This month, our roving foodie reporter has mostly been eating out, much of it Americana-style

The first signs of spring have sprung, prompting a rash of activity in my new vegetable patch and the production of industrial levels of wild garlic pesto in the kitchen.

pestoAnd boy, was that pesto garlicky! After enjoying it with fresh linguine and cherry tomatoes for lunch, I was still reeking of the stuff 10 hours later. But it was delicious, so I’ve decided it was worth it.

I’ve also been making wild mushroom soup and courgette and parmesan bread, which for the lazy baker is the perfect recipe – no kneading required!

When not baking like a woman possessed, I’ve been doing my bit for you, dear reader, by eating out – perhaps a little more than is beneficial to my health.

The biggest name to land in the Toon recently is Jamie Oliver, and his new place at the Monument is certainly pulling in the crowds in search of light and refreshing Italian dishes which include such gems as black truffles on tagliatelle, and crab spaghetti just like mamma used to make.

My own favourites this month have included The Ship in Eighton Banks, Gateshead for its Thai food. With live music on a Sunday night and fab views over the valley, it’s a great find.

I’ve also tried the new Coop Chicken House on Newcastle’s Diamond Strip. With a simple menu offering a quarter, half or whole chicken with sides such as corn on the cob, homemade slaw in buttermilk dressing, butterbean salad and fries it’s deliciously simple yet different.

Prices are affordable and the veggie option of grilled polenta, aubergine steak and ratatouille is a steal at £7.

CourgetteBreadRecipe: Courgette and parmesan bread

Continuing the current hunger for all things Americana, the diner at Lane7 in Newcastle is bang on-trend, and with delicious dishes such as maple-smoked lamb belly and hickory-smoked pulled pork, you really can’t go wrong.

I tried the house-smoked baby back ribs (sauce all over the place…definitely not one for a first date) with a side of creamed corn with bacon. It was totally delicious, but let’s not look at the calories.

Meanwhile, nothing satisfies post-shopping hunger like a burrito at the Zapatista Bar on Ridley Place in Newcastle. And last, but most definitely not least, is Jam Jar in Jesmond, where the cocktails are served in, you guessed it, jam jars. Once the reserve of Withnail (and I!), it seems serving drinks in jam jars is quite the thing, as I had them like this at Lane7, too.

Jam Jar’s tender and juicy pulled pork served in a homemade brioche bun with a mustard-mayo slaw and a side of sweet potato fries made for a superb supper, further evidence that Americana-inspired scran is the food of the moment. Yee haa to that…

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