Spices

I’ve sourced an awesome place to get spices online. It’s Freshly Spiced and they are based in Nottingham. They very kindly sent me out some freshly milled and vacuum packed spices. Coriander, Cumin and Chilli.


Then there was Garam masala, ginger, turmeric and a spice mix for scrambled eggs-I’m really looking forward to trying that one out. Ps spices should only be kept for 3-6 months once opened!!!!!

Awesome dip mix

I tried some fantastic dips at the Travel show today. An ingenious idea from Carrick Cottage Dips . 

Really simple concept-just add a teaspoon or two to 200g of yoghurt, creme fraiche or mayo, mix and chill for 1 hour. Order directly online as per link or picture. The flavours I got were garlic & coriander, Romeo chilli, curry and smokey BBQ- looking forward to trying them!!!

Forest Feast snacks

I received a wee box of assorted dried fruits from Forest Feast thank you.These ranged from 70-100g and the fruits were dates, apricots, plums, cherries, banana and goji berries.


Now it would be so easy to eat a pack of these all in one go, but they contain great quantities of sugar, are sticky and would be akin to eating midget gems/jelly babies. The way I recommend their use is in moderation e.g. at meal times or used in smoothies or porridge, which is what we would do. For the sake of market research I have tried them and they are lovely, sticky, sweet and moorish!!!!

Belfast Telegraph Travel Show

I’ve just been to the Belfast Telegraph Travel Show. Recently released from the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! jungle in Australia, travel and property expert Martin Roberts opened the twenty-fifth Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show.There’s plenty for all different types of holiday makers. Towards the back there are holiday homes and caravans.


There are also various non travel stalls like a racing car, massage stand, health related stalls and sweeties, a chocolate fountain and an ingenious way of making a whole range of dips using spices from Carriage Cottage dips.


As you can see there’s a real live eagle, drones and yours truly getting stabbed by a Game of Thrones actor!!!!


There were many regions of Ireland showcasing what they have to offer and it really makes one think of holidaying at home either in the cities or the waterways. I felt TourismNI should have been there as well-unless I missed them?!?!


Also on show was Dublin Airport and holidays and flights out of Dublin from the likes of Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar which will start later in the year especially to the USA.


A few of our big travel agents had some tantalising deals such as Knock Travel, Oasis and Clubworld . Themost exotic   destination I felt was Mexico!!


Also on show was Stena line and a couple of regions in Spain. The Spanish Tourist Board should have been there as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Portugal will be big destinations and the Portugese stall was excellent.


Cruising is getting bigger, better and more popular and this was very much in evidence. There were presentations from the big companies. If you need inspiration definitely make a trip down to The TitEx

Holiday World will be open from 1pm – 6pm on Friday 20 January and from 11am – 5:30pm on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 January. Admission is £5 for adults; £4 for Senior Citizens and £3 for Students. A special family ticket gives admission for two adults and up to four children for £10. 


Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is extending his unique sense of style to travel, designing a glamorous range of weddings for Beachcomber Tours and will be there from 12.30 on Saturday.

FOLK-ROCKIN ALL OVER THE WORLD 

Critically acclaimed Tyrone Folk Rockers, The Logues, have put Northern Ireland firmly on the music map after the video for their new single ‘Yvonne John,’ from their highly anticipated new album ‘Comin of Age’, has gone viral. 
The video (see links above for Facebook and You Tube), which was shot last year in key locations around Northern Ireland, such as Dergfest, Castlederg; Lanyon Hall, Cookstown and even on an open top Belfast City Sightseeing Tour (a first for any music video!), has received over 35,000 viewers in less than a week with fans from all over Ireland, the UK, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, the US and even the Middle East, where the lads will be performing their annual Dubai St Patrick’s Day festival, lapping up this new offering from the band. 
With a unique sound that has been described as psycho ceilidh and whiskey-soaked folk, The Logues, who are signed to Ireland’s most respected live music agency AMA Music Agency, earned a well respected number two slot in the ‘Folk Album of 2016’. After such a warm response to their new video, it already looks like 2017 is going to be even bigger and better year for The Logues. 
So what are you waiting for, check out the new video now to see what all the hype is about!

