Chicken masala

I want to share with you a fantastic, quick and useful recipe for Chicken Masala. For the chicken I used six rotisserie thigh pieces from Tesco, which I skinned and deboned (only because my wife doesnt like skin and my two daughters find on the bone meat too messy!!). To these pieces I added a tablespoon of chopped fresh fenugreek and one of coriander.
For the masala I heated a tablespoon of ghee to which I added my spices of 1 teaspoon turmeric, 2 of garam masala, 1 of cumin seeds and 1 of salt. Then I added a diced onion and 2 teaspoon of ginger/garlic paste. This was cooked for a few minutes then I added one diced tomato and 1 tablespoon of tomato purée. This was simmered with a small glass of water and reduced. 

The chicken was then introduced and simmered for 5 minutes. The seasoning was checked and when perfect will be served with parathas and my healthy chick pea and mushroom brown rice pilau-oh and of course my chilli achar!!! 

This is a super way of using remnants of a roast chicken, for example and is quick, cheap and easy to make. 

If you have any comments please email me on:


Healthy packed lunch for my girls

My two girls (8 and 5) have packed lunches at school. It’s a challenge to try and be inventive whilst giving them wholesome, nutritious food. 

My two love fruit and veg so I vary what they get. Today they have kiwi, orange and apple for break and carrot and cucumber for lunch with cheese and ham in brown bread.

For drinks they get water. It’s a challenge as other kids get juice, chocolates, biscuits etc and I’m always reasoning with them-but the message is getting through!!!!

Email me with your lunch time fayre.

Institute of Hospitality Party

My wife and I attended a private Institute of Hospitality Party at The Roof Top in The Ivory. 

On arrival we were greeted to a Prosecco reception (we had apple juice) before mingling and having wonderful snacks consisting of Mediterranean chicken and vegetable skewers, succulent fish in a crispy batter and goats cheese tartlets. The food was absolutely fantastic and I believe the beef sliders weren’t bad either!! 

The party was a celebration for everyone involved in making the dinner on 5th May, in The Titanic, a huge success. Outgoing Chair, Michael Cafolla, thanked the sponsors, the winners and Michelle McTernan, as one of his last duties before the baton is passed to Marianne Hood. Marianne best wishes for next week and your year ahead-you really have big shoes to fill!!!

There was a never ending supply of Jawbox gin on offer and this helped to oil everyone’s cogs. The Ivory Roof Top is a splendid place to have a party both big or small. The outdoor balcony offered up some nice views and we were blessed there was no rain!! The staff were perfect in every way and very professional. All in all a superb evening.

‘On Top of the World’ at India Gate

My two daughters and I attended a wonderful talk on Nepal yesterday at India Gate in Belfast.

The event was put together by the Irish Nepali Association in conjunction with the Nepalese Tourist Board. There were lots of local Nepalese as well as Northern Irish in attendance. 

We arrived just as the representative from the Board was telling us about why one should visit Nepal-from it’s wonderful people, to the food and yoga, to the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas including, of course, the home of the 8850m Mt Everest – The Top Of The World.

It was also extremely humbling and amazing to hear Dr Nigel Hart, our very own Northern Irish, Everest conqueror, give a talk about his scaling Everest. It’s fantastic to think that our wee NI has produced someone who has climbed Everest. Dr Hart relayed his experiences and shared some fantastic insights and pictures and has published a paper on the physiological effects of altitude on the body. In recognition of these feats he was duly recognised and made an Honorary Ambassador by the Nepalese Tourist Board.

After the formal proceedings we were treated to a truly wonderful Nepalese/Indian buffet lunch consisting of onion bhaji, chicken, rice, vegetable salad and daal. The food was excellent and provided by India Gate. This was a superb venue for this excellent and well attended presentation and it has certainly made me want to visit Nepal-perhaps the Base Camp will be my destination…..

Big bad boy SLABS crisps

These big bad boys that are SLABS Crisps are absolutely fantastic. They are 4 times thicker than the average crisp. They are cooked in olive oil so are healthier. The packaging is striking with bold lettering and a big, clear window so the Crisps can be seen in their entirety. The bags are also inflated to act as cushioning for the Crisps so that they are not all smashed up!! 
There are two sizes a 40g and 80g bags and four delicious flavours (colour coded bags) being:

Red- sea salt

Blue- salt and malt vinegar

Orange- sweet red chilli

Green- mature cheddar & onion

My wife, two daughters and I tried them all and loved them. My favourite was the sea salt flavour (I had them with my fresh chilli Achar). My wife’s favourite was the sweet chilli, my 8 year old daughter loved the mature cheddar & onion and the 5 yr old loved the salt and malt vinegar. Which one will you like?

