A Taste of Northumberland The Hairy Bikers' Comfort Food


A Taste of Northumberland

Dave Myers and Simon King cook some of their favourite comfort food. It's a trip back in time for Si as the Bikers cook dishes from his home county.


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Transcript


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We've travelled the world and eaten everywhere from roadside bars to

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restaurants with Michelin stars.

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But there really is nothing like a bit of home cooking.

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Coming into a warm kitchen filled

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with the aroma of a tasty meal bubbling away -

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it's one of life's great pleasures.

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Lovingly prepared dishes with flavours that pack a punch -

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it's the perfect way to put smiles

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on the faces of your nearest and dearest.

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We also uncover why some recipes are so special that they're handed down

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through generations of the same family...

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The smell is absolutely fantastic.

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..drop in on some of the UK's homeliest tearooms and cafes, and...

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Service!

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..find out what chefs like to cook on their days off.

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-Look at that!

-It's much easier and much quicker.

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There's nothing quite as comforting as simple home cooking.

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Today, a taste of Northumberland,

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showing off some great recipes and amazing local produce.

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It's food fit for a king.

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We're going to do Northumberland lamb meatballs.

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And this is a homage to the lamb we have in Northumberland,

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because the breeds that we have vary. We've got Mule,

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we've got Suffolk, we've got Scottish Blackface,

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we've got all sorts.

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What I've got here is some pine kernels.

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We've toasted off these pine kernels and all we're going to do is just

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crush them a little bit in a pestle and mortar and add them to this

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-wonderful lamb.

-You've got the lot, haven't you?

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Cos Newcastle's an amazing city.

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You've got the coastline.

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The salmon rivers - the Tyne's producing salmon.

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Just to the north, you've got the Tweed, and then, of course,

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you've got the countryside. The most wonderful beef and lamb.

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Well, I think that's the good thing about the diversity

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of Northumberland. What frustrates me,

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in Northumberland we're not that great at shouting about it.

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-Well, do you know what?

-And it is frustrating.

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So, we've got the lamb and the pine kernels toasted and crushed slightly.

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I'm just going to put some breadcrumbs in here.

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I've put a teaspoon of allspice powder,

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a teaspoon of cumin, some nutmeg.

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Here, I've got some flat-leaf parsley, some mint,

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some coriander and dill.

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There's a lot going on in these meatballs.

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But, you know, I think when you've got a city like Newcastle

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and that region, which is an embarrassment of riches

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with produce,

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you know, it's justified to use all of these wonderful things.

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Smell that.

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That is as fresh as you get - parsley, mint, dill, coriander.

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A lot of greenery in there.

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One egg...

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Would you like it?

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Right, then, that's just to bind the meatballs.

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-Have you seasoned?

-Not yet, mate.

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Should I oblige?

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About a teaspoon of sea salt.

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And we like our black pepper.

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Oh, look at that. Now, that's just coming together lovely.

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My hands are really, really clean,

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and it's best to just get stuck in there, and get in,

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and just push all of those fantastic ingredients through

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the Northumberland lamb.

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And I know you must be thinking at home, well, "They don't grow cumin!"

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-We know that.

-Aye.

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But we do have a history of spice in the North East because of the trade,

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-you see.

-Shall I help?

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-Yeah, please, man.

-About 20, shall we get?

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Oh, no, that's too big.

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I think walnuts.

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Now, we start these meatballs off in the oven at a hot heat.

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We just need to brown them at 220 degrees for about ten minutes.

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They'll still be raw in the middle, but then we cook them in the sauce.

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-Yeah, get some colour on them.

-Oh, aye.

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Look at them!

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-Look at that.

-It's great.

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-Let's get some heat on.

-Right, so, onion goes in.

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And we're going to saute these off for a little bit.

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-This is what you need, as well.

-Yeah.

-Swiss chard.

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Oh! Doctor Livingstone, I presume.

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I'll take the stems off. But we're not going to throw them away.

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I'm going to cut these and shred them finely.

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I'll put those in with the onions and the garlic.

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-They look lovely, don't they?

-Absolutely.

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I'll just saute these off a little bit.

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A little bit longer. Mate, would you pass the broad beans, as well?

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Now these, they're frozen broad beans that have been double-popped.

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Let them thaw out.

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And the white husk around the bean,

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you just pop out these green beans, and it's like a pan of emeralds.

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They are such a good eat.

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They look so good on the plate.

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-Oh, man, that smells brilliant.

-Doesn't it just?

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Absolutely gorgeous.

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Right, I'm going to put our herbs... Put those in.

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Just roughly chop the herbs.

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Don't worry about the stalks,

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because it is all going to be blitzed.

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So it's actually about equal quantity of chopped herbs

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-as the chard leaves.

-I'm going to reserve a fifth of the stock

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-for Dave.

-Now, remember, the meatballs have only been browned.

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They need to cook through now in that wonderful, ethereal broth of

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-flavour.

-It's so good, this dish.

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The remaining stock goes into a pan.

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So bung this in. I'm just going to sweat that down

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for a couple of minutes in that stock.

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I just want to wilt down that chard...

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..with the 'erb.

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Oh! What?

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-That's fabulous.

-Right, I'll take your device and...