Top Halal Middle Eastern Restaurant in Belfast City Centre

We dropped in to try this place and were very presently surprised. It used to be a Lebanese restaurant with a different name called Byblos before the current Syrian owner took over 4 months ago.
They served fantastic authentic traditional and all home made Middle Eastern food from fresh. We had Baba ganoush, hummous, falafel, lamb shwarma, chicken tawouk, chilli sauce, two types of garlic sauce and Lebanese flat bread. All of which was made fresh. 


The menu is extensive and the setting is very intimate and is definitely one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants I’ve eaten in. The tray of baclava looked fab also and there are hookahs for use when the weather gets better!! Definitely worth trying when in town!!

Exclusive lunch at the Worlds Best Visitor Attraction 

I humbly write this as I feel so honoured to be one of 30 odd VIP’s to be invited to the Worlds Best Visitor Attraction for a private lunch, The Titanic Experience.

The venue was the sixth floor at the Titanic Visitor Centre and I was a guest of the The Spanish Tourist Board-our gracious hosts. The food was amazing being a chorizo starter, soup and then authentic paella. Couldn’t have the sweet (trifle) or tea/coffee  as had to pick up kids!!

Spain is still the number one destination for people from the island of Ireland and it will keep getting stronger and bigger. It’s relatively safe, a shortish flight and it’s got great weather (apart from the snow in Alicante now!!!), culture, architecture, food and wine and people.

The Titanic staff were amazing as usual and what a superb venue!!!! Been here many a time and it keeps getting better!! My sister had the first Indian wedding here!! 

Thanks to Ana for the invite and it was great to meet all the industry professionals. I look forward to working with you all in the future!! 

Centra #LiveTodayNI at the MAC

I attended a fantastic presentation in the Factory on the 6th Floor of the MAC yesterday. It was hosted by a well known local grocer Centra and introduced 4 new health based ambassadors. 


The Factory is a great space for everything like launches to arts and leisure. The MAC itself hosts conferences, plays, dramas, art exhibitions and has a fantastic cafe and restaurant. It’s located in the Cathedral Quarter and there are plenty of great eats and drinks around!!!


Health wise we are sitting on a potential health and wellbeing timebomb with epidemics in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and mental health issues.

Centra, with their #LiveTodayNI programme are pro actively trying to address these issues and have to be highly commended-I just wish more of the bigger grocers would follow suit (despite me talking to them they have not really changed!!!!!)


The four ambassadors are:

Jane McClenaghan (nutritionist ,healthy eating) who is in charge of healthy breakfasts and snacks. She made a delicious and nutritious breakfast and a smoothie, which we got to taste. I also won her book and a 1 hour food review session with her.

Bridgeen Rea (Masters in Mindfulness, yoga teacher and wellness expert) is in charge of mental health and showed us some simple ways of relaxing/controlling our minds. With our ever more complex lives we all need to look after our mind as well as body and soul.

Johnny Davis (ex Olympic and Commonwealth fencer) is in charge of the running programme. This will encourage people to get out and about and run all over NI. He stressed the wearing of correct running shoes and also showed off his big bouncy ball!!! Best way of describing this is one which pregnant ladies used for excercise/relaxation. I have used it when my wife was pregnant and it’s brilliant!!

John McGuigan (son of Barry, who in absentia sent a video message) is in Vegas training Carl Frampton for his upcoming match versus Santa Cruz. He will be creating fitness plans.

Michael McCormack the MD of Musgrave NI, the Centra team and the Ambassadors all have to be highly praised for actually doing something about our health. The rest is up to us………Big thank you for the invite and the wee goody bag-but with my dentist hat on we need to see less sugary/sweet snacks (even sugar free) as this accustoms our bodies to sugar.

Original Nepalese food in Belfast

I popped in to get some real Nepalese cuisine. This place was previously a South Indian restaurant and now geographically it’s gone as north as you can get!!!!
The owner and head chef are Nepalese and there is a growing community here. I wanted some traditional Nepalese food so for starters had to have momo which is a steamed dumpling (akin to dim sum) originally filled with buffalo meat but I had the chicken momo with a nice ginger/chilli chutney-my mouth is watering!!!! This was the real McCoy just like Siva had on the streets of Delhi (where Nepalese people have mobile stands which make the momo fresh).


For main course I asked chef Balram to make me a traditional chicken dish. He duly did from first principles and it was delicious-I had mine with rice but ideally should be eaten with roti (chapatti). Needless to say it was fantastic. I would thoroughly recommend this place. One can dine in and it’s a BYO.