Filming Saturday Kitchen

(by peter)

I’ll be honest: I’d never heard of Southam before we filmed there today for Saturday Kitchen.

It’s a small town south-east of Leamington Spa, in the West Midlands.

The following is what I learned about Southam during the brief time we were there:

1.      Southam is a very charming town in its own way. It’s not a self-consciously pretty place, but it has some period architectural details all along the high street. It’s the kind of place that rewards a patient, inquisitive eye.

2.     Two world champion darts players were born in Southam.

3.      The people in Southam are immensely friendly. At one point, we were not only offered cake – but cake and Bakewell tart. Now that’s friendly. (Thanks, Karen.)

4.      There is also a disproportionately high concentration of Saturday Kitchen fans in this part of the world. Something in the water? If so, it should be bottled: I’d drink it.

5.      Southam is blessed with a brand new Tesco (clad in touch-feely wood) and what must be one of the smallest but smartest Oddbins in the country.

6.      Southam is cold and soggy in February.

We spent some time filming on the banks of the Grand Union Canal, the historic waterway that runs between Birmingham and London, and paused for a hearty lunch in the venerable Bowling Green Inn.

We also managed to find time to find some wines to go with this week’s dishes.

On the menu is braised mutton and onions courtesy of Nottingham’s culinary star Sat Bains, as well as cod with lemon purée and pearl barley and cauliflower couscous by Aggi Sverrisson, the Icelandic chef in charge of acclaimed London eateries Texture and 28:50. (See my review of these outstanding, wine-centric restaurants here.)

The dishes are delicious and original takes on classic themes, to judge by our road testing this week. As for the wines, I can promise a delicious southern French red and a tangy Australian white.

You can see how the wines go down in studio by tuning in, as ever, on BBC1 from 10am on Saturday (5.1.11). This week, the studio guest is singer Katie Melua.