The Ethicurean Cookbook

28 02 2013

More details have been announced about The Ethicurean Cookbook, the first book from Wrington’s finest which will detail recipes, foods and liquors created in the Barley Wood Walled Garden over the course of a year. “Eat local, celebrate native foods, live well” is the philosophy at The Ethicurean and their book will reflect this simple mantra.

The Ethicurean CookbookThe Ethicurean was founded in 2010 by four friends: Jack Adair Bevan, Paula Zarate, and brothers and self-trained chefs Iain and Matthew Pennington.

The team is committed to focusing on seasonality, ethical sourcing of ingredients and attention to the local environment.

Not content to be named as this website’s Best Restaurant of 2011, they were also awarded the Observer Food Monthly Best Ethical Restaurant 2011 and a Michelin Bib Gourmand last year.

The hardbook book, published by Ebury Press on May 16, will feature 120 recipes, many with ingredients grown in their own garden, with more than 200 photographs by Bristol photographer Jason Ingram.

Recipes include such delights as confit rabbit paired with lovage breadcrumbs, cured roe deer with wood sorrel, pork and juniper pie, Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout steamed pudding, and Eccles cakes with Dorset Blue Vinny and sherry sauce.

The book will also feature short sections on food history, traditional festivals such as their mid-winter Wassail, key producers, and guidance on preserving, smoking, curing and other techniques that make the most of produce and reduce waste.

The Ethicurean team

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The Ethicurean

16 10 2011

Until I visited the Ethicurean in Wrington, just the other side of Bristol Airport, the shortest food miles I have experienced in Bristol is the true story of a friend who spotted a waiter pilfering herbs from his front garden before scurrying across the other side of Whiteladies Road to an Italian restaurant which will remain nameless but suffice to say would score well on a Scrabble board.

The width of a road takes some beating, but at the Ethicurean most of its food comes from the Victorian walled garden in which this delightfully charming restaurant is situated.

The menu changes by the day, depending on what is available from the garden that morning.

This morning, Observer readers up and down the country will be waking up and reading about the Ethicurean as it is named Best Ethical Restaurant in the Observer Food Monthly Awards, continuing to fly the foodie flag for Bristol after last year’s success in the Best Cheap Eats category by the Thali Cafe.

It is a worthy accolade for the restaurant founded one year ago this week by four chef friends, brothers Ian and Matthew Pennington, Jack Bevan and Paula Zarate in the Barley Wood Walled Garden, built in 1901 for Henry Herbert Wills, head of the Imperial Tobacco Factory, who lived opposite.

Sloping down towards Wrington Vale and the Mendip Hills beyond, with the garden packed full of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbaceous borders, the Ethicurean have found a stunning situation for their first permanent base.

Last night, the Ethicurean team were part of the Invisible Banquet at the Paintworks and this morning, they will be basking in the glow of the Observer Food Monthly award.

The official announcement of the award last week at a swanky ceremony in London was the spur I needed to make my first trip to the Ethicurean after months of hearing terrific word-of-mouth recommendations.

After failing to convince anybody to join me on a cycle ride for lunch on Friday, but being promised a 10 per cent discount over Twitter in the process for turning up on two wheels, I arranged to meet my friend Alex who drove while I made good time on my trusty steed along the A38, taking less than an hour from the city centre.

While waiting for Alex to arrive, I had a glass of apple juice, made from 70 different varieties of apples from their own orchards and pressed in the cider barn at the bottom of the garden, next to four artists’ studios.

Apples turned out to be a bit of a theme of the long and lazy afternoon, with my dessert, the signature dessert no less, being a spectacular toffee apple cake with cinnamon cream, made once again with Barley Wood’s own apple juice, caramel and apples.

Perked up by espressos from Extract Coffee after our puddings, we struck up conversation with Poppy and Pablo from one of my favourite Bristol bands, Poppy Perezz. (Pablo is the sister of Paula.)

Alex and I then joined Poppy and Pablo in the cider barn to have a go at pressing the apples, backbreaking work and one that I will be reminded of now whenever drinking a glass of artisan-made apple juice, the Ethicurean variety of which is a deliciously golden orange colour.

And how’s this for food miles? We could see the apple trees outside the barn as we sampled the apple juice made within.

There is talk of making cider here, but at the moment they are content to sell the apple juice in the cafe, in the shop, at farmers markets and use it to make the apple cake.

Apples trees are abundant in the Walled Garden, as are leaves, and these were abundant in our starters and main courses. We shared a chicken liver, port and brandy parfait and Southport potted shrimp for starters, and for mains a hot smoked Arctic char for Alex and UK chorizo sausage for me, the spiciness of the chorizo set off by a pint of IPA from the Box Steam Brewery personally recommended to me by Ian.

Sitting outside in the October sun, being at the Ethicurean cafe felt like being far away on holiday, despite being only nine miles from Bristol city centre as the crow flies.

It still remains something of a marvellous secret, and while the Observer Food Monthly award will undoubtedly bring more punters to search out its charms, the Ethicurean’s delights will remain one of the Bristol area’s most magnificent hideouts.

The Ethicurean, Barley Wood Walled Garden, Long Lane, Wrington. 01934 863713.

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