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-WHIRRING

-..and puree this green.

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Thank you.

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That'll do nicely.

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Oh, what?!

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Now, we stir this through the meatballs.

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And apart from colour,

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this is completely and utterly flavour-packed.

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-Look at that.

-That is beautiful, Dave. Yeah.

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Oh, yeah. This really is the icing on the cake.

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Mr Myers.

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There we are, mate, I'll take this off the heat.

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-There we go, mate.

-That's brilliant.

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We've tried to make the most

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of all the ingredients, not least your lamb.

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-Let's have a look.

-I think we should.

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They're juicy, which I think

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is one of the essential elements of the meatball.

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Good old Northumberland lamb, mate, perfect.

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-I'll drink to that, shall we?

-What a good idea!

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The secret to creating delicious comfort food is using the right

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ingredients.

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The real work is done by the producers,

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who put all of their passion and expertise

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into getting their ingredients just right.

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I'm Andrew, and this is my wife Billie,

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and together we farm and mill in the heart of Northumberland.

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We've lived here together for 16 years.

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I've been up here for 24 years.

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We were the first cereal farm in Northumberland

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to convert to organic production.

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The considered wisdom was you could only grow milling quality wheat,

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so baking quality wheat, in the south of England.

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This far north everybody said,

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"You're wasting your time, it can't be done."

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Now we grow milling quality wheat every year under organic conditions.

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We've gone back to growing very old varieties of wheat.

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We found, during our research,

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that the further back in time we went,

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the better the baking quality got.

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When we look at what we grow now,

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it's akin to what was grown at the end of the First World War.

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This is what we grew here this year.

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This is spelt that's thousands of years old.

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And if you look at any field of wheat anywhere else in the country,

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it's 40, 50 centimetres, and we're growing stuff that's over a metre.

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And these really ancient varieties - the spelt in particular -

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they're so tall that when we grow them in an organic field,

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they overshadow all the other weeds.

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They grow in an environment they were designed for.

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We have very, very deep soils.

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And as much of the plant is growing below the soil as above,

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so these plants will scavenge for their nutrients in a way that

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modern varieties can't.

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And they produce really nutritionally rich grains.

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So, when you walk into the mill, the first thing you see

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is the big 3½-tonne millstones.

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It's two stones. The bottom stone is static,

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and the top stone is driven and mills the wholemeal flour.

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And we mill somewhere around 250 kilos of grain an hour.

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The industrial milling process is called roller milling,

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and they're milling at about 11 tonnes an hour,

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and they are predominantly focused on producing white flour.

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The grains that we mill have an enormous amount

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of minerals and vitamins in them. And if you mill them slowly,

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and you retain those minerals and vitamins,

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then you are bringing to the customer, really,

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the best nutritional delivery system that we could possibly produce.

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It's only half the story to say that we've got grains that have high

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nutritional value. The moment you add water to a grain it'll start to

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germinate and a chemical process will happen.

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And it's exactly the same

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when you add water to ground-down grain as flour.

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The only way that you can stop that process and make those minerals and

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vitamins available to us to digest

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is if you lower the pH of your dough.

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And low pH is sour, it's acidic - it's sourdough.

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Every sourdough starts with a good sourdough starter,

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or called a mother.

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And my sourdough comes from a lovely bakery in Newcastle.

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Add a bit flour to it, a bit of water.

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Now, what we've done here is called a poolish,

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and that best sits overnight in a plastic bag

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and just let it ferment away.

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So, here's the poolish I made yesterday, and you can see

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it has changed quite a bit.

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We need 200g of this.

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The gluten now begins to develop.

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It's still very stiff.

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So with every knead and with every rest, it will be better.

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And now the long wait begins.

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We put it in the bag

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and let it rise for six hours in a warm place.

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I think it's just one of the simplest pleasures in life,

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to bake bread. It fills the kitchen and the house

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with a beautiful smell.

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It also satisfies something very deeply inside us.

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It nurtures us.

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We're going to cook some crab, mate, because it's, you know,

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off the coast of Northumberland, absolutely fantastic.

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-But what's THIS crab?

-Well, it's crab with tomato and capers.

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So, I've got a nice piece of pancetta.

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It could be dry-cured back bacon.

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But this is the bit where Northumbria meets Umbria.

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So, we separate the body from the legs.

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We'll deal with the body first.

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These bits here are the feathers, and they are the filters,

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so we want to discard them because it's like...

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The reason they're called feathers,

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if you put them in your mouth, it is like chewing a feather.

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But they're not poisonous.

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There used to be this thing, "Oh, they're deadly," and all this.

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They're not, they're just like trying to eat, well, feathers.

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Yeah. There is a membrane in here that you need to take out,

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just like that. You see this here?

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This fundamentally is the mouth of the crab and all you do is you push

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your thumb there, like that, and break that off.

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Now, if the crab's fresh, like this is, what should happen...

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..is it should just come out perfectly.

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No meat on that, so discard that for the minute.

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Then, take a spoon.

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All I'm doing with the pancetta is rendering it down slowly.

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And this is the first building block of the sauce.

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And very gently just prize all of that meat away,

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and this is the dark meat. And look at that.

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-That's joyous, isn't it?

