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. 

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. 

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!

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.”