Nick Shottel’s Guide To Lockdown Downtime

Our resident entertainment guru, Nick Shottel, is back to ensure we’re enjoying downtime during lockdown.

From TV and music, to books and playlists, he’s got us covered this June. Here’s what he’s got in store this time…

 

 

READ

The Boy on the Shed by Paul Ferris

I’m really looking forward to starting my new book, delivered this morning by Amazon. It is called ‘The Boy on the Shed’ and is a memoir written by Paul Ferris, former player and physio at Newcastle United.

Paul Ferris was a teenage prodigy, becoming Newcastle United’s youngest-ever player in 1982, only for injury to ensure his promise went unfulfilled. He later returned to the club as a physiotherapist before earning a master’s degree and beginning a successful quest to qualify as a barrister. But the lure of football was always strong and he went back for a third spell at Newcastle, as Head of the Medical Department – again working closely with a host of big-name players and managers. The memoir tells of his life and family, growing up in Northern Ireland during the troubles and how a twist of fate brought him to Newcastle.

 

WATCH

Ozark

I’m really enjoying ‘Ozark’ on Netflix at the moment. I had started watching it some time ago but, for one reason or another, stopped after about four episodes. I’ve started watching it again and I’m totally hooked. The story follows Marty Byrde, a financial planner who relocates his family from Chicago to a summer resort community in the Ozark Mountains, Missouri. With wife Wendy and their two kids in tow, Marty is on the move after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong, forcing him to pay off a substantial debt to a Mexican drug lord in order to keep his family safe. While the Byrdes’ fate hangs in the balance, the dire circumstances force the fractured family to reconnect.

 

LISTEN

The Craig David Funk and Soul Show

My go-to listen on a Sunday morning is ‘The Craig David Funk and Soul Show’ on BBC Sounds. It is broadcast on Saturday evenings, but I always catch up with it on a Sunday morning whilst pottering around the house. It’s a great mix of classic and modern funk and soul. It’s a great listen.

Nick’s Playlist

This time I’ve gone a little more up-tempo and have produced a playlist consisting of 20 dance tracks. Hope you enjoy it. Check it out here: open.spotify.com/playlist.

A Day in the Life of… Richard Celardi, Manager at Café 21, Saltwater & Porterhouse

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

 

A Day in the Life of... Richard Celardi, Manager at Café 21, Saltwater & Porterhouse

 

I GET UP ON A MORNING FOR… Lunch!

 

BREAKFAST IS… Usually an episode of Friends or a Smiths album, maybe a cup of tea or a bit of fruit. I’m never up earlier than half 9, so it makes sense to wait for lunch.

 

TO STAY ACTIVE, I… Have been running most nights. I am trying to build up to running 50 miles a week before we go back. It’s even harder than I thought it would be… I might have to settle for 40!

 

TO UNWIND, I… Listen to music, but it’s not like I need to unwind. This is like uni but without the hangovers, less reading and more fresh air!

 

I’M WATCHING… All sorts. The Deuce, Modern Family, Cocaine Coast, White Lines and a couple of Euro 96 matches. The Pianist (Netflix) is also a great film – a lockdown must.

 

I’M READING… Eric Clapton – The Autobiography and El Diego – the Diego Maradona biography. 

 

I’M LISTENING TO… Loads of The Smiths and The Beatles. Others include: Stereophonics, The Stone Roses, The Rolling Stones, The Courteneers, Oasis and The Libertines.

 

SOMEWHERE I’D RATHER BE… Anywhere where you can go out and the bars are open, but if I’m really dreaming, it would have to be Vegas on a fight night or Rio for the World Cup Final.

 

THREE TOP TIPS FOR STAYING AT HOME…

Stay positive
Get as much fresh air as possible – tomorrow I’m going for fish and chips in Tynemouth with my little bro we are going to walk there and back.
Enjoy the sun when you can 

 

DURING LOCKDOWN, I HAVE LEARNT… That England would have beat Germany in 1996 if Terry Venables had made better decisions.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY… I suppose Rousseau springs to mind… “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains.”

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. 

