Sunday 21 Sep 2014
Last year, the Hairy Bikers, aka Si King and Dave Myers, searched Britain for mums with fantastic family recipes that they were keen to share with the nation. And they found them – so many, in fact, that, by popular demand, they are back to find some more.
The Hairy Bikers – Mums Know Best, which returns to BBC Two on Thursday 10 February, celebrates the best of British family recipes, those forgotten gems and secret scribbles, many of which have been passed down from mum to daughter over many generations. These tasty dishes represent the very best home cooking from the kitchens of the nation's mothers (and a few fathers, too) which, as well as being delicious meals in themselves, are a precious insight into the way people have been cooking in this country for centuries.
Each episode focuses on a culinary theme, which include a taste of home, alfresco food, dishes from distant shores and posh nosh.
As in the first series, each episode features three "star mums" who have family recipes that they want to share with the nation. The Hairy Bikers visit each in turn to cook with them in their own kitchens, learning their family's culinary secrets and getting a taste of what families up and down the country are eating.
As always, the dishes featured in the series are as tasty as they are easy to make – from home-made fish finger sandwiches to chicken kievs, potted salmon to battenburg, oxtail stew to cheese soufflés, jam roly poly to fish pie, amazing meatballs to chicken curry and pavlova to orchard gateaux.
Standing at the heart of each episode is the Mums Know Best Recipe Fair, an event suffused with nostalgia for village fetes of your childhood, crossed with the Hairy Bikers' extraordinary range of international influences.
In addition to a live cookery demo by the bikers themselves, when they cook their own families' favourite dishes, the recipe fair visitors (all 200 of them) are encouraged to bring their own family dishes to share with each other, the bikers and resident food historian Gerard Baker – from BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme – who is on hand to explain how they each fit into the cannon of British family cuisine.
All the recipe fair visitors can sample the dishes brought along by each other, as well as dishes cooked by the recipe fair's changing roster of "community groups", who are on hand to showcase a different style of cuisine each week.
And, of course, there is the Mums Know Best Banquet at the end of the fair, featuring three of the "star mums" dishes along with the three Hairy Bikers' dishes specially prepared in front of the crowds for that banquet.
Community groups also cook with gusto for the visitors to the fair – sharing their secrets with the bikers and visiting mums are members of the African Women's Group, Birmingham Community Kitchen, The Slow Food Movement, Zimwomen, Nepalese People's Group, Bath Place Community Venture, Studley Grow Cook And Eat and Growing Together.
Series One of The Hairy Bikers – Mums Know Best broke audience records, drove more people to its website than any other BBC programme during its transmission and was accompanied by a No. 1 best-selling book, which topped the charts for 12 weeks.
Series Two combines the same magical mix of family food, fantastic stories and sense of community that made the first outing such an instant hit.
Si and Dave comment: "We're back on the road again but this time it's eight one-hour programmes starring 24 amazing mothers, a lot of miles to cover and great food to discover.
"We've had some of the best fun ever delving into recipes from our past and bringing them up to date. We've discovered a few surprises on the way – from an Irish aristocrat cooking Argentinian food to sharing in the Jewish Sabbath with cholent via the best paella we've ever tasted. There are some wonderful stories, too, including one lady whose mother settled in the UK from Nazi Germany with just a candle and a cake tin – and what a privilege it was to cook using that very tin.
"We've been to Wales and Northern Ireland this series, too. All the recipes cooked in the programme are well and truly tried and tested and the sort of achievable food you'll want to cook again and again, all served up with ladles of love."
The Hairy Bikers – Mums Know Best is executive produced by Gill Tierney (The Hairy Bakers, A Queen's Kingdom, Gardeners' World, Coast, Don't Die Young, Summer Exhibition) and produced by Oliver Clark (The Hairy Bakers, Coast, Around The World In 80 Gardens, Don't Die Young).
It is a BBC Vision Birmingham production for BBC Two and will screen for eight weeks from Thursday 10 February 2011 at 8pm.
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