Paul Hollywood with Alex Robbie and Jon from Espresso Mushroom Company from Pies and Puds

Pies and Puds – behind the scenes filming with Paul Hollywood

We recently spent a couple of days filming our mushrooms for Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds, a new BBC series launching today. Delicious oyster mushroom choux buns, grown with our Kitchen Gardens were the order of the day and it was an exciting occasion to be welcomed to Paul’s kitchen for dinner with nation’s favourite baker himself, plus Levi Roots and Fiona from Mara Seaweeds.

The affair with Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds started late this summer. He’s recently written a cook-book setting out some of his favourite sweet and savoury baking recipes, including the Mushroom Choux Buns and was looking for mushrooms to match the quality of the pastry. As well as introducing Paul to our grow your own mushroom kits, we hosted the team at our farm to show them where the mushroom magic happens, and all the work that goes on behind the scenes to turn used coffee grounds into gourmet oyster mushrooms – so we’ve really looking forward to seeing how all that comes together in our episode of the show.

Mushroom Choux Buns from Pies and Puds

Paul Hollywood’s mushroom choux bun using Espresso Mushroom Company’s oyster mushrooms grown on Kitchen Gardens

Paul is obviously the master of baking and effortlessly prepared some top notch choux pastry. He did confess he’s never seen mushrooms quite like ours so when it came to cooking them to create the filling for the buns he delegated to Robbie who had his ‘Delia moment’ with knife, chopping board and briefly assuming the role as presenter! Hopefully his concoction didn’t deviate too much from the original recipe and certainly looked delicious (read our version of the recipe here). I wonder if a career as TV chef beckons?!

So what did go on behind the scenes? Can you really grow oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds? Do they taste of coffee? Are Paul’s eyes really that blue? And how were his succulent were his buns of choux pastry?

backstage at Paul Hollywoods Pies and Puds

Backstage at Pies and Puds. Levi Roots talking mushrooms with Robbie, Jon eating Fiona Cairns cake and maxing the relaxing

Robbie and Jon had an early start taking the train up from Brighton, and transporting four or five perfectly fruiting Kitchen Gardens – that was a delicate operation. Before we cooked our mushroom choux buns with Paul, we spent most of the day ‘backstage’ hanging out with Levi Roots who was a special guest on the show, and Fiona who’s company Mara Seaweeds have created this delicious dried seaweed seasoning.

Fortunately for us, Fiona Cairns (of royal wedding cake fame) had been on the show the day before and remains of her raspberry flan were there for the taking. Jon obliged – apparently it was very superior. Another culinary treat came by way of Levi Root’s Sunshine Pattie which he cooked up in the kitchen, although I have to say I was a little apprehensive when he decided to chuck in scotch bonnet chilli to the mix. No Reggae Reggae sauce required!

The slightly less glamorous side of things was taking the film crew around our humble farm. Our fledgling company is in its second year and we’ve now got a couple of units in a craft workshop in the countryside outside of Brighton on the borders of the South Downs National Park. We’ve created and refined our production method over the last 18 months to make sure the Kitchen Garden grow your own kits are super reliable to grow – and in this part of the film you’ll see some of our improvised tools: including the cement mixer we use to mix up the coffee ground compost!

It was a busy day and we managed to film the whole process and enjoy that time out. Here are a few behind the scenes photos; filming Jon cycling around Brighton with our bike and trailer, Robbie sorting the coffee grounds and delivering the mushrooms which are of course, the stars of the show.

Behind the scenes filming in Brighton for Pies and Puds

Robbie getting miked up before delivering fresh mushrooms to L’Eglise restaurant, jon on the collection bike and hanging out at Small Batch.

We wanted to show how simply, quickly and beautifully the mushrooms grow so in the run-up to filming had started Kitchen Gardens at 2 day intervals – the end result was great – we had Kitchen Gardens at all the stages showing how the mushrooms grow out of the box in just two weeks.

Our episode of Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds will be on 20th November at 3.45pm – so set your videos!  Hope you get to see it, and it gives you a small insight into Espresso Mushroom Company and all the hard work, enthusiasm and energy that goes into making our Kitchen Gardens and getting a small business off the ground.

Robbie and the mushrooms at our farm

behind the scenes filming at Espresso Mushroom Company farm for BBC Paul Hollywoods Pies and Puds

We’ve been flat out over the last couple of months, collecting around two tonnes of coffee grounds each month from cafes around Brighton, so it was a nice relief to spend a day with the film crew.

And what have we learnt? Levi told us our mushrooms tasted amazing, but we need to write ourselves a song before we’d make the big-time, but Paul’s not yet offered Robbie a job as co-host to the next series!

Hopefully it will have piqued your interest and got you thinking about who you can give a Kitchen Garden to this Christmas.

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