:24:36

These are our mash stones, you're on the brewhouse now.

0:24:360:24:39

So, David, how do you make beer?

0:24:390:24:42

There are four things that you use if you're making beer, water, of course, malted barley,

0:24:420:24:47

hops and yeast. So we've taken some barley, which was grown in Kent, it was converted into malt first,

0:24:470:24:54

then we've crushed it and mixed it with some hot water and it looks rather like a huge vat of porridge.

0:24:540:24:59

It sits there for an hour while the natural enzymes present in the malt do their job,

0:24:590:25:04

and at the end of that process I want to take away the liquid to make the beer with.

0:25:040:25:07

-And what we've got left here is the spent grain. We don't waste that, it's sold as cattle food.

-Brilliant.

0:25:070:25:12

-So what's next?

-Well, we've now got a liquid, which we call "wort",

0:25:120:25:16

we now need to make it bitter, so we add the hops and we do that just round the corner.

0:25:160:25:22

In the meanwhile, we move that wort through these pipes and we've brought it into one of two coppers,

0:25:220:25:29

and this is a very important stage in the brewing process.

0:25:290:25:32

We add the hops here. Hops give beer a huge amount of character,

0:25:320:25:35

both in terms of its taste, the bitterness, and the aroma.

0:25:350:25:39

We source all of our hops from Kent.

0:25:390:25:42

This is a sample of the crop we just picked, in 2008.

0:25:420:25:47

These are English east Kent goldings and they're renowned the world over for their fine aroma.

0:25:470:25:52

Of course, one of the great thing about hops is they have a natural antibiotic character,

0:25:520:25:58

so they keep all the bugs out of the beer.

0:25:580:26:01

The real way to find out whether a hop's got much aroma is to really rub it...

0:26:010:26:07

That's got aroma!

0:26:070:26:09

And then get a smell of that. That is just to die for.

0:26:090:26:12

That is wonderful.

0:26:120:26:14

So we've added the hops to the coppers, we've made the beer.

0:26:140:26:16

-What happens next?

-Well, if you're making an English ale, we add the yeast, and after one week

0:26:160:26:22

it's converted those sugars into alcohol, a bit of carbon dioxide, and we've got a tank of beer.

0:26:220:26:27

Is there any chance of having a look, very closely, at the inside of a cask?

0:26:270:26:30

That's a fantastic idea! Let's go!

0:26:300:26:33

I'll follow you.

0:26:330:26:35

-So where are we going, David?

-I thought we might try the Brewers Sample Room.

0:26:350:26:37

-Why don't we try some?

-Yeah.

0:26:370:26:40

Of course, the idea is you have a good look at it, you can see it's nice and bright at the bottom.

0:26:400:26:46

This is the Spitfire ale.

0:26:460:26:48

It's very dry on the palate because it's packed full of English hops,

0:26:480:26:52

and it's slightly malty and sweet and hopefully a bit of toffee coming through.

0:26:520:26:55

Look, at home, we're having about four sips of beer,

0:26:550:26:58

so don't tell us off for the bikes because we're being really careful.

0:26:580:27:01

OK, why don't we try something a little bit different?

0:27:010:27:04

This is our spring beer, which is called Early Bird.

0:27:040:27:07

It's slightly lighter in colour than our other beers,

0:27:070:27:10

but also you get that beautiful, fresh hop coming through, which starts to remind you of Spring.

0:27:100:27:16

We need one of your beers as a flavour of Kent.

0:27:160:27:19

We've got a very special beer called 1698. Why don't we try that one?

0:27:190:27:23

Lots of different layers of both aroma and flavour in this beer.

0:27:230:27:26

It's very strong, 6.5% abv.

0:27:260:27:29

Being a stronger beer, you're going to get more of...some fruit...

0:27:290:27:35

-Raisins.

-Yeah. It's definitely got raisins on this one.

0:27:350:27:38

So I think that might do the job.

