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Come dine with the Masterchefs

Chris Jackson | 15:00 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010

John Calton's Rib of Beef Christmas feast

My mouth starts to water just thinking about the day that two professional Masterchef finalists from our region put their Christmas feasts on the table in front of me.

John Calton - chef at the Duke of Wellington at Newton in Northumberland and Dave Coulson - who worked at the Castle Eden Inn near Peterlee in County Durham accepted the Inside Out challenge to come up with a Christmas dinner for four people with a scrooge-like budget of just £7.50 a head.

You can see the results in the last show in our current series at 7.30pm on Monday December 13 2010 on BBC One.

Camera crews follow John and David as they prepare their dishes in the kitchens at Newcastle College

The heat is on in Newcastle College's kitchens

Trainee chefs of the future at Newcastle College were assigned to help our intrepid culinary masters come up with their stunning yuletide fayre.

It was great to see John and Dave mentoring the students even though they were up against the clock. It was a Masterchef masterclass in action.

To keep the costs down the masterchef finalists went straight to a Northumberland farmer to source local vegetables. Earlier that day the produce had still been growing in the ground.

For the beef and duck they went to a butcher in Hexham. I suspect they haggled better than you or I ever could to keep within the strict budget.

Waiting to test the end results with me was Eugene McCoy. The well established North East restaurateur knows his stuff and is absolutely thrilled that two chefs from our region made it into the finals of Masterchef. Add to that the fact the ultimate winner Claire came from Liverpool and you have proof positive the North can cook.

Dave Coulson's three kinds of duck dish

Dave's 3 kinds of duck

Dave came up with a magnificent dish of three kinds of duck. Eugene was full of praise for the precision delivered to the plate.

I just loved every morsel. Included on my plate was a duck's tongue which I had never ever tried before. It surprised me at just how tender and tasty it was.

Sadly my gag ended up on the cutting room floor.

"I don't mind having the duck's tongue, just don't present me with the bill!"

John's dish was a stunning array of Christmas delights as you can see in the picture at the top of this page. The huge cut of beef just melted in the mouth and if only I could get my parsnips to be as light and fluffy as John's I'd be a very happy man. A sumptuous gravy and roast potatoes to die for made for one extremely happy tummy.

You'll be pleased to hear Eugene and I only got a taste, as the College students and camera crew who'd worked their socks off also got to tuck in.

If you fancy having a go at John's Christmas feast on a Scrooge budget you can get the rib of beef recipe here.

If you are cooking Christmas dinner for vegetarian guests you might want to get a few tips from Simon Rimmer's blog.

I leave you with a chance to have a real giggle. Someone with more time on their hands than is good for them has posted a truly inspired spoof on the masterchef final on YouTube. John, Dave and the judges Michel Roux Jnr. and Gregg Wallace may not be amused!

John Calton, Judges Michel Roux Jnr and Gregg Wallace, Dave Coulson

Also in the programme this week:

Ivy Leaf Kennels in Burnhope

Ivy Leaf Kennels, Burnhope

We have returned to the subject of puppy selling after our previous programme about Ivy Leaf Kennels of Burnhope run by Kevin Knox sparked a large number of emails and calls from people who had bought animals that had become ill.

In this latest report we highlighted some of the new complaints and showed how Mr Knox travels to Wales to pick up puppies which are handed over in the car park of an industrial estate.

Mr Knox declined to give an interview to respond to the issues raised and through his solicitor told Inside Out:

"We believe that the previous programme about Mr Knox and the Ivy Leaf Kennels was unfair and highly biased. For that programme, Mr Knox issued a lengthy statement defending, in depth, all the allegations made against him by the BBC. That statement however was only briefly mentioned, with extracts from the statement being recited, out of context, to support the highly biased nature of the programme. With that experience in mind, Mr Knox feels that, only by way of a live broadcast, can he safely and comfortably put across his views on this matter."

As Inside Out is a pre-recorded programme we unfortunately were unable to conduct a live interview. For the record we did publish his full statement from the previous film on my blog at the time.

If you want to comment on the dogs story then please email me directly:

Our other film this week looked at the remarkable find of gun fragments on the site of the Battle of Towton, one of the bloodiest fought during the Wars of the Roses.


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