-Absolutely beautiful.

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-There we are.

-That is fantastic crab.

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That's such good quality, isn't it?

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Then the other ones, it's very simple,

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all we do is start to crack the legs.

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Just snap them off.

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I've got a heap of tomatoes here on the vine.

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So I'm just going to chop those roughly.

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After you've taken the legs off, you're left with this fantastic

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body of the crab, if you like.

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You take a knife...

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..and in half it goes.

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And you just pick all of that meat and it pops out.

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I'm going to put in two cloves of garlic.

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And I'm leaving these whole.

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Give it a bit of a bashing so that the flavour can come out,

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and just let those go for a minute or two.

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Then we pop the tomatoes in now.

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Start cooking them down with that pancetta, olive oil...

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Now, onto this. There is a tin of chopped tomatoes, too.

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Now, the legs...

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I just give it a crack, a little crack...

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..either side,

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and then you just...

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..scoop the white meat out.

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This is enriching already. It's doing down nicely.

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It's on quite a reasonable heat because I want it to cook down.

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I've got a green chilli here.

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Chilli and crab is a classic.

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I'm going to chop this finely.

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We put in a whole onion,

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just like that, they're for flavour, as is this chilli.

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And a good pinch of saffron.

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That can go straight in. Some fish stock.

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Beautiful. Look at that.

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How beautiful is that?

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To this I'm just adding a teaspoon of sugar.

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For now, we just let that go.

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If this is slow food, then I'm all for it.

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-Good.

-I'll just have a sit whilst you finish your crab.

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You're obviously very happy.

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You can give us a hand, if you like.

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Oh, no, you're doing fine, you're doing fine.

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It is nice to see you doing a bit of work for once.

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-What do you mean?!

-Well, you know.

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Shall we get the spag on?

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-Yeah, let's do that.

-Oh, yeah, defo.

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Salt the water. Then you just push that in.

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Right, shall I finish this sauce off with the capers?

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You might as well.

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About a good tablespoon of capers will do us nicely.

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And chop them.

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And those capers impart such an earthy note, it's lovely.

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-All the parsley?

-Yes, all the parsley, mate, yeah.

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I'll put this in with the crab, because we don't want this

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-to cook too much, do we?

-No, we don't.

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Stalks and all, I think.

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-Absolutely.

-Oh, look at that.

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-Should I take the onion out now?

-Yeah, take it out.

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Right, are you ready?

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I'm ready. This is a big moment, Kingy.

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Look at that.

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There's no lack of generosity...

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-No.

-..in the amount of crab that's in this dish.

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And this is the dark meat. And don't worry, just break the crab meat up.

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By heck, that's rich, Kingy. I'll put my parsley in now, Si.

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Absolutely.

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And just let those flavours just meld together.

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-Now, at this point, mate, we'll float some butter into it.

-Yeah.

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Just sprinkle it up, and...

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Just clear the decks in anticipation of our feast.

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I think that's about ready, mate.

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Right.

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The funnel with a chunnel.

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We don't want it TOO dry, do we?

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No, because then what we're going to do is...

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-Blind me.

-That goes in there.

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Boom. We'll coat that beautiful spaghetti in the butter.

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Just gently push the sauce through the spaghetti.

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-Right, Kingy, it's time to go on our holidays.

-Oh, brill.

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Now, this is home cooking.

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Look at that.

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That looks dead right, the amount of sauce to pasta.

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Oh!

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That is wonderful.

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The taste of Northumberland, with the crab,

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the taste of Tuscany, with the spaghetti.

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Happy?

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It's good to be home.

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Britain has an army of creative chefs who, day after day, send out

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sensational dishes to customers in their restaurants.

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But back at home, what is THEIR idea of comfort food?

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My name's Dave Coulson, I'm a chef, proud owner of Peace And Loaf in Jesmond, Newcastle.

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Opening Peace And Loaf was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

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Long days, we did all of the painting and stuff ourselves,

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picked all of the pictures, got the kitchen ready.

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Modern Geordie is our style of food.

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Full-flavoured food, just with a little twist.

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We just take our local ingredients

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and turn them into something a little bit different.

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My philosophy on food is buy as good ingredients as you can,

0:20:010:20:05

process them simply,

0:20:050:20:06

treat it with respect and you'll get good dishes at the end of it.

0:20:060:20:10

Thank you, Louis.

0:20:100:20:12

Canapes for two, please, one mackerel, one pie, two trout,

0:20:120:20:15

-one fries, oui?

-Oui, Chef.

0:20:150:20:18

Quite a relaxed kitchen.

0:20:180:20:19

We're all here for the same reasons, that's to cook lovely food.

0:20:190:20:22

It's, like, six chefs, and we are all barging for space.

0:20:220:20:26

We get along well. We've got a good team in there.

0:20:260:20:28

'Cooking is a great buzz when you have a perfect service.

0:20:290:20:33

'The whole team is on a high.'

0:20:330:20:34

We get cleaned down and go and have a beer. There's no better feeling, really.

0:20:340:20:38

Being a chef is everything to us.

0:20:390:20:41

We wake up early, we go to bed late, barely see our families,

0:20:410:20:46

but you still come and do it.