0:27:380:27:40

That is Kent in a glass. I think we've got it, mate.

0:27:400:27:43

-We have.

-CHEERS!

0:27:430:27:45

Inspired by hops, we'll make a beer sabayon, an egg-based sauce to accompany Kent's finest Dover sole.

0:27:450:27:52

But we need another extra special ingredient to send their taste buds wild!

0:27:520:27:57

We're meeting a professional forager, who earns his living

0:28:010:28:04

exploring the landscape for the best in wild food, Fergus Drennan.

0:28:040:28:09

-What if he's a mad hippy?

-There he is, he's over there!

0:28:090:28:11

The fella with the basket. He looks quite normal.

0:28:110:28:14

You wouldn't be the Hairy Bikers, would you?!

0:28:140:28:16

Thanks for meeting us, Fergus. It's nice to meet you.

0:28:180:28:21

-Have you got anything yet?

-I haven't yet, but there's lots to forage, so hopefully we can fill these up.

0:28:210:28:26

Fergus, we're looking for something to go with Dover sole.

0:28:260:28:28

Look at this. This is sea purslane.

0:28:280:28:30

You can fry it, you can poach it, you can eat it raw.

0:28:300:28:33

And because it normally grows in salt marsh habitat, it draws up the natural salt in the water.

0:28:330:28:39

-It reminds me of samphire.

-Yeah, a little bit, because it has that salty flavour.

-Wow!

0:28:390:28:43

-Ah!

-LAUGHTER

0:28:460:28:48

-Here's a nice little patch.

-Oh, aye. Look at this.

0:28:480:28:51

The best way to harvest this is to clump them together, just cut away at the top of the stalks.

0:28:510:28:58

Then shake out any bits of debris.

0:28:580:29:01

Fergus, is it OK, basically, to go around and pick wherever you want?

0:29:010:29:05

There's all sorts of things you've got to be aware of.

0:29:050:29:08

Contamination by animals, whether it's rats or dogs, but also pesticides.

0:29:080:29:13

From a legal point of view, if you've got the permission of the land owner, you can pick any plants.

0:29:130:29:18

There's a couple of plants by the coast, which I think it would be a real mistake if I didn't show you.

0:29:190:29:24

-Brilliant.

-This is probably one of the best wild foods, particularly if you're new to wild food.

0:29:240:29:29

-It's called sea beet, or some people call it wild spinach.

-Right.

0:29:290:29:33

But because it has to withstand the spray of the sea,

0:29:330:29:36

it has that extra thickness and waxiness to withstand the salt spray.

0:29:360:29:40

And you can just eat this now?

0:29:400:29:42

-It's much better cooked.

-Brilliant.

0:29:420:29:45

So what about this here?

0:29:450:29:47

-What's this?

-This is called Alexander's.

0:29:470:29:49

Just now, it's perfect season.

0:29:490:29:51

Not to everyone's liking because it's very pungent.

0:29:510:29:53

What you'd really want to go for is what's called the blanche part,

0:29:530:29:58

the part that hasn't been exposed to light, so it's sweeter, more tender.

0:29:580:30:02

Perfect vegetable. You could steam that.

0:30:020:30:04

-Oh, it's very pleasant.

-Are you sure?!

0:30:070:30:10

Ah, no, there is an aftertaste.

0:30:100:30:12

It's quite acrid.

0:30:120:30:14

There's a little bitterness in there, which mellows on cooking.

0:30:140:30:18

While we're by the coast, we're going to have to get some seaweed.

0:30:180:30:21

-Oh, brilliant!

-Because we're an island, but culturally we haven't really taken to seaweed.

0:30:210:30:28

Mind you, we have trouble taking to fish half the time, don't we?!

0:30:280:30:30

Some do have a traditional view, such as laver for laverbread.

0:30:300:30:36

This is one that doesn't get a good look in.

0:30:360:30:38

This is bladder wrack. It's very easy to identify.

0:30:380:30:41

-It's called "toothed" or "serrated".

