Summer is in full swing down in Jesmond at last, and there’s nowhere better to be right now.
You may have heard that I’ll be competing for the North East’s spot in the upcoming series of Great British Menu. I’m really looking forward to seeing the programme go out. It was great fun to make and I had a fantastic time showcasing my food and getting to share a little bit of what we do week-in week-out at Peace & Loaf. It was also great to be part of this year’s show, which will celebrate 70 years of the NHS. My mum works in the NHS as a chiropodist and it was fantastic to hear her stories and share them as part of my menu for the show.
In the restaurant, our summer menu is in full flow with plenty of North East produce, from Ken Holland’s veg to meat from my new butcher Jim in Crook, Co Durham, who sources his meat from some of the best farms in Northumberland and Co Durham. We’ve also got some amazing stuff coming out of Vanessa and Hamish’s allotment right now. I can’t thank them enough for picking through all those peas and broadbeans for us. Vanessa has also been out foraging so we can get our hands on things like wild horseradish and elderflower, which will feature through the next few months.
There are plenty of exciting ideas on the new menu – from Scottish strawberries, which are without doubt the best in the world, to a beautiful pigeon dish which we do with a sweet and sour sauce made with last year’s elderberries and this year’s elderflowers. There’s also plenty of colour, including in our new duck dish which is done with watermelon, heritage carrots and feta and is a proper taste of summer.
At home, Thomas is over the moon with our work in the front garden. We’ve taken out a forest of trees and bushes and he’s now got loads of space for football, which is all he wants to do with the World Cup on the telly. We’re off to see Artic Monkeys in Glasgow soon and we’ll be keeping busy as ever at home and in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy Great British Menu on BBC Two. See you soon.