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Live webchat with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - Thursday 15th September 1.30 - 2.30 pm

(215 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-11 14:55:50

To celebrate the publication of his new book Cottage Veg Every Day and accompanying Channel 4 Series which starts on Thursday 20 October 20. Hugh is joining us this Thursday (15 September) between 1.30pm and 2.30pm for a live webchat. As well as being an award-winning cookery writer and broadcaster and founder of River Cottage, Hugh is also involved in a number of campaigns including Hugh's Fish Fight, Chicken Out and Landshare.

Join us on Thursday to quiz him about his campaigning, cooking veggies and tap into his knowledge of rearing livestock, growing produce and, of course, cooking and baking. If you're unable join us on Thursday, send your advance questions to this thread.

All mumsnetters who send in questions to Hugh will be entered into a draw to win one of five copies of River Cottage Veg Every Day. We'll announce the winners post webchat.

HorseHairKnickers Mon 12-Sep-11 15:12:15

Excellent! I loved his Fish Fight and totally agree with him smile

HorseHairKnickers Mon 12-Sep-11 15:21:11

Didn't agree with the chicken thing though...
Not that I think chickens living in crowded conditions is good ~ I don't, but it's really a matter of cost and budget for a lot of people and even more so in this financial nightmare that most of us find ourselves in.

So, my question is this; If you buy a free range chicken and a caged (not free range) chicken, how is it possible to get more meat from the free range than the caged if they are the same weight?

I don't have a big weekly budget for food (about £30 - £35), so if I want to actually feed my children meat, it's often chicken, but never free range, so I'd be very interested in your answer please.
Thanks Hugh grin

LoveBeingAMummyAgain Mon 12-Sep-11 15:55:05

Fab, love Hugh, right back to tv dinners grin

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Mon 12-Sep-11 15:56:55

Hi Hugh,
if you see him can you say hi to my lovely husband who is at river cottage this week polishing his cooking skills. Thanks! smile

ArfurBrain Mon 12-Sep-11 16:01:57

Huuuugh!
I have loved yuuuuugh since your Cook On The Wild Side days....

anyway, assuming you're not going to allow me to come and be your second wife, could you please give me some advice on my potatoes?

I have had an allotment for 7 years, but been very unlucky with my spuds. Avoided blight this year but each and every potato (Maris Piper) was attacked by what I assume is eelworm (little round holes through every one of them)
It is an open plot, traditional-ish style, not raised beds.

Any advice to prevent this problem in future years? Or I may just give up on potatoes.....sad

GreatGooglyMoogly Mon 12-Sep-11 16:14:08

Hi Hugh,

What advice would you have for anyone wanting to set up a pudding club? Thanks smile

crazycanuck Mon 12-Sep-11 16:16:42

Hi ya Hugh! So glad to see you here! I have all your books and cook something from them at least once a week, and am 100% behind your chicken campaign and Fish Fight. And your Axminster cafe is the bee's knees.

Anyway enough fawning, I am wondering if you have any tips on growing squash in grow bags? We live in a ground floor flat with very little outdoor space and while I had loads of success with squash when we had a veg plot, I have had no luck with them in grow bags (well, I have one softball-sized fruit on each of my Crown Prince, 2 in total). I tried butternut as well. I had 2 plants per bag; should I only have put one in each or are they just not happy in grow bags?

Thank you! smile

ouryve Mon 12-Sep-11 16:33:57

Hi Hugh!

Due to the vagaries of the weather up here in the North East coast, we always end up with a heap of green tomatoes at the end of the season, and yes I do inevitably end up making a load of River Cottage Chutney with them. grin

The thing is, I'm the only person in this house who likes chutney, so while chutney making time is fast approaching, and despite giving loads of the stuff away, I've barely made any inroads into last year's batch (I only finished the batch from the year before in March!) shock

So, do you have any other suggestions for what I can do with my annual glut of green tomatoes?!

Hi Hugh.
I've just bought your meat book and wondered which recipe would you recommend I try first for myself and 10yr old dd with a small budget.

Kveta Mon 12-Sep-11 16:53:00

hi hugh! I love your shows, and really need to start building up a collection of your books now!

We have just bought a house with a totally bare (north east facing) garden - lawn, lawn, and more lawn. it's not very big, and has a wee raised bed at the back made with concrete slabs, so I managed to get a few plants in the week we moved, and have had a couple of potatoes, a handful of peas, and a glut of courgettes (2 plants, 45 courgettes so far, and more on the way - eek!). We've got a plum tree in the middle of the lawn, but it was only planted at the beginning of the season, so no joy this year. oh, and a fig twig, which I have high hopes for next year. I plan to dig a few veg and fruit beds to give us some gluts to look forward to in the future!!

My question is this - if you were starting a veg garden from scratch, what would be your key fruit and veg, and which would you avoid?

Oooh lovely!

I shall think of something to ask later.

fivegomadindorset Mon 12-Sep-11 17:22:31

Same question as Kveta.

Have been lucky and done your curing and smoking course which I loved, pigs are on their way this winter. Again starting veg from scratch, but also what fruit bushes are best and easy?

can I say a big thank you for your River Cottage Handbooks, I have nearly the whole collection and love dipping in and out of them. The walnut and honey loaf is a huge favourite here.

midnightexpress Mon 12-Sep-11 17:34:42

Hurrah! Love your books Hugh.

My question: I'm in the process of setting up a gardening club at our primary school. Any suggestions for good things to grow with children? I have a tiny budget, and a smallish space, but it includes some giant containers. No indoor space yet. Preferably things where we can harvest before schools break up at the end of June (we're in Scotland) or which can fend for themselves during the summer hols, when we won't have access for 6-7 weeks.

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Mon 12-Sep-11 17:47:31

Me too with the growing veg from scratch. My garden faces south east, but, we have the biggest Leylandi that I can't afford to have chopped down.
What veg doesn't mind having some shade for the afternoon please?

franke Mon 12-Sep-11 17:53:55

Hello

I need a bit of advice. I have just acquired a piece of land with no water or electricity supply. The ground seems fairly well-drained and fertile. I won't be able to go and tend crops there every day so what can I grow in terms of fruit and/or veg which doesn't need too much looking after/intensive watering?

bagelmonkey Mon 12-Sep-11 18:36:36

Hi Hugh.
I'd like to know if there's anything 2 incompetent adults and a baby could grow to eat in an apartment with a small balcony. We have a lot of light, but it would need to be very low maintenance and safe. I was hoping for something a bit more adventurous than cress if possible. Any cooking tips would be great too.
Thanks.

FlamingoBingo Mon 12-Sep-11 18:48:46

Hi Hugh

How exciting! I was wondering if there were any pointers you could give to a non-profit organisation local to me as to how to make their co-operative food shopping scheme really successful. They don't just buy loads of food from a wholefood wholesalers, but include produce from all sorts of different local producers as well. It's called Stroudco Foodhub?

They've asked me to give them a hand with their social media stuff, but it would be great to hear your opinion from your experiences of ethical food production and sale.

Thanks

iklboo Mon 12-Sep-11 18:52:16

We've had good crops of potatoes, carrots & onions this year. Not so on the tomatoes & strawberries. All in pots/bags/hanging baskets.
My question is other fruit can we grow next year. We have a small north-facing yard in Manchester so pots/ baskets will have to be used.

ArfurBrain Mon 12-Sep-11 18:54:14

alternatively, (I know, I know, one question each but I've changed my mind!) how can we persuade our council to let us keep a few chickens on our council-owned allotments? There's a bunch of us would like to do it.

madwomanintheattic Mon 12-Sep-11 19:22:54

Hi Hugh
I would like to know what I can grow on a balcony in a veeeery short growing season? We live on the edge of the Rocky Mountains and usually get snow into April and May (over a foot for the Royal Wedding this year - pretty, but not much cop for growing), and we are already getting frosts in the morning (and snow on the mountains last week - it was rain in the valley where we are, but....)

I have three decks, and could give one over to growing during the summer, but am struggling as to how best to make the most of such a short season and small amount of space...

SansaLannister Mon 12-Sep-11 19:27:20

Brilliant! Hugh, thanks for agreeing to this, you are definitely among fans here! smile

I'd like to ask about grown herbs, also in containers on a balcony.

I see a lot of confusing information regarding the yield from homegrown herbs - continual, need to be replanted every year, etc.

Can you recommend some herbs that will grow well in Western Scotland? Also, are supermarket-bought herbs able to successfully be planted?

HumphreyCobbler Mon 12-Sep-11 19:29:19

Hello Hugh.

Just wanted to thank you - we have been inspired to raise and butcher our own pork thanks to you. We have just done our third lot of pigs and had a fantastic day. Pig in a Day was on repeat play grin

Any tips about making black pudding that slices rather than crumbles? Ours tends to disintegrate into the pan, although it tastes delicious.

aristocat Mon 12-Sep-11 21:59:12

hello Hugh ..... i love your tv shows and your books. you are just so different in a good way - it is lovely to see someone with an honest opinion and who is not afraid to speak what they think/mean smile

anyhow my question is, do you have a favourite christmas recipe that you can share with us please?

fivegomadindorset Mon 12-Sep-11 22:24:29

Can I also just add that my Aunt and Uncle were not overly impressed by the pike/carp you served in your original River Cottage series, very sorry about that grin

Thingumy Mon 12-Sep-11 22:33:56

Hi.