-Yeah.

0:30:410:30:44

How would you eat that, Fergus?

0:30:440:30:46

You can eat this in all sorts of ways. The simplest way is to wash off the sand in the sea,

0:30:460:30:50

dry it in the sun, break it up and have it like healthy crisps.

0:30:500:30:54

But because seaweeds have very different textures they take different times to cook,

0:30:540:30:57

and I find any seaweed is delicious if you deep fry.

0:30:570:31:00

I think a nice nest of deep-fried seaweed would be fab.

0:31:000:31:04

Well, Fergus, it doesn't get any more local and fresher than this.

0:31:070:31:10

I think this has given us the edge.

0:31:100:31:13

-GONG SOUNDS

-Where did you get that?

-I borrowed it.

0:31:140:31:17

What are we going to cook?

0:31:170:31:20

-We're going to do Dover sole...

-with a Kentish-based sabayon...

-Kentish coastal veg...

0:31:200:31:25

With potato noisettes, with just a brindling of sea purslane.

0:31:250:31:30

It will be up to local diners to decide whose dish best represents the true flavours of Kent.

0:31:300:31:36

This is a Dover sole.

0:31:360:31:38

-We want the fillets. The fish at this time of year, there's a lot of roe.

-It's a lot.

0:31:380:31:44

So I reckon the best fillets are going to be the ones on the top.

0:31:440:31:47

So, while Dave's filleting the fish, I'm going to prep a couple of bats.

0:31:470:31:50

Ones going to be with egg.

0:31:500:31:53

Just trim that off.

0:31:540:31:56

-Look at that.

-Going to put that on that tray.

0:31:560:32:01

If that was me doing that, I'd actually whip that skin off.

0:32:010:32:03

Yeah? Yeah, go on.

0:32:030:32:06

A little tip... is to take that, like that,

0:32:060:32:11

and then just loosen the skin just a little bit, and then, with two cloths,

0:32:110:32:19

that's it, and you'll find it's much easier to fillet that.

0:32:190:32:23

-You don't mind me showing you that, do you?

-No, I'm very grateful. Can you do that again?!

0:32:230:32:27

That was good, that!

0:32:270:32:29

And then I'm going to prepare a simple savoury flour.

0:32:290:32:34

All that goes into that is white flour, a little bit of seasoning and just a little bit of smoked paprika.

0:32:340:32:40

-I'm going to have a go at skinning...

-If you cut that end piece of first with scissors...

0:32:400:32:46

-Now scrape.

-That's it.

0:32:460:32:49

That's the idea. Then two clothes.

0:32:490:32:52

-Yeah. Like that.

-Yeah.

0:32:520:32:55

-That's it.

-Come on, pet!

0:32:550:32:57

You know you want to! Look at that!

0:32:570:33:00

-Look at that.

-Have you seen it?!

0:33:000:33:03

-Well done.

-And fillet.

0:33:030:33:06

Look at that.

0:33:060:33:08

There we have it, six fillets. The finest Dover sole.

0:33:080:33:12

The next bit, we're trying to reinvent the noisette potato.

0:33:120:33:16

It used to be everywhere, little balls of golden loveliness.

0:33:160:33:19

-We've got a little treat with our noisettes, haven't we?

-We so have.

0:33:190:33:23

-Look at this. Sea purslane.

-You don't get that down the supermarket.

-You don't.

0:33:230:33:28

Have a taste.

0:33:280:33:31

Just eat the lobes, not the stalk.

0:33:310:33:33

-It's not unpleasant.

-Actually, it is nice.

0:33:330:33:36

-It's got a lovely flavour.

-This is a melon baller, or a Parisienne.

0:33:360:33:41

And that's what you use for your noisette potatoes.

0:33:410:33:43

You get your potato, you sink it in with vengeance,

0:33:430:33:47

turn your ball around, and out pops a ball of potato.

0:33:470:33:51

And that's your noisette.

