A UNIQUE take on the traditional Scotch egg, cooked up by chefs at a Tynedale gastro pub, was called upon to represent the North-East in a national competition.

The ham hock and pease pudding egg with stottie crumb, created by Phil Mason and the kitchen team at The Rat Inn, Anick, was selected as one of only 15 finalists in the annual Scotch Egg Challenge, which took place in London last week.

Hosted by The Canonbury pub in Islington, the competition was the sixth annual event.

“Prior to the competion the lads in the kitchen came up with a few really tasty eggs, one of which, a tuna nicoise egg, almost made the cut,” explained Phil.

“However, since we were making a special trip to London for the event we decided we really needed to use the opportunity to big up the North-East in general and come up with an egg which would reflect our northern roots and hopefully some food specific to the region.”

So the egg reflecting the flavours of the Geordie favourite – the ham and pease pudding stottie – was born.

“Our application was successful and it was an honour to be selected to go down and compete against the other entrants, most of which were from the London area,” said co-owner Karen Errington.

With just 15 minutes of prep time allocated for each competitor, Phil managed to to achieve the ultimate soft-boiled egg, surrounded by a ham hock and pease pudding mixture in place of traditional sausage meat, and coated in a crispy stottie crumb.

“The feedback from the judges was brilliant and, while we didn’t win, it was such a fun thing to go an do,” said Karen.