In lieu of your new found vegetarianism,can I have a refund on your overly priced 'Meat' book?

SpeedyGonzalez Tue 13-Sep-11 01:11:02

Hi Hugh, we are a couple of years ahead of you with the veg thing wink. But your sweet potato gratin recipe has gone down a treat, so I'm looking forward to trying more of your veg recipes.

No question, really, but I do want to thank you for basically teaching me how to make ice cream. A French friend who is a bit of a gourmand said mine was the best he'd ever tasted! So cheers matey for the inspiration. grin

pixma Tue 13-Sep-11 10:40:56

Hello Hugh,

Do you have a recipe for damson/pea pod/ marrow/ autumn produce etc wine?
We have a winter to get through and it is easier to cope with when mildly soused, of an evening.

I could google but want to hear it from you. smile <pulse quickens>

Thank you for all the work and energy you and your team have put into the campaigns, especially Landshare and ChickenOut. Good luck with further campaigning and raising awareness.

Jerseyellie Tue 13-Sep-11 11:02:38

Hi You have had a massive influence on my husband and we now keep chickens and grow potato's, beets, tom's, carrots, onions, beans & strawberries!! We also grew a tremendous amount of radish, didn't realise they would be so easy to grow!! What would you do with excessive radish? PS are you really vegetarian now?

gazzalw Tue 13-Sep-11 12:55:19

Hi Hugh
Knowing that many of your fellow ex-Etonian peers went down the directly political career trajectory, just wondered what inspired you to go down the garden path instead?

Hi Hugh, I would like to ask - how many meals can you get out of a chicken? wink grin

ComradeJing Tue 13-Sep-11 13:33:55

Hi Hugh, I'm a big fan too.

What is your favorite recipe in the new book?

Thanks smile

k8vincent Tue 13-Sep-11 13:37:22

We are a family of five who are very keen to eat less meat, but 3 of us are under 6. Would you say that the recipes in the Veg book are appropriate for younger children -particularly those who take one look at a mushroom and look back at you like you are trying to poison them? I'm not sure I'd have much luck getting my children to eat many of your recipes on the basis of the amazon blurb I just looked at.

brookeslay Tue 13-Sep-11 13:51:10

hello Hugh Warm Welcome to musmnet

I have bought a slow cooker which I have not used as I scaredof it which of your books would you recommend for some lovely Autumn Recipes.

I want to do a hearty meal for 6 inc Starter, Main and Dessert that can be enjoyed after a long walk.

Many thanks and keep up the goodwork.

Fenouille Tue 13-Sep-11 20:11:58

Hello Hugh,

I've just watched your Fish Fight programmes (I'm not in the UK so I'm a bit behind) and have persuaded my friends to sign up to the campaign. You're doing a great job there.

Since bagelmonkey has already asked my question, I would like to ask your advice on setting up a veg garden within my company's grounds, which are rather extensive. Any advice on how to persuade management, how to encourage colleagues, organise rotas and most importantly what would be best to grow? We are in an environment which has all four seasons but gets very hot in summer with quite large temperature swings.

Thank you and keep up the campaigning - we're right behind you!

guddy Tue 13-Sep-11 20:56:13

Hi Hugh

I havent seen a lot of your programmes only a couple but enough to say that i was impressed with your "honest" cooking and all the ethos involved with it.
My question to you is how do i grow enough basil to make pesto every week!
Thanks

SansaLannister Tue 13-Sep-11 20:59:19

Sorry, may I have a follow-up question? Hugh, of all your books, which is the one you would recommend the most or are most pleased with?

Hi Hugh! We love your books in this house......we cook from them regularly.

My question is: if you could only grow 5 types of veg in your garden what would you choose?

MrsWembley Wed 14-Sep-11 06:18:03

Hello Hugh, huge fan here (though could manage with less punswink). Loved the work you did in Bristol and all the encouragement you gave them got me off my arse and onto an allotment waiting list. Found out I was pg within a month of getting onebiscuit.

Some (little) work done and a second child later, my question is what would you recommend to get a 2/3 year old helping, whilst MiL keeps baby amused and I dig. She loves watering but I would love to involve her more with stuff I don't need to constantly monitor. Also (sorry) how do you deal with horsetail? I've been told to ignore all the stuff about weedkiller and just pull it at surface level and let it die off gradually. Can I maybe combine the two and get DD pulling it up?

smile

MrsWembley Wed 14-Sep-11 06:23:09

Sorry, meant to add, can you recommend veg that's fast growing so DD can see results whilst she still remembers planting seeds?

CaptainMartinCrieff Wed 14-Sep-11 08:26:52

Oooh Hugh you've had a haircut! You look younger!

TrinityRhino Wed 14-Sep-11 09:29:20

Ooh I love you Hugh grin

Really glad that you're pushing vegetables. Given that Alain Passard has also been pushing vegetables, and Gordon Ramsay has softened his attitude towards vegetarians, do you think that there is a real chance for a genuine change in Western eating habits? Do you think people in general will ever accept that meat has to become a treat rather than a diet staple if we are to ensure humanity's survival?

p.s. Blessed Be ;o)

Mishy1234 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:21:26

Hi Hugh,

We love your books and cook from them regularly. The bread and cake handbooks are in regular use too and the Toddler and Baby Cookbook is regularly gifted to new parents, as it has turned me from a total kitchen disaster into someone who can actually feed her kids (always a bonus!).

We get a weekly veg box and I'm always at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the 'greens' like kale and some nondescript ones that appear every now and then. I want to prepare things which the children will eat too (3.5 and 1), maybe soups?

Spence56 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:23:00

Why do your staff not reply to letters sent to you,but get passed on to other members of your staff.Who do not bother replying. I wrote some months ago to you, your secretary said she had passed the letter onto Gill and he would get back to me. Well never heard a thing.

Gemd81 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:54:19

Hi Hugh,
Well done for all the good work on fish fight!
Can u recommend a recipe for a couple with a newborn that is easy and fast for chicken - we r bored of grilling but don't have much time to eat healthily.

kezza1 Wed 14-Sep-11 12:02:13

Hi Hugh, we're now buying free range eggs locally but are thinking of getting two or three hens for our back garden (our little girl is very excited!). We'd just like to know how much room should you give your hens? Our garden isn't very big and is mostly gravel (with a 5x8' patch for the coop/run) Also we're debating on whether to spend a lot of money on a ready built coop/run or to actually build one...are hens that fussy? lol Kerry smile

TheRhubarb Wed 14-Sep-11 12:10:17

Ok Hugh, I agree with your fish fight and I signed the petition (you're welcome) but there is just one snag. I hate fish as does the rest of my family. We can eat tuna bake, just about and salmon's ok. But no matter what recipe I've followed and what fish I've tried, we just hate fish.

The trouble is that it's just so damn boney! Picking out fish bones from a mouthful of food is not good.

Then you have the taste. Fishy. I've tried it with lemon and herbs and tomatoes and goodness knows what else but the taste only varies from mildly fishy to strong fish.

If you can tell me how to cook fish so that my family will not only eat it but convert to actually liking it, then I shall physically go out and buy your books.

Peachy Wed 14-Sep-11 12:30:48

Firstly I just want my first ever Mumsnet sycophant post to be for Hugh: we all love him and my 11 year old in particular is a fan. Well done of the fish in particular, and making GYO look fun (it is, we;ve just finished our first season).

Secondly I want to say is he going to the carnival this year? We can't take our float (based in Cullompton) as it's a risk to take hundred footers around but we shall be there eyeing up the competition ready for the Somerset circuit next week supporting everyone else. Have you any ideas for easy meals we can take with us? We spend all season hopping around Devon and Somerset, finishing right at the end of November, and frankly burgers from greasy stalls is not what you need when you and your children face several hours dancing in the freezing cold wearing only a <secret> costume.

TIA.

serin Wed 14-Sep-11 12:33:17

Hugh, I love you!

I need you to know that when your family picniced next to mine at Bewilderwood, and we were eating monster munch and fruit shoots, well this is not typical for us at all.

This is really important to me Hugh. You do know this don't you?

TheRhubarb Wed 14-Sep-11 13:11:24

You'll all arse lickers! Honestly!

We make our own Monster Munch and Fruit Shoots, do you not?

MrsBuntysStrangeCuldeSac Wed 14-Sep-11 13:30:21

Another sycophant, I'm afraid! Your recipe books are amongst my favourites, they suit my ethos towards food and cooking. Most recently made aubergine and green bean curry which worked a treat and was delicious. What I appreciate the most though is your thoughtful and sustainable approach to food and that many of your recipes do not rely on lengthly lists of ingredients but the results are always delicious.
Anyhow, a nosy question I have always intrigued to ask people who cook and write about food as their profession - please could you tell me what is your favourite everyday meal is and favourite 'special' meal?

