Writer Nena Johnson explains it’s the brainchild of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who came to prominence through his show Escape to River Cottage – a charming and informative series documenting his defection from London to a DIY existence in an old cottage near the Dorset coast. Hugh and his viewers learn about raising livestock, growing tomatoes despite the English weather and foraging along the seaside and hedgerows.
In high season, 500-800 people a week visit River Cottage’s rolling pastures and Beatrix Potter-esque gardens, including grazing sheep and cattle, wandering hens and sleeping sows. Workshops range from beekeeping and cheesemaking to a fish course called “catch and cook.” The Game cookery class includes skinning, plucking, joining, curing and smoking. And pastry and pies class covers steamed pudding, sausage rolls, Scotch eggs and pork pie.
But it’s not just on TV that Hugh has made his mark. His nearly 40 books, available worldwide, provide simple, seasonal recipes and educate readers about ethical, ecological agriculture. The story might make you jump a jet to England but in the meantime, here’s one of our favorite super-simple recipes from Hugh’s latest cookbook.
Shaved summer vegetables
Adapted from River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Makes 4 servings
1 medium or 2 small beets
(31/2 to 5 ounces), any color you like
1 medium or 2 small kohlrabi (31/2 to 5 ounces)
3 1/2 to 5 ounces radishes
1 medium zucchini (about 5 ounces)
For the dressing:
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons clear honey
1 teaspoon English mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim all the vegetables and peel the beets and the kohlrabi. Use a mandoline, a vegetable peeler, or a very sharp knife to shave/slice the vegetables as thinly as you can. (Trying to shave radishes with a vegetable peeler is quite high risk – take care!) Mix them together and divide among serving plates.
For the dressing, put the oil, lemon juice, honey, and mustard in a screw-top jar, season with salt and pepper, and shake to mix and emulsify. Trickle generously over the salad and serve.