Spring Continental Market 2017

The middle of spring, bright glorious weather, blue skies and the arrival of the 5 day Spring Continental Market in the grounds of City Hall!!

I took a wander down and met up with lots of trader friends from France, Holland, Germany and Jamaica to name but a few!!

Lots of room to have a beer, eat some gorgeous food and soak up the sun. Carl was doing a roaring trade at the Jamaican stand.

Plenty to see and do for young and old. There are a few Spanish stands, German sausage stalks, olives and pastries- all good healthy competition what!!

Get down and check it out….


I had the pleasure and honour of chatting to Andrew Smyth, the Great British Bake Off finalist yesterday. Andrew has joined the Northern Ireland Pork and Bacon Forum as a brand ambassador working on a creative campaign to celebrate NI Pork’s provenance and versatility. Andrew wanted to highlight the different recipes that can be cooked with pork from a simple quick sandwich, to more slowly cooked dishes like pulled pork. He would cook pork 2-3 times per week and likes the versatility of pork and uses different cuts such as fillet which is very good value and under used.
 Andrew hails from Holywood and he was telling me that his passion for cooking and baking was passed on to him from his parents and granny respectively. After graduating from Cambridge in 2013, Andrew moved to Derby to work as an Aerospace engineer with Rolls Royce, where he is currently. He was saying that he really enjoyed cooking at Uni, throwing full dinner parties or tapas or cakes and bakes for his lucky friends!! His lucky flat mates in Derby are his guinea pigs and happy recipients!!


As part of the activity Andrew visited Northern Ireland recently to film a collection of locally produced pork inspired videos providing some great recipe ideas in the kitchen.

Andrew became well known on the seventh series of The Great British Bake Off in 2016 and rose to fame for his innovative creations which combined his love of baking with engineering. His cookery and baking skills have now made him a household name. Andrew said that to get onto GBBO he had to pass five stages, held around the UK, then the series lasted ten weeks with the final three candidates baking it out in the last week.

 Commenting on the partnership Deirdre McIvor, Chief Executive of NI Pork and Bacon Forum said: “Northern Ireland Pork which carries the ‘Assured Origin’ logo guarantees that the cut, from pork chops to shoulder of pork, is wholly produced here in Northern Ireland to the highest possible standards. This means that customers can trust that item’s with this label have been produced in line with some of the highest standards in Europe.

 The pig farming industry makes a significant contribution to the agri-sector in Northern Ireland and sustains 400 farming families and 2,000 local jobs. We’re proud of that industry and we encourage customers to support and protect it by always looking for the label and choosing locally produced pork.”

 Andrew is an emerging local culinary talent and we are delighted that he has come on board with a range of tasty Pork based dishes bringing new energy to our campaign which has provenance and creativity at its heart.”

 Andrew was over recently and spent around four days shooting 12 videos as part of the new campaign. The campaign has been created in support of NI Pork and Bacon Forum’s ‘Assured Origin’ quality seal which is a guarantee to customers that pork is 100% Northern Ireland produced, governed by the highest animal welfare standards and quality production systems. It forms part of NI Pork’s larger effort to encourage retailers across Northern Ireland to stock NI Assured Origin pork product to ensure they offer customers the best locally produced products.

 Andrew said: “Northern Ireland pork is among the best and tastiest in the world – cue Andrew with his delicious, bespoke recipes for NI Pork. Pork is really versatile, is great value, incredibly tender if cooked correctly and oozes flavour. It can be enjoyed as a classic slow-cooked roast, in casseroles, as an accompaniment with fresh summer salads – the options are simply endless. Hopefully my recipes and videos will show people just how easy it is to cook and will offer some simple inspiration in the kitchen.”

 Deirdre continues: “We urge consumers to take inspiration from the recipes showcased in Andrew’s videos and look for the Quality Assured label in shops.”

 Go to the NIPork’s Facebook or Instagram page for more of Andrew’s recipes or to find out where you can buy Northern Ireland Pork ‘Assured Origin’ products.”

For all the latest news, top tips and NI Pork recipes visit NI Pork’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nipork/

 Im really looking forward to trying some of the recipes….so should you!!


My ‘Daal Makhani’

Daal Makhani is a rich and delicious spiced brown lentil dish which is very popular in North Indian and especially Punjabi cuisine. 

I made mine using my Ikea pressure cooker. After dicing two small onions on my Mountain Salt chopping board and cooking in my oil and ghee tempered cumin