Jumbs Wed 14-Sep-11 13:41:00

Brill, non meat book. Will give it a look.

My question: My son has just started school and needs a packed tea to take to the child minders. The veggie school meal includes cheese virtually every day so does Hugh have any ideas for things I can put in his tea box which are non meat and non cheese? Fish is fine as we non meat eaters but not veggie.
Thanks!

MockingbirdsNotForSale Wed 14-Sep-11 13:43:18

Hi Hugh,

My daughter and I love fish (mostly mackerel, shellfish and herring) and, coming from a fishing family, I am passionate about eating fish line caught and not netted and not eating fish living on the brink through over fishing. I have 2 questions if thats ok. Are coley and pollock closely related to cod? I am allergic to cod and wonder if these 2 fish would be ok to have or if they're endangered or if you have any other recommendations for an everyday white fish? I used to have a lot of haddock, but I am worried that is becoming over fished. Also, we love herring milts and have them on toast with a butter, parsley and marsala sauce. Do you have any good recommendations for other ways to cook them?

Many thanks

confusedandsilly Wed 14-Sep-11 14:35:39

Dear Hugh,

Can you please tell me you haven't accepted my friend request on Facebook? You have accepted my friend but not me and I'm huge friend of yours ! On a better note, I love your work !

MockingbirdsNotForSale Wed 14-Sep-11 14:40:32

blush just realised I asked 2 questions as I did not read the rules.....The first question answered would be great...sorry!

Pavlovthecat Wed 14-Sep-11 15:24:08

I would like to know if you will be promoting your book in the new restuarant opening in plymouth, by offering some of the meals on the menu. If so, could give me a table so we can give you our verdict ?grin

DawnTiggaWeirdyBeardy Wed 14-Sep-11 15:46:04

::has a slight swoon fest::

Ahem, all better now and a minor rant, one of the reasons I watch your show is that you don't ever bury a chicken in the back yard and soak it in nitrogen to cook it, that kind of cooking makes me shout just put the bloody thing in the oven at the tv.

My question is what is the one dish you'd have loved to have created?

GoesOffFanningHerselfWithWomen'sWeeklyTiggaxx

DonkeyTeapot Wed 14-Sep-11 16:24:37

Hi Hugh.

I'd love to keep a few chickens in our back garden but my other half says no, and insists that they'll encourage vermin. How can I convince him?

Thanks!

WillowOak Wed 14-Sep-11 16:54:47

I love the philosophy behind your new book, Everyday Veg. As an HFW fan, mumsnetter and WWF supporter I wondered if this is pretty much the same as WWF's Livewell campaign which has a "healthy people, healthy planet" philosophy ( see www.wwf.org.uk/livewell2020).

How do you think we (you, WWF and all of us) can go about making the move to healthy people/healthy planet?

ProfYaffle Wed 14-Sep-11 17:24:53

Hugh - How do you feel about the 'smug/elitist' label some people attach to you and the lifestyle you promote?

fwif I disagree! I first watched Escape to River Cottage when I was living in a 2 up 2 down terraced house. It inspired me to plant herbs and edible flowers in the back garden. Now I have 2 allotments, chickens in the yard and am involved in a community farm who are taking delivery of their pigs this weekend.

Thanks for all your inspiration over the years smile

coxiegirl Wed 14-Sep-11 17:44:33

Hi Hugh, admire all your campaigns, thanks for all the hard work you put in.
My question is about chard - so far this year it's the only veg we've had any success with on our mini allotment. What on earth can we do with it all??
It does look pretty but apart from using it in veg curry we're stuck. Looks quite good in a vase though..... Ps are you doing refunds on your Meat book now your a veg hero? Ta

bluebump Wed 14-Sep-11 19:15:22

Hi Hugh

I can't think of any questions that haven't already been asked but I will be buying your book in the near future. As a vegetarian i'm loving your latest recipes in The Guardian weekend mag.

ColdSancerre Wed 14-Sep-11 20:05:12

Hi Hugh

I loved the stuff you did on bread baking with the bunch of ladies, that really inspired me to bake more bread.

Can you suggest a vegetarian main course we could all have a go at making in our new MN Recipe Club?

Thank you

WideWebWitch Wed 14-Sep-11 20:35:02

Hi Hugh, I like your books, thanks especially for the meat book. And I agree with you about chicken.

Which chefs / food writers / cooks inspire/d you?

Wigeon Wed 14-Sep-11 22:38:13

Thank you for coming on here for a webchat.

Hat off to you for your work on fish and chicken ethics. So my question is: what animal's next on your list?

Sneaky second question - in River Cottage Everyday, you stress the importance of breakfast. Do you really really manage to have interesting and different cooked breakfasts every morning in your family? We have instituted a tradition of interesting Saturday morning breakfasts, but the rest of the week it's toast or instant porridge / Weetabix / posh museli all the day.

Obligatory sycophantic bit (said with sincerity though!) - DH and I love watching River Cottage and not only find it very relaxing and reassuring TV but often think "I fancy cooking and eating that", which is surely the best you could hope from your viewers smile.

(PS do we win the prize for Most-H-F-W recipes consumed in one week, without knowing in advance you were going to be coming on here? Excluding of course you, for whom every day is a H F-W recipe day grin. So far: lentil and caraway soup, leek tart, fish with fennel, and cannellini bean dip from the recent Saturday Guardian.)

Wigeon Wed 14-Sep-11 22:54:19

*all the way (not day)!

soandsosmum Thu 15-Sep-11 09:19:38

Hi Hugh

Another fan here. Just had a baby and got bought multiple copies of your baby toddler cook book! Bought my Hubby a place on your fish day and Had to accompany him to make sure it was up to scratch. Loved it.

I have 100+ jars of different preserves and plumbeena in my cellar thanks to Pam the jam.

Ok, I'd like to echo the question re wine recipes and my question is re 'beena':

I've had very good response to my plumbeena and this year have done pear as well. Which other fruit have you found make a popular beena? (elderberry?)

(note to other mumsnetters - is there a good place for swapping preserves?

mustdash Thu 15-Sep-11 09:28:06

No questions, but just wanted to say I bought the veg book a couple of weeks ago, and absolutely love it. We aren't veggie, but do keep saying we should eat less meat, and this book has so far been brilliant - everything we've tried has been super tasty, even meals with only a couple of ingredients. Last night we had the courgette/onion/quinoa thingy, and it was delicious.

Actually, maybe I do have a question. Why on earth is it that more books like this aren't available?

Thank you grin

ProfYaffle Thu 15-Sep-11 09:28:20

soandso - have you seen The Jam Guild ? Pam's a patron I believe. I have a cupboard full of preserves too, though have gone in for pickles more this year.

atrociouscook Thu 15-Sep-11 09:49:34

This isn't a question - most seem to have been asked - but I did want to say that I think your most enduring legacy must be that you are able to stop my grandchildren watching Glee, have them close their laptops and switch off their iphones as soon as they know your programme is coming up. They express their strong opinions about factory farming, problems faced by our fishermen and how they wish they could go and live with you!

This is an amazing achievement - well done to you!

fishie Thu 15-Sep-11 10:53:20

My question is about eating less meat. I understand you are saying we should all eat less meat on ethical and sustainability grounds. But the most likely people to do this are the ones who are now buying ethically and sustainably reared meat.

So if we stop buying free range chicken / pork etc and eat carrots instead the market will shrink and intensive livestock production will continue because I can't see £1.50 Tesco chicken buyers turning into lentil botherers.

How do you square these competing priorities?

soandsosmum Thu 15-Sep-11 10:57:20

Hi have just liked and it looks great but more for swapping crops for produce. I'm after swapping produce for produce

Peachy Thu 15-Sep-11 10:58:57

Actually fishie I would have agrred with you a year ago but even the £1.50 chicken has risen amrkedly in price and with other cuts to incomes etc it may be that people are forced to choose a no meat liferstyle; even if that meat is still a battery chicken once a week rather than every day, the ultimate goal of sustainability will get a shot forwards.

Kveta Thu 15-Sep-11 10:59:31

may I ask a quick 2nd question? I heard you on the radio this morning Hugh, talking potatoes with Chris Evans, and you mentioned a waxy potato which was excellent by had a strange name - someone tooted their horn as you said the name of the potato, what was it?! (And where can I get interesting seed potatoes?)

soandsosmum Thu 15-Sep-11 11:01:11

Hi profyaffle jam guild looks great but more for swapping crops for produce. I'm after swapping produce for produce

honeyandsalt Thu 15-Sep-11 11:24:46

Been thinking all morning about a question and I have one!

-> What do you say to people who insist that "we can't feed the world without factory farming".

Because I just go slightly purple when my FIL says that.

