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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall goes back to the land and the sea in search of an alternative culinary lifestyle. Hugh grows his own produce and sees if he can make vegetables the stars of any meal.

About the Show

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall goes back to the land and the sea in search of an alternative culinary lifestyle. Hugh grows his own produce and sees if he can make vegetables the stars of any meal.

Series 16 Summary

Renowned carnivore Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall loves animals when alive, and when they're on his plate. But he believes the nation has to curb its need for meat - for the good of the animals, people's health and the planet.

There's a simple way to help ease the situation - Hugh wants people to eat more veg. So Hugh leaves his comfort zone and challenges himself to spend the summer as a vegetarian, to see just how satisfying life without meat can be for a true foodie.

Travelling the UK in search of committed veggies who love their food, Hugh learns all about a new world of flavours from all corners of the globe.

At River Cottage he puts his new discoveries into practice, filling his boots with the finest natural foods, teaching new ways with familiar ingredients, and once again eating the apparently uneatable.

  • Episode 1

    Hugh heads into the River Cottage vegetable garden to see what green summer vegetables he can get his hands on. A classic summer garden soup is a sure fire winner.

    Next he pays a visit to David Bailey, one of the best vegetarian chefs in the country. David wows Hugh with his Asian-inspired cooking.

    On his return to River Cottage Hugh's first challenge is to put on a full summer BBQ without so much as a single sausage. Time for some delicious halloumi, tomato and potato kebabs, and a vibrant carrot, cashew and orange salad.

    A forage in the wild larder proves even more fruitful - with tasty samphire, for chard and samphire tarts, and seaweed for dulce rosti.

  • Episode 2

    Hugh climbs a monkey puzzle tree looking for meat-free protein. Hugh and Gill cook beetroot tarte tatin and summer salad with pearl spelt, and Tim makes broad bean bruschetta.

    This episode is all about the garden. Hugh and the team revel in the first sweet roots of summer.

    Hugh then catches up with his smallholding pals at Bramble Farm in Bristol.

    And Hugh and head gardener Mark convince the local horticultural show to judge their entries on taste rather than looks - but find themselves up against a green-fingered man of the cloth.

  • Episode 3

    Hugh prepares to cook a meat-free feast. But he faces a battle with the slugs who are tucking into his vegetable patch with vigour!

    Hugh is catering for a wedding party, and has convinced the couple, Louise and Phil, to have a vegetable banquet.

    Hugh visits Jagdish Ghelani, owner of Indigo restaurant in Leicester, who regularly prepares south Indian speciality feasts for over 450 people.

    Back at River Cottage Hugh begins perfecting his curries with a fresh homemade aubergine and bean curry. He also knocks up some stuffed courgette flowers.

  • Episode 4

    Hugh's commitment to a summer without flesh takes a hit when he joins a fishing trip and has to pass up the fresh mackerel sushi.

    So he visits Sachiko in Birmingham, where a Japanese chef introduces him to the vegetarian ways of Buddhist monks, and cooking techniques entirely dedicated to wowing the palate out of any yearning for meat or fish.

    Back on track, Hugh plunges back into traditional English summertime and prepares a full cricket tea without a pork pie in sight.

  • Episode 5

    Hugh immerses himself in the pleasures of wild swimming with vegetarian triathlete Colin. Meanwhile, Tim and James go head to head in the kitchen with a summer veg showdown.

    Colin Hill has swum the English Channel, the Bosphorus and the Hellespont, and he puts pay to any suspicion that a meat-free diet lacks power. But his pasta-heavy diet lacks imagination - pasta and ketchup, anyone? So Hugh whips up some delicious carb-loading dishes that provide plenty of flavour as well as energy.

    Hugh also makes a campfire lunch for a team working with heavy horses to clear a forest.

    And Tim and James make a saffron speltotto and the classic melanzane parmigiana.

  • Episode 6

    Hugh is challenged to win over a meat-loving crowd at a local pub with his veggie dishes, including foraged mushrooms and beetroot and chocolate ice cream.

    Hugh is well into his summer without meat. But even though he's turned veggie, life goes on - and it's time to take two of the River Cottage sheep to slaughter.

    But Hugh now reckons when it comes to cheap delicious seasonal food, vegetables can't be beaten. To prove his point he accepts a challenge thrown down by the landlady at a local pub to try and wow customers with his veggie treats, including golden squashes and pea and mint ice cream.

  • Episode 7

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall concludes his four months as a veggie by throwing a vegetarian autumn feast stacked with stuffed squashes, sweet aubergines and even vegetable puddings.

    Hugh has spent the summer dedicating his time and attention to vegetables. In this final episode, his experiment of not eating meat ends, and it's fish he first turns back to.

    Still keen to share the vegetable love, Hugh invites a group of local children who hate veg to join him in the garden, and attempts to win them over with pizzas and garlic butter. James at the River Cottage restaurant cooks a mouth-watering pumpkin and blue cheese pastie.

  • Episode 8

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage team serve up an extra special festive menu with a twist this Christmas.

    After a summer of eating veg, Hugh is ready to celebrate Christmas with a renewed sense of the value of meat - but also 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 wild boar, muntjack deer and greylag geese.

    Head gardener Mark Diacono and Hugh seek to make the most of their veg patch, even in the depths of winter, unearthing some Christmas favourites, as well as some heritage varieties from off the beaten path.

    Forager John Wright teams up with Pam 'the Jam' Corbin to make some luxury stocking fillers. And the Canteen hosts a `12 Tasters of Christmas' night, packed with ideas to create an array of canapes 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.

  • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

    Episode 9

    A short film from River Cottage showing how to create culinary veggie treats.

  • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

    Episode 10

    A short film from River Cottage showing how to create culinary veggie treats.

  • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

    Episode 11

    A short film from River Cottage showing how to create culinary veggie treats.

River Cottage synopsis

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall goes back to the land and the sea in search of an alternative culinary lifestyle. Hugh grows his own produce and sees if he can make vegetables the stars of any meal.

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8 Series, 56 Episodes