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

Cheddar Cheese & Spinach Soufflé

An all-time 21 favourite

Our Cheddar Cheese & Spinach Soufflé is the perfect lockdown treat! We’ve been cooking and serving this dish for 30 years – and in that time, I’m sure that one or two of you have become addicted. Here’s a way to get your fix at home…

INGREDIENTS

180ml milk
1 bay leaf
100g grated parmesan cheese
1/4 small onion
1 clove
30g softened butter, plus a little extra for preparing the moulds
30g plain flour
100g grated mature cheddar cheese
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 tsp English mustard
60g chopped sautéed spinach
Pinch of salt
300ml double cream

METHOD

  1. Prepare 4 x oven proof ramekins by brushing with softened butter and dusting with a little of the grated parmesan cheese. Refrigerate.
  2. Bring milk to a boil together with the onion, bay leaf and clove. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to infuse.
  3. Make a roux by melting 30g butter over a gentle heat and then add the flour, stir gently for 5 minutes over a low heat.
  4. Allow the roux to cool a little before adding the infused milk, a little at a time, stirring till smooth between each addition. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheddar cheese, followed by the English mustard, egg yolks and spinach.
  6. Cover with a buttered paper and keep warm.
  7. Whisk the egg whites with a tiny pinch of salt until quite firm.
  8. Beat 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the cheese sauce using a whisk.
  9. Fold in the remainder very carefully with a rubber spatula.
  10. Divide the mixture between the pre-prepared ramekins.
  11. Sit in an oven proof tray and add boiling water to come halfway up the ramekins.
  12. Transfer to the oven at 135 degrees C for 28 mins.
  13. Remove from the oven, increase the oven temp to 200 degrees C.
  14. Turn the soufflés out into individual oven proof dishes.
  15. Pour over a generous amount of double cream followed by a good dusting of grated Parmesan cheese.
  16. Return to the oven until well risen and golden (around 12 – 15 mins).
  17. Serve immediately.

Try This: Alpen Macaroni

Kitchen management is a challenge at the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic, a nationwide lockdown and several shopping restrictions, and we’ve got a task on our hands. 

But, with a bit of time, some creativity – and with the ability to digitally share our recipes and ideas – we’ll be able to share some easy-to-follow recipes in each newsletter bulletin. First up, it’s my Alpen Macaroni… 

In the mid 70s I spent a couple of years working in Switzerland, mainly in the Engadine Mountains around St Moritz and Davos. This pasta dish was always a big hit at the staff table. Hot, cheesy and comforting – it’s quick, simple and cheap to make; perfect lockdown food!

The apple sauce is a bit of an oddity – a peculiarly Swiss thing, but it really helps cut through the richness of the pasta gratin. Try it with a leaf salad and a fairly sharp, mustard dressing.

 

 

ALPEN MACARONI

INGREDIENTS:

225g Maris Piper (or other maincrop potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes)
125g macaroni or penne
15g butter
1 finely diced onion
70g streaky bacon, cut into chunks
2tbls white wine
140ml chicken stock
240ml whipping cream
Salt and pepper, to season
½tbsl chopped parsley
25g grated Gruyere cheese

METHOD:

  • Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes. Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes before throwing in the pasta.
  • Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender and the pasta al dente. Drain in a colander.
  • Melt the butter in a wide pan and sweat the onions and bacon until the onions are soft.
  • Add the wine, scraping the base of the pan to release any tasty residue.
  • Simmer and reduce the wine by half, then add the stock and cream.
  • Add the pasta/potato mix and simmer on a low heat until the liquids are absorbed and the mixture is thick and unctuous.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper before stirring in the chopped parsley.
  • Transfer to an ovenproof dish, scatter the grated cheese over the top and glaze under the grill or in a hot oven.
  • Serve with apple sauce on the side, and a green salad.

 

APPLE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

300g Bramley apples
½ cinnamon stick
1 clove
1 pinch grated nutmeg
¼ lemon (juice)
½tsp caster sugar
2tbsl water
1½tsp butter

METHOD:

  • Peel, core and dice the apples.
  • Put into a stainless steel pan with the sugar, lemon juice, water, butter and spices.
  • Cover and cook gently for 15-20 minutes, or until the apples collapse.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and clove, then puree the apples with a hand blender.
  • Cool and serve.
  • This will make more than you need, but it freezes well. You can use a store-bought alternative if you wish. You won’t get the sack!

Store-Cupboard Staple: Bay Leaves

I bet you’ve all had a look in the kitchen cupboard and thought, ‘what the hell am I going to do with this?’, more so than ever in recent weeks! 

The truth is, we’re all in this strange scenario together, and if we’re going to put a positive spin on it, let’s think of cooking as a challenge – a chance to unleash our creative side.  

With that in mind, I’m going to be setting fortnightly tasks for some of our team. My first ‘store-cupboard challenge’ goes to our Café 21 Head Chef, Kev Pratt. 

We’ve all been tasked with tackling those forgotten-about store-cupboard products. You’ve probably all got a jar of out-of-date bay leaves in the cupboard somewhere. How can we put them to good use in the kitchen?  

Let’s see what Kev can do with those bay leaves. 