0:20:460:20:47

It's a passion for cooking great food for the customers.

0:20:470:20:50

When you see them enjoying it, it means something to you.

0:20:500:20:53

I'm very passionate about the North East,

0:20:560:20:58

Newcastle and County Durham.

0:20:580:20:59

We have loads of different cultures, we have Polish restaurants,

0:20:590:21:03

Portuguese, Jamaican, all serving brilliant food.

0:21:030:21:07

You don't have to be down south to be a good chef.

0:21:070:21:09

It doesn't matter.

0:21:090:21:11

Up north, we know that it's better than down there.

0:21:110:21:14

I love comfort food, which is obviously what I eat on my days off

0:21:160:21:19

and stuff. I love going for fish and chips at the coast and, like,

0:21:190:21:23

a beef burger. There's a lovely Chinese down the road

0:21:230:21:25

from the restaurant that does a mean chicken satay chow mein.

0:21:250:21:29

Most chefs, if they're honest, eat takeaway food, and 99p burgers -

0:21:290:21:33

it's easy, it's convenient.

0:21:330:21:36

Get home, get looked after by my lovely girlfriend Laura.

0:21:360:21:39

A real change of pace - I don't really do much around the house!

0:21:390:21:44

We've just had a little boy, as well, so we're looking after him.

0:21:440:21:47

It's hard work, as everybody knows.

0:21:470:21:49

When I'm at home, I cook completely different food.

0:21:510:21:54

I just knock up, like, steak and chips and salad.

0:21:540:21:56

I like a quick curry or stir-fry, or something like that.

0:21:560:21:59

Just things that only take 10, 15 minutes.

0:21:590:22:02

I'm making my version of mince and dumplings.

0:22:020:22:05

Every northern family's favourite.

0:22:050:22:07

This is the first dish I ever cooked for my girlfriend.

0:22:070:22:10

This is our family favourite.

0:22:100:22:12

I start with carrot and onion and leek in a pan,

0:22:140:22:18

and I sweat it down just with veg oil.

0:22:180:22:21

This is the longest bit, getting the vegetables cooked.

0:22:210:22:24

Dumplings is just two thirds self-raising flour,

0:22:280:22:31

one third beef suet,

0:22:310:22:32

and then just bake them on top of the mince mixture.

0:22:320:22:36

They go, like, soggy on the bottom, crusty on top.

0:22:360:22:39

When you look at dishes from across all the world,

0:22:460:22:49

everybody's peasant food is better than the posh food.

0:22:490:22:51

It's natural trying to make tougher,

0:22:510:22:53

cheaper bits of meat into something beautiful.

0:22:530:22:56

The more you've got to cook it,

0:22:560:22:57

the more flavour you're going to get out of it.

0:22:570:22:59

Brown the mince, add them both together.

0:22:590:23:02

Add stock, and just cook it out until the desired consistency.

0:23:040:23:08

A tablespoon of flour in there, to thicken...

0:23:080:23:11

Dumplings.

0:23:170:23:18

Mashed potato - beautiful.

0:23:280:23:30

My favourite meal in the world is mince and dumplings.

0:23:320:23:35

It's warm, it's hearty, it's cheap to make, it's filling,

0:23:360:23:41

it's got everything. I would take it

0:23:410:23:43

to a desert island with us and eat it forever.

0:23:430:23:46

-Here you go, my love.

-Thank you very much!

0:23:510:23:54

'Learning about food has been the best journey I've ever been on,

0:23:590:24:03

'you know? Food is my life.'

0:24:030:24:05

-What are we doing, mate?

-Deep-fried ice cream, mate.

0:24:150:24:17

What on earth has that got to do with Northumberland?

0:24:170:24:20

Quite a lot, because we have a massive Italian community

0:24:200:24:24

in the North East

0:24:240:24:26

and in Northumberland particularly,

0:24:260:24:27

because everybody in the big houses in Northumberland

0:24:270:24:32

were the big industrialists,

0:24:320:24:34

and they got a load of Italians over to make the beautiful plasterworks

0:24:340:24:38

in their big country houses, you see?

0:24:380:24:39

I do remember you used to take me to that ice cream shop in Whitley Bay.

0:24:390:24:42

-There you go.

-It was superb.

0:24:420:24:44

So, there is a tradition of ice-cream making in Northumberland.

0:24:440:24:48

And this is why I thought

0:24:480:24:50

deep-fried ice cream.

0:24:500:24:51

Well, I'm working under instruction.

0:24:560:24:58

In this bowl I have crushed ginger nuts and desiccated coconut.

0:24:580:25:03

I suppose this is your crumbs for your frying, is it?

0:25:030:25:05

This is it. The most important thing is, about deep-fried ice cream,

0:25:050:25:08

is your ice cream balls need to be as tight as possible, because,

0:25:080:25:11

-you know, we're going to deep-fry them.

-They've got to be super-cold,

0:25:110:25:14

-haven't they?

-Super-cold.

0:25:140:25:15

And we're going to put them back into the freezer.

0:25:150:25:17

You want them rock-like, don't you?

0:25:170:25:19

-Yeah.

-I've got two eggs and I'm going to stir in some coconut cream.