0:33:510:33:53

BLEEP!

0:33:530:33:55

It's sharp, this. How are you getting on with that?

0:33:550:33:58

We're nearly about halfway with that.

0:33:580:34:01

Shall I give you a hand as well? And then if you beat me, I can say that I helped you win.

0:34:010:34:06

I might try and use this in something because it's not something I've used before.

0:34:060:34:10

Keep your balls under water.

0:34:100:34:12

-So they don't go brown.

-And after a while you end up with that.

0:34:120:34:16

What we need to do with these is toss them until golden in butter and olive oil,

0:34:160:34:19

stick them in the oven for 15 minutes.

0:34:190:34:22

They're great!

0:34:240:34:27

This is posh fish and chips, really.

0:34:270:34:29

-Now we're onto two seaside treats, the Alexanders...

-And the sea beet.

0:34:300:34:34

That's the sea beet.

0:34:340:34:36

We're going to make a puree out of this, like spinach.

0:34:360:34:39

-Think spinach, but better.

-There should be a slight bitterness to it.

0:34:390:34:43

That comes out while we blanche it.

0:34:430:34:45

You want this lovely leaf here, and that's the bit you go...

0:34:450:34:50

if you were in your own kitchen. But we're not, so I better go and pick it up. I won't be a minute!

0:34:500:34:55

These are called sea Alexanders.

0:34:550:34:57

What we're going to do is blanche the shoots, and then toss in lemon and butter, and use it as a garnish.

0:34:570:35:04

-David, have you ever used any of these?

-I haven't, no.

0:35:040:35:08

I'd be interested to see how that one cooks up.

0:35:080:35:11

You're not the only one!

0:35:110:35:13

-I'll put this in, Dave.

-Right.

0:35:150:35:17

It's a wonderful green colour.

0:35:250:35:28

-Are you there?

-We're there.

0:35:280:35:30

It'll need the usual butter and good things to bring it to life properly.

0:35:300:35:34

Right, I'm going to go in and just blanche these Alexanders for about 90 seconds.

0:35:340:35:40

Plop.

0:35:400:35:42

We'll put this in to the liquidiser. A knob of this.

0:35:420:35:47

These are the Alexanders.

0:35:480:35:50

Just a couple of those on each fillet of sole.

0:35:500:35:52

-That is a beautiful colour.

-That is lovely, isn't it?

0:35:520:35:55

The next one in the seaweed fest, this is serrated or tooth bladder wrack.

0:35:570:36:02

What we'll do is shred this very fine and deep fry it. I just hope this works.

0:36:020:36:06

If it doesn't, we're going to get egg on our chops.

0:36:060:36:11

-It's not going to go through, is it?

-Not a chance.

0:36:110:36:15

To go with this, we're going to crispify some kale.

0:36:150:36:18

How's it going, Si?

0:36:180:36:20

I think I can't get anything more...

0:36:200:36:22

Out of that. I agree.

0:36:220:36:25

Is that it?

0:36:250:36:27

A bit more.

0:36:270:36:29

-Well done, sir.

-It's over to the deep fryer.

0:36:290:36:32

-Here we go.

-Right. Have faith.

0:36:320:36:35

Ready?

0:36:350:36:36

-Does it crisp up?

-Yeah.

0:36:410:36:43

Yeah, crispy.

0:36:430:36:45

That's nice.

0:36:450:36:47

Now, we've got a handful of seaweed. Shall we just put it in?

0:36:470:36:49

Just whack it in, see what happens.

0:36:490:36:51

-It's gonna go mental.

-It is.

-Don't do this at home.

0:36:510:36:53

No. We're really bad.

0:36:530:36:56

It lulls you into a false sense of security for a minute.

0:36:560:37:01

-It does.

-That could go.

0:37:010:37:02

Here we go, boys.

0:37:070:37:09

-No, it's not right. This poor fella's kitchen.

-I'm sorry.

0:37:110:37:15

It's got it in for you.

