Hellooo from a sunny, but wee bit chilly Northumberland.
I thought I’d tell you about some wonderful food we have here in Northumberland, the first being…
Perhaps the most famous of all north-eastern specialities, Craster kippers herald from the Northumberland fishing village of Craster (just up the coast from The Strandline) and are exported far and wide.
Oak-smoking herring caught in the North Sea is the traditional way to preserve the fish and the Robson family in Craster has been doing it for four generations and more than 130 years.
In the days before refrigeration, salting, drying and smoking were methods used to preserve food and smoking herring makes an incredibly tasty fish that is also very good for you.
First, the herring are split on a machine capable of splitting 500kg per hour, this replaces the numerous "herring girls" that used to split the herring by hand.
Then the herring are placed in a brine solution of plain salt and water for a predetermined length of time depending on their size and lastly, they are hung on tenter hooks and placed in the cavernous smokehouses. Fires made of whitewood shaving and oak sawdust are placed under the rows of herring and these are left to smoulder for up to 16 hours until the kippers are ready.
We like them lightly fried and served with bread and butter, but they can be grilled or cooked the traditional way (jugged) fill a large jug with boiling water, and simply place the kipper in head first with the tail just above the surface of the water. Leave for six minutes and your kipper will be cooked to perfection.
If you weren’t hungry before, you will be when you smell these kippers!