Recently, we were whisked away to the Wiltshire countryside for the #MeatopiaWarmUp event. If you haven’t heard of Meatopia, it’s a three-day long bacchanalian celebration of fire, food and all of the fun stuff that goes along with those things. They’re just about to announce their line-up of chefs for this year’s festival, which takes place from 1st – 3rd September.
We had so much we wanted to share with you from the warm-up that we simply couldn’t cram it all into one blog post – click here for part one, where we shared some tips from the fire-cooking experts. This is part two, which is all about what went with the meat.
One of the wonderful things about Pythouse Kitchen Gardens, the setting for the #MeatopiaWarmUp, is its location. It’s surrounded by wild countryside which, at this time of year, is positively thriving with lush vegetation. We love the idea of foraging – stomping off into the undergrowth to gather handfuls of leafy herbs and vegetation to compliment your flame-cooked feast, but in practice it’s a bit intimidating. What if you accidentally poison everyone at dinner by mistaking a deadly poisonous leaf for an innocent herb? Luckily for us, Nick Weston of Hunter Gather Cook was on-hand to lead the charge.
As well as using wild garlic flowers and jack in the bush to create a fragrant and herby side salad, Nick put the foraged goods to work in a sorrel vodka martini. Infusing vodka and freshly-picked sorrel leaves together in a pressurised cannister produced two equally delicious things: sorrel-flavoured vodka and vodka-flavoured sorrel. The tart, lemony flavour makes sorrel delicious to drink – especially in a dry drink like a martini. The perfect palate cleanser between barbecue courses.
Speaking of palate cleansers, the rich, meaty flavours coming from the barbecue found the perfect accompaniment in the form of Freddie Janssen’s pickles and fermentations. The tart and acidic flavours offer balance and cut-through for the saltiness of barbecued meat. If you thought the idea of making sauerkraut, kimchi, or anything along those lines from scratch was a fuss, think again, because it really couldn’t be easier. Freddie gave us a masterclass in the form of three seasonal recipes – miso-pickled rhubarb (did somebody say ‘umami’?), ‘seakraut’ (her own signature sauerkraut, laced with seaweed) and a spring kimchi using in-season asparagus and leeks.
Freddie’s wonderful recipes and methods are available in her book Pickled, and Hunter Gather Cook kindly shared his smoked whiskey sour recipe with us, so you can take your next barbecue to next-level heights. Both Freddie and the Hunter Gather Cook team will be milling around at Meatopia in September, so keep your eyes peeled for them at the festival.
We The Food Snobs x
Hunter Gather Cook’s Smoked Whisky Sour
Juice of half a lemon
1 egg white
60ml whiskey (Bourbon is ideal)
20ml sugar syrup
A polyscience smoke gun and apple or cherry wood chips.
- Add ice to a jam jar and pour over the whiskey, lemon juice, egg white and sugar syrup.
- Get the smoke gun going and fill the jar with smoke.
- Quickly screw on the lid and shake vigorously until the smoke disappears.
- Drink straight from the jar.