WPSSuzanne Thu 15-Sep-11 11:36:57

My question for Hugh is...I've a sister I've been trying unsuccessfully for months to teach her to make yeast bread by hand...for some crazy reason her bread never rises ...we use the exact same ingredients and make our bread together - side by side, mine rises - hers does not...can you help us understand why her bread will not rise whereas mine always does? This has us totally baffled... confused

I'm sorry if someone else has posted this, but I haven't had a chance to catch up, and I'm supposed to be working now so shouldn't be here!

My question - which may be a bit untimely given your defection to Vegetable Loving - how can we persuade more butchers and especially supermarket butchers' counters - to offer properly named cuts of meat, as well as a wider range of meats?

I have your Meat book, and many of the recipes are simply unattainable as I can't find that cut in my local supermarket. I have a one good butcher that I go to for special occasions, but it's a good 20 minutes drive there, a battle to park and then another 20 minutes home, which is hardly convenient.

A simple example. I was taught by my mother that shin of beef is the best cut for stewing. Fatty enough to stay moist after slow cooking. But it's rarely sold as shin. Sainsbury's label their meat as either 'braising' or 'stewing' steak. I bet not many people could tell you:

a) what the difference between braising and stewing is
b) what cuts of meat would be classified as either

I know it's shin because I recognise what it looks like. But why don't we get the right kind of information?

fruitshootsandheaves Thu 15-Sep-11 12:14:06

I hate cooking

Would you come and cook dinner for me please?
Don't mind what it is as long as it doesn't contain mushrooms

Thank you
grin

does that count as a proper question?

livvylouis Thu 15-Sep-11 12:35:09

Hi Hugh! We are big fans of yours in this house, have been following you for many years. We decided to become veggie a few months ago so we are very pleased about your forthcoming book. We grow a few veggies in our very small garden but do have to buy the bulk of it from shops and markets. My question is, In your opinion is it better to buy organic produce which may have travelled hundreds of food miles or to buy local produce which is more than likely not organic?

dobeessneeze Thu 15-Sep-11 12:43:16

Hello Hugh! (how exciting!)

Do you have any advice for someone who longs to have their own farm/smallholding but no experience worth speaking of and not enough money to just go and buy one and give it a go (and who's still waiting for an allotment and has had no luck so far finding a suitable landsharer in the area). I had thought of joining our local young farmers association or finding a friendly farmer in the area and offering myself as free labour and/or renting a field, but am a bit worried I'd be laughed out of town.

Not a sneaky second question, more of a general wondering, but I'd be interested to know what you do with your Bramleys when you're all crumbled, pied and chutneyed out?

And I for one, am a big fan of your puns. Or rather, I for pun.

Honeydragon Thu 15-Sep-11 13:04:33

Well you've confirmed either that Loose Women isn't recorded live, or are you Superhuman from all that lovely organic veg and can wing it really quickly to Mn towers? bear in mind I am dim and know nothing about how tv land works

In your opinion, which is more favourable to do,

purchase local
or
purchase organic

(you are not allowed to say both grin)

I do local as I put my community before whether chemicals have been used

Hugh, Hugh.... we love you.....

You have inspired me to make jam, forage for stuff, make wine, cider, cook more imaginatively, grow my own food and make my own bread and to live the lifestyle we've been wanting to live for years. However,you have inspired DP to stop cutting his hair so he keeps being mistaken for you...

I have been teaching my stepsons to cook from an early age, but the eldest seem to be loosing interest now he has hit 12 even though he loves eating the fruits of his brothers labour. How can I keep him interested? I've had a bit of success with cooking stuff he has picked himself - bilberry muffins etc. DO you have any other ideas to keep a pre-teen/teenager interested in cooking?

xJessicasMummyx Thu 15-Sep-11 13:09:41

Hi Hugh, love watching your programmes. I stumbled upon your River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook in the library and was delighted to see that you advocate baby-led weaning. I have used this approach with my daughter who is now 8 months old and loves veggie's, fruit and a wide range of flavours and textures. Seeing how natural and nutritional this approach is, I am shocked that it isnt more advocated by health professionals (many of which still dont understand it) and how it is still viewed as a relatively 'alternative' or 'hippy' approach (as well as sometimes seen as the lazy approach - check out Mumsnets guide to weaning!). shock

My question is...do you have any plans to advocate more widely about this approach given your success and passion about it with your son? It would be great if you could do for baby-led weaning what Jamie Oliver has done for school dinners, after all its the best way to get fresh (even homegrown) goodness into little ones and kick start their big adventure and love of healthy food!

Thanks smile

Oh and I hope you have turned your phone off. I heard you get told off on radio 4 this morning. :0

AuntieMonica Thu 15-Sep-11 13:15:55

I've just seen you on Loose Women a daytime programme where you say that you've gone veggie as you think that cooking with meat makes you a lazy cook shock

Since I thought the River Cottage 'thing' was about using the whole animal, not just the prime cuts etc, but how to use the 'cheaper' cuts/offal etc, it seems like a massive sell out to me.
People are cynical, I am cynical, you've made a career out of telling people they can cook with meat within a budget, but with a bit of effort it can be done.

I'm not buying into it right now, convince me otherwise?

iog'gggiuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuol/m//,,uftlc.gj iug;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;b

Argh I am very sorry. My three legged cat was rolling about on the laptop.

As you were.

Sorry!

Hi Hugh, we're on our 2nd year of growing veg now. Would you recommend switching the crops in each bed each year? If so, is there an ideal way to rotate them? Thanks. smile

aristocat Thu 15-Sep-11 13:30:39

are you really a veggie?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 15-Sep-11 13:30:51

We are here at hugh's building, charging up the stairs. May be just a couple of mins late to start. All our fault, not hugh's!

grumpykat Thu 15-Sep-11 13:31:12

Afternoon Hugh. Just a couple of things from me...
1. Thank you for teaching my brother to cure meat and make the most amazing ham. My world is a better place for his knowledge and enthusiasm (nice ham is a mn speciality).
2. Runner beans and courgettes. Why do I always grow so many, and what on EARTH do I do with this many marrows?
Ooh, and 3. Cheers for the elderflower champagne recipe, I'm very proud of it, and it has the most perfect sparkle!
OOh 4! Loving the fish fight work, the grumpys are fully fledged sustainable fish shoppers!

Honeydragon Thu 15-Sep-11 13:35:25

Justine shock shame on you! We'll have a chat about your time keeping later!

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:35:35

Hello, Hugh here, fresh from the studios of Loose Women. Not sure if any of you were watching but please be gentle with me! Anyway here I am, ready and willing to answer as many of your questions as I possibly can. It's great to be talking to Mumsnet!

ladymalham Thu 15-Sep-11 13:36:30

Hello Hugh
How can I learn to love cabbage? It keeps popping up in my veg box and then sits there for ages. Is there a simple way of cooking it to make it inspiring and tasty for myself and my 3 year old?

fivegomadindorset Thu 15-Sep-11 13:36:50

Hello.

DawnTiggaWeirdyBeardy Thu 15-Sep-11 13:36:51

::has a slight swoon::

SqueeTiggaxx

Honeydragon Thu 15-Sep-11 13:36:57

BigHairyLeggedSpider

Please tell me Hugh didn't inspire you to eat the fourth leg. There is a limit to cheap cuts.

Are we only supposed to be asking questions about vegetables then?

AuntieMonica Thu 15-Sep-11 13:38:32

my question is up there^^

and yes, i saw you on LW <narrows eyes>

fivegomadindorset Thu 15-Sep-11 13:38:42

Best vegetables to grow as a beginnier, what to grow in a polytunnel and fruit.

Have been lucky enough to go to River Cottage on a course, what pigs would you reeommend as a first timer?

Hello Hugh!

I'm really enjoying the Veg book, we've been selective omnivores for a while!

I run my garden on a permaculture with chickens plan, my question is what do you think of permaculture systems and how do you think it compares for sustainability with other organic agricuture?

HowlingBitch Thu 15-Sep-11 13:39:41

Why did you cut your hair!?

<cries>

Honeydragon. I had it roasted with rosemary and garlic. HAve to take free food where you get it!

fivegomadindorset Thu 15-Sep-11 13:40:49

Will my chickens be OK living in a stable?

MonkeysPunk Thu 15-Sep-11 13:40:50

Dear Hugh,
do you plan in advance what you are eating each day - or do you just decide and make whatever you feel like eating when you get hungry?

theresacoo Thu 15-Sep-11 13:41:22

Hi Hugh ,

Can you tell me what I cam with celeriac other tham put it in mash ?

Thanks

Theresa. Big fan

He's cut his hair? Brilliant! Now DP might be inspired to cut his too!

NelNel Thu 15-Sep-11 13:41:47

Hello Hugh, we are moving to North Newton Somerset in a couple of weeks and the current owners tell us they have sandy soil than drains quickly, can you suggest what veg we could 'over winter', and what to plant next spring, any tips on cider making for beginners as want to make use of the apples! Many thanks, Helen and Rod.

FatimahZarah Thu 15-Sep-11 13:41:58

Some french schools, from personal experience, aren't above deep frying vegetables to get children to eat them, since, 1, the children eat the vegetables, and 2, they're french, do you think our schools should take the same approach?