0:37:150:37:17

You couldn't serve that! It's greasy and terrible! Oh, man!

0:37:220:37:26

No, don't! Dry it off. Hang on!

0:37:260:37:29

That's all we've got to serve. What do you reckon, chef?

0:37:290:37:32

I think we should all give up while we're still alive is what I think we ought to do.

0:37:320:37:36

'The seaweed exploded because it wasn't completely dried out, and Fergus warned us of this.

0:37:360:37:42

'Don't make the same mistake as us.'

0:37:420:37:43

-You're doing the sabayon.

-We've got some water in a pan, and just let that butter melt gently.

0:37:430:37:48

Look at that, mate.

0:37:480:37:51

-That's beautiful. Woof!

-Straight down, lovely.

0:37:510:37:54

So, the egg yolks.

0:37:540:37:57

Little beads of the sea purslane

0:38:000:38:02

Hold on... I'm not there!

0:38:040:38:06

-Nah, I've naffed it up.

-What?!

0:38:060:38:08

It's scrambled eggs. That's too hot.

0:38:080:38:10

-So, do that again.

-Right.

0:38:100:38:14

-David?

-Yeah?

-Have you got any tips?

0:38:140:38:16

When I'm making a sabayon, you need a bit of froth. This is some of your beer, yeah?

0:38:160:38:20

-Yes.

-I would put some of your beer in there.

0:38:200:38:23

Whisk that until you get a froth.

0:38:230:38:25

A little bit more beer.

0:38:280:38:30

Now this is what you want. Once you've got your froth, you can put that on the heat now.

0:38:320:38:36

If you're adding the lemon juice, do it right at the end so as you can stop it cooking.

0:38:360:38:43

Fish.

0:38:430:38:45

-It's hard work, this.

-Yeah, good though.

0:38:450:38:48

What I'd do now, if you're water's boiling, I'd take it off that water.

0:38:480:38:52

Just continue a little bit. Put it back bit by bit,

0:38:520:38:56

-but every now and then take it off, otherwise you're going to get scrambled egg in ten seconds.

-Right.

0:38:560:39:00

-Right, shall I put the fish on?

-Yes, please, Dave.

0:39:000:39:04

Little bit of lemon juice.

0:39:060:39:08

Some chives to it.

0:39:080:39:11

-Those fillets of Dover sole are lovely.

-Yeah.

0:39:120:39:15

-I think that's perfect.

-Thanks for that, David.

0:39:150:39:18

-A masterclass in sabayon.

-Fabulous.

0:39:180:39:21

I think that's ready, mate. Great.

0:39:240:39:26

Seaweed.

0:39:260:39:28

Pomme noisettes. Sea purslane. Alexanders.

0:39:310:39:35

Now, I'm no good at this. Are you?

0:39:370:39:39

Go on, give it a go.

0:39:390:39:42

Just bold, bold.

0:39:420:39:45

The sabayon.

0:39:470:39:48

Just, you know...

0:39:510:39:54

-I'm not sure.

-Neither am I.

0:39:540:39:57

Is that how you pictured it?

0:39:570:39:59

-No.

-No?!

0:39:590:40:01

-There we have it!

-Dover sole...

-With a beer sabayon.

0:40:020:40:06

And Kentish coastal veg...

0:40:060:40:09

-And noisette potatoes, with sea purslane.

-Yes.

0:40:090:40:12

That's Kent on a plate.

0:40:120:40:14

Righto, chief, have a go.

0:40:140:40:16

Actually, that is good fish, I have to say.

0:40:190:40:23

That's ten out of ten stuff, that is.

0:40:230:40:25

What's your sabayon like?!

0:40:270:40:29

It could have done just with a bit more of the beer because it was a very hoppy smell.

0:40:320:40:36

But it didn't really come through in the flavour.

0:40:360:40:39

We use the curly kale, but we don't fry it. So...

0:40:390:40:43

-Oh, it's nice fried.

