Try This: A Quick Sunshine Lunch

The perfect sunshine lunch is sometimes the simplest of dishes.

Pick up whatever fruit and veg you have in the fridge – along with anything you can pick from the garden – toss it together in a bowl with a bit of salt and olive oil, and you’ve got a deliciously fresh salad.

Give it a go…

 

Try This: A Little Something For A Quick Sunshine Lunch

 

A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR A QUICK SUNSHINE LUNCH

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 large ripe tomato, cut into chunks
¼ cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 ripe but firm peach, cut into wedges
8 torn basil leaves,
10 torn mint leaves
1 tbsp whole, blanched almonds
½ tbsp best quality balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp best quality extra virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt

METHOD:

  • Toss the tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl with a pinch of salt and the olive oil.
  • Add the peaches and herbs.
  • Divide between two salad plates, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and scatter the almonds.
  • I often add some torn buffalo mozzarella or sometimes a plate of parma ham for a more substantial lunch

Follow this recipe and share with us on social media using the hashtag, #21AtHome. 

The Challenge: Soup For The Neighbours

One of the upsides of lockdown is that neighbours have suddenly become very neighbourly. Carrier bags of ‘stuff’ keep appearing at my gate; last week it was rhubarb, this week it’s lovage.

Of course this is all very nice, but it can be a bit of a double-edged sword. In order for me to reciprocate and enter into the neighbourly spirit, it seems I have to make things from said ‘stuff’ and return it whence it came. So, last week I was making rhubarb and custard tarts and leaving them on Mark’s doorstep, but this week… what the hell I can do with a bag of lovage is a far bigger challenge!

It’s not a herb we Brits use a great deal. It arrives in the garden mid to late spring and sticks around right through til’ autumn. It belongs to the celery family and really does resemble celery; tall, green and leafy.

Flavour-wise it’s super powerful; the Germans use it a lot and consider it a vital part of any bouquet garni. In Germany, it’s referred to as Maggi Kraut; (Maggi Herb), due to the fact that it has that unique Maggi-like, umami flavour. It also has healthful qualities… “good for flushing out the kidneys”, so I’m told.

Lovage works well with peas; so a pea, potato and lovage soup was a knocking bet. Neighbours love soup, right? It also works really well with raw tomatoes, in a salad with goat’s curd, broad beans and spring onions, although tomatoes aren’t really at their best right now unless you can find some Isle of Wight early varieties. It’s also surprisingly good deep-fried, either as it is or in a very light tempura-type batter. Prepared like this, it would give a lovely flavour hit to a roast rack of spring lamb with asparagus and Jersey Royals.

 

The Challenge: Lovage Soup For The Neighbours

 

Pea, Lovage & Jersey Potato Soup… For The Neighbours

 

Finely slice a small leek and sweat it slowly in butter with a pinch salt and a good grind of pepper. Add the vegetable stock and sliced Jersey potatoes. Bring everything to the boil and simmer for 6 or 7 minutes before dropping in the podded peas (frozen would also do nicely) and cook for another few minutes until the peas are nice and tender (not so long that they start to lose their colour though). Throw in a small handful of lovage leaves and liquidise immediately. Then tip into a bowl on ice to cool it quickly and fix the colour. Reheat and finish with a knob of butter and maybe a dollop of crème fraiche. A warm cheese scone alongside would be a welcome bonus.

Finely slice a small leek and sweat it slowly in butter with a pinch salt and a good grind of pepper. Add a litre and a half of vegetable stock and 200g sliced Jersey potatoes. Bring everything to the boil and simmer for 6 or 7 minutes before dropping in 400g of podded peas (frozen would also do nicely) and cook for another few minutes till the peas are nice and tender (not so long that they start to lose
their colour though). Throw in a small handful of lovage leaves and liquidise immediately. Then tip into a bowl on ice to cool it quickly and fix the colour. Reheat and finish with a nob of butter and
maybe a dollop of crème fraîche. A warm cheese scone alongside would be a welcome bonus.

Share your own neighbourly lockdown creations on social media using the hashtag, #21LockdownChallenge.

Try This: Courgette Flan

The eighth week of lockdown, coupled with the uplift in weather, suggests to me that it’s time to start eating more vegetables.

Last week, my veg box contained far too many courgettes, so I had to get a bit creative in order to work through them all. This courgette flan came out on top. Served with tomato sauce, it makes a really great sunshine lunch.

 

Try This: Courgette Flan

 

COURGETTE FLAN

 

INGREDIENTS:

600g chopped courgettes
1 courgette, sliced into thin coins and blanched in boiling salted water
1 finely chopped onion
1 grated garlic clove
50g cooked potatoes, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp vegetable stock
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
150ml double cream
3 beaten eggs
40g grated Berkswell cheese (or pecorino, or parmesan)
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves

METHOD:

  • Sweat the onions and garlic in the olive oil with a pinch of salt.
  • Then add the chopped courgettes and season with salt and milled black pepper. Cover with a lid and continue cooking slowly until tender.
  • Add the vegetable stock and cooked potatoes, continue cooking until very soft then chill well.
  • Transfer the mixture to a liquidiser and blend ‘til smooth, then pour into a bowl and whisk in the double cream, eggs, cheese and fresh thyme.
  • Butter an oven proof dish 17cm x 11cm and pour in the mixture.
  • Cook in the oven in a bain marie at 160°C for 45 minutes.
  • Serve with fresh tomato sauce

Getting creative with veg? Fancy giving this courgette flan a go? Follow this recipe and post on social media using the hashtag, #21AtHome. 

Nick’s Top Tips To Help Fill The Time

Our resident entertainment guru, Nick Shottel, is guiding us through homebound days with his top entertainment picks. From books and Instagram accounts, to boxsets, radio shows and playlists, he’s got you covered.

Here’s what Nick has in store this fortnight…

 

 

FOLLOW

@alextelferstudio

An Instagram account that you might want to look at is that of local photographer, Alex Telfer. Alex is a long-standing friend and customer of ours who has been posting some fabulous pictures taken locally. From The Jarrow Elvis (yes, he actually exists), to the famous Wallsend Boys Club, the photographs are really special.

 

READ

Tales From Two Puddings by Eddie Johnson 

A great book about a pub in Stratford, East London. It’s a memoir of the landlord of an infamous pub which was bulldozed to make way for the Olympic Stadium. During the 60s, it was the meeting place for footballers, gangsters, musicians, boxers and TV personalities. The book is a poignant, at times hilarious, look back at a lost world of East End eccentrics, local villainy, vindictive policemen, punch-ups and practical jokes.

 

WATCH

The Last Dance

If you are at a loose end and need something to watch, you could do worse that watching The Last Dance on Netflix. It charts the rise of the 1990s Chicago Bulls basketball team led by Michael Jordan, one of the most notable dynasties in sports history. A fascinating watch and you don’t need to be into basketball to enjoy it.

White Lines

Another new Netflix series worth watching is White Lines. It tells the story of a woman trying to solve the mysterious death of her brother, a famous DJ, who disappeared from Ibiza many years ago. 

The Capture

I’ve just binge-watched The Capture on BBC iPlayer. It’s about a British soldier who is charged with a crime but the young detective handling his case begins to uncover a multi-layered conspiracy. Real edge-of-the-seat stuff.

 

LISTEN

Gilles Peterson

If you are into your music, you might want to check out Gilles Peterson’s show on the BBC Sounds app. He has a show each Saturday afternoon on 6Music with an eclectic mix of jazz funk, soul, dance, hip-hop, house and loads more.

Nick’s Playlist

I hope you are enjoying my fortnightly lockdown playlists. This latest one is sure to get everyone up dancing around the kitchen. It’s entitled SOCIAL DIS-DANCING – FUNK. Check it out here: open.spotify.com/playlist

A Day in the Life of… 21 Host, Amy Cooper

How I’m staying safe and keeping motivated at home during lockdown…

 

A Day in the Life of... 21 Host, Amy Cooper

 

I GET UP ON A MORNING FOR… My two house rabbits, who by 7.30am are usually stomping to be out and play.

 

BREAKFAST IS… During the week, usually porridge (boring, I know)! On a weekend we have been making an array of breakfasts using whatever we have left in the fridge. A personal favourite so far is poached egg on toast with chorizo, mushroom, red pepper and tomatoes.

 

TO STAY ACTIVE, I… Have been making the most of the nice weather and running through Jesmond Dene. My Nike Run Club app has helped to keep me on track.

 

TO UNWIND, I… Like to cook with a glass of wine on an evening. It has been such a tonic over the last few weeks. My allotment is also a great way to switch off for a few hours, particularly when the weather is as great as it has been.

 

I’M WATCHING… Normal People. For the second time!

 

I’M READING… Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney.

 

I’M LISTENING TO… The ‘Summer Acoustic’ playlist on Apple Music has been a favourite in our house. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Jamie XX, Beck and Groove Armada. A very random selection, I know!

 

SOMEWHERE I’D RATHER BE… We had plans this summer to visit some cities in Europe and whilst I’m disappointed that I won’t be doing any exploring for a little while, I’m enjoying riding the slow train here in Newcastle. So right now, I’m happy exactly where I am.

 

THREE TOP TIPS FOR STAYING AT HOME…

Get outside – I don’t have a garden at my flat, but my allotment has been a brilliant place to spend some time in the sun. I’ve been running outside most days – getting some exercise and fresh air makes a huge difference to your mood.
Pick up some hobbies or try something new – We’ve been making our own kombucha and currently have some tepache brewing on the kitchen bench. It’s exciting trying something you’ve never done before and keeps things interesting when you’re spending so much time at home.
Make use of podcasts and audiobooks – They’re perfect for some background noise whilst out on your daily walk or making housework a little more exciting.

 

DURING LOCKDOWN, I HAVE LEARNT… That sometimes you just have to slow down and that that’s completely okay.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY… “Nothing makes the future look so rosy as to contemplate it through a glass of Chambertin.” – Napoleon

The Challenge: Cocktails at Home

We’ve all been adapting to ‘the new normal’ – whether that’s with a new working from home routine, fitness in the garden, heading up the home kitchen, or indeed mixing up something exciting from the drinks cabinet. 

This week, I challenged Ben, our Bar Manager at St Vincent, to see what he could do with this mixed bag. An accumulation of holiday tipples picked up over an untold number of years!

Let’s see what he’s come up with.

Over to you, Ben…

 

 

White Lady

This is an absolute classic, refined at The American Bar at The Savoy in the 1920s and 30s. It’s still just as popular in the ‘World’s Best Bar’ today.

INGREDIENTS:

1 part Cointreau (20ml recommended)
2 parts gin
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sugar (or ½ part syrup)
Egg white (optional)

METHOD:

To make it you need to mix or shake these ingredients quickly, preferably with ice. You could do this in a cocktail shaker, but if you don’t have one use a blender, protein shaker or a Tupperware box with a lid.

Add all of the ingredients and shake for around 30 seconds or blend for around 10 seconds. Then strain or sieve the drink into a glass to remove any shards of ice left from the shaking or blending. Drink straight up, without any ice the glass.

You can use any sugar you have in (white, granulated works best) or make a quick simple syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved). You also have the option to add the white of 1 egg to the recipe. This won’t alter the flavour, but will give the drink a lovely, silky texture.

 

Cherry Twisted Negroni

A beautiful drink to sip in the late afternoon sun and really straightforward to make.

INGREDIENTS:

1 part Amaro Montenegro (20ml recommended)
1 part Schlanderer Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)
1.5 parts gin

METHOD:

Simply add all of the ingredients to a short glass with lots of ice. Give it a quick stir for 15 to 20 seconds and it’s ready. This is fantastic with a nice, chunky wedge of orange as a garnish. If you find it too strong, just give it another stir to dilute the drink some more.

 

Armagnac Sidecar (3 Ways)

A sidecar is classically made using Cognac and is a great drink for later in the evening. Here, we’re going to use Armagnac instead of Cognac – and I’ve given a few variations for something a bit different. Some people like to serve a Sidecar with a sugar rim on the glass – it’s completely your preference – the drink is delicious either way.

INGREDIENTS:

1 part Cointreau, Schlanderer Williams Birne (pear brandy) or Aprikosengeist (apricot brandy) (20ml recommended)
1.5 parts Armagnac
Juice of half a lemon

METHOD:

To make a more traditional Sidecar recipe, add the Armagnac, Cointreau and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker, protein shaker or Tupperware box with a good amount of ice. Shake it vigorously for around 30 seconds until the drink is nicely chilled and diluted. Then, if you like, you can rim your glass with sugar (a glass with a stem is great, but a shorter glass or even a wine glass will work well). To do this, tip a small amount of sugar on to a plate. Then slowly rub the rim of the glass in the sugar until you have a nice coating of sugar all the way around the rim. If you’re struggling to get the sugar to stick then you can rub a lemon wedge around the rim of the glass before dipping it in the sugar.

Now, strain or sieve the drink into your glass without ice and enjoy. If you like you can garnish with a twist of lemon or orange. Take a long, narrow strip of peel and carefully twist it around the handle of a spoon and then drop it into the drink.

Alternatively, Armagnac works very well with both pear and apricot so, if you want something a bit different, replace the Cointreau with the Schlanderer Williams Birne or Aprikosengeist. You may need to use a little less than you would when making the drink with Cointreau and you could add a touch of sugar if you wish.

 

Share your own lockdown cocktail creations on social media using the hashtag, #21LockdownChallenge.

Read, Watch & Listen with Nick Shottel

During this lockdown period we’re constantly on the look out for something a bit different to entertain us.

Nick Shottel keeps us busy with his round-up of the best books, TV shows, documentaries, podcasts and playlists…

 

 

READ

FROM BENWELL BOY TO 46TH BEATLE… AND BEYOND – by Bob Smeaton

Bob has been a customer of ours on-and-off since we opened. The book tells the story of how he started off in a local pop group called White Heat and went on to work with the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John and The Rolling Stones, producing films about them. He, alongside another regular customer of ours, Geoff Wonfor, produced the definitive anthology of The Beatles. A read jam-packed with anecdotes and humour. Some of you will recognise some of the characters spoken about, even one who has an unequalled love of Cointreau… if you know, you know!

WINE AND WAR: THE FRENCH, THE NAZIS AND FRANCE’S GREATEST TREASURE – by Donald Kladstrup & Petie Kladstrup

It tells the story of France’s courageous, clever vintners, who protected and rescued the country’s most treasured commodity from the Germans during the Second World War. A really amusing and informative read.

 

WATCH

SAVE ME TOO – On Sky Atlantic catch-up at the moment is Save Me Too, staring Lennie James as a father searching for his missing daughter. The first series is also available on catch-up.

GANGS OF LONDON – Another Sky Atlantic series worth a watch. It’s fast-paced, action-packed and – word of warning – it’s absolutely brutal!

BRASSIC – A really entertaining series that should be watched before the second one is released online this week. This Sky One show stars Michelle Keegan and Joe Gilgun and is a dark comedy with some real laugh-out-loud moments to lighten the mood.

STILL GAME – One for those of you who have access to Netflix – and for those who ‘get’ Scottish humour.

INDUSTRY-BASED DOCUMENTARIES – There are some tremendous industry-based documentaries out there at the moment, such as ‘Chef’s Table’ and ‘Cooked’. There is a film called ‘Uncorked’ about a guy who wants to train as a sommelier, much to the dismay of his father who wants him to carry on the family’s Memphis BBQ joint.

 

LISTEN

DESERT ISLAND DISCS – You all probably consider yourselves too young to listen to Desert Island Discs. I know I did! Anyway, I was scrolling through BBC Sounds on my phone, looking for something to listen to – and happened on a Desert Island Disc podcast featuring Ian Wright. I found it really entertaining and, in part, quite moving. The podcasts only have a portion of the chosen ‘discs’ so it is all about people’s stories. I enjoyed the podcast so much that I started going through the D.I.D. archive and found loads of interesting stuff. There were programmes featuring lots of chefs including Marcus Waring, Angela Hartnett and many others. There is even one with a good friend of Terry and me, Anton Edelmann.

VINES ON THE FRONT LINE – I also found an interesting podcast on there called Vines on the Front Line, which was about the vineyards of the Bekka Valley in Lebanon.

THE ART OF THE MENU – There was another interesting podcasts called The Art of The Menu, which is about the power of the menu and highlights the tricks and secrets within it.

ROUND THE HORNE – If you like classic comedy, there’s no end of vintage stuff that’s still relevant today and extremely funny. A classic that I really like is called Round the Horne and is primarily a sketch show that has a running joke through it. At the time, this show really pushed the boundaries and laid the foundations for a lot of comedy shows to follow.

 

PLAYLIST >>

In the last newsletter, I shared a playlist that was bit more alternative to my usual taste, but I hope you enjoyed it all the same. This time, I’ve put one together that I’m sure you will agree is a bit more ‘me’.

It’s entitled SOCIAL-DIS-DANCING – DISCO. I hope you enjoy it! Check it out here: open.spotify.com/playlist

A Day in the Life of… St Vincent Manager, Matt Clarkson

How I’m staying safe and keeping motivated at home during lockdown…

 

 

I GET UP ON A MORNING FOR… The kids, usually much earlier than I would ideally like. Then coffee…

 

BREAKFAST IS… When Nina’s going to work, usually a smoothie with any fruit that might be just past its best. Freezing peeled bananas then popping one of them whole into the blender works a treat. If Nina’s off, for a treat I knock up baked eggs with spiced tomato sauce and loads of toast to dip in, the kids love it.

 

TO STAY ACTIVE, I… Try to go for a walk every couple of days. One of the kids is usually strapped to me and the other in the pushchair as we try to hit a few big hills. I also do 100 press-ups twice a week just to keep the muscles interested.

 

TO UNWIND, I… Try to pick up the guitar if I get the chance. We’ve also just got this acupuncture mat with thousands of needle-sharp spikes on it resembling a bed of nails. The ancients believed it assisted in increased levels of relaxation and meditation… it’s great for back pain, too. I try to have a session on it a couple of times a week. It’s pretty painful, but I have fallen asleep on it a few times

 

I’M WATCHING… Gangs of London… it’s brutal and so addictive. Watch it!

 

I’M READING… A book called Cosa Nostra, which is a sinister insight into the revered Sicilian Mafia.

 

I’M LISTENING TO… A lot of upbeat rock at the moment. After tea every night, me and the girls have 20 minutes with it blasting to burn off any remaining energy before bed. Other tunes like: Just A Day by Feeder, Girl From Mars by Ash, The Passenger by Iggy Pop and a guilty pleasure… Paradise By The Dashboard Light by Meatloaf.

 

SOMEWHERE I’D RATHER BE… Currently, nowhere! Life moves too fast. We should be able to appreciate this downtime and keep everyone safe. I’m sure I’ll never have another opportunity to spend everyday at home with the kids.

 

THREE TOP TIPS FOR STAYING AT HOME…

Plan your meals – It’s not easy cooking all of the time, so if you can plan ahead and make a bit extra and freeze some, it takes the pressure off later in the week.

Keep busy – It’s a real opportunity to get on top of all of those little jobs around the house and garden that you normally just don’t have time for. I usually tick things off my list and somehow my list keeps getting bigger and bigger!

Stay in touch – Obviously we can’t meet each other in person, but using things like WhatsApp and Zoom are becoming the new norm. We’ve had a couple of St. V get togethers, a pub quiz and far too many drinks one night.

I know this is number four, but allowing for some alone time is vital. No phone, no TV, no kids etc… just time to think, relax and appreciate everything you have. I also find myself thinking of everywhere I want to go for my next holiday and where I next want to eat… whenever that may be.

 

DURING LOCKDOWN, I HAVE LEARNT… To appreciate what I have and also that parenting two kids under 4-years-old, three days a week, is no walk in the park!

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY… “#stayhome.”

Try This: Dan Warren’s Lockdown Chicken

Dan Warren, Head Chef at The Broad Chare, shares a simple ‘one-pot’ dish that really delivers when it comes to spring flavours. 

 

This chicken recipe is quick and easy to make, with no compromise on flavour. It’s made up of pretty straight-forward ingredients and is the ideal one-pot dish to see you through a day or two in lockdown.

The bird is cooked sealed tight with potatoes, aromatics, stock and butter, resulting in juicy flesh, tender vegetables and a rich fragrant liquor.

 

 

LOCKDOWN CHICKEN

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 free-range chicken (around 1.5kg)
400g waxy salad potatoes, peeled and halved
2 celery sticks, washed & roughly chopped
1 small leek, washed & roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
Sprig of thyme and lovage (optional)
1 unwaxed lemon
50ml EV olive oil
100g unsalted butter, softened
200ml chicken stock or water
Salt and pepper
300g peas (fresh or frozen)

 

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.
  • Remove the wishbone from the chicken to ensure easier carving when cooked, then season liberally inside and out.
  • Place the potatoes, celery, leeks, garlic, pared lemon zest and herbs in an ovenproof (ideally cast iron) dish, then set the chicken on top.
  • Spread the butter generously on to the bird, pour over the stock and olive oil and season again. Place a square of greaseproof paper on the chicken, then foil the dish to create a tight seal, to prevent any moisture from escaping.
  • Cook for 45 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 150°C / gas mark 2. Cook for a further 45 minutes or until the juices run clear.
  • Remove chicken from the dish and add the peas for a further 30 minutes, while the bird rests. The peas will lose their verdant colour but will swell and become tender and sweet, absorbing the rich chicken juices.
  • To finish, joint the chicken and colour skin-side in a little foaming butter if desired. Adjust the cooking liquor to taste with a little lemon juice and seasoning.
  • Serve the chicken with the braised vegetables and their juices. Enjoy with aioli and some good bread.

 

Fancy giving Dan Warren’s Lockdown Chicken a go? Follow this recipe and post on social media using the hashtag, #21AtHome. 

Stay Positive at Home with Storm Fitness

Ted Winter – PT and co-owner of Storm Fitness – is back with a second instalment of how to stay well and remain positive during lockdown. 

Go ahead, Ted… 

 

 

If you’re like me, lockdown fatigue kicked in big time last weekend. Speaking to people about their experiences, a lot of good intentions to use the time wisely have come and gone and it’s all getting a bit ‘Groundhog Day’.

Many of us have found the days slipping by, wondering where the time went. We’re all missing the structure of work, our social life and all of the things we plan around our time off.

To counter the lack of daily structure, it’s essential we make a plan and try our best to stick to it. My advice would be to pick ‘ 3 positive daily habits’ that will help you stay energised and spread positive vibes.

Make sure you write the habits down, and that you have 10/10 confidence you can complete them starting tomorrow. Consider the barriers, and if they are likely to stop you from achieving the habit, then scale it back until you’re 100% confident you can achieve it.

 

An example of three positive daily habits could be:

 

– Take a daily walk 

– Turn off the TV/phone 60 minutes before bed, this will improve your sleep quality

– Read one chapter of that book you’ve been ‘getting around’ to reading for years

 

Write these down, tell a friend or family member and tick them off EVERY DAY for a week. Then look back on Sunday, and re-evaluate the habits.

Did you achieve what you planned? How did it feel to get stuff done? Could you add something next week whilst maintaining 100% the three positive steps you’ve already taken? If you didn’t manage to get them done every day, try simplifying the habit and go again next week.

Focus on things that will pick you up, get you energised, and give you structure.

 

Ted’s taking on new clients online at the moment, if anyone needs help on how to get started, drop him a line at: ted@storm-fitness.com.