Spring Continental Market

Spring Continental Market  

The Sun God must have read my last tweet and has duly obliged. After a drizzly and cool start to the day the temperature picked up as did the Spring Continental Market at the Belfast City Hall.

I must say this is one of the best Continental Markets I have been to. It’s well laid out, more spacious, not as packed and the old favourites are back!!!

The Polish stand is back and my girls and I loved the hot dog!! There were a few newbies like the pizza and donuts.

We three shared an ostrich burger with cheese and onions and my toe wee girls loved it as much as I did!!

We sampled some fine cheese and had some Jamaican chicken and rice courtesy of Carl at Island Spice Grill.

Lastly I tried the chilli sauces from Wiltshire Chilli Farm and Simon gave me a bottle of his God Slayer…..looking forward to using it!!!! 

Do get down to the market,it’s on til Monday.

Twilight market 

Twilight Market scoops Tourism Innovation AwardBelfast’s first ever Twilight Market has picked up the Tourism Innovation Award at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards 2016.
The pilot event, in November 2015, saw St George’s Market transformed into a bustling bazaar showcasing the best of the city’s food and drink scene.
The market beat off stiff competition from Rockin’ Boat Trips (Causeway Sea Fishing Company) and We Are Vertigo to scoop the prize at last night’s awards ceremony in Derry/Londonderry, organised by Tourism Northern Ireland.

The award win comes in the same week that St George’s hosted its second Twilight Market. The event was extended over two nights and welcomed over 18,000 people through its doors for chef demonstrations, live music, family activities and delicious culinary treats from local producers.

Venom chilli sauce

I came across this particular sauce from Habanero Steve’s at the Food Festival @victoria_square couple of weeks ago. It’s handmade by @habanerosteves in Bangor. The sauce I got was called Venom and really packs a bite!! It’s made from pure Chillies (not extract) and has anchovies in it (so veggies watch out). It’s a pretty powerful potion and I’ve had it with soup and pasta, but my favourite combo is with cheese toasties!!! They were at Twilight Market @stgeorgesmarket. They do gourmet chilli jams and hot sauces….. Do you dare try them?!?!

St Georges Twilight market

Just come back from a whistle stop tour of the Twilight Market.It was fantastic. Got it at right time, it too busy and no queues!!!! I was with my 7 and 4 year old girls and all they wanted was fudge, cake, popcorn, ice cream and now!! Luckily there was lots of choice. It’s really great for a night out for adults- you can eat, drink, shop and get entertained. The usual suspects from the weekend markets were there plus others like Yardbird, Coppi to name but a few!! I wish there were more Twilight markets throughout the year……..

Belfast Fudge

Fudge appeals to all of us-both young and old and not so old!!! I was very fortunate to be sent some samples of a Belfast-based Fudge Producers, who have  joined the Tesco Artisan Programme.

The four flavours I tasted were original, rum and raisin, dark chocolate with honeycomb (although I didn’t detect any honeycomb) and stem ginger. My favourites were the original and rum and raisin, with the chocolate and ginger coming in closely behind. 

Blackthorn Foods, the Belfast-based fudge and toffee manufacturer, has been selected to join the Tesco Artisan Programme. The Tesco Artisan Programme is an initiative aimed at giving local Northern Irish artisan producers the support and capacity to grow their business by providing an opportunity to engage with members of the public, showcase and sell their products in store.

Blackthorn Foods joined the Tesco Artisan programme following the recent launch of its new free-from range of fudges. The rise in free-food food demonstrates consumers’ increasing desire for healthier alternatives, and seeing this gap in the market, Blackthorn Foods launched a range of fudges that are gluten-free, non-dairy and soya-free. These new fudges come in four flavours: Madagascan Vanilla; Chocolate; Stem Ginger and Chocolate; and Chocolate and Orange. They come in 90g packs and are marketed under the company’s Melting Pot brand. As part of the Tesco Artisan Programme, these products will be available to sample in-store at key dates throughout the year.

The company was set up by three sisters Cathy, Jenny and Dot in 2004.Dorothy Bittles, director of Blackthorn Foods, said: “We saw a developing opportunity for a range of products that are made without dairy, gluten and soya, and decided to invest in creating products to meet this demand. We are a family-run company producing award-winning fudge made in small batches so the opportunity to be involved in the Tesco Artisan Programme has given us the platform to reach an audience that would be difficult to reach on our own”

“Response to the new range has been immensely encouraging and we are particularly excited about giving customers the opportunity to trial our new non-dairy fudge as this latest product innovation was inspired by a family member who became lactose intolerant – we believe everyone should have the opportunity to have a little indulgence in their life!”