MissWing Thu 15-Sep-11 13:42:37

Hi Hugh,
I was raised by veggies, so for us the 'high quality meat once in a while' thing is second nature.

I have a theory that frozen veg are actually very sustainable and environmentally friendly as:

-we'd run the freezer anyway
-no waste with food going off uncooked
-produced intensively therefore less carbon per calorie
-vitamins nicely preserved too

any thoughts?

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:42:45

aristocat

are you really a veggie?

Rumours of my being a veggie have spread far and wide so it's time to front up. It's true. Its true that i haven 't eaten meat or fish for over three months now instead I've been immersing myself int he wonderful world of veg and I've been loving it. A few more weeks and I'll be back on the flesh but I think this experience will have changed the way I cook forever.

Honeydragon Thu 15-Sep-11 13:43:11

Fair enough Spider grin

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:43:58

bagelmonkey

Hi Hugh.
I'd like to know if there's anything 2 incompetent adults and a baby could grow to eat in an apartment with a small balcony. We have a lot of light, but it would need to be very low maintenance and safe. I was hoping for something a bit more adventurous than cress if possible. Any cooking tips would be great too.
Thanks.

Yes definitely. I think everybody who wants to grow food should be able to do it. If you haven't got a garden or can't find an allotment you can grow herbs and salad in a window box, tomatoes or courgettes in a big pot in a sunny corner of a room, grow climbing peas and beans up your fire escape. You might not be able to grow enough to make you self-sufficient, but even a little home-grown veg is good for the soul.

fivegomadindorset Thu 15-Sep-11 13:45:02

What size polytunnel is best?

DawnTiggaWeirdyBeardy Thu 15-Sep-11 13:45:31

Erm, would you be kind enough to answer the questions further up the thread?

WandersOffToSortOutHer2YearOldCubTiggaxx

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:46:00

ladymalham

Hello Hugh
How can I learn to love cabbage? It keeps popping up in my veg box and then sits there for ages. Is there a simple way of cooking it to make it inspiring and tasty for myself and my 3 year old?

You need to cook your cabbage as soon as possible after your veg box arrives, so it's lovely and sweet and fresh. Try steaming it for just a few minutes then frying some chopped garlic and a teaspoon of caraway seeds in a little butter and a dash of olive oil, then toss the cabbage in this delicious butter. Cabbage will never be the same again.

nessa64 Thu 15-Sep-11 13:47:05

Hi Hugh,
We are currently trying to rear Indian Game x Dorking birds to try out your best roast chicken theory! Thanks for all the tips. Just wondered if you fed them anything other than crumb/grower/finisher feed through their rearing, to help get a great flavour? They are free ranging round our garden with our flock of layers, and we are really excited to try them in a few months time!
Love your shows, you have reall inspired us,
Vanessa

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:47:18

fivegomadindorset

Will my chickens be OK living in a stable?

They'll be fine living in a stable for a while buy they'll want to get out and get some sun on their backs as often as possible. Also try and make sure they've got some nesting boxes or at least some nice cosy piles of straw to lay their eggs in.

FlamingoBingo Thu 15-Sep-11 13:47:26

Do we need to be reposting our questions here?

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:47:30

HorseHairKnickers

Didn't agree with the chicken thing though...
Not that I think chickens living in crowded conditions is good ~ I don't, but it's really a matter of cost and budget for a lot of people and even more so in this financial nightmare that most of us find ourselves in.

So, my question is this; If you buy a free range chicken and a caged (not free range) chicken, how is it possible to get more meat from the free range than the caged if they are the same weight?

I don't have a big weekly budget for food (about £30 - £35), so if I want to actually feed my children meat, it's often chicken, but never free range, so I'd be very interested in your answer please.
Thanks Hugh grin

A free range chicken will be leaner but better in flavour- you'll get more taste even if you don't get more meat- I wouldn't dream of roasting a chicken without making a stock afterwards, which gives you a lovely soup or risotto to which you can add leftover chicken meat as well as plenty of good veg.

Lissachick Thu 15-Sep-11 13:47:50

Hi Hugh ! We have a fairly big garden and have been growing veg and now have chickens ! But not succesful growing lettuces due tto bugs and pigeons is there an organic/natural spray we can get to stop the bugs ?? i want to be abel to spray and eat veg without havign to wait so many weeks before we can ! Also any ideas for a main meal using potatoes as got tonnes this year ! we have lots of herbs and somethign a bit spec be great ! If you ever Essex way pop to Rayleigh ( even put you to work !!!)
Lissa grin

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:47:59

HowlingBitch

Why did you cut your hair!?

<cries>

I'm sorry if the shorter locks have distressed you, but generally they seem to be going down well. My wife likes my new short hair and that's the most important thing. The fact is, I've been thinking about getting a haircut for several years, it was just a question of grabbing a moment between filming projects to avoid any unfortunate continuity problems.

FlamingoBingo Thu 15-Sep-11 13:48:21

Hi Hugh

How exciting! I was wondering if there were any pointers you could give to a non-profit organisation local to me as to how to make their co-operative food shopping scheme really successful. They don't just buy loads of food from a wholefood wholesalers, but include produce from all sorts of different local producers as well. It's called Stroudco Foodhub?

They've asked me to give them a hand with their social media stuff, but it would be great to hear your opinion from your experiences of ethical food production and sale.

Thanks

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:50:58

Wickedwaterwitch

Hi Hugh, I like your books, thanks especially for the meat book. And I agree with you about chicken.

Which chefs / food writers / cooks inspire/d you?

I started cooking from cook books at a young age, mainly cakes, puddings, biscuits and sweets, and I cooked my way through the greedy section of Katie Stewart's Times cookery book, until the pages were all stuck together with chocolate, custard and meringue. As I got more serious about teaching myself to cook, I moved onto Constance Spry and Elizabeth David. I still think they are three of the best cookery writers to get anyone started. But the biggest inspiration has always been my mum; she got me cooking and I loved making the puddings for her 1970s dinner parties. Profiteroles, black forest gateau, meringues, pavlova etc. etc.

fivegomadindorset Thu 15-Sep-11 13:51:38

Thank you, is just for overnight they will have a farmyard and garden to wonder round in during the day, and there is a big barn of straw.

mehgalegs Thu 15-Sep-11 13:52:04

Hi Hugh

love the hair and the new streamlined you - the veggies are obviously doing you good. We grow lots on a large plot but we're stuck in a runner bean, courgette and beetroot rut - what do you suggest for a more adventerous selection for this time next year?

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:52:37

ComradeJing

Hi Hugh, I'm a big fan too.

What is your favorite recipe in the new book?

Thanks smile

Right now I've got two favourites- perfect autumn dishes as the weather gets a bit chillier: portos granado- a lovely South American stew of squash, beans, sweetcorn and spice (pg 146) and Chachouta, a delicious North African spicy tomato and pepper stew with eggs baked on top

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:52:38

soandsosmum

Hi Hugh

Another fan here. Just had a baby and got bought multiple copies of your baby toddler cook book! Bought my Hubby a place on your fish day and Had to accompany him to make sure it was up to scratch. Loved it.

I have 100+ jars of different preserves and plumbeena in my cellar thanks to Pam the jam.

Ok, I'd like to echo the question re wine recipes and my question is re 'beena':

I've had very good response to my plumbeena and this year have done pear as well. Which other fruit have you found make a popular beena? (elderberry?)

(note to other mumsnetters - is there a good place for swapping preserves?

I haven't tried elder but blackberries make a brilliant one. It's almost too late this year but not quite. If you're also growing raspberries in the garden a mixture of raspberries is absolutely brilliant.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 15-Sep-11 13:53:02

Anything interesting I can do with Walnuts, Hugh?

mehgalegs Thu 15-Sep-11 13:53:20

Yikes at my spelling! Sorry Hugh.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:54:19

ColdSancerre

Hi Hugh

Can you suggest a vegetarian main course we could all have a go at making in our new MN Recipe Club?

Yes certainly! The Porotos Granados from the new River Cottage Veg book is a lovely, heartwarming, spicy squash, bean and sweetcorn soupy stew from South America. Serve it with homemade garlicky flatbreads and a red cabbage, parsnip, date and orange salad.

HowlingBitch Thu 15-Sep-11 13:55:13

...All the wonderful culinary advice I could of gotten and I ask about your hair. If my father ever finds out about this I will be disowned!

We have been fans for years.

ireallyagreewithyou Thu 15-Sep-11 13:55:34

were the Loose WOmen a bunch of old raddled tarts? wink

AuntieMonica Thu 15-Sep-11 13:55:42

I've just seen you on Loose Women a daytime programme where you say that you've gone veggie as you think that cooking with meat makes you a lazy cook shock

Since I thought the River Cottage 'thing' was about using the whole animal, not just the prime cuts etc, but how to use the 'cheaper' cuts/offal etc, it seems like a massive sell out to me.
People are cynical, I am cynical, you've made a career out of telling people they can cook with meat within a budget, but with a bit of effort it can be done.

