Making bread not war

vetsartisanCome on…just look at that bread. With it’s crisp cheesy topping and soft, soft , springy and fresh white middle that’s surely enough to push any January dieter off the wagon.

And yes it was as good as it looks. This was the cheese bread from the The Veterans’ Artisan Bakery at Catterick Garrison, which opened last year after winning the support of celebrity chef Marco Pierre White .

It’s set up as a social enterprise and provides accredited qualifications to help those suffering from post-traumatic stress or who are vulnerable to homelessness with new skills and insight into running a business.

I hadn’t sampled their products before but now a local shop (Jefferson’s) stocks some lines, and can order many others from the handy catalogue of breads, I’ll certainly be finding out more about what soldiers can do when they lay down their arms and get in the kitchen.






Great Northern Cookbook – the vote so far

When it returns to our screens tonight, the producers may well find they’ve lost a few viewers…..

The poll I published earlier in the week has so far drawn responses which show a complete split on the topic with 37.5% saying they thought the programme with Corrie star turned food producer Sean Wilson was ‘utter tripe’.

But another 37.5% will be giving it a second go tonight (8pm, C5) and the remainder (25%) loved it.

You can still vote if you wish – it’s just for fun.

The man who’s made an artform of playing with his food

I know you’re all fed up with Instagram pictures of food (yes, I’m as guilty as the next person) but here’s something to cheer your lunchtime this Monday…….the Minneapolis-based artist Brock Davis obviously ignored his mother’s advice about not playing with his food to come up with these fun things to do with food.

Gotta love the vicious hotdog!

Poll: The Great Northern Cookbook – tripe or treat?

This week saw the launch of The Great Northern Cookbook – a television series running on Channel 5 which aims to celebrate our local cuisines.

I know from twitter that quite a few of few of you tuned in to see ex-Corrie star turned food producer Sean Wilson tour the north and sample fish and chips in Whitby, tripe in Merseyside and a supersized pie in Yorkshire.

What did you think? Is that what food in the north is all about? I’d love to hear your view either in the comments below, on twitter or by casting a vote in the poll below.

Click here to cast your vote on The Great Northern Cookbook

For my part, from the title, I’d expected it to be more of a cooking show but I’ll be tuning in again next week. I do hope the programme makers have taken the time to research our changing and diverse tastes – maybe we’ll see some of the region’s chefs who work so hard to present on a new take on these traditional foods or celebrate the fantastic variety of cuisines now on offer.

As I’ve said before – it’s not all parmos and pies.

The The Great Northern Cookbook is £12.80. You can order this or browse my pick of other northern cookbooks here.

Jamie Oliver’s surprise North Yorkshire night

Owners Paul and Helen Klein of the Blue Lion Inn at East Witton, near Leyburn were surprised last night when the TV chef stayed overnight as part of a private dinner party.  On their Facebook page they said had been told to expect an important guest as part of a party for dinner, bed and breakfast last night but were ‘somewhat taken back’ when Jamie Oliver arrived.

See their picture here:

Vermillion bosses launch charity seafood cookbook

The Seamark business is well known in Manchester for both its headquarters in the east of the city as well as for being responsible for probably its most expensively built and designed restaurant – Vermillion.

Now the global business is taking both the story of its success and the recipes which grace the plates of the restaurant to new audiences with a book that’s just been published to raise money for charity.

Called ‘Seamark bringing fruits of the ocean to your plate‘ the 150 page book is a mixture of business history and cookbook with enough food photography to make it a coffee table read.

The early pages detail the Ahmed brother’s ‘story of determination’ in building a business which is today a £150m operation.

“In 1984, with a £100,000 credit facility, the brothers set about capitalising on Britain’s growing taste for seafood and began importing prawns from their home nation of Bangladesh.”

Then we move onto recipes from Vermillion which starts with a useful glossary of spices and herbs used in Thai cooking. There’s easy to follow instructions on dishes which many people will already be familiar with eating such as as tempura prawns, salt and pepper squid or salmon tikka.

But there’s some more unusual dishes too including several pages on spicy salads and a black prawn curry recipe from a Thailand’s northern jungles where coconut milk isn’t used.

Some of the ingredients might be tricky to source outside major cities but largely they include items such as oyster sauce and Kaffir leaves which are easily found in supermarkets or online.

I’m looking forward to trying out the Nile perch with Thai pepper sauce which uses green peppercorns and includes instructions for a butter rice accompaniment.

* The book costs £9.95 with all proceeds going to the Iqbal Ahmed Foundation which was set up to help people in developing countries through education, training, housing and healthcare. At present it can be purchased from the website and should be in the Amazon store in coming weeks.