0:25:190:25:24

So, I can see that we've got the Caribbean vibe coming on

0:25:240:25:27

with the rum, the coconut... I'm beginning to like this, Mr King!

0:25:270:25:31

You see? I know it sounds a bit bonkers, but it's not.

0:25:310:25:34

Do you know what, as well, mate?

0:25:340:25:36

I just thought it's a nice wintry recipe for ice cream,

0:25:360:25:39

do you know what I mean?

0:25:390:25:40

Because it's deep-fried and warm on the outside.

0:25:400:25:43

Most of us have got freezers, and I, actually, to be fair,

0:25:430:25:46

most of the time in my freezer,

0:25:460:25:48

-I have to wait for the ice cream to thaw before I eat it.

-Yes.

0:25:480:25:51

-Should I put the raisins on, Si?

-Would you mind?

0:25:510:25:54

No. So, the raisins go into a pan.

0:25:540:25:56

-How much rum would you like in there?

-About 150ml, mate, please.

0:25:570:26:01

-Whoa!

-Well, you know what we're like up in the north, dude.

0:26:010:26:04

We don't do anything light.

0:26:040:26:05

-Two, four, six, eight...

-Right, I'm going.

-Put them in the freezer.

0:26:050:26:09

Yeah, I've got to put them back in the freezer.

0:26:090:26:11

-Don't be long.

-I won't.

0:26:110:26:13

Now, he said to put a teaspoon of cinnamon.

0:26:130:26:16

As soon as it comes to a simmer, I'm going to grate the zest of a lime.

0:26:160:26:20

Kingy!

0:26:200:26:21

-I'm coming!

-I don't want this to catch light because, if it does,

0:26:230:26:26

we'll take the kitchen out. So, I've got the cinnamon, the rum

0:26:260:26:29

-and the raisins.

-Perfect, mate, perfect. Right, now...

-Oh, wow.

0:26:290:26:33

Well, I did some earlier, you see.

0:26:330:26:34

-They've changed character, haven't they?

-They have.

0:26:340:26:37

-Right, we'd better be quick.

-We do. So,

0:26:370:26:39

into here first, and just scrunch it a little bit,

0:26:390:26:42

so you get a nice coating.

0:26:420:26:43

-Now, I've got my eggs and my coconut cream.

-Yep.

0:26:430:26:47

And it's back to you, isn't it?

0:26:490:26:51

Yeah. And you cover it again in the ginger nut and coconut mixture.

0:26:510:26:56

And you have to work quick.

0:26:560:26:58

That's one of the fundamental things with ice cream,

0:26:580:27:00

its propensity to melt.

0:27:000:27:03

-I'm getting it, though, Kingy.

-Are you getting it?

0:27:030:27:05

Yeah, yeah. I think those ice-cream balls need to go back in there

0:27:050:27:09

for a couple of hours to firm up.

0:27:090:27:11

I'll bash on with this, but don't linger. I know you -

0:27:110:27:14

once you go out there, that's it, I never see you again.

0:27:140:27:16

I mean, this is possibly the ultimate grown-up

0:27:190:27:21

rum-and-raisin ice cream sauce. Now, we turn the heat off.

0:27:210:27:25

I want the zest of a lime.

0:27:250:27:27

This needs to go cold.

0:27:270:27:30

And whilst the ice cream's getting harder,

0:27:300:27:32

this will be macerating all that lovely lime, cinnamon,

0:27:320:27:35

raisins and rum.

0:27:350:27:36

And those raisins are going to plump up and look absolutely amazing.

0:27:360:27:39

Do you know what, I'm beginning to like this recipe, you know?

0:27:390:27:42

But it's very odd being here on my own.

0:27:420:27:44

Right, now, we haven't finished with the sauce yet.

0:27:540:27:57

We're going to make a caramel.

0:27:570:27:58

Sugar. Do you know how we've always told you not to stir caramel?

0:27:580:28:02

Well, this is a little bit different.

0:28:020:28:03

So, we're taking 100ml of water...

0:28:030:28:05

..and we're just going to stir it until it looks like wet sand.

0:28:070:28:10

So, like that.

0:28:100:28:11

And then, we'll turn it up and let it turn into caramel.

0:28:130:28:16

Now, at this point we definitely, definitely do not want to stir it.

0:28:160:28:21

While that's going, you can see the bubbles now,

0:28:210:28:23

Dave's just swirling it around.

0:28:230:28:25

-And we don't want it to go to toffee, do we?

-No.

-Just caramel.

0:28:250:28:28

That's it, Kingy, look. It smells of caramel now.

0:28:280:28:31

We don't want it to go any more, so let's get that cream in.

0:28:310:28:33

Now, bearing in mind, when you put the cream in,

0:28:330:28:36

it is going to split and splatter.

0:28:360:28:38

HISSING

0:28:380:28:39

Look at that. And this is very, very, very, very hot.

0:28:430:28:47

-Ready?

-Yeah.

0:28:490:28:50

Now, this is what you call a rum-and-raisin sauce.

0:28:540:28:58

Now, we will have to wait for this to go cold

0:28:590:29:02

before we put it on the ice cream.

0:29:020:29:03

Now, THAT is a rum-and-raisin sauce of some calibre.