I'm not buying into it right now, convince me otherwise?

yes, i posted this question earlier and am being a PITA <shrugs>

<resists the temptation to say something rude about Justine's nuts>

ireallyagreewithyou Thu 15-Sep-11 13:56:42

Justine has wrinkly nuts, it seems

FootballFriendSays Thu 15-Sep-11 13:57:16

What is your next project and what do you do when you're not working on something?

Blatherskite Thu 15-Sep-11 13:57:18

I've only bought free range - or at least Freedom Food - chicken since the chicken out campaign and find that my usual Supermarket, Tesco, are better now than they used to be but still lagging far behind on what they supply in caged meat. It's often slim pickings when I go to chose my chicken and I have only ever seen them supplied in one size (which happens to be too big for us so we end up eating chicken all week) whereas the caged birds come in a variety of sizes and cuts.

Hugh, is the Chicken Out campaign still running and will you be doing anything to ask the Supermarkets to supply more free range chicken options?

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:57:53

Rhubarb0

Ok Hugh, I agree with your fish fight and I signed the petition (you're welcome) but there is just one snag. I hate fish as does the rest of my family. We can eat tuna bake, just about and salmon's ok. But no matter what recipe I've followed and what fish I've tried, we just hate fish.

The trouble is that it's just so damn boney! Picking out fish bones from a mouthful of food is not good.

Then you have the taste. Fishy. I've tried it with lemon and herbs and tomatoes and goodness knows what else but the taste only varies from mildly fishy to strong fish.

If you can tell me how to cook fish so that my family will not only eat it but convert to actually liking it, then I shall physically go out and buy your books.

Fish doesn't have to be bony - your lovely friendly local fishmonger will happily fillet it for you. Fillet of fresh mackerel are hard to beat and so easy to cook: you can even drop them into a tray of roast potatoes for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Season with a little salt and pepper and herbs and you've got a brilliant home made alternative to fish and chips. The recipe is in River Cottage Every Day - give it a whirl.

ireallyagreewithyou Thu 15-Sep-11 13:57:55

Hugh, i dont give a toss about sustainability, organic, vege, anything

persuade me to care...

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:58:18

Kveta

hi hugh! I love your shows, and really need to start building up a collection of your books now!

We have just bought a house with a totally bare (north east facing) garden - lawn, lawn, and more lawn. it's not very big, and has a wee raised bed at the back made with concrete slabs, so I managed to get a few plants in the week we moved, and have had a couple of potatoes, a handful of peas, and a glut of courgettes (2 plants, 45 courgettes so far, and more on the way - eek!). We've got a plum tree in the middle of the lawn, but it was only planted at the beginning of the season, so no joy this year. oh, and a fig twig, which I have high hopes for next year. I plan to dig a few veg and fruit beds to give us some gluts to look forward to in the future!!

My question is this - if you were starting a veg garden from scratch, what would be your key fruit and veg, and which would you avoid?

As I always say it is entirely depends on what you personally want to get out of it- there's no point in growing fruit and veg that you can't get excited about. For me, the fruits would be apples, raspberries, plums and greengages. If you haven't got much space, I'd avoid onions and potatoes as you can easily buy really good locally grown ones anyway

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 13:58:31

MissWing

Hi Hugh,
I was raised by veggies, so for us the 'high quality meat once in a while' thing is second nature.

I have a theory that frozen veg are actually very sustainable and environmentally friendly as:

-we'd run the freezer anyway
-no waste with food going off uncooked
-produced intensively therefore less carbon per calorie
-vitamins nicely preserved too

any thoughts?

I'm not sure about the carbon per calorie argument. Intensively farmed vegetables are often shipped long distances, and I would say local is best, but the freezer is a very useful device for keeping good veg in good nick, and actually anyone who grows their own veg knows that you need a freezer to take care of those gluts of peas and beans. We've got a huge tomato glut at the moment and I'm roasting kilos at a time with garlic and herbs, rubbing them through a sieve and freezing this delicious nectar by the litre. I'll be using it in soups, stews and pasta sauces right through the winter and beyond.

saffronenvy Thu 15-Sep-11 13:59:02

Hi Hugh!

Very excited to talk to you. Have been a fan since the early River Cottage days (and have recently been re-watching RC on DVD).

I am a first-time home owner, so a total novice with food. We have some ex-battery hens in our garden, and are currently overrun with eggs (bless them!) Could you suggest any eggy recipes other than omelettes as we are getting rather bored of those! Also, I'm keep to set up a veg patch so wondered what the best veg is to grow for use with eggs.

Thanks! - BTW agree with the poster suggesting a visit to Essex, we're in Braintree if you're ever in the area!

follyfoot Thu 15-Sep-11 13:59:11

Hi Hugh

My daughter is off to Uni next week. Any ideas for cheap and healthy meals she can cook?

She can actually cook reasonably well, but I fear the lure of a packet meal may be too much once she has left home grin

Thank you

PS she's not really a red meat fan

FootballFriendSays Thu 15-Sep-11 14:00:33

Can I also add that my son (now 11) is still thrilled to have received a signed book from you and a note - it was when my husband wrote to you a few years back to say your DVDs don't have subtitles for the deaf.

crispyrolls Thu 15-Sep-11 14:00:45

Hi Hugh

Where can I find out more about sustainable living and the benefite in wales of Land Value Tax as I would like to set up a sustainable small holding.

Thanks

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 14:00:57

"The Porotos Granados from the new River Cottage Veg book is a lovely, heartwarming, spicy squash, bean and sweetcorn soupy stew from South America. Serve it with homemade garlicky flatbreads and a red cabbage, parsnip, date and orange salad."

Thanks, is there the recipe somewhere we could all share?

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:01:14

MakemineaGandT

Hi Hugh! We love your books in this house......we cook from them regularly.

My question is: if you could only grow 5 types of veg in your garden what would you choose?

The secret is to grow the veg you most enjoy eating or that are better when you've grown them at home than when you buy them from a shop. For me, that means baby peas and broad beans, tomatoes, asparagus and artichokes but of course its different for everybody

Kveta Thu 15-Sep-11 14:01:32

ooh, thank you! apart from the greengages, that's pretty much our fruit plans (I'm putting blueberries in instead of greegages), and I had been contemplating onions, but glad to see they are more faff that they are worth grin

would still love to know what the waxy potato was you were talking about this morning!!

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:01:52

MonkeysPunk

Dear Hugh,
do you plan in advance what you are eating each day - or do you just decide and make whatever you feel like eating when you get hungry?

A bit of both to be honest at this time in the year I tend to wonder out in the garden an hour or so before supper and grab handfuls of what looks best. But when we've got people coming over there may be a bit more planning. Until recently I would be thinking about getting a nice piece of our own home reared meat out of the freezer, but in my current veg loving phase, I like putting three or four big veg dishes on the table to pass around and share. Its' a really nice mezze style of eating. For example, the spelt salads, and big trays of roast veg in the book are brilliant hearty dishes and with a simple tomato salad and a few hunks of bread you've got a feast.

crispyrolls Thu 15-Sep-11 14:02:09

Hi Hugh

Where can I find out more about sustainable living and the benefits of Land Value Tax in Wales as I would like to build a sustainable home and small holding

Thanks

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:03:42

AuntieMonica

I've just seen you on Loose Women a daytime programme where you say that you've gone veggie as you think that cooking with meat makes you a lazy cook shock

Since I thought the River Cottage 'thing' was about using the whole animal, not just the prime cuts etc, but how to use the 'cheaper' cuts/offal etc, it seems like a massive sell out to me.
People are cynical, I am cynical, you've made a career out of telling people they can cook with meat within a budget, but with a bit of effort it can be done.

I'm not buying into it right now, convince me otherwise?

I'm not suggesting for a minute that anyone else should give up meat. I wanted to do it because I felt it would make me a better vegetable cook, and it has. But the fact is, most of us are eating too much meat, and I've been saying that for a very long time. Too much for our health, too much for the health and welfare of our farm animals, and frankly, too much for the future of food production on the planet to be sustainable. As well as cooking good meat thriftily and wisely, we also need to give meat a rest from time to time. Of course the way I think about cooking has evolved over time and I make no apology for that. I'm looking forward to going back to cooking the cheapest cuts of the best meat; they'll always be a big part of my diet. But they will be accompanied and interspersed with many more vegetables in future.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:03:46

ouryve

Hi Hugh!

Due to the vagaries of the weather up here in the North East coast, we always end up with a heap of green tomatoes at the end of the season, and yes I do inevitably end up making a load of River Cottage Chutney with them. grin

The thing is, I'm the only person in this house who likes chutney, so while chutney making time is fast approaching, and despite giving loads of the stuff away, I've barely made any inroads into last year's batch (I only finished the batch from the year before in March!) shock

So, do you have any other suggestions for what I can do with my annual glut of green tomatoes?!

