It’s Easter next weekend and for many people that will mean four days away from the pressures of work.
It will be a chance to relax over a pint and food with family and friends at a cosy pub, or to jump on the bike and explore the countryside that is once again springing to life.
A day out is always more enjoyable when accompanied by a good meal.
But with so many spectacular North East locations to head for, we’re spoilt for choice.
Four Tasty Trails that take in some of Northumberland and County Durham’s most beautiful and gastronomically inspiring countryside provide timely food for thought, however.
The trails – which we have featured in Journal Taste – have been produced to highlight both the culinary delights and magnificent scenery of our region, from the rolling dales of Durham to the dramatic north Northumberland coast.
Produced as part of a Northern Lands Initiative, funded by Defra and aimed at encouraging food tourism in the two counties, they offer a chance to eat in the view in more ways than one, with a suggested route and places to stop where you will be guaranteed both a warm welcome and delicious fare.
Fourteen special tie-in recipes have also been created by chefs living and working in Northumberland and County Durham celebrating the fresh, local foods they have on their doorstep.
One of those is Davey Babooram, head chef at the Bowes Museum’s acclaimed Café Bowes in Barnard Castle.
The recently refurbished café has become something of a stand-alone dining destination thanks to the high quality of its menu, which offers everything from home-made cakes and scones to an impressive lunch menu as well as one-off special occasion dinners.
Davey is passionate about good quality local and seasonal food and sources as many of his ingredients as possible from the surrounding area, including meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and bread.
Among the local suppliers he favours are Acorn Dairy, Black Paw Brewery, Country Valley, Inshore Fisheries, McFarlane Family Butchers, The Moody Baker and the Mad Hatter Tea Company.
His Tasty Trails recipe includes locally produced Teesdale lamb, both as a steak and in a home-made kofta-style sausage.
Lamb and Easter go hand-in-hand, so why not give this recipe a whirl? Or, better still, download the In and Around Teesdale route from www.thisisdurham.com/eat/food-trails and head down to Café Bowes to try some of Davey’s other visually inspiring dishes, such as pan-seared hake with garlic and saffron puree or venison sausage with Dijon mustard and red onion mash.