In Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure ep.4, the bikers are in mainland France, in Provence. They begin their journey in Marseille, one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean, where the population is as diverse as the Mediterranean itself. They meet Moroccan-born Fatima, who runs a welcome centre where recent immigrants can cook and eat together. The bikers taste her amazing bourride, a delicious fish stew – bouillabaisse’s younger sibling. She has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur for her services to France. The boys reckon that the bourride alone is worth a gong.
The quality of the light in this part of France is such that it has always attracted artists to the region. Dave is a keen artist and knowledgeable too. He is keen to follow in the footsteps of the impressionists, so the bikers take a local ferry across the bay to L’Estaque, a charming waterside community where the seaside snacks are legend. The panisse, legacy of Italian workers who migrated here in the 1930s, and the chichi fregi, a sausage-shaped doughnut, both reflect the links that Provence has with the wider Mediterranean.
As they travel westwards, it becomes clear that one of the biggest influences here is that of the Romans, who conquered great swathes of Europe 2,000 years ago and left their mark on the culture and the landscape. This is true even in the remote and little-explored region of the Camargue. Here the bikers find untamed white horses and wild bulls, distant descendants of animals used for the Roman army. They meet a family that has been here for generations and taste the local beef stew, gardiane de taureau. This encounter inspires their first dish, daube de boeuf.
Featured recipes: daube de boeuf; tapenade; brandade de morue; bras de gitan cake.
Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure ep.4 dishes:
1. Bras de gitan
Gypsy’s arm. This posh Swiss roll is made with ground almonds and a splash of liqueur and filled with delicious crème pat.
2. Brandade de morue
Soak the cod for 24 hours ahead of when you wish to cook this recipe. Blend or mash it to a light, silky texture – both comfort and luxury food!
3. Boeuf en daube provençale
Any leftovers from this makes really good beef ragù – just shred the beef and cook it down with some tomatoes.