If you've never tried the classic American dish of fried green tomatoes it really is worth a go- I've actually got a recipe for them on the Guardian website at the moment!

sarahtigh Thu 15-Sep-11 14:04:17

hi

can you suggest what I can grow successfully live in west of scotland and it has rained heavy 4 out of 5 days this summer have greenhouse east facing and managed tomatoes and salad, planted peas and broad beans loads of them have had enough to just about feed 2 people twice , surrounded by big oak / birch trees etc so light is a problem the kitchen garden has south facing wall but trees stop light it is also on slope down to the sea.

I am afrraid though love growing stuff am a bit disillusioned as 8 out of 10 raspberry canes died too, personally i think we are doomed unless cut big trees down so we can catch what sun there is but also feel bad about cutting trees down too but you cant grow stuff in woodland

any advice please !!!!!!!

ouryve - I'll happily take some chutney off you!

soandsosmum Thu 15-Sep-11 14:06:47

ouryve ditto. swap for some plum jam?

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:08:04

Blatherskite

I've only bought free range - or at least Freedom Food - chicken since the chicken out campaign and find that my usual Supermarket, Tesco, are better now than they used to be but still lagging far behind on what they supply in caged meat. It's often slim pickings when I go to chose my chicken and I have only ever seen them supplied in one size (which happens to be too big for us so we end up eating chicken all week) whereas the caged birds come in a variety of sizes and cuts.

Hugh, is the Chicken Out campaign still running and will you be doing anything to ask the Supermarkets to supply more free range chicken options?

The campaign is still going strong as is the website which I began running in conjunction with Compassion in World Farming. The campaign has been a great influence on the market as higher welfare chicken has moved from about 5% to 15% of the market. Of course I don't think that's enough and I continue to talk to the industry behind the scenes to see how we can make it even better.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:08:10

HumphreyCobbler

Any tips about making black pudding that slices rather than crumbles? Ours tends to disintegrate into the pan, although it tastes delicious.

You can add oatmeal to the mix for a more traditional Scottish black pudding, and that should firm it up a bit. Good luck with the next batch.

5inthebed Thu 15-Sep-11 14:08:26

Hi Hugh,

My 6 year old loves fish, he would eat it every day if I let him.

He wants me to cook him a whole fish, head and everything. Any simple recipes that I could cook for him? He doesn't really do strong tastes, but don't want to serve a plain fish either.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:09:45

Jerseyellie

Hi You have had a massive influence on my husband and we now keep chickens and grow potato's, beets, tom's, carrots, onions, beans & strawberries!! We also grew a tremendous amount of radish, didn't realise they would be so easy to grow!! What would you do with excessive radish? PS are you really vegetarian now?

I never get bored of munching a few raw radishes especially with a little butter and salt but thinly sliced and stirred into yogurt they make an excellent pepper raita. And its true I haven't eaten any meat and fish whilst I've been making the TV series to go with the new book but I will be returning to meat and fish in a few weeks. Although I think I'll be eating less of them than I used to now that I've discovered the true joys of veg!

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:11:15

Thingumy

Hi.

In lieu of your new found vegetarianism,can I have a refund on your overly priced 'Meat' book?

Certainly not. I assume you've had a while and hope you've got great use out of it. The way I see it the 2 go hand in hand. the first line of the meat books says that we've all been eating too much meat for too long and we've got to change. the flip side of eating meat thriftily and using every part of the animal is cooking less meat altogether and using more vegetables. I see no contradiction there at all.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:11:49

MrsBuntysStrangeCuldeSac

A nosy question I have always intrigued to ask people who cook and write about food as their profession - please could you tell me what is your favourite everyday meal is and favourite 'special' meal?

My favourite everyday meal is a poached egg on toast, with creamed spinach. My favourite 'special' meal is anything made with lovely fresh fish that we've caught ourselves, for example a ceviche of fresh bream, followed by barbecued mackerel - the kind of thing I'm looking forward to getting back to after my period of self-imposed veggiedom!

FatimahZarah Thu 15-Sep-11 14:14:33

Some french schools, from personal experience, aren't above deep frying vegetables to get children to eat them, since, 1, the children eat the vegetables, and 2, they're french, do you think our schools should take the same approach?

Hennypenny11 Thu 15-Sep-11 14:14:40

Hi Hugh,

I am a forager! I love to take the chilldren out in all seasons to see what we can find to eat. The one thing I am not sure about is mushrooms - especially with the children. Where is the best place to start as it seems a shame, when there are so many edible varietys out there not to use them. Any help greatfully received!

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:15:16

ColdSancerre

"The Porotos Granados from the new River Cottage Veg book is a lovely, heartwarming, spicy squash, bean and sweetcorn soupy stew from South America. Serve it with homemade garlicky flatbreads and a red cabbage, parsnip, date and orange salad."

Thanks, is there the recipe somewhere we could all share?

Just fry up a sliced onion, throw in half a kilo or so of cubed squash, sizzle for a while with a teaspoon of sweet paprika, a sprig of thyme and a pinch of chilli, then cover with veg stock and simmer. When the pumpkin is almost tender, add in the kernels sliced off two corn cobs, a handful of sliced green beans and a tin of cooked beans such as pinto or cannellini. Give it a few more minutes, check the seasoning and dish it up with flatbreads or a good crusty loaf. You can dot a bit of sour cream on it and scatter a bit of grated cheese over it too if you like.

MagicFingerGoesPop Thu 15-Sep-11 14:17:19

Hugh, I think Thingumy was being tongue in cheek...

AuntieMonica Thu 15-Sep-11 14:17:36

I'm a little bit insulted by all the publicity stating you've 'gorn veggie', but in real terms it's looking a bit like a publicity stunt, tbh.

Do you think this might taint your 'wholesome' image at all?

papworth Thu 15-Sep-11 14:17:46

Do you hae an exciting idea for runner beans? There always seems to be a glut of them? thanks x

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:17:55

gazzalw

Hi Hugh
Knowing that many of your fellow ex-Etonian peers went down the directly political career trajectory, just wondered what inspired you to go down the garden path instead?

Well frankly I find the garden a much more stimulating and enjoyable place to be than the palace of Westminster. Actually though, the politics of food is always lively and so important for us for how we live and has consequences ultimately for the whole planet so i don't feel that making a living in the world of food is entirely indulgent.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:18:19

saffronenvy

I am a first-time home owner, so a total novice with food. We have some ex-battery hens in our garden, and are currently overrun with eggs. Could you suggest any eggy recipes other than omelettes as we are getting rather bored of those! Also, I'm keep to set up a veg patch so wondered what the best veg is to grow for use with eggs.

My current favourite egg recipe is chachouka; it's a lovely North African stew of tomatoes and peppers and spices simmered down to a rich pulpy sauce. You then crack eggs over the top and pop it in the oven for ten minutes. Absolutely lovely - give it a whirl! (It's in the book!)

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 14:18:44

Thank you Hugh! Sounds lovely.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:21:17

5inthebed

Hi Hugh,

My 6 year old loves fish, he would eat it every day if I let him.

He wants me to cook him a whole fish, head and everything. Any simple recipes that I could cook for him? He doesn't really do strong tastes, but don't want to serve a plain fish either.

Baking a whole fish in foil is one of the most easy and rewarding ways to cook a fish, and you just need a few herbs and a squeeze of lemon, maybe a smear of butter, to get a lovely hot juice to spoon over the finished fish. It works brilliantly with plate-sized fish of a pound or two such as bream, gurnard, mackerel, mullet or bass.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:21:20

JustineMumsnet

Anything interesting I can do with Walnuts, Hugh?

One of my favourite dishes is a walnut and beetroot houmous-sy type paste. blitz the cooked beetroot with walnut breadcrumbs and a little garlic and loosen with some olive oil and most importantly add some toasted cumin seeds roughly bashed and mix it altogether. Yes, there's a version of it in the new book

saffronenvy Thu 15-Sep-11 14:21:40

Thanks Hugh, sounds delicious! I actually have some tomatoes and peppers growing in pots in the garden, so should be ideal.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:22:06

HorseHairKnickers

Didn't agree with the chicken thing though...
Not that I think chickens living in crowded conditions is good ~ I don't, but it's really a matter of cost and budget for a lot of people and even more so in this financial nightmare that most of us find ourselves in.

So, my question is this; If you buy a free range chicken and a caged (not free range) chicken, how is it possible to get more meat from the free range than the caged if they are the same weight?

I don't have a big weekly budget for food (about £30 - £35), so if I want to actually feed my children meat, it's often chicken, but never free range, so I'd be very interested in your answer please.
Thanks Hugh grin

Kveta

ooh, thank you! apart from the greengages, that's pretty much our fruit plans (I'm putting blueberries in instead of greegages), and I had been contemplating onions, but glad to see they are more faff that

they are worth grin

would still love to know what the waxy potato was you were talking about this morning!!

Ratte! Strange name lovely texture

nessa64 Thu 15-Sep-11 14:22:20

What a shame about all this negativity around your veggie time. I for one understood that it was to co-inside with the launch of your book, but its no bad thing to try and encourage people to ease off the meat a little and appreciate the virtues of what is normally considered the underdog of peoples dinner plate. I totally applaude the values you write and make shows about, and take them on board for what they are meant to be - helpful and insightful advice to help the health of a nation and the welfare of its animals. Hearly people trying to pick holes in what you are doing really makes me sad. I stand by being a huge fan, and hope to be cooking your recipes and following your ethos for years to come.

