The North-East, also affectionately known by many as ‘Geordieland’, such as Rachel at LifeinGeordieland, has plenty of fantastic and exciting foods and dishes just waiting to be discovered.
Dining Along Geordie Shores
Karen from LavenderandLovage describes; “There has been a revival in traditional North Eastern food lately…but, in reality, most of the recipes I know and love... never fell out of fashion, they are still made and served to families every day of the week”. That’s pretty canny, like!
Dave Coulson, Masterchef finalist and proud local explains; “People round here like hearty food, and a lot of it is unique to the area”.
Lashin’s o’ Scran an’ Drink (plenty of food and drink)
Alongside excellent restaurants Northumberland has several notable food festivals to sink your teeth into. From ‘wetting your neb’ with the top ales at the Tyneside Beer Festival, to turning up the heat at the North East Chilli Festival (do you dare to enter their Chilli eating competition?), or just relaxing at the traditional Kirkley Hall Food and Drink Festival, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Northumberland’s country and coastal influences, served along with some of the region’s best local fresh produce, is a certain recipe for success. Our Best Blogs of Northumberland describe some of this delicious, traditional fare:
They’re Singin’, Hinnies!
Singing Hinnies, or Griddle Cakes, are similar to fruit scones, but are fried (traditionally on a griddle pan) and due to their rich fat content they ‘sing’ and sizzle whilst they’re being cooked, although Lois from LoisBlackburn relates how you can easily make a vegan version; “just swap dairy free ingredients from butter and milk”.
‘Hinny’ in the North East is also a term for endearment, especially for children (as ‘hinny’ does sound a bit like ‘honey’ in the Geordie dialect, as TheOldFoodie describes).
Singing hinnies are a traditional North East recipe, mainly cooked in the home, as Alison at DragonsandFairyDust demonstrates with her recipe, stating; “I can easily imagine these being cooked on a large griddle pan over a coal fire in a coalminers cottage while the children looked on”.
Like a Kipper?
As Paul at TasteOfTheNorth explains; “One of the great things about the North East is the sweeping coastline that stretches for miles all the way up to Scotland. The greater thing is that there are some producers doing great things with fish. From Kippers and Kipper Pate to Fishcakes, Lobsters to Dressed Crab… the cream of the coral!”
Craster Kippers, from the quaint Craster harbour town of Northumberland, are one of the most famous North-East specialities, and are enjoyed across the UK, and are even “considered some of the finest in the country by top chefs”.
Kippers have been caught from the North Sea and oak-smoked in the traditional way for more than 130 years, which, as Maureen from TheStrandline describes; “makes an incredibly tasty fish that is also very good for you”.
You can sample the smoked catch, such as the smoked kippers, salmon and haddock, prepared in various delicious ways with other fresh and local ingredients, in the authentic setting overlooking the scenic Craster harbour.
As Samantha of NorthEastFamilyFun relates; “If you go at the right time of day, the kids can watch the fishermen at work. You can also see the smoke working its magic and the smell is very enticing!”
Down the Pan Haggerty
A good accompaniment to Craster kippers, although it can be enjoyed as a main dish in itself, is Pan Haggerty. It is made from fried onions and sliced potatoes which are covered in cheese, and then baked, in the oven or fried, in a pan, from which it is served directly.
It is similar to the top potato layer of the Lancashire hotpot, and it can be seen as the British version of potato Dauphinoise. It was a filling and warming substitute to when meat was expensive and scarce, and was cooked by wives to replenish their exhausted pitmen husbands after a hard day down the North-East mines.
More recently, meat can be added to it, and served with some veg or even a salad.
As Lauren at ScranOnTheTyne comments, Pan Haggerty once had "a restaurant named after this North East dish delicacy”.
The Stotty (or Stottie) is the North-East’s very own large, round flat bread roll. Vanesther at BangersMashChat describes; “It is a very satisfying bread” and is a popular sandwich roll, with a hard crust and a dense, spongy texture.
These were usually made from leftover dough, and the authentic method of making a stotty was baking them at the bottom of a cooling oven. Terence Laybourne, chef-proprietor of the restaurant Café 21 in Newcastle upon Tyne, and describes how the “relatively low baking temperature allows the yeast to work longer, producing a bread with pleasant chewiness”.
The word ‘Stott’ in the North-East means ‘to bounce’, and, apparently, if you were to drop your stotty, due to its light texture and hard exterior, it would indeed bounce. However, “in reality, this is unlikely to happen and you'd just ruin your northern delicacy!”
Stotties can be enjoyed at any time of the day- for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack. As Leigh at ScranOnTheTyne mentions; “I am partial to a cheese savoury stottie”.
Karen at LavenderandLovage also relates; “The perfect stotty needs little to enhance it, although pease pudding and ham is a ‘must have’ filling”.
Pease pudding is a paste made from split peas, and so is very like mushy peas. It even inspires the same “love it or hate it” sentimentalities as Marmite.
The ‘Pease Pudding hot…’ rhyme arose since traditionally, due to its main ingredients being inexpensive peas, pease pudding would often be made in large quantities and was never allowed to go to waste, so families would be able to dine on reheated, or eaten cold, as and when they needed it, over several days, even when it was 9 days old! (Unlike this fresh pease pudding made by Vanesther at BangersMashChat below).
It was later popularly made and sold by street vendors in and around Newcastle. Originally, it was a popular meal choice during Lent, when eating meat was forbidden. Today, Pease pudding accompanies pork well, and Sarah at EveryDayLifeOnAShoeString relates that ham and pease pudding is a popular choice. Also, when served in a stotty, you can enjoy two Geordie classics in one delicious bite.
The Tyne is Now
With such a wide choice of wholesome ingredients available in the North East, these produce such a delicious variety of appealing dishes, guaranteed to keep anyone happy (even the most fussy of angels).
A Treat’s in Storehouse
Serving hearty local produce as well as classic favourites, the Old Storehouse, based at our Amble Links site, is sure to suit every taste. With mouth-watering seasonal starters and mains, to delicious sharing platters and snacks and sumptuous puddings, to regular variations on their Specials board, The Old Storehouse eatery delivers a true taste of Northumberland.
A review by LivingNorth stated “After a very good meal, the desserts are the ruby-encrusted cherry on top of our night. My boyfriend barely speaks for 10 minutes as he devours his”.
From pease pudding with the honey roast ham sandwich on the Lunch menu, smoked fish in the fishcake starter or decadently layered mains fish pie, as well as Northumbrian hand-crafted cheese available on the cheeseboard, The Old Storehouse is the ideal culinary location for exploring the local area.
As Chloe at NewGirlInToon implores; “visit the North East and… explore the gorgeous region”.