Incredible Irish Cheddar

Over the weekend I discovered a true gem in Irish Cheddar Cheese. We were at Dalriada Festival in the grounds of Glenarm Castle and one of the exhibitors was Jim from Old Irish Creamery. They are based just outside Limerick.

They have been producing cheddar for over a century and it has stood the test of time. The extra mature is divine and Jim was telling me that they have won many awards and have a great emphasis of flavoured cheddars.

I was fortunate to taste many different ones. The most innovative and tasty ones being strawberry, curry, walnut and stout as well as classic ones like chives and garlic, to name but a few. Jim gave me a selection to try out.

They are definitely worth hunting out!!!!


1,000,000th reader on Tripadvisor

Today I’ve become a millionaire!!! I’ve just been notified by the wonderful Tripadvisor App that I have just reached out to my 1,000,000 th reader for my 1327 reviews for Tripadvisor!!

A huge thank you to all you guys who have made it possible. Here’s to the next million!!

Dalriada Festival 2018

Make your way to Glenarm Castle for this years Dalriada Festival.

It’s on 14th, 15th July. There’s lots of fun, games, shopping, eating, drinking, music and loads more for all the family. Get some natural Henna and try some Chai Tea (tea masala/spices on sale) in the Craft Village…..

Some great tunes already and it’s only 10.15 am!!!!! Come on down and enjoy a fab, fun filled day with all the family.


Food Showcase at the Strand Hotel

The venue was the City View Suite on the 6th floor at The Limerick Strand Hôtel, the event was a food and drink showcase from the counties of Limerick, Clare and Tipperary and it was hosted by the Irish Quality and Food Awards.

I had a chance to try some amazing local produce. I had some lovely pork products and really enjoyed the black and white pudding from Lisduff Foods.

Next I tried some relishes from The Scullery. They were delicious and the cucumber relish was so refreshing.

Rigneys Farm was next on my list and I got to try home made granola bars. The owner runs the Bed and Breakfast and makes her own sausages!!

Parmesan cheese is a real favourite of mine but I don’t like the smell!!!! Enter Sean from Cratloe Hills Cheese. Sean makes sheeps cheese which is either mild or mature (14 months). It’s a hard cheese and as good as Parmesan-with no smell!!!! A real winner.

Meeres Pork products also had a stand and supplied pork for the canapés (later). John from JJS Craft Brewers supplied a range of drinks.

Functional foods and high energy bars are becoming very popular and were on display today. Near to Nature had functional bars in three flavours: hemp, turmeric and cocoa. Tried all three and found them full of flavour and chewy-need a cuppa with it. Hemp is topical right now and is related to cannabis But does not have psychoactive properties.

The other stand showcasing high energy bars was Tullybracky Foods. They had a great range of tasty bars.

Rapeseed oil is all the rage and Emerald Oils has a superb range of Rapeseed products including hummus and pesto made with the oil.

During the course of the evening we were spoilt with some delicious canapés. The producers provided the ingredients and head chef Tom Flavin put together some wonderful canapés.

This rounded off an excellent event showcasing some glorious produce from South West Ireland. This has put this region firmly on the Food Map of Ireland!! Big thanks to Helen from Metropolis for the kind invite, had a great time and met some super people!!

Dinner at The Chelsea

I have fond memories of The Chelsea ever since I moved to Belfast in 1989. A lot has happened since then…..I graduated then met the love of my life and had two daughters……and The Chelsea has been there every step of the way!

So, poignantly last night my wife and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary and my daughters 10th birthday by having a wonderful meal at The Chelsea.

My two girls kept asking us on the way were there sausages and chicken goujons (a kids life is oh so simple!!!). I said let’s wait and see. So when we arrived we were shown to our table by the window-a word of warning in this glorious summer weather it’s akin to sitting in a sauna!!!

After being presented with the A La Carte menus, the specials menu and the kids menus we ordered our drinks (3 lemonade and 1 sparkling water). The girls let out a shriek of joy when they saw the kids menu.

We ordered kids meals of sausages (2) and chunky chips and chicken goujons (4) and skinny fries.

I went for pork belly and scallops while my wife had a sharing starter platter as her main with salad and some chunky chips. We thoroughly loved our food and portion sizes were spot on for my wife and I and youngest daughter but alas daughter no 1 is getting bigger and I fear she will need an adult portion now! The presentation was absolutely stunning.

The goujons were tender and lovely, all the potatoes were superb, sausages well done and my pork belly was succulent and not too tough and scallops were melt in the mouth tender. My wife really enjoyed the range and flavours of her platter.

As a treat we received a trio of dessert being a mini Eton mess (with strawberry, white chocolate and meringue), rhubarb crumble and ice cream and white chocolate cheesecake with happy birthday and happy anniversary written in chocolate on our plates!!!!

The Chelsea is a great spot and always has been. It has a super menu with specials and caters for all. There is also live music. The staff are very attentive and helpful. Definitely worth finding and dining in. Big thanks to Michelle for her help.

Fresh salad from Willowbrook Foods

Willowbrook Foods is a local Northern Irish, well established (since 1968), Family run company which employs around 250 people. They produce a range of fresh and ready made salads and food for the Irish and UK markets. They supply local and national retailers and wholesalers as well as well known fast food outlets Viz clients.

Last week I received a lovely salad bowl with two fresh bags of salad leaves, dressing bottle, ingredients, menu cards and utensils.

With the glorious weather we have been having eating fresh standalone salads or as accompaniments with meals is ideal. So I tossed up the leafy salad leaves with 1 diced tomato and about 3 inches of cucumber again diced. I added the flat croutons and dressing and served up with roast pork and potato and red pepper dauphinois. My two daughters, wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

The leaves were crispy (I rinsed and dried them first) and large so I just tore them up before adding the croutons and tomato and cucumber. The dressing was a very tasty balsamic based dressing which was not too runny and served chilled. This really brought the salad to life. Croutons gave the salad a wonderful crunchy texture.

The second salad I made was with the aromatic leaves, regular cubed croutons, wasabi flavoured nuts and raisins and the dressing. I served this with quinoa and shrimp and again we all enjoyed.

As can be seen the salad spoon and fork and bowl really do the salad proud!!! So definitely try out the range from Willowbrook Foods.