-I think that really works as well.

0:40:430:40:46

Try the Alexanders.

0:40:460:40:49

I would actually use those.

0:40:490:40:51

How about the green monster hiding at the far side?

0:40:510:40:54

Let's go for the sea beet!

0:40:540:40:55

All that work. Actually, it's a good flavour, isn't it?

0:40:550:40:59

-In fact, the seasoning has really brought that out.

-Yeah.

0:40:590:41:03

Let's try a nuclear explosion of seaweed there.

0:41:030:41:08

And that's crisped up.

0:41:080:41:10

It is good though!

0:41:100:41:11

Listen, I think I'll be struggling, because I think that's a good dish.

0:41:110:41:16

It's crunch time. The diners here will taste both dishes, but without any idea who cooked which.

0:41:160:41:22

First up is David's celebration of Kentish lamb.

0:41:220:41:25

CHATTERING

0:41:250:41:27

Mmm.

0:41:290:41:31

That's so soft.

0:41:310:41:33

The dish was absolutely delicious.

0:41:340:41:36

I liked the fillet, the flageolet beans, a lovely creamy texture.

0:41:360:41:40

The moistness of the kidney was a revelation, that was something new, I'd never tasted kidney like that.

0:41:400:41:45

A real pity there was gravy across the whole dish,

0:41:450:41:48

which ended up blending all the different sections for me.

0:41:480:41:51

It had component parts, but whether it actually hung together as a single dish I was unconvinced about.

0:41:510:41:55

I love shepherd's pie, but I prefer it a little chunkier.

0:41:550:41:59

Hmm. Mixed reviews there. Now it's out turn. Fingers crossed.

0:41:590:42:03

So many different textures on that plate.

0:42:030:42:07

-So many good flavours on there.

-That's really nice.

0:42:070:42:11

The first thing I noticed as it was brought to the table was the aroma, which just blew you away.

0:42:110:42:16

The fish was delicate.

0:42:160:42:18

I couldn't have told you it was beer sauce, but it was lovely sauce.

0:42:180:42:21

The beet, which initially I thought was spinach, was absolutely fab.

0:42:210:42:25

The really amazing thing is, the Alexander, it's a tiny thing,

0:42:250:42:29

but it has such a lot of flavour all encapsulated in that little slither.

0:42:290:42:33

Using all the seaside vegetables, it's Kent.

0:42:330:42:37

Dover sole. Kent on a plate.

0:42:370:42:39

-Hello! How are you?!

-Hiya!

0:42:390:42:43

Firstly, I'd like to thank you all for letting us be in your lovely county. We've had a ball.

0:42:460:42:51

-We have.

-Great beer, great food.

0:42:510:42:53

And we'd also like to say a very big thank you to David.

0:42:530:42:57

It now falls to you guys to decide what best represents Kent on a plate.

0:42:570:43:04

For the lamb dish, please.

0:43:040:43:08

For the fish dish, please.

0:43:090:43:12

I think that's pretty conclusive. Even I can't argue with that.

0:43:120:43:17

-No.

-Congratulations, guys.

-Thanks, David.

-'That was unbelievable!

0:43:170:43:21

'Well, considering the scrapes we got ourselves into,

0:43:210:43:24

'I'd say we were very lucky.

0:43:240:43:26

'David gave us more than a bit of help though.

0:43:260:43:29

'We can see why Kent's called the garden of England -

0:43:290:43:32

'we were spoilt for choice.'

0:43:320:43:35

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:530:43:57

Series which follows the Hairy Bikers as they visit a different British county in every episode, sampling the best of local ingredients and meeting the people keeping culinary traditions alive. Si King and Dave Myers explore Kent, where they cook a traditional county favourite at Leeds Castle, forage for wild vegetables and sample the county's fine ale. Finally, they go head to head in a cook-off against local Michelin-starred chef David Pitchford. Restaurant diners decide in a blind tasting who has dished up the best taste of Kent.