Thursday, 31 July 2014

Cook House is opening...

The sun hits the front deck of Cook House as soon as it comes up over the river, it’s a lovely peaceful spot first thing in the morning,  sitting on the bench with a cup of  fresh pour over coffee.

This is my new kitchen in the Ouseburn that will be ready to welcoming visitors from 8.30am Wednesday 6th August. I have used the place previously for events, but have now taken on the space full time. Two converted shipping containers; a new oven, dishwasher, a lick of paint, some new furniture and a spot of dressing with bits I have been collecting and shoving in cupboards at home for years.

The doors will be open for breakfast and lunch, weekdays from 8.30am until 3.30pm, come and have a bite to eat. I will be there cooking away for supperclubs and events, testing recipes and writing menus.  A daily changing small menu of seasonal food that is local and tasty. The breakfast offering will include poached fruits, yoghurts and granolas, the occasional bacon sandwich and toast with honey from the Ouseburn bees.

A new garden is growing rapidly out the back, with a lovely deck which is dappled with sunshine as you sit and have lunch. There are French beans, spring onions, a selection of squashes, radishes, broad beans, courgettes, salad and herbs all making themselves ready for people’s plates.

The lunch menu at Cook House the through the summer months will be full of big salads, herbs, toasted nuts, crumbled cheeses, tasty dressings; as well as delicious homemade bagels and sandwiches, ham hocks with soft pease pudding, roast lemony chicken with homemade mayo, soft salt beef with sweet cucumber pickle.

We have some pop ups lined up with some really exciting regional chefs in the next few months, and we will also be running a food school programme, with interesting local folk showing you what they do so well. We have wine tasting, butchery and coffee skills lined up and available to book soon...

Have a look at the new website to find out more...

Monday, 28 July 2014

Lindisfarne Summer Dining

We were back up at Lindisfarne Castle at the weekend for the summer supperclubs. I love being on Holy Island at any time of year, it's such a beautiful part of the world whatever the weather. We had a mixed bag this time with glorious sunshine, a bit of a haar, torrential rain and various levels of wind...

Cooking in the castle kitchen seems to bring the place back to life, with tasty smells drifting down the corridors, visitors popping their head in and I pass time imagining who cooked in the kitchen before me. I bet there were some characters... I think that is one of my favourite things about working with the National Trust in these special locations, using places as they once were, rather than just feeling like you are in a museum. Welcoming our guests, drinks before dinner on the battlements, sitting down to dine, then relaxing in the Ship Room at the end of the night. I have begun to feel very at home there!

Tickets are still available for the Farnes Islands Summer Supperlcub on Saturday 9th August. Click here for full details...

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Ricotta, Radish, Mint and Fennel Salad

I’m working on my salad repertoire... The menu, at my new venture Cook House, will be full of local seasonal flavour, huge delicious salads, salt beef bagels, roast chicken sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise, granola, stewed fruit, the occasional bacon sandwich, I’m nearly ready to show you the website... so watch this space...

This is a very simple salad I’ve been making for a while now, originally from the Polpo recipe book, I have free styled a bit. It’s really delicious. The radishes are my own, they are so easy to grow and I love the real kick of spice you get from home grown radishes, a much more powerful tasty version of the little bags in the supermarket. I’m also going to give homemade ricotta a go and try it with that... I’ll keep you posted.

These amounts will make one large plate of salad. Use a mandolin or a very sharp knife and thinly slice a big handful of radishes, take half a fennel bulb and thinly slice that too. Add everything to a large bowl. If you have some fresh radish leaves you can thinly slice the small ones and scatter them in, then add a large handful of roughly chopped mint. Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of quarter of a lemon, add more to taste, and a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Toss the salad and scatter over a large plate. Then crumble half a pot of ricotta over the top of everything and drizzle over a little more olive oil...

This is delicious with spicy radishes, aniseed fennel and creamy ricotta, fresh mint and lemon, it’ll be on the menu soon, when I’m open and the thunder stops...

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Ouseburn Festival Feast

What a lovely day the Ouseburn Festival Feast turned out to be! The forecast said it was going to rain all day, but in the end there wasn't a single drop, the sun even came out at the end... It was a very busy tasty day, with lots of people picnicking, listening to the music and shopping for treats. I bought enough to last all week...Until next year, thanks to everyone who came along, and of course to the brilliant stall holders...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ouseburn Festival Feast - Sunday 6th 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 be down on Malmo Quay in the Ouseburn Valley on Sunday 6th July from 11am - 4pm. Freshly baked breads, pastries, fruit and vegetables, fudges, chocolates, Italian street food, traditional cakes, local sausages, pies, pickles and brownies... Need I say more!

Sit in the sunshine at our picnic site, browse the stalls, shop for amazing food and drink, listen to the live music, have lunch... Sounds lovely!

Elsewhere in the valley there will be parades, duck races, live music, cycle courses byThe Cycle Hub, children's activities at the Ouseburn Farm, craft stalls, pony rides, exhibitions, tours of the Victoria Tunnel and brewery tours! Come and spend the whole day...

Current stall line up for you to feast on!

The Feathers Inn
Carruthers and Kent
The French Oven
North East Organic Growers
Emily Botham Brownies
Marco Polo Street Food
Northumberland Sausage Company
La Petit Creperie
Yummy Things
La Fiesta Kitchen
Teasy Does It
Northumbrian Smokehouse
Sugar Down Bakery
David Kennedy @ Vallum
David Lawson Ceramics
Muddy Fingers Pottery
Electric East

Hope to see you there! Malmo Quay, Ouseburn Valley, Quayside (Opposite The Tyne pub)