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.

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

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.

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.

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.”

Nick Shottel’s Lockdown Playlist

An energising Spotify playlist sets you up for anything during lockdown. Whether you are running, cooking, doing housework or pottering around in the garden, this one is sure to keep you motivated at home. 

Our resident self-acclaimed music-buff, MC Nick Shottel’s lockdown playlist…

 

 

  1. Five Years – David Bowie
  2. Goo Goo Muck – The Cramps
  3. Train to Skaville – The Ethiopians
  4. Three Button Hand Me Down – Faces
  5. Being Boiled – The Human League
  6. Wake Up And Make Love With Me – Ian Dury
  7. Oh Bondage! Up Yours! – X-Ray Spex
  8. Cherry, Oh Baby – Eric Donaldson
  9. Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley
  10. Paid In Full – Eric B. & Rakim
  11. Baby, Come Back – The Equals
  12. Night Nurse – Gregory Isaacs
  13. The Passenger – Iggy Pop
  14. Kung Fu International – John Cooper Clarke
  15. That’s Entertainment – The Jam
  16. Open Up – Leftfield
  17. My Barrio – Los Charly’s Orchestra
  18. Nervous Man Nervous – Big Jay McNeely
  19. Personality Crisis – New York Dolls

 

Search Covid 19 #3 on Spotify, or visit this link: open.spotify.com/playlist