Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Supper # 19 - East Boldon, Tyne & Wear

I finally got to meet the adorable Dave Hall of Book The Cook on Sunday. My friend Will put us in touch as soon as I told him I was going on tour - " You have to go and see Dave, he's an absolute legend" he insisted, "and he knows his food". Great. Greedy chops here needed no more encouragement and after our first phone conversation I knew we'd have no trouble finding things to talk about.

I crossed the Tyne and drove down the A184 past all the pub landmarks I'd been given (much better than sat nav) and into East Boldon. There was Dave, stood in the middle of the street with his arms waving. We embraced like old friends; two kindred foodie spirits all geed up for a good old knees up.

THE SET UP: Dave, his wife Helen and their daughter Cerys moved back to their roots from Leeds last year. They were ready for a change and to start concentrating on the things that they really wanted to do. For Helen, Soccer Tots and for Dave, a move into food and spreading its good message to kids across the land. This was all spurred on by his doing so well on Masterchef 2007.

Masterchef - MMmmmmm. The whole house was filled with the smell of roast chicken. In the kitchen Dave had several things on the go at once - all really fresh looking dishes to go with the great weather that was shining through the window. "I'm in the mood for a few drinks tonight" he said. Me too. It felt like a celebration and we all happily chatted as we sipped nice chilled rose. An ice cream for Cerys out in the van and a chat with the neighbours about my travels and then off to bed for her and din-dins for us.

WHO CAME: Dave, Helen and me.

WHAT WE ATE: Roast beetroot, chard and caper salad, blackened roast chicken, aubergine, coriander, spring onion and lemon salad, lemon and thyme roast potatoes, chickpeas with crispy bacon, yoghurt and olive oil dressing and freshly made flatbread. The food took up the entire table and the smells had my nostrils twitching with delight. This is the best kind of food I could ever hope for - big, bold summery flavours full of succulence and tang. And I could use both hands to eat it!

DINNER TABLE TOPICS: The move from Leeds back to Tyneside and how far the North East still has to go in terms of variety of ingredients, Dave's time in the navy and how this is what turned him on to the real pleasures of food, behind the scenes Masterchef gossip, ghosts, music - leading to a right good guitar session and sing-along to some classic Stone Roses.

THE PUD: I made a version of the River Cafe's Chocolate Nemesis. I wanted to make something very pure and to use some Venezuelan Black as I knew they were dying to try it. I turned the cooled cake onto a plate, dusted it with golden icing sugar and served it with creme fraiche. It was just what we needed - a deep, dark slice of compressed chocolate nirvana. No gimmicks or flourishes, just the rush of pleasure brought on by a good dose of 100% cacao.

MY BED FOR THE NIGHT: I leapt into bed, tired and replete and assisted by a most refreshing night cap of sloe gin, tonic and lime - an absolute knock-out.


Anonymous said...

I imagine you're still working on it but WHERE is the post about our night out in the toon!? As your first guest on the tour I am expecting an extensive blog about our adventures together...! x Selina

Petra Barran said...

It's coming, I promise! Do you think these pages are ready for the likes of the Toon's finest?? XXX Hope you're ok - I've just got back from the most epic walk ever. Us trucker aren't used to physical exercise.

David Hall said...

Awww, Petra! We all wish you were still here. Just getting to know you and all that, so much to chat about. Thanks for your kind words, it was a pleasure to put you up and so happy you enjoyed my choice of food. Your cake was legendary too, didn;t last long I can tell ya! Keep up the free spirit and speak soon.

Luv Dave, Helen and Cerys xxx

Anonymous said...

James... What a legend, what a tale..can't wait to hear more. Sorry about the swearing, whoops!