Sunday, 30 June 2013

Radishes with Butter and Salt

I figured if St. John say you should eat radishes with butter and salt then you probably should do just that; they seem to know what they are talking about, when it comes to all things food. It sounded a bit odd, but I'll give it a go I thought, and I'm pretty glad I did, for this week at least, it is my new favourite thing!

I popped over to check the allotment earlier, I am attempting to be a better gardener this year and so far things are going quite well; there are more plants than weeds which is a first... We have broad beans, french beans, courgettes, onions, beetroot, parsnips, gooseberrys and blackcurrants all doing well; and these little guys, who have suddenly grown into beautiful little red globes over the past week.

I proudly plucked a handful from the ground and brought them home, remembering St. John's advice on 'how to eat radishes at their peak'... Simply top and tail your radish, add a knob of butter, sprinkle with flakes of salt and crunch. The peppery crisp radish with soft creamy butter and crunchy salt is delicious, amazing, I could eat a huge bowl full, thankfully there are lots more little red radishes at the allotment still to pull up... If you find yourself in possession of a radish you must try it, the leaves make a pretty tasty salad too with a good vinaigrette...

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Ouseburn Festival Feast - Sun 7th July

This weekend sees the return of the Ouseburn Festival and I am organising their food market once again... 20 stalls of food and drink will run the length of Ouse Street in the Ouseburn Valley on Sunday 7th July from 11am - 5pm. Freshly baked breads, pastries, fruit and vegetables, fudges, chocolates, handmade pizzettes, italian street food, traditional cakes, wines, local sausages, pies, pickles, Vietnamese and Indian street food, brownies, coffee and cocktails... Need I say more!

Sit in the sunshine on picnic rugs in the Victoria Tunnel garden. Hang out at Ouse Street Arts Club, and grab some coffee or a cocktails from the Ouseburn Coffee Company. Browse the stalls, shop for amazing food and drink, have lunch, a glass of wine...Sounds lovely!

Elsewhere in the valley there will be parades, duck races, boat cruises, Professor Brainstorm and the Magic of Icecream at Tyne Bank Brewery, live music, cycle courses at The Cycle Hub, children's activities at the Ouseburn Farm, craft stalls, pony rides, exhibitions, tours of the Victoria Tunnel, brewery tours and the Cumberland Reel! Come and spend the whole day...

Current stall line up for you to feast on!

Boulavard Cuisine 
Utter Swine
Fruitful Durham

Hope to see you there! Ouse Street, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PF

Monday, 17 June 2013

The National Trust and The Grazer present Summer Supperclubs

Unique dining experiences on the Farne Islands and Lindisfarne Castle 


This summer sees the beginning of a very exciting collaboration between The Grazer and the National Trust. As you probably know I have been running incredibly tasty and popular Supperclubs across the North East in locations that vary from wine shops to shipping containers. This summer sees their arrival on both The Farne Islands and Lindisfarne Castle.

Picture yourself on a private boat sailing over to the Farnes late in the afternoon, arriving on the white sandy beach of Inner Farne to be greeted with aperitifs and tasty treats. The evening will include a private tour of the island; beautiful beaches, the Lighthouse and its gardens, thousands of amazing birds, gazing back at Bamburgh castle and the beautiful long white Northumbrian beaches. At dusk find yourself sitting down to dine, in the lighthouse gardens or the tiny chapel on the island at a beautiful long table.

Or you could find yourself driving over the causeway to supper at Lindisfarne Castle. Arriving on the battlements to canap├ęs and aperitifs, looking out over the Farnes, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh... A personal tour through the rooms of Lindisfarne castle, your own private residence for the evening. You can pretend it's your own castle if you like! Supper will be served on the battlements; your view for the evening is the sun slowly sinking over the Cheviots.

A once in a lifetime dining experience in totally unique locations. There will only be four events with a limited number of 20 places available at each:

Saturday July 20th Lindisfarne Castle

Saturday July 27th The Farne Islands

Saturday August 3rd The Farne Islands

Saturday August 31st Lindisfarne Castle

(The event will run from approximately 5-10pm, exact times will be confirmed according to tides)

Tickets for these once in a lifetime dining events are £99 per person and can be booked by phoning Lindisfarne Castle on 01289 389244. Prices include unique private access to the Farnes and Lindisfarne, private tour of castle and island, telescope tours of the coastline, history and nature talks from the National Trust, food introductions from The Grazer, welcome aperitifs, three courses of fine food, wines to match, digestifs and coffee.

The sharing menu will include a table long platter of seafood to start, fresh poached lobster, langoustine, homemade garlic mayonnaise, rollmop herring, devilled eggs, homemade buttermilk bread, homemade butters, samphire salad and other surprises. A main course of slowly braised Northumbrian lamb, anchovy pan haggerty, 'condimint' and other seasonal vegetables followed by a scattering of sea inspired tasty puddings.

Any questions please email 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Homemade Pizza

I still remember a pizza in Rome a few years ago, the first night we arrived, in a touristy square where I presumed it was going to be nothing special, but was SO good, a white pizza with wild mushrooms and sausage, wafer thin with melted cheese delicious mushrooms and crumbled sticky sausage meat... I shouldn't be writing this hungry...

Then there is that pizza slice place in the Grainger market, my god, it's so thin, it's so cheesy, it's just so good. The courgette and sausage pizza at Zonzo's, really good. The white pie at Cal's Own, so garlicky and cheesy and delicious... and my very own first pizza made at home, a simple Margherita, it was just really so very surprisingly good... I could do with a slice of pizza now... I'll battle on...