0:29:050:29:09

And as it cools, it'll thicken.

0:29:110:29:12

Oh, this is nice. I think the nice thing is,

0:29:170:29:19

we should serve this sauce warm, but JUST warm, just tepid.

0:29:190:29:23

Yeah, nice, nice.

0:29:230:29:24

Here we go, mate. So, these have been in the freezer again.

0:29:240:29:28

They are like rock. That's what you want.

0:29:300:29:32

That's what you want. The oil is preheated to 190 degrees,

0:29:320:29:36

and we're going to drop the three balls in at the same time,

0:29:360:29:40

and cook them for 15 seconds.

0:29:400:29:42

Take them out, set them aside.

0:29:420:29:43

-Right.

-Are you ready? Are you counting?

-I'm counting, now!

0:29:470:29:51

Five seconds.

0:29:540:29:56

That's the 15.

0:30:000:30:01

Oh, yes, golden and crispy.

0:30:020:30:06

A three-ball scoop of magnificence, Si.

0:30:060:30:09

-Shall we spoon some of this over?

-Oh, yeah, go heavy on the raisins.

0:30:090:30:13

-How's that?

-I just can't wait to taste it.

0:30:140:30:16

Right, let's do it.

0:30:160:30:18

Remember, the outside of the ice cream is crispy and red-hot,

0:30:180:30:21

and the inside is frozen solid.

0:30:210:30:23

The coconut's toasted, the ice cream's fabulous.

0:30:280:30:31

The sauce is immense.

0:30:310:30:33

Kingy, I'm not really an ice cream man...

0:30:350:30:38

This is the best ice-cream dessert I've ever tasted.

0:30:390:30:42

Well...

0:30:420:30:44

it's always a joint effort.

0:30:440:30:45

Nothing beats home-made comfort food,

0:30:550:30:58

but every now and then it's nice to have someone else cook for you.

0:30:580:31:01

Thankfully, all over the country

0:31:010:31:04

there are places that make us feel right at home,

0:31:040:31:07

and keep enticing us back.

0:31:070:31:09

My name is Mary Manley,

0:31:110:31:14

and we've been running this bookshop since 1991,

0:31:140:31:17

when we opened in only 800 square feet of the shop,

0:31:170:31:22

which has grown since to 8,000 square feet.

0:31:220:31:25

In 2008, our shop manager was looking around for space

0:31:260:31:30

for an office.

0:31:300:31:32

And he found space on the other side of the building.

0:31:320:31:36

When we walked in, it was this glorious room, really,

0:31:360:31:41

and I said, "This isn't going to be an office,

0:31:410:31:43

"this is going to be my buffet."

0:31:430:31:44

This building was built in 1888. Huge - it's 30,000 square feet.

0:31:460:31:51

The first room that was discovered, we changed into the buffet,

0:31:510:31:55

was a boiler room,

0:31:550:31:56

for boiling water to heat foot warmers that go in the carriages.

0:31:560:32:00

Then the next room we expanded into

0:32:000:32:03

was the gents' first-class waiting room.

0:32:030:32:05

And the third room is the ladies' first-class waiting room,

0:32:050:32:09

which still has the original marble fireplace.

0:32:090:32:12

We get a lot of regulars come in every morning, read the paper,

0:32:140:32:18

have breakfast. Some stay all day, some people come with their dogs.

0:32:180:32:22

What I wanted in the buffet was just simple, good food, local produce.

0:32:250:32:30

Creamy mushrooms and a quiche.

0:32:300:32:32

Simple but well done.

0:32:320:32:34

And people liked it.

0:32:340:32:36

And we grew.

0:32:360:32:38

Well, they're one of the best bacon sandwiches in town.

0:32:390:32:41

Plus, I have quite an affinity towards the place.

0:32:410:32:45

My father used to work on the railway,

0:32:450:32:47

and he's got his name up on the board along the side there.

0:32:470:32:51

And I have fond memories of coming here as a schoolboy, actually.

0:32:510:32:55

And also, we feel very proud of it, because so many people visit it,

0:32:560:33:00

and are so enamoured by the place,

0:33:000:33:02

that we feel it's part of us, as well.

0:33:020:33:05

It's been named by one magazine

0:33:070:33:09

as the British Library of second-hand book shops.

0:33:090:33:12

And the difference between this and the British Library is here you

0:33:120:33:16

can see all the books at once and handle them.

0:33:160:33:19

This cafe is wonderful.

0:33:190:33:21

You can take a book in, you can read it over a teacake and coffee.

0:33:210:33:26

The only problem is, you mustn't get the jam on the pages of the books.

0:33:260:33:30

That's frowned upon.

0:33:300:33:31

The thing I love cooking most is the macaroni cheese.

0:33:330:33:36

Cream cheese going in.

0:33:360:33:37

A lot of people say mac-cheese and they think of what they had

0:33:380:33:42

in school, but mac-cheese can be an art.

0:33:420:33:45

Put in our magic.

0:33:450:33:47

That's the cream reduction that has the herbs, the wine, the butter,

0:33:470:33:51

the whole lot, really.

0:33:510:33:53

Parmesan.

0:33:540:33:56

Now we just add the sharp Cheddar.

0:33:560:33:58

Just warming the pasta through.

0:34:020:34:04

Boiled in water beforehand.

0:34:040:34:06

And in we go.

0:34:090:34:10

Sprinkle the crumbs.

0:34:130:34:14

And I love doing...

0:34:140:34:16

a simple dish like that, but really well.

0:34:160:34:20

That's what I'm after in our buffet.

0:34:200:34:23

The macaroni cheese is wonderful.

0:34:250:34:27

You get the bacon bits on the top.

0:34:270:34:29

They're really, absolutely divine.

0:34:290:34:32

Very nice American influence, I have to say!

0:34:320:34:34

The cafe is definitely an added draw for me.

0:34:360:34:39

It's grown so much over the years.

0:34:390:34:41

Whenever I come in, I like to come, sit at this table,

0:34:430:34:46

table number nine.

0:34:460:34:47

I've warned the staff that when I die, I'm going to come back

0:34:470:34:51

and haunt table nine.

0:34:510:34:53

Restoring the old station has been a great joy, the whole thing.

0:34:580:35:02

Restoring all the clocks and all of the architectural features of the

0:35:020:35:07

station. Labour of love, yes,

0:35:070:35:09

but we've a canny business idea behind it.

0:35:090:35:12

What we do is what brings people in.

0:35:120:35:15

I love it.

0:35:150:35:17

I really tell myself and think it's true,

0:35:170:35:20

the very kind of customers we have

0:35:200:35:22

are the same ones who used to come to the railway station.

0:35:220:35:26

Every age, every...class come here.

0:35:260:35:31

And that is what I aim for.

0:35:310:35:33

That, to me, says Northumberland, Kingy.

0:35:490:35:51

-Yes, yes.

-Some of the best coldwater fish, I think,

0:35:510:35:55

in the UK comes from the North Sea.

0:35:550:35:58

We thought, we'll do a John Dory.

0:35:580:36:01

And then we thought, we might do a turbot.

0:36:010:36:03

Then we saw this brill.

0:36:050:36:06

-Look at that.

-How beautiful.

0:36:060:36:08

We've got a few bits and pieces to do.

0:36:080:36:11

We've got the most wonderful langoustines, mussels and the fish.

0:36:110:36:13

And they're going to be steamed,

0:36:130:36:15

which is like the purest form of cooking.

0:36:150:36:17

The first thing that we're going to do is

0:36:200:36:22

I'm going to give our beautiful brill a bit of a haircut.

0:36:220:36:26

So, it's just...

0:36:260:36:27

Take that off...

0:36:300:36:32

..like that.

0:36:330:36:34

And then the same on the other side.

0:36:360:36:38

This is a celebration of what you have locally.

0:36:380:36:41

-Yeah.

-What I love about brill, Dave, and I know you do, too,

0:36:410:36:44

the flesh of the brill is quite compact and solid,

0:36:440:36:47

and it flakes beautifully. And also,

0:36:470:36:51

it just imparts this wonderful, wonderful flavour.

0:36:510:36:55

I'm just going to make, like, the steaming vessel now.

0:36:550:36:58

So, I'm making sure that I've got

0:36:580:37:01

enough to wrap around.

0:37:010:37:02

Because we want to create some vapour...

0:37:020:37:04

..for the fish.

0:37:060:37:08

I'll put some oil on this side, Si.

0:37:080:37:10

-Yes, please, mate.

-So, some oil on here, and a little knob of butter.

0:37:100:37:15

-Beautiful.

-A couple there. A couple of bits of garlic.

0:37:150:37:18

And some zest, mate.

0:37:180:37:20

So, we've got, like, the strip of lemon peel, so we'll get the aroma,

0:37:200:37:23

but you're not actually eating the lemon.

0:37:230:37:26

Look at this. Gosh, there's some meat on that.

0:37:260:37:29

I've put some garlic just in its inside.

0:37:300:37:33

-And there's some more zest, mate.

-And some salt in here.

0:37:330:37:36

Some lemon zest.

0:37:360:37:38

Bits of garlic.

0:37:420:37:43

And now the steaming liquor.

0:37:460:37:47

You can use white wine, water, or vermouth.

0:37:470:37:51

Vermouth is, it's lovely.

0:37:510:37:53

So you want about 100ml of this.

0:37:530:37:56

I'm just pouring it around the sides, cos I don't want to take off

0:37:560:37:58

any of the seasoning that Dave's put on.

0:37:580:38:00

And it's almost cooking in this wonderful,

0:38:000:38:02

-kind of, nice, boozy steam.

-That's about there, mate.

-Yeah.

0:38:020:38:05

And just gather your foil up.

0:38:060:38:08

We want to do what you call a tent.

0:38:080:38:11

We want the steam to be able to circulate around the fish,

0:38:110:38:15

which it will do.

0:38:150:38:17

So, we need to put this in now for about 15 minutes,

0:38:170:38:20

for a fish of that thickness.

0:38:200:38:21

The oven's being preheated to 200 degrees.

0:38:210:38:24

So, it's quite a fierce oven, but we want the steam.

0:38:240:38:28

-Beautiful.

-There we go. Now, we'll time this.

0:38:280:38:32

Again, what do we serve this with?

