A taste of Spain in Belfast

This afternoon, I was honoured and thrilled to be one of twenty five or so lucky guests, to be wined and dined courtesy of the Spanish Tourist Board . The venue was COCO Restaurant and Bar in Belfast.

The weather was miserable, cold, wet and windy and what better way to while away the afternoon than dreaming about the heat, sand and sea of Spain!!

I’m a huge fan of Spain and of Coco the restaurant and was so thrilled to be invited. After mingling for half an hour or so we were seated and welcomed by Ana from Tour Spain and then we were given a short presentation on the region of Murcia and the Costa Calida by Kristian.

Then it was lunch…. which naturally had a Spanish theme and highlighted the region of Murcia, for being a top gastronomic destination in 2020.

I started with the potted rabbit with toast and chutney. There was plenty of rabbit and the crunchiness of the toast, sweet chutney and buttery rabbit were excellent.

For mains I had the Barbary duck (well done, top left), artichoke purée and potato gratin. This was a fine dish and the creaminess of the potato was sublime. 

To finish I had Creme brûlée washed down with a coffee. The service was polite and unobtrusive and the setting just brilliant-loved the art!! A delightful afternoon!!!!

The Spanish Tourist Board will be showcasing the best of Spain at the Holiday World Show (17-19th Jan) at the Titanic Exhibition Centre.

Thank you Paco for your kind invitation.

‘Veganuary’ a good thing or a fad?

I think Veganuary is a fab idea but reckon it’s just a fad. I guess it will take time to see if it catches on and remains a permanent calender fixture in the future.

It’s good that we all reduce our reliance on meat and meat based products due to ethical, moral, environmental or religious reasons. Am I ready to go Veganuary, the answer is no but the clever folk at Burger King might just be able to tempt me…….

Burger King have launched their new, non meat patty, Rebel Whopper today in the UK.

It looks like the picture, has lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayo, ketchup and soya protein patty, flame grilled all in a seeded bun.

But it’s not suitable for pure veggies/vegans because it’s cooked on the same grill as the beef patties!! A big of an own goal!!!!

I would have loved to try it but don’t eat beef (for religious reasons) hence won’t be able to try it…..will you?

Happy New Year….Roll on 2020

A clip from my all time favourite movie….. email me if u know the answer!!!


I would heartily wish to thank all my readers and everyone who has helped the BFM in 2019. Here’s a few of my posts:

Which one did you all like?

Here’s hoping 2020 is even better……

B4 I go here’s a sample of Christmas Day at ours……..,

Look out for more blogs in 2020!!!

Christmas in Belfast part 7

This is the final part in my series on Christmas In Belfast and what a lovely way to finish it!! For this my eldest daughter and I visited Belfast Cathedral

to take part in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

We arrived there in plenty of time and got to sit at the very front and on the Lord Mayors seat!! It was very comfy…… The Cathedral quickly filled up and the service promptly commenced at 15.30.

There were nine lessons,relating to the Christ story, which were delivered by different people. Interspersed by excellent singing of songs and well known carols, by the choir and congregation and accompanied by the majestic organ. It was a truly awe inspiring rendition of The Christmas Story and one which I thoroughly recommend….. there is a Christmas Eve programme at 20.00 and it lasts 1 hour 15.

We then took a walk through the City Centre to savour the atmosphere of the last Sunday before Christmas. The place was bustling and lots of gifts were being bought. It was also the last day of the Christmas Market.

We also managed to see a real life Live Crib which had stables complete with animals and real life characters from the Nativity at St Mary’s Church.

Lastly we had a stroll through CastleCourt and soaked up the Christmas spirit….. we also saw the new Shakeaway store. We will definitely have to try it out!!

It’s been a real pleasure sharing my take on Belfast at Christmas. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas, Seasons Greetings and A Peaceful and Prosperous 2020!!

Christmas in Belfast part 6

Last Sunday we had another Daddy Daughter Day in Belfast. We started the Belfast Reindeer Trail. This is a trail that took us around the City Centre in our quest to find 5 out of 8 Reindeers around #BT1.

