Burger and beers at Fat Hippo

“We season on the griddle. The beef is 100 per cent chuck, ground to 10 millimetres then pressed to five inches in diameter. We season on one side and time for one minute-forty, then season on the other side and time it for one minute-forty. Then it’s up to 75 degrees for 30 seconds. That's how it should be,” said Michael Johnson, Fat Hippo's executive chef.

Afternoon tea at St Mary’s Inn in Northumberland

Whenever myself and Helen are in a place that serves scones we revive our long-running discussion about how ‘scone’ should be pronounced. I’m a firm believer that scone rhymes with ‘cone’. Just look at the similarities in how they are spelt. She is adamant that rhymes with ‘con’. That was also how the woman who took our orders said it.

Interview with Rascal Gin maker Dan Walsh

“People are becoming aware that gin doesn’t have to taste bitter or be drunk with tonic; it can also be enjoyed with lemonade. There’s a massive expansion of gins that are not traditional — some are sweet, others are not. Mine is a classic example of that. The base is ten botanicals traditionally distilled in a copper pot. It is not prioritising the juniper…juniper’s not the main event for a lot of products. In a nutshell, less bitterness is key to the current popularity of gin,” asserted Dan.

Coastal cuisine in Atlantic Canada

Biting off more than he can chew? Stuart Forster looks at coastal cuisine in Atlantic Canada.  The coastal cuisine of Atlantic Canada showcases fish and shellfish harvested from the North Atlantic. Pull into almost any restaurant during a road trip through eastern Canada and it’s likely you’ll see cod, lobsters and other types of seafood...

The Toer de Geuze in Belgium’s Pajottenland

Stuart Forster raises a glass to the Toer de Geuze in Belgium’s Pajottenland. Belgium’s Pajottenland, a district just a few kilometres southwest of Brussels, is famed for producing lambic style beers. Over the weekend of the 4th and 5th May 2019 the region’s breweries, beer blenderies and De Lambiek visitor centre open their doors to...

Millers All Day in Charleston, South Carolina

“I got two little boys that sometimes don't want to eat grits. We make a lot of grits, because that's what I do for a living. But once you made the grits, I'll have another pan going of sausage crumble. I throw it in the pot when the grits are done with a lot of cheese and rotel. Rotel is a kind of mixture of onions, peppers, tomatoes and a little hot sauce. I throw it all in there. I call it ‘the dump recipe’ or ‘the pot licker’. The whole pot is licked when everybody's done!” said miller Greg Johnsman at Millers All Day in Charleston, South Carolina.

Le Cochon Aveugle restaurant in York

“We want to move away from formal fine dining where you have a starched table and a silent dining room where you’re not sure if you can chat or laugh. When people go out to eat, we want people to have fun and we want people to enjoy themselves. That's why they’re here. If it makes them want to laugh or want to chat then, yes. We want people to not feel under pressure when they come out. There’s nothing worse than going somewhere and feeling uncomfortable about it,” said Victoria Overington.

Dinner at the Union Rooms in Newcastle

We were shown to table for two at the back of the ground-floor dining room, beneath a framed menu, dating from 1924, that was discovered under floorboards during the building’s restoration. Next to that was a framed document listing the members of the Union Club in 1862-63, when it occupied premises on Clayton Street. The Scotch egg was beautifully presented. The soft yolk was cocooned in lightly spiced smoked haddock kedgeree featuring peas and crisp golden breadcrumbs.

A cookery lesson with chef Marc Meurin

“The speciality of French cuisine is that each time we cook produce we make a sauce or jus from some part of it. From scallops we make a sauce from la barbe. If I was cooking fish, I would use the bones to make a stock for a sauce,” says Mathieu while Monsieur Meurin looks on at his work. We then receive a pro tip for slicing scallops. Placing them in a freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, in order to cool, makes them easier to cut. It helps push the individual scallops together so that pieces two to three millimetres thick can be sliced. Simple but highly effective.

Interview with chef Lieven Lootens at Naturell, Ghent

Chef Lieven Lootens often finds inspiration from vegetables. “I think they are more inspiring for me because they have more beautiful colours and textures, and more differences in shapes. I really have something with vegetables and herbs. I really love herbs and things that grow in my own garden. We go outside in the countryside, at home, see those herbs and smell them. By the smell only you get teased by your senses. You associate them with other vegetables or the meat that you have. From there on you start building those flavours together. That’s how I create dishes when I have products from the season and can feel it, taste it and smell it,” he explains with passion.