0:38:320:38:34

Well, you don't want to detract from the quality,

0:38:340:38:37

you want to focus your head on the langoustines, mussels and fish.

0:38:370:38:41

So, I'm going to do some game chips.

0:38:410:38:44

You know, just posh crisps on the side.

0:38:440:38:47

Basically, the first one's sacrificial,

0:38:470:38:49

and then you turn it 90 degrees, 90 degrees, 90 degrees 90 degrees, and,

0:38:490:38:54

look, we get these lovely perforated crisps.

0:38:540:38:58

And I'm going to do an aioli, which, fundamentally,

0:38:590:39:01

is really a garlicky mayonnaise.

0:39:010:39:04

In a bowl, take two egg yolks.

0:39:040:39:07

Just to start the emulsification, we're going to put a little,

0:39:070:39:10

little bit of lemon juice in.

0:39:100:39:13

A teaspoon of Dijon mustard in.

0:39:130:39:15

A little bit of salt. I'll give these a whisk.

0:39:150:39:18

Suddenly, when you start to make crisps or game chips,

0:39:220:39:24

you realise what a lot of crisps you get out of one potato.

0:39:240:39:28

The game chips are deep-fried at 190 Celsius until crisp and golden.

0:39:300:39:34

Now, a key ingredient with aioli is garlic.

0:39:360:39:38

So, we're going to put one lovely fat clove in.

0:39:380:39:42

And, you whisk it until the egg yolks change colour,

0:39:450:39:49

and they go slightly light, and then from that point

0:39:490:39:52

you start to add your sunflower oil.

0:39:520:39:55

Just in a little dribble every now and then.

0:39:550:39:58

And then I'm just going to add a little olive oil, just for flavour.

0:40:050:40:10

And then...

0:40:100:40:12

..the saffron.

0:40:130:40:14

Whisk it in again.

0:40:150:40:17

A little touch of lemon juice.

0:40:180:40:21

And I think, mate, just have a taste of that and see if we're there.

0:40:210:40:25

Oh, wow.

0:40:250:40:27

-That's superb.

-Yeah?

0:40:290:40:30

Oh, yeah. I mean, it's going to be the richest thing on the plate,

0:40:300:40:33

but I think you leave that to people,

0:40:330:40:35

-how much they want to enrich.

-Absolutely.

-You forget, you know,

0:40:350:40:38

little garnishes like this add such a lot to a dish,

0:40:380:40:42

and they really are supporting players to that gorgeous fish.

0:40:420:40:45

Right, mate, I'm going to take this brill out.

0:40:450:40:47

-I've got my last batch on.

-So, at this point...

0:40:470:40:50

Oh, yeah, mate, come and have a look at this.

0:40:520:40:55

-It's beautiful.

-Oh!

-We can put our langoustines on.

0:40:550:40:57

Yeah. Put our langoustines and mussels in.

0:40:570:41:00

That's an event, isn't it?

0:41:000:41:01

Absolutely. For people who are frightened of cooking fish,

0:41:010:41:05

this is a great way to do it, because it's simple.

0:41:050:41:07

How beautiful is that?

0:41:090:41:11

Now, more butter...

0:41:110:41:15

and then we're going to seal her up again.

0:41:150:41:18

Five more minutes, mate.

0:41:240:41:26

I think we've got enough game chips here.

0:41:260:41:29

Yes!

0:41:290:41:30

Right, bit of a tidy-up, eh?

0:41:310:41:33

Yeah, and wait for the main event.

0:41:330:41:35

-Oh!

-Oh, yeah.

0:41:410:41:43

Now, this is a bundle of joy.

0:41:460:41:47

I'm so excited...

0:41:500:41:51

Oh, look at that!

0:41:510:41:53

See, Mr Fish, there you go.

0:41:560:41:58

Oh, come on, Si, at least let's get it on a plate.

0:41:590:42:03

Right.

0:42:030:42:04

There we have it.

0:42:070:42:08

Brill with mussels and langoustine from the cold waters around the UK.

0:42:100:42:16

It's completely brill.

0:42:160:42:18

Yeah.

0:42:180:42:19

-Drop of white wine?

-Oh, absolutely.

0:42:190:42:21

Langoustine?

0:42:240:42:25

Look at that.

0:42:270:42:29

When people say about opalescent,

0:42:290:42:32

white, flaky fish, that's what you want.

0:42:320:42:35

Plain...

0:42:360:42:37

It's the best, Si. It really is.

0:42:430:42:46

Because the pure way we've cooked it, it ticks all the boxes -

0:42:460:42:50

it's moist, it's tasty, it's lovely.

0:42:500:42:52

It's one of those occasions, in cooking,

0:42:520:42:56

where you just let the ingredients speak for themselves,

0:42:560:42:59

because they are of such a high quality.

0:42:590:43:01

Cheers. Here's to Northumberland.

0:43:020:43:04

Here's to Northumberland. Cheers, mate, cheers.

0:43:040:43:06

Dave Myers and Simon King cook some of their favourite comfort food. It's a trip back in time for Si as the Bikers cook dishes from his home county - Northumberland. This means a celebration of local seafood, a traditional lamb recipe and a new way of serving his favourite ice cream.


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