We also visited Soda and Champ, opposite Castle Court Shopping Centre, and the girls also got to write and post letters to Santa!!

We savoured the sights, sounds and smells from the bustling city centre streets, shopping centres and market….it was packed and full of Christmas cheer. The lads singing carols in the ‘half buff!!’ were fantastic as was the street performer. It’s also great to see the Iconic Primark store being rebuilt.

Only 8 days to go to get all your Christmas needs, why not come into Belfast and savour the atmosphere!!

Christmas at Belfast Cathedral

Black Santa will officially begin his 43rd sit out at Belfast Cathedral aka St Anne’s Cathedral on Monday 16th however he was out last night at the Night Time Bazaar. Black Santa has helped around 500 charities so far.

The Black Santa is a tradition first started by Dean Crooks in 1976, who dressed in his black Anglican cloak and was coined ‘Black Santa’ by the then press. He was out in full regalia last night during the Night Time Bazaar.

The Cathedral’s first foundation stone was laid on the 6th September 1899 on the site of the original Church of St Anne (1776). The iconic Spire of Hope was erected in 2007 and was added because the soft ground or sleech, on which the Cathedral was built, could not withstand the extra weight of a traditional tower.

The Night Time Bazaar proved very popular and there were lots of visitors perusing all the stalls which contained arts, crafts, food, drinks and general nick nacks. This was the second event presented by Little Fox.

There are many events being held at the Cathedral in the run up to Christmas and I will attend one or two. Please try and support the Cathedral as, I believe, funding is critical (hence they charge for admission).

Bt9 newest Restaurant, Freight

Yesterday evening I decided to treat my two girls to an early dinner (they had been off school as their school was used as a polling station)!!

We went to the newly opened Freight restaurant. This is the second venture by brothers Gerard and Chris McQuillan, who, in April 2017, opened Freight, the iconic Container restaurant near C S Lewis Square in East Belfast.

This is a lovely, cosy, intimate (44 cover) restaurant, which is simply decorated and has a real feel of ‘quick dining’. Chris and Tony were in the kitchen, while Blair and Sarah held up Front of House.

The menu we chose from was the Christmas menu and Blair recommended the chicken bites with fresh, skin on, fries and tomato pasta for the girls. I opted for the turkey dinner.

Whilst we waited, Chris rustled up a delicious starter of pork belly bites. This was divine, it had small (1 cm cubed) pork belly pieces, cooked and served with pickled cucumber, radish, fresh salad in a chilli and sesame/poppy seeds. It looked fab and tasted even better!!

(Above, clockwise, pork belly, pasta, turkey)

The girls really loved the chicken, fries and pasta and portion sizes were great as well.

My turkey dinner was definitely a twist on the traditional turkey dinner! The spuds were roasted to perfection and fluffy, the turkey was moist and the stuffing was excellent. Loved the creamed, shredded sprouts, parsnips and carrot/beets. The chipolatas went down well and chestnuts were a nice addition.

Service was brilliant and Sarah was busy setting up a table for 30, yet still had lots of time to chat and keep the girls entertained or was it the other way around!!!

Blair was telling me that all the ingredients are local and freshly sourced, the wine list is simple (choice of 4 white or red), that there was an emphasis on craft beer and all of this was to promote high quality cuisine served by very enthusiastic people and catering for all clientele.

To finish the girls went for the sticky toffee pudding, which I shared and was the perfect end to a brilliant meal!!

Chris was telling me that both brothers want to replicate the success that they have over in the East, in the South. Their ethos is to cater for all tastes, young and old, romantic or families and are open for business. They also want the food to be hearty and wholesome, locally sourced and made and served with love.

The guys are also busy with Gypsy Kitchen, having had a GK night in the restaurant before the official opening….I’m definitely going to try this!!

My best wishes and thanks go out to the team and they tell me there are still vacancies available so get down to Freight in South Belfast!!!