Blatherskite Thu 15-Sep-11 14:22:29

I know it's only supposed to be 1 question per memeber and you've already very kindly answered my first one but I've got another and it's so different to the first I'm hoping MNHQ will let it slide...if not, feel free to ignore

Somehow, I've managed to produce 1 child who eats any veg put in front of him (got excited when the Grocery man delivered Asparagus today and begs for the multicoloured cauliflower pack when we got shopping!) and 1 child who hates veg, even though they were weaned in very similar ways and are fed the same now hmm

Any tips on getting a very reluctant toddler to eat her veggies?

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:23:19

crispyrolls

Hi Hugh

Where can I find out more about sustainable living and the benefits of Land Value Tax in Wales as I would like to build a sustainable home and small holding

Thanks

Try the Centre for Alternative Technology website; there's also some good magazines now, including I think one called 'Sustainable Living'. There's loads of good info out there now on the internet. You might also want to drop into the River Cottage website and get chatting to our regulars; they've got all sorts of brilliant tips and ideas.

fivegomadindorset Thu 15-Sep-11 14:23:19

Hello, what is a good polytunnel size?

saffronenvy Thu 15-Sep-11 14:24:07

Hear hear nessa64!

highburygal Thu 15-Sep-11 14:24:08

There's a lot to be said for growing and cooking at home, but what about going out. Did you eat purely veggie whenever you ate out? And do you have any recommendations for decent veggie restaurants (I'm in London - if the name didn't give it away already!)

ladymalham Thu 15-Sep-11 14:24:37

Thanks Hugh! heads off to the kitchen to start cooking....

5inthebed Thu 15-Sep-11 14:24:55

Thank you Hugh, will try some bream.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:25:41

AuntieMonica

I'm a little bit insulted by all the publicity stating you've 'gorn veggie', but in real terms it's looking a bit like a publicity stunt, tbh.

Do you think this might taint your 'wholesome' image at all?

I'm trying to be as clear as possible about what I 've done and why. I've given up meat and fish for the summer in order to become a better vegetable cook and to try and get a better balance in my cooking in the future. Of course you don't have to give up meat to do that but I've enjoyed the total immersion aspect of the experiment and discovered some wonderful new dishes.

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:27:21

Hennypenny11

Hi Hugh,

I am a forager! I love to take the chilldren out in all seasons to see what we can find to eat. The one thing I am not sure about is mushrooms - especially with the children. Where is the best place to start as it seems a shame, when there are so many edible varietys out there not to use them. Any help greatfully received!

You're right to be cautious, as nobody should ever eat a mushroom unless they are certain what species they have found. But it doesn't take long to build up a confident repertoire of a few worthwhile species. Chanterelles, field mushrooms, woodblewitt, shaggy ink caps and parasols are probably good ones to get your head round. You'll need a book to get started, and obviously the one I would recommend is John Wright's River Cottage handbook. As well as being a brilliant field guide, it's very witty and a great read.

aristocat Thu 15-Sep-11 14:27:31

thanks for your reply Hugh smile will you come back again please?

AuntieMonica Thu 15-Sep-11 14:27:57

thanks for your answers, Hugh

it would have been very easy to ignore my (and other's) questions, i appreciate the time you've taken on them

fivegomadindorset Thu 15-Sep-11 14:28:12

I think your handbooks are great and have got a pile of them.

IAmAsparagus Thu 15-Sep-11 14:28:41

Hugh, you're an inspiration. Looks like I've found another book for my Christmas list. smile

I seem to be drowning in herbs, any ideas how to preserve them?

ouryve Thu 15-Sep-11 14:28:51

Thanks, Hugh. This year's premature crop of green tomatoes (my hanging tomato plants were pulverised by the wind on Monday) is probably a bit titchy, fruit size wise, to do that recipe justice. I suspect that some of what I have on my kitchen windowsill at the moment is going to end up roasted and thrown in with some rip tomatoes in a pasta sauce, or something. They really do look quite sad after their ordeal.

papworth Thu 15-Sep-11 14:29:16

Glad you and your son are Ok after the Sidmouth lifeboat picked you up the other day

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:29:21

papworth

Do you hae an exciting idea for runner beans? There always seems to be a glut of them? thanks x

I love cooking them now with garlic and tomatoes into a lovely luscious bean stew. That then keeps for quite a few days in the fridge and is still delicious every time you reheat it . I've also just done a delicious recipe for the new show of runner bean tempura with a sweet and sour chilli dipping sauce.

xJessicasMummyx Thu 15-Sep-11 14:29:32

Hi Hugh, Pleeeeease answer the question I posted about promoting baby-led weaning. So interested to hear your response! bats eyelashes wink

Hennypenny11 Thu 15-Sep-11 14:30:01

Thank you Hugh, I shall get a copy just in time for this years season!

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:30:39

ireallyagreewithyou

Hugh, i dont give a toss about sustainability, organic, vege, anything

persuade me to care...

I've spent a good chunk of my life trying to persuade people to care about these things, so I'm not sure what I can do for you in a few seconds... Saying you don't care about sustainability is the same as saying you don't care about your children's future. Are you really a mum wink ?

crispyrolls Thu 15-Sep-11 14:31:19

Thanks Hugh, much appreciated

papworth Thu 15-Sep-11 14:31:28

Thank you. I'll definitely try it.

ComradeJing Thu 15-Sep-11 14:32:10

YY Nessa64

HughFearnleyWhittingstall Thu 15-Sep-11 14:32:58

Goodbye Mumsnet thanks for having me, it's been lovely chatting with you and let's do it again soon. Meanwhile big up the veg - you know it makes sense.

AuntieMonica Thu 15-Sep-11 14:34:01

i think i've spotted a fantastic thread topic for AIBU, do you have to nip off after this, Hugh?

AIBU to not give a stuff about sustainability because I'm not a mum?

shock

<nudges hugh wink>

ireallyagreewithyou Thu 15-Sep-11 14:35:24

vair good hughster.

kids all alive, well and thriving.
no allergies, no issues

TheRhubarb Thu 15-Sep-11 14:36:46

Thanks for answering my fish question however I'm strugging to think of where the nearest fishmonger is - does Morrisons count?

I shall try fillet of mackerel, I'm not convinced but I will give it a go.
We do try to keep the old tradition of Fish Fridays, so I'll see what the family think when I serve up mackerel and chips.

Lissachick Thu 15-Sep-11 14:43:58

Hi Hugh ! We have a fairly big garden and have been growing veg and now have chickens ! But not succesful growing lettuces due tto bugs and pigeons is there an organic/natural spray we can get to stop the bugs ?? i want to be abel to spray and eat veg without havign to wait so many weeks before we can ! Also any ideas for a main meal using potatoes as got tonnes this year ! we have lots of herbs and somethign a bit spec be great ! If you ever Essex way pop to Rayleigh ( even put you to work !!!)
sorry reposting !!! grin

HorseHairKnickers Thu 15-Sep-11 14:53:51

Thanks Hugh smile

twolittleboys Thu 15-Sep-11 15:07:23

Hi Hugh - we have recently discovered the health benefits associated with Sweet Potatoes, but not sure the best / nicest way to cook them, also it would be great if there was a way they could be cooked and then eaten cold (as in a 'potato salad' type dish) - do you have suggestions? Thank you.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 15-Sep-11 16:47:59

Huge thanks to Hugh for being so unflappable (we were running late, couldn't get into the building and then had wifi probs blush. Once we'd logged in though he was off! and there was no stopping him and it's great to see he got through so many questions. Congratulations to :
fivegomadindorset, ladymalham, soandsosmum, HowlingBitch and Blatherskite who has each won a copy of Hugh's latest book, River Cottage Veg Every Day. We'll be pming you shortly with more details.

reelingintheyears Thu 15-Sep-11 17:09:02

*Congratulations to :
fivegomadindorset, ladymalham, soandsosmum, HowlingBitch and Blatherskite who has each won a copy of Hugh's latest book*

Tut tut.

Who have each won a copy etc.wink

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 16-Sep-11 11:04:29

what's up wi that ?

shock singular vs plural!!!!!! And I didn't notice until reeling pointed it out!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 16-Sep-11 11:33:50

Bad joke - I know, sorry for my grammatical error everyone.

Squigglywiggly Fri 16-Sep-11 13:55:17

Hello - my husband and I (plus 9 month daughter if blackberries are somewhere near!) have been inspired by the river cottage series of foraging books. We have recently made pontack sauce with some elderberries and wonder if there are any vegetarian dishes that it will go with? smile

AmberSkye Mon 19-Sep-11 15:50:26

Brilliant - Hugh is an inspiration in the kitchen grin) Really looking forward to what he has to say...

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 20-Sep-11 12:43:25

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