Key things I have learnt making my own pizza, give the dough time the time it needs, if you rush it it's no where near as good. Take time with the tomato sauce too, cooking it slowly for long enough, and finally go easy on the toppings, you think you want loads then you just end up with a soggy mess, and no body wants a soggy bottomed pizza.

These amounts will make 2 large or 3 medium pizzas. Start with the dough, mix 325g of strong white flour, a teaspoon of dried yeast and a teaspoon of salt together in a large mixing bowl and stir in 15ml of olive oil and 25ml of milk. Followed by 170ml of warm water, then mix it well to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out on to a floured work surface and knead for about five minutes, until smooth and elastic. I really enjoy kneading dough, it's very relaxing...

Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. When the dough has risen, knock it back, then knead again until smooth, roll into a ball and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour until risen again. Preheat your oven to its highest setting, about 240°C

While your dough is rising you can make the tomato sauce, slowly cook half a chopped onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt, cook until it is soft and golden, then add a chopped clove of garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes. Cook for another few minutes then add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of sugar. Cook slowly for 10-15 minutes, check for seasoning, you might need more sugar, salt or pepper, it should thicken and be sweet rich and delicious...

Divide your dough into two or three balls and roll each out onto a lightly floured work surface until 20cm in diameter. Then top! Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough, I love a margherita, with just tomato and fresh mozzarella, tasty every time, but I have also been experimenting with my toppings recently.

When you have assembled your topping just pop it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes depending on its size. The white pizza was pretty special; I used mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, thin slices of garlic and added parsley after it was cooked. I tried a new idea recently with fried cubes of aubergine; a base of tomato sauce, mozzarella, I then added the aubergine, some pine nuts and a scattering of sumac... Delicious, a Middle Eastern inspired version. Chorizo and shallot was very good, spicy and sweet... So have a go at making your own, it's a bit of a waiting game with the dough, but not at all difficult and the results are so good!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Summer Supperclub date announced

'The Grazer's Summer Supperclub
6th July 2013 7.30pm


What is this?

'The Grazer's Supperclub' a regular pop-up feast hosted by The Grazer at Ouse Street Arts Club. A night of feasting in a totally unique space, fire, food and booze...

What will we eat?

A three course summer feast, think table long smorgasbords full of homemade breads and butters, devilled eggs, beer cheese, spring chicken terrine and summary salads. Slow braised rosemary lamb, anchovy haggerty, salsa verde... a scattering of puddings, meringues, herb jellies and chocolate black puddings... The menu will be confirmed and sent out to you a couple of days before the event.

What will we drink?

There will be a special cocktail on arrival, inspired by the menu and setting. Following that this is a BYO affair. You will be sent the finalised menu prior to arrival so you can decide on your chosen tipple to bring.

Where is it?

OuseStreet Arts Club, a brand new creative space within Newcastle’s vibrant Ouseburn Valley. An interventional development with xsite architecture converting 2 ISO shipping containers to realise a unique and innovative social event space.

How much will it set me back?

You will be given an envelope at the end of the evening. We ask you to leave what you think your whole evenings experience has been worth, venue, food, drinks and service... How do you put a price on an evening of feasting in a shipping container, you decide... Please bring cash.

How do I book?

Just email me at to reserve your place, these events sell out very quickly so don't hang about... We will let you know asap if you have got a place.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Wild Garlic Devilled Eggs and lunch on the Farne Islands

I had a pretty beautiful and exciting start to Monday morning this week. It began at the crack of dawn packing my car with so much food and crockery in huge boxes that it felt like I was moving house. Next thing I knew I was on a tiny boat speeding over to the Farnes on a beautiful calm sea in lovely warm sunshine. I even forgot to worry about the task ahead it was so beautiful; puffins diving around us and naughty gulls eyeing the boxes packed with food...

I had prepared lunch for 40, luckily I think I only realised how ambitious this was once it was over, it was a huge amount of work... This summer will see some very exciting Supperclubs that I have been planning jointly with the National Trust. This lunch was both a trial run and an introduction to the concept of literally shipping my Supperclubs up the coast...

The setting matched the weather. A long table ran the length of the 14th Century chapel on Inner Farne. I dressed it with white tablecloths and jars of wild garlic flowers, cowslips and rosemary, the whole place smelt beautiful, and that was before I even got the food out. Wild garlic devilled eggs, pork pies with pickled apple, tiny caramelised garlic tarts, rollmop herring, chicken and pistachio terrine, pickles, beer-cheese, home-made bread and butter, cauliflower and hazelnut salad, radish and mint salad, mint lemonade and tiny meringues and strawberries for a sweet ending.

The devilled eggs were an amazing new discovery, simply hard boil eggs, scoop out the yolk, mix with mayonnaise and wild garlic and scoop back in... I boiled my eggs for 15 minutes, cooled them, then halved them. I made my own mayonnaise as I had left over egg yolks from the meringues, you don't have to but it's worth it and you can see how here... Mix each yolk with a tablespoon of mayonnaise and as many herbs as you like, I blitzed a big handful of wild garlic with some olive oil, add a tiny dash of cider vinegar and some salt and pepper... They were a delicious fresh herby egg mayonnaise delight..

Sunshine streamed through the stained glass windows onto the table as everyone tucked in and perched on the wooden pews that lined the walls of the tiny chapel. It was a little stressful getting it all ready on time, a surprise for all the National Trust benefactors visiting the island, but so worth it, it looked stunning and there were gasps of delight and lots of lovely kind words floating around the pretty chapel as everyone tucked in.

Over almost as soon as it began I sat peacefully on Seahouses harbour in the sunshine and and treated myself to a bag of chips...