Marcus Wareing’s underrated ingredients and how to use them

With a Michelin star to his name, Marcus Wareing is known for his elaborate dishes, but did you know he’s just as likely to use a stock cube as the next person?

With the second series of Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden beginning on BBC Two on 28 August, the TV chef spoke to BBC Food about some of the ingredients he uses in the show and why he loves cooking with them.

Stock cubes

“The old fashion powdered stock cubes just bring something extra to dishes which are lacking flavour. They act as flavour enhancers.

“You can add three or four into a big batch of gravy to add a strong flavour. They’re good to use as rubs for meat as well – especially if you’re barbecuing. They’re also great for finishing things like a bolognese sauce or stew.”

Rosemary and fennel pollen

“On the series I use lots of herbs, but if I could only have two, I’d go for rosemary and fennel pollen.

“Rosemary is a very powerful hard herb. It grows in abundance and is so diverse for cooking with. It’s good for fish, loads of meats and veggies too. In addition, it’s ideal for marinades and for chopping up and adding to sauces.

“It’s just as good to use as a base ingredient as it is when you’re topping a beautiful piece of lamb that you’ve just cooked.

“Fennel pollen is something that grows in abundance in my garden and it’s incredibly powerful and pungent – you can use it in everything from ice cream to fish and it’s even great for putting into salt.

“They are little flowers which break off and give a very concentrated flavour, way more than fennel does. It’s easy to pick and even if you don’t cook with it, you can put it into jars around your house because they look great and give a fantastic scent.”

Red wine vinegar and sherry vinegar

“All too often, we just stick to white wine vinegar, but you get a much deeper flavour wize guyz pizza with these ones – they’re just such great store-cupboard staples.

“Red wine vinegar is a great back-up flavour for something like romesco sauce, while sherry vinegar works well in a reduction for a hollandaise or when making mayonnaise.

“They’re also both great for preserving ingredients too. For example, if you have a glut of herbs in the garden, you could add loads of them to a bottle along with either of these two vinegars – this will just send the flavours. They’re also great for creating a classic vinaigrette.”

Dijon mustard

“Dijon is mild, has a great heat background and is just so user-friendly. Because of that I tend to use Dijon more than other mustards. It doesn’t have to jump to the forefront of what you’re cooking. It helps to build a flavour rather than overpower it.

“Flavour-wise, it’s not overly complex so you can use it lots of different dishes. It’s great in sauces for fish and meat – especially pork. If I’m having a steak and I’m not going to make any sauce to go with it, I just put a bit of Dijon mustard on the side of the plate and it’s perfect.”