Four Star Pizza Britney v Christina

Pizza company re-ignites 90’s debate that still rages on – Britney versus Christina

Back in 1999, The Matrix and Toy Story 2 were setting the box office alight, the Y2K bug had us all panicking, and the game changed forever for pizza lovers in Northern Ireland, as Four Star Pizza opened its first ever store on the Beersbridge Road in East Belfast, which this month is celebrating its 18th birthday.

To celebrate this, Four Star Pizza has stepped back in time to 1999 and is encouraging its customers to do the same, according to Four Star Pizza Director, Brian Clarke.
“This is a big month for Four Star Pizza as we celebrate 18 years in Northern Ireland, so we’re going to have some 1999-themed fun including asking our customers to send in photos of themselves from the 90s. We’re also giving away some fantastic prizes on our Facebook page and also with Q Radio as well as introducing an incredible new meal deal on the 29 May which will run for one week – *buy one pizza and get the other for 99p.
“As well as our original Northern Ireland store in East Belfast, four other Four Star Pizza stores are celebrating this month, with our Kennedy Way store in West Belfast turning Sweet 16, our Derry~Londonderry store turning 9, the Lisburn Road store in Belfast turning 15 and our store in Drumahoe celebrating its first birthday, so we are going big to celebrate,” said Brian.
In the year that JK Rowling released her book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Grand Designs aired its first ever episode and we were still saving our files on floppy disks, a big debate had the whole world talking and Four Star Pizza is asking that same question again in 2017 – Britney or Christina?

“Pop megastars Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera faced off big time in 1999 for the title of ultimate pop princess. Even now people still have an opinion on which one really is the best, and while some would say we’re foolish to reignite this debate, we’re not afraid to ask the big questions at Four Star Pizza!,” continued Brian.
Make your voice heard and visit Four Star Pizza’s Facebook page and vote for everyone’s ‘Genie in a Bottle’, Christina or if you want to ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’, then vote for Britney.
As well as voting, Four Star Pizza is asking everyone to rummage in their old shoe boxes and manila folders, dig out photos of themselves from the 1990s and post them online using #FourStarPizza1999 to ^win a pizza party for ten people or one of four runner up prizes of **dinner for two.
“Maybe you have a photo of you in some 90s fashion favourites like dungarees, or dressed like your favourite sports star or music act? Did you wear your hair like All Saints or the Spice Girls, copy the dance moves of Steps or were Blur and Oasis your fashion inspirations? Maybe you were still at school and have an embarrassing school portrait which you’d like to share or were you still a baby? Send in your snaps and you could win some fabulous prizes!” Brian concluded.
Send in your 90s themed snaps using, #FourStarPizza1999 when uploading your photos to social media and you could be a winner, winner, pizza dinner!
For further information on Four Star Pizza, visit<> or log on to Four Star Pizza on Facebook.
*Selected stores only – they include south, east, west and north Belfast stores. The Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Bangor, Armagh and Newry stores. ^Prize will include six 14 inch pizzas, 6 sides, cookies and soft drinks. Delivery charges may apply. ** Prize includes one 14 inch pizzas, two sides, cookies and soft drinks. Delivery charges may apply.

The BFM loves them both!!!

The art of Indian Pickle – ‘Achar’

From the dawn of time mankind has been foraging for food on a daily basis. If excess food is found this would waste especially if meat and in the heat, as there were no fridges then. So began the quest to preserve and hence pickling started.

Pickling is the art of adding a liquid or some spices or salt to form a barrier around the foodstuff or to draw water from it. The reason for this is that micro organisms require oxygen and/or air and/or water to survive and this action of untreated foods cause spoiling and pickling therefore is a natural preservative.

Different pickling agents include oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, spices, Chillies and sugar-these would be the most common. Western cultures have been pickling things like onions, eggs, gherkins and cabbage (using vinegar) to name but a few. It’s good for gut bacteria.

The Portugese cracked pickling using chilli and salt back in the 1400’s with the Vindaloo and Indians, due to extreme heat, have mastered the technique of pickles or Achar using spices and oil.

On this theme I made two pickles using salt, chilli, my special achar masala and oil. The first was sweet corn and fish:

The other was my speciality, my chilli achar:

These Achars can be used with snacks, meals and even sandwiches!!