Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Dave Coulson, head chef and co-owner of Peace & Loaf in Newcastle, offers an insight into life in (and out) of the kitchen.

Peace & Loaf, Jesmond Road, Newcastle, NE2 1LA, tel 0191 281 5222, www.peaceandloaf.co.uk

The festive break is a good time here at Peace & Loaf – a chance to unwind, take stock and prepare for a busy year.

I enjoyed a week off over Christmas, with a chance to properly chill out and see my son Thomas, who’s now three and a half, enjoy his presents. It’s also a time to see family and friends – and eat of course. On the food front, there’s nothing I like more than a good turkey sandwich and I must have had 40 of them in three or four days!

On Christmas Day, I cooked for six, roasting a beautiful leg of lamb and a turkey crown, which both went down well. There weren’t too many leftovers, which was disappointing, but I made sure there was plenty of turkey to see me through.

It’s been good to be out and about too. The mild weather and lack of frost has kept the produce ticking over, and you can already see a few things starting to sprout. Our grower Vanessa has been bringing in loads of alexanders (aka horse parsley) from her foraging walks. It’s best described as a cross between mint and celery and is absolutely gorgeous. We’ve also got wild garlic bulbs which are starting to sprout.

Back in the kitchen, the winter menu is in its final push. The beef ribs from William Pete in Barnard Castle are sensational. They’re part of the simplest dish on the menu, served with onions cooked in the rendered beef fat from the trim, chips and a nice peppercorn sauce which, for me, is all the beef needs. Winter veg is also a big part of the menu, including Monk’s cabbage from the allotment, which has the cabbagiest smell there is. Monkfish is always great to work with and the dish we have on the menu now – carrot and chickpea curry with coriander yoghurt and a skewer of spiced monkfish cheek blackened on the grill – is very popular.

Being included in the OpenTable Top 100 is fantastic and we’re incredibly proud to be recognised as one of the names making Newcastle and the North East a force to be reckoned with on the national food scene. Here’s to another successful year for us – and food in the North East.

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