Over to you, Kev…

 

 

BAY LEAVES

Often used either on their own or as part of a classic bouquet garni, bay leaves are at the foundation of flavoursome cooking. Think of bay as more of a spice than a herb; at its best when used with other ingredients to enhance herbal warmth or depth of spice.

Originally from the Mediterranean, bay leaves are one of the few herbs to grow as a tree, which makes them very different in the way they are enjoyed in food.

Use them to flavour and enhance your cooking. They release fragrance and flavour best when cooked slowly, so that is why you’ll often find them in soups and stews, but they also work well in desserts, such as rice pudding and crème brûlée.

Bay has been used medicinally since the middle ages, and contains vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Try dropping two leaves into boiling water with a pinch of sugar and cinnamon for a restorative drink.

 

3 WAYS TO COOK WITH BAY AT HOME

 

SCOTCH BROTH

[serves 4]

  • Gently fry 2 chopped onions in a little oil.
  • Add 250g each of chopped carrots, turnips (or swede) and 2 chopped celery stalks. Season well and sweat for a few minutes.
  • Add a handful of pearl barley and a handful of soaked split peas, then top up with stock and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour.

 

‘COQ AU VIN’

[serves 4]

  • Sweat 2 chopped shallots in a buttered casserole dish, then stir in 3 crushed garlic cloves, 50g chopped streaky bacon, dried thyme and 2 bay leaves.
  • Cook for a minute, then add 100g button mushrooms and 8 chicken thighs. Cook further to brown the chicken.
  • Add two teaspoons of flour and stir to incorporate, then add 600ml chicken stock and a glass of red wine.
  • Bring to a boil then simmer very gently for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.

 

BAY-INFUSED RICE PUDDING

[serves 4]

  • Add 1 bay leaf to 500ml milk, 100g pudding rice, 60g sugar and 1 vanilla pod, and simmer very gently until the rice is soft.
  • Soak 1 gelatine leaf in cold water for 5 minutes, squeeze out then add to the rice.
  • Remove the bay. Whisk 130ml double cream into peaks and mix in 65ml natural yoghurt. Add to the rice with 30g raisins.
  • Pour into 4 moulds and chill for an hour.

 

Share what you do with your bay leaves on social media using the hashtag, #21LockdownChallenge. 

A Day in the Life of… 21 Boss, Terry Laybourne

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

 

 

I GET UP ON A MORNING FOR… Right now it’s bizarre. Things are way too leisurely for me.

 

BREAKFAST IS… Bircher muesli and a slice of sourdough toast, with probably too much butter, Dan’s marmalade, and black coffee. I’m partial to the odd bowl of Coco Pops, too!

 

TO STAY ACTIVE, I… Try my best to exercise for an hour each day, either on my bike or walking in the countryside around us with Susan and our Airedale Terrier, Ernie.

 

TO UNWIND, I… Cook every day at the moment – which, for me, is a joy. I’m loving the challenge of cooking from the hip, using stuff up; opening the fridge or cupboard and trying to figure out what best to do with what I’ve got in front of me.

 

I’M WATCHING… Just finished binge-watching a Swedish cop thriller called Before You Die on All 4. It was captivating and dark… I really like this type of Scandi crime drama. I’ve also been enjoying our pal Roger Crosby knocking out some great tunes on Facebook. Check it out here.  

 

I’M READING… The Apprentice by Jacques Pepin (on audio). It’s a great, uplifting story that charts the career of a great chef. A must-read for anyone in our business. I’ve also got a Michael Connolly novel on the go, as I daren’t read anything remotely work-related before bed, otherwise I’ll never sleep. 

 

I’M LISTENING TO… A mixed bag really. Over the last few days I’ve been listening to The Fun Lovin Criminals Mimosa, Imelda May’s Life Love Flesh Blood, Robert Palmer’s Sneekin’ Sally Through the Alley, A Paul Weller Live album and a load of old soul compilations. All seriously good ‘kitchen music’!

 

SOMEWHERE I’D RATHER BE… Back to work and on the tools, I really miss it.

 

THREE TOP TIPS FOR STAYING AT HOME… Create a varied routine and try to stick to it. Stay active. Challenge yourself by learning something new – I’ve put a teach yourself French app on my phone… honestly, I’ve been learning the French language on and off for the last fifty years! If you fancy giving it a go and beating me to it, the download link is here.

 

DURING LOCKDOWN, I HAVE LEARNT… That time can run away with you, unless you make a conscious effort to get stuff done! If you’re not careful you can get up and go back to bed without achieving anything at all, which can be seriously demoralising.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY… “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”