River Cottage

8:00pm Sunday, December 16 on C4

It’s Christmas at River Cottage and Hugh is throwing open his doors to some celebrity friends: comedy actors Kathy Burke, Stephen Mangan and Mark Heap. What could possibly go wrong? Kathy hates Christmas; so it’ll be down to Stephen and Mark to help Hugh to talk her round. Hugh takes Kathy out on a fishing trip to catch an alternative Christmas day main course – perfect for non-meat eaters like her, or anyone fancying a change from the boring bird.

8:00pm Saturday, July 7 on C4

Another chance to see this special episode of River Cottage. Philip Glenister, Keeley Hawes and Felicity Kendal swap the stage for the kitchen, and fancy shoes for wellies, to join Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in a cookery masterclass. Over two days of good cooking and fun on the farm, Hugh introduces his trio to the ways of River Cottage, the importance of seasonal, ethical produce, and the delights of home-grown, home-cooked food.

8:00pm Wednesday, July 4 on C4

Three famous actors swap the stage for the kitchen, and fancy shoes for wellies, to join Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in a cookery masterclass at River Cottage farm. Taking part are Philip Glenister, Keeley Hawes and The Good Life’s Felicity Kendal: the original poster girl for smallholders.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage team serve up an extra special festive menu with a twist this Christmas as they celebrate the renewed sense of the value of meat and the wonders of seasonal vegetables.

This year all the meat comes from the most extensively living, free ranging animals of them all – wild game – and more specifically those that are viewed by many people as pests.

The River Cottage chefs sharpen their knives in pursuit of a range of wild game, with the likes of wild boar, muntjack deer and greylag geese at the top of their stalking list, and take inspiration from the abundance of goodies available in the winter garden.

By planting up a selection of Christmas favourites, as well as some not so often seen, heritage varieties, head gardener Mark Diacono and Hugh will be able to show you exactly how, with a little forward planning, to get the most out of your veg patch, even in the depths of Winter. Forager John Wright teams up with Pam ‘the Jam’ Corbin to make some luxury stocking fillers that will suit all the family, not just the children. And the Canteen hosts a ‘12-tasters of Christmas’ night, packed with ideas to create an array of canapés and little bites, perfect for that festive drinks party.

The finale is a cosy Christmas get together for friends and family in the River Cottage barn, where the only things missing will be the turkey and the sausage rolls.

Sunday, April 4 on M4

Hugh is keenly devoted to the River Cottage garden, so when he learns slugs have been scoffing the soft cabbages he plans some drastic action. Snails have long been established on the River Cottage menu, so Hugh wonders if he can turn slugs into a culinary hit too.

Sunday, December 27 on M4

It’s been a bumper year at River Cottage, and to celebrate this, as well as 12 years of success, Hugh has invited some of his fellow food heroes who’ve worked alongside him over the years to a fabulous four-course dinner.

Wednesday, December 23 on 4

It’s been a bumper year at River Cottage, and to celebrate this, as well as 12 years of success, Hugh has invited some of his fellow food heroes who’ve worked alongside him over the years to a fabulous four-course dinner. Guests include Hugh’s mushroom man, John Wright, fishing pals Pat Carlin, Paddy Rudd, John Wallington and Nick Fisher, and Barbara Gunning, who’s going to help Hugh make the ultimate treacle sponge.

Thursday, December 3 on 4

Last in the series. With Christmas around the corner, Hugh has a plan. Instead of giving shop-bought boxes of chocolates, he makes his own, lip-smacking brownies that take ten minutes to prepare and two minutes to wrap. Hugh’s slaughtered steer has now been hanging for a month. Butcher Ray Smith and Hugh set to work extracting cuts for a party Hugh is throwing: the pair can’t resist making beefy canap?s of biltong and pastrami. Hugh’s valiant attempts to get wild rabbits back onto the British menu continues as he targets the notoriously awkward teenage demographic.

Thursday, November 12 on 4

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s back for a brand new series, and with autumn in full swing and winter on its way it’s time to stock the larder and enjoy everything these seasons have in store. Hugh lives in Devon – cider country – and is keen to make perry, as pear cider is known. He heads to Gloucestershire for some expert advice. And after a crash-course in learning how to hold huge breaths underwater, he takes to the open sea to try and bag the ultimate shellfish: scallops. It’s also mushroom season, so foraging guru John Wright and Hugh snuffle about the woods in a bid to find some fantastic fungi.

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has become something of a paradox. He’s got first world problems yet, he’s trying to live like he’s in the third world.

Okay, that seems a bit glib, but you know what I mean. He’s concerned about the welfare of animals which, admittedly, is an admirable thing… all the while, advising that we go and catch our own tea in the sea or grow our own meals in the garden.

However, at a time when humans feel like they’re suffering, with their houses being repossessed, losing their jobs and generally eyeing up those tins of corned beef because the days of sirloin have passed, it seems a bit trite to be on the box and preach whilst we all look on with utter lifestyle envy.

That said, the aforementioned gripes aren’t my real bugbear with Hugh. Basically, I’m just tired of getting preached at. I am weary.

In last night’s Hugh Goes Fishing or whatever it was called, our Hippie 2.0 talked about the environmental impact of catching fish and the like, all the while, completely forgetting that he’d driven from his rural southern idyll all the way to Scotland. There’s a lot of petrol/diesel fumes coming from your direction, son.

This is what I’ve resorted to.

See, I don’t normally pick the holes in the armchair like this… but people on the TV don’t constantly go on at me and how I could live my life better. If this was 10 Years Younger, trying to improve my face, I’d give it such a royal beating and not think twice about it.

Instead, with Hugh, I’m just tired and cranky. I haven’t got the energy to pick a fight and instead, like someone barking at you from the front of the classroom, I’ve developed a system where I can cancel Hugh out with the white noise in my head.

There’s no question he seems like a nice enough chap and I really would like to go to one of those wild boar hog bashes he throws in his shows… however, his shows are becoming a chore to watch. The envy I have of his life is slowly eroding with each bit of advice thrown my way.

Going catching my own meals is not really an option for someone who has an actual job. By the time 6pm comes around and I’m all worded out, or indeed, my girlfriend comes home from the office, the last thing we want to do is begin planning a fishing trip in the Hebrides to catch some mackeral.

Sometimes you want a McDonald’s, y’know?

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