LANCASHIRE v YORKSHIRE
In a battle of the counties, TV chef James Martin and Lancashire chef Lisa Allen take to the road for a new TV series
Ribble Valley chef Lisa Allen from Michelin-starred Northcote was joined by TV chef James Martin in a new ITV series that saw the pair start their Lancashire adventure at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe.
In James Martin’s Great British Adventure, the duo spent the day filming at Bowland Food Hall in the former textile mill: “It’s a vibrant celebration of food and drink. It’s magical,” James said. “We are very spoilt,” added Lisa, as the pair shop for the ingredients for a dish that saw them cooking outside Holmes Mill.
“John Dory is an absolute favourite, bang in season,” said Lisa, as James stuffed the fish with herbs and Morecambe Bay shrimp butter while she made a ‘Michelin-starred’ salad consisting of kohlrabi, local fennel, onion, cucumber and chives.
Featuring shots of Clitheroe Castle, the TV cameras then followed Lisa as she took James’s trusty red Mini through the winding country roads of the Ribble Valley to Carron Lodge, a buffalo farm where they produce cheese from buffalo milk.
Here she met Adrian Rhodes on the farm where she watched the buffalo being milked and sampled some of the cheeses.
While people associate buffalo with mozzarella, at Carron Lodge they produce a hard Cheddar-style cheese and Shipton Blue.
“We wanted to make some unique interesting cheeses rather than making mass produced mozzarella,” Adrian explained to Lisa, who tasted the Shipton Blue adding: “It’s so creamy, packed full of flavour, fantastic. It makes me very proud to be from Lancashire.”
Inspired by the Carron Lodge cheese, James baked Eccles cakes and Blackburn cakes, with stewed apples, before dropping in on Lisa to see her in action cooking at Northcote.
“She’s promised me some top class grub,” he said. “Northcote is something a of an icon, a Titan on the food scene.”
Cooking James a dish of locally reared goat, Lisa took over at the helm of Northcote in 2017, having been there for 15 years.
James told viewers: “It’s a huge responsibility for her, words cannot describe what a good cook that girl is.”
Presenting James with a delightful plate of food including Skipton reared goat loin, slow cooked belly, white curry, summer pods and sweet cicely, he jokes: “That looks a bit fancy! It’s a cracking dish. The taste is incredible. That is an amazing dish – you’re not bad at this are you!”
Back in Clitheroe James got a private tour of Bowland Brewery and sampled some of their ale before cooking his final dish of pork chops with beans, tomato, padron peppers and salami stew in the old engine room of Holmes Mill.
“I love my beer particularly proper brewed beer,” he tells viewers, adding that the brewery: “Makes beers of outstanding natural beauty.”
Concluding the Lancashire episode James told Lisa: “This county has delivered big time. Great produce, you cooked me that amazing dish. Brilliant!”
In the previous episode the pair began a tour of Yorkshire, James’s home county, with Lisa in the passenger seat of his red Mini. Introducing her, he said: “I have my mate and top Lancashire chef Lisa Allen with me. This is going to be great!”
As they drive over the Yorkshire Moors, Lisa revealed to viewers she used to race Minis. A surprised James, says: “I never knew that!”
“Hidden secret,” says Lisa.
James’ first stop was Whitby where he called into his favourite fish and chip shop, revealing: “I come here so often. I just love it. It’s not a fine dining restaurant it’s a fish and chip shop, which I think serves the finest fish and chips in the UK.”
Meanwhile Lisa paid a visit to the Michelin starred Black Swan at Oldstead, to see how their huge kitchen garden provides almost all of the produce they use in the kitchen.
In the garden she tried Alpine strawberries and chatted to head gardener Ben.
After their tour of Yorkshire, Lisa admits to James: “I am starting to come round to the fact that Yorkshire has something really good going for it!”
James Martin’s Great British Adventure can be seen on catch-up TV with Episode 6 covering the Lancashire leg of the journey
Both the John Dory with Morecambe Bay Shrimps and the Pork Chops and Padron Pepper recipes that James cooked in the Lancashire episode are in James Martin’s Great British Adventure book, which can be found in Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe