Brunch with Chef and Rambler Paul Robinson

We talk brunch with Paul Robinson, the self-taught cook, food writer, rambler and photographer behind @yorkshiregourmet

Warning... This will make you very hungry. 

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Boiled eggs with soldiers. Or scrambled! 

Image credit: Paul Robinson @yorkshiregourmet

What’s your go-to brunch to make at home? 

I tend to make my own baked beans, a big batch, they’re usually hot and spicy with plenty of chilli, sometimes I add beer, more interesting than tinned beans. So, some good quality sausages, homemade baked beans on toasted sourdough with a fried egg hits the spot and maybe some bacon, accompanied by a good coffee.

Image credit: Paul Robinson @yorkshiregourmet

Image credit: Paul Robinson @yorkshiregourmet

What’s your best ‘brunch for dinner’ recipe?

A savoury clafoutis is a good one, it’s kind of a posh baked omelette but requires a bit more effort than your usual omelette. So, good eggs, like Burford Browns (available in Tesco and Sainsburys), with Bleiker’s Peat Smoked Salmon, Lord of the Hundreds, Barncliffe Brie and cherry tomatoes.

Lord of the Hundreds is one my favourite cheeses, hands down. It’s a semi-hard cheese made in East Sussex from raw sheep’s milk, the flavour is nutty and grassy and it’s also a great substitute to Parmesan.

Bleiker’s smokehouse is located in the Dales, they smoke Scottish salmon over natural Yorkshire peat and oak shavings, similar to some Scottish smoked salmon I once tried on the Isle of Skye, it’s really good.

Barncliffe Brie is a local cheese from Shelley near Huddersfield, it’s beautifully mellow and creamy, as you’d expect of a good brie. So, the two types of cheese are a good contrast with the smoked salmon and the cherry tomatoes balance everything with a sweet flavour burst and good cooking as I always say is all about balance of flavour.

Get the recipe here

Savoury clafoutis - image credit: Paul Robinson @yorkshiregourmet

If you’re not brunching at home, where are you brunching? 

Bloc in Holmfirth on a Sunday morning. Or outside my tent, alone, when I’m wild camping up a mountain or on the moors.

 Image credit: Paul Robinson @yorkshiregourmet

How does cooking help you relax?

I used to work in an office as a graphic designer for about twenty years and whenever I cooked at home it felt like some kind of therapy, a means of escape, a means to create.

It took my mind of things when I came home from work and cooking something delicious is one of life’s simple pleasures. You tend to forget about things and focus on what you’re doing when you’re cooking be it just chopping veg or stirring a pot almost like you’re in a trance state, even more so over a campfire, the flames are hypnotic.

You just get in the zone so to speak. Cooking in a different context, up a mountain in a whiteout presents a whole new set of challenges – so it’s not always relaxing! But what an experience eh?! And what memories! 

What’s your usual wind-down routine at the end of the day?

I’m a bit of a night owl so it takes a bit of an effort sometimes to stop my brain from firing on all cylinders before I go to bed (Paul sleeps in Linen in Snow). Listening to music sometimes helps or watching a horror film or reading up on something that expands my mind like astronomy.

A glass of whisky has helped recently – Filey Bay – Yorkshire’s first single malt. My wife recently bought me a bottle as an anniversary present, it’s really good.

One of the things I love about hiking is the physical exercise and I often sleep better at the end of the day after all that fresh air and exertion and the contentment from being outdoors in places I love.

A comfy bed is a luxury compared to roughing it in a tent in a sleeping bag! But I don’t really have a wind-down routine really, I go to bed when I’m tired enough.

Bedfolk Linen in White

Linen in Snow

You spend a lot of time cooking outdoors – how did you adapt to cooking at home during lockdown?

During lockdown I got my outdoor cooking fix in the garden barbecuing. May was a good month for that, no rain at all and the hottest on record, although I do enjoy cooking and being outdoors in all weathers, the weather never puts me off.

Smoking and grilling over a wood fire are naturally a part of my cooking style so I’ve still been able to do that, though not in the wild where it’s a different experience in a different environment although fundamentally it’s the same – smoke and fire.

One advantage of cooking at home though is that I’ve not had to carry kilos of firewood and supplies on my back for miles! I miss Fire & Dine where I cook off-grid over wood fires in ancient woodland for groups of twelve guests.

We’re hoping to start taking bookings again soon for September. It’s quite a communal thing where all the guests, most of which are complete strangers, all sit around one big table, so we’re looking into ways of getting around this as it’s obviously not socially distant. It’s safer in some respects though compared to a conventional restaurant as it takes place outdoors.

Any top tips on where to get the best produce from?

I tend to buy from local farm shops – Farmer Copleys near Featherstone, Thorncliffe Farm Shop at Emley Moor, Blacker Hall Farm in Wakefield and Cannon Hall Farm in Cawthorne.

Yorkshire is blessed with an abundance of food producers and breweries and since the lockdown more and more people have been ordering online.

  • Companies like Farmison, based in Ripon, sell rare breed heritage meats responsibly sourced from farms in Yorkshire and I’ve heard they’ve had unprecedented demand during lockdown. It’s great to know that people are becoming more selective about the food they buy, quality not quantity.
  • I recently tried some excellent charcuterie produced by Porcus in Todmorden – beautiful culatello, coppa and air-dried ham.
  • Cryer & Stott in Castleford make fabulous cheeses and ace pork pies, try their Yorkshire Cask – it’s a mature cheddar blended with Leeds Brewery Boycott Ale and wholegrain mustard.
  • And for wine, Leventhorpe Vineyard in Woodlesford, Leeds which we serve alongside the food at Fire & Dine, Leventhorpe’s ‘Madeleine Angevine’ is a lovely dry white and goes really well with poultry, fish, smoky and spicy food.

Provenance obviously plays a key part in considering what I cook and what I buy, hence the name I go by on Instagram. 

What are three things you always have in your kitchen cabinet?

  1. Maldon Smoked Sea Salt
  2. Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil
  3. Henderson’s Relish

Paul's Lie in List

Read: 

Edgelands: Journey’s Into England’s True Wilderness by Michael Symmons Roberts And Paul Farley. An excellent book about wild places that are literally on our doorsteps. It changes your perspective on what we perceive as ‘wild’.

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane

Derek Jarman’s Garden by Derek Jarman

The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit

Watch: 

Into The Wild, starring Emile Hirsch and directed by Sean Penn. A brilliant film, the book is great too, based on a true story about Chris McCandless who travels to the Alaskan wilderness.

This film is particularly timely at the moment given that the abandoned city bus which features in the film has recently been airlifted due to hikers who have sadly lost their lives trying to reach its isolated location.

I feel I relate to the film in so many ways and every time I watch it, it makes me yearn for the outdoors and feeling free.

Daniel Day Lewis is mesmerising to watch in Phantom Thread and there’s some nice scenes filmed at Robin Hood’s Bay, a place I love.

I recently watched Whiplash, which is really good, if a bit intense.

Interstellar, I watched recently again, great film, Matthew McConaughey is great.

And I never tire of watching John Carpenter’s The Fog, Jaws or Star Wars.

Listen:  

I love music probably just as much as food. It motivates, uplifts and inspires me and takes my mind to other places. I could give you hundreds of examples of music I like but here’s a recent selection of tracks from my current Spotify playlist.

Follow:

@natge or @nasa

Check out: 
  • ThruDark 
  • Victorinox
  • Kamado Joe (ceramic grills)
  • MSR (camping, hiking and mountaineering equipment)
  • The North Face

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