The Tesco Artisan Programme in store tastings will take place in select Tesco Stores throughout the year. For more information about this opportunity, please PM Tesco NI at facebook.com/tastenorthernireland. Please note SALSA accreditation is the minimum requirement to participate.

So go on try them out!!

Egyptian food at Sophia

A group of us had a feast of Egyptian/Middle Eastern food at Sophia this evening. The venue was Sophia (ex Ben Brasil and Ruba Spice). The menu was a mixed starter of stuffed vine leaves, falafel, Baba ganoush, humous, mayo, salad and cheese samosa with flat bread. 

There was then a couple of exotic belly dances before an amazing main course platter of grilled chicken and aubergines on a bed of rice and vermicelli,salad and stuffed peppers. The others had some beef sheesh kebab. The food was fantastic, the whole style of sharing really made the evening…. shame I had to leave to go pick up the kids!!!! Missed the dessert and Shisha!!

Defo will be back to sample more authentic Egyptian cuisine.

Great green peas

I tried some delicious snack food green peas today. They are flavoured coated green peas, and are from Forest Feast, a local (Portadown) based snack food company.

There are three different flavours being Smokin’ BBQ , Hot & Sour Sriracha and Spicy Chilli Lime. My favourite was the Sriracha-nice and spicy, my two daughters loved the BBQ and my wife loved the Chilli lime. So you can see there’s something to please everyone!!! Will be in the shops soon. Available in 40g bags. Will cost 89p and available from multiple outlets in the summer.

Blogger mix and mingle

Just been to a fab bloggers get together at The Europa Hotel Piano Bar Restaurant. The evening was arranged by The Hastings Group and Duffey Rafferty Communications and aptly named Mix and Mingle. 

Julie Hastings welcomed us all and then we were treated to a masterclass in cocktail making by the master mixologist Patrick. Patrick has won many a cocktail prize and has been with The Hastings Group for over 40 years!!!! 

There was also a lovely selection of canapés including chicken tikka mouse in egg shells, salmon on wheaten, basil quiches and blue cheese on toast.

Patrick served up three cocktails namely Europa Champagne Cocktail, French Martini and the Irish Smile. The Irish smile being the nicest. Then we were invited up to make our own and compete for the best cocktail. 

The two joint winners were Stephanie who made a Cosmo and myself who made the Calypso King. All being well the Europa will have this on their cocktail menu!!

This was a great evening, meeting like minded bloggers in a wonderful surrounding. The icing on the cake was the tombola- we all chose one of the legendary ducks which corresponded to a super Hastings Group prize……. I shall certainly enjoy mine… Thanks for organising the evening and thanks to new found friends!!

Landings at The Dobbins Inn

I had the Privelege of joining Derek and his wife and daughter Kirsty at the launch of the opening of the Landings restaurant in The Dobbins Inn this evening. 

Derek and family have been at the helm since 1978 and have treated it as one of the family. After gaining valuable experience in Ashford Castle Hotel where JFK stayed, then Fitzwilliam in Dublin, Kirsty joined Dobbins in 2010 and brought it into the cyber age!! 

The evening consisted of a drinks reception, speeches, music from a traditional Irish band,a brief history of Dobbins by Kragfergus Living History Group, nibbles and a tour of the hotel,then it was back to the newly renovated restaurant for more “craic”. 

We never saw old Maud who resided in room 21……..would you stay in the haunted room?!?!

Twilight Market

St George’s Market’s Twilight event is back by popular demand
Twilight Market is set to make a return to St George’s Market next Tuesday, 24 May and Wednesday, 25 May.
In response to the success of the first Twilight Market last November, Belfast City Council has decided to extend the free event over two nights, allowing visitors more time to enjoy sample delicious food from Belfast’s thriving food sector and get in the mood for summer. As well as a wide selection of local pop-up restaurants and local food producers, there will also be a range of chef demonstrations, live music and DJs.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson said: “We were delighted with the response to our first Twilight Market. Indeed, it was so successful, Twilight Market has been shortlisted for a Northern Ireland Tourism award.
“But we’re not resting on our laurels. Next week, we’ve got even more foodie traders exhibiting, we’ve got some of our best local craftspeople and we’ve got top chefs giving us inspiring cookery demonstrations”.
There’s also an opportunity on Wednesday, 25 May from 2pm-4pm for families who would like to bring their little ones along at a quieter time, with face painting and fun chocolate workshop from Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory.
The Twilight Market will be open on Tuesday, 24 May from 5pm to 11pm and on Wednesday, 25 May from 12 noon to 11pm.
For further information on traders at the Twilight Market, entertainment and cookery demonstrations, visit http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/twilightmarket<http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/twilightmarket>