Food & Drink

The Alchemist film by River Cottage photographer, Gavin Kingcome, is all about a strange character who forages and experiments with new recipes – just like us these days!

Highly Commended in the Pink Lady Film Food Shorts Category 2020.

  • Gavin Kingcome – Photography and editing/Director
  • Mark Harriott – Art Director/Set design
  • Rob Morris – Food Stylist and consultant
  • Joel Raabe – Sound design and Mix
  • Simon Townsend – Set and floral decoration
  • Jessika Wojcicki – Assistant
  • Extreme Music Missile High Club – Music

The Alchemist Menu

Thyme Infused Salt Baked Celeriac

Encasing any root vegetable in a salt dough crust will intensify the flavour beyond belief. In a bowl mix together 600g of plain four, 600g of fine sea salt and 1 tbsp of thyme, stalks an all. Mix in 5 egg whites and about 350ml of water to form a dough. Cut any stalks off the celeriac. Wash it well and trim the base so it sits flat. Encase the celeriac in the dough and baked for about 2 ½ hours at 160C. Leave to cool a little before cracking open.

Spiced Hawthorn Berry Dressing

Best foraged in late Autumn when the berries are softer. Wash well in warm water before cooking. Place 300g of well washed Hawthorns berries into a saucepan with 100ml of cider vinegar, 200ml water, 75g golden caster sugar, a little salt and 5 peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and cook until the berries are soft. About 30 minutes. Strain the hawthorns through muslin or a fine sieve.

Allotment kale

Such a wonderful plant and really easy to grow. Keep netted and really look after the young plants otherwise mother nature will eat them. Wash and dry the kale. Place onto a baking sheet and into a pre-heated oven at 120*c and cook until crisp. About an hour.


Granny smith were my apple of choice for this dish. With the tartness, crispiness and freshness of the apple, perfectly cutting through the richness of the other ingredients.


One of natures gifts. Soak the chestnuts in water before roasting, this helps the chestnut steam inside, not dry out and also helps when removing the shell. These chestnuts were roasted on an open fire to deliver a smoky flavour to the dish. Equally roast them in a conventional oven for about 25 minutes at 180*c.


These self-seeding plants will take over if you let them. Such a wonderful edible flower. Eat the gorgeous green leaves whilst small. And scatter the flowers over salads for a wonderful peppery taste.

Foraged Woodland Chanterelles

By pickling the Chanterelles you can enjoy them for months after the season has finished. Wash 500g of Chanterelles in cold water, leave to dry on kitchen roll. Fry the Chanterelles in a hot frying pan until they release their water, leave to dry on kitchen roll. Next make the pickling liquid. Into a saucepan add 250ml rice wine vinegar, 100ml water, 100g caster sugar, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 1tsp mustard seeds, 10 black peppercorns and 1tsp salt. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Add the mushrooms and leave for 5 minutes. Take a large sterilized kilner jar, add the mushrooms. Cover with pickling liquor, making sure to add the herbs and bay. One cooled leave in the fridge until needed. If you want to store the mushrooms, place the sealed jar into a water bath for 15-20 minutes.