IN 2010 FOUR FRIENDS set up The Ethicurean restaurant in an enchanting Victorian walled garden in the Mendip Hills, just outside Bristol. The ethos of the restaurant is a focus on seasonality, ethical sourcing of ingredients and attention to the local environment. In just two years, this inspiring restaurant has been awarded both the Observer Food Monthly Best Ethical Restaurant 2011 and a Michelin Bib Gourmand 2013. The Ethicurean Cookbook is a beautiful book that follows the Ethicurean team over the course of a year in their quest for innovative dishes, seasonality and freshness of ingredients. 120 unique and exciting recipes, presented season by season, reflect the best of ‘new British’. Most of the produce comes from within just metres of their kitchen.
The recipes are truly mouthwatering and visually stunning: Confit rabbit is paired with lovage breadcrumbs, Cured roe deer with wood sorrel, and foraged nettle soup with young Caerphilly cheese. The salads are as fresh as a daisy: beetroot carpaccio with honeyed walnuts; ewe’s curd and cucumber salad. And of course British food means pies and puds: pork and juniper pie, milk stout steamed pudding, Eccles cakes with Dorset Blue Vinny & sherry sauce. The Ethicureans are also known for their cocktails, making their own vermouth to create the perfect Negroni. They produce natural apple juice from the orchard that is home to eighty varieties of apple.
Over 200 stunning photographs by Jason Ingram follow the team and garden through the seasons and day to day in the restaurant and kitchen. Interspersed throughout the book are short sections on food history, traditional British festivals such as the midwinter Wassail festival, specific ingredients and key producers. Also included is inspirational guidance on preserving, smoking, curing and other techniques that make the most of produce and reduce waste. The Ethicurean Cookbook reflects the growing trend for artisan food and local produce and is truly an inspiration for how we should be sourcing our food and cooking at home over the next few decades.
Inspired by their shared passion for ethical eating and British seasonality, The Ethicurean was founded by Matthew, Jack, Paûla and Iain at Barley Wood Walled Garden, a few miles to the west of Bristol in 2010. Jack Adair-Bevan is a writer, wild meat hunter and mixologist fascinated by the curiosities of food history. Paûla Zarate, born in Mexico, is the backbone of The Ethicurean. Her previous career as senior legal counsel provides countless skills and the tenacity needed to support this sustainable venture. Matthew & Iain Pennington are self taught chefs with well trained palates. They focus on balancing bold flavours & culinary technique fortified with foraged wild produce. Since The Ethicurean’s creation the team has been responsible for a series of eccentric and delicious events and popups, from a Mexican yurt on the Brecon hillside to a BBQ from the back of an old ambulance on the Mongol Rally launch. They work alongside Mark & Linda Cox from Barley Wood Kitchen Garden & The Community Farm near Chew Valley. They actively support the Bristol art scene and resident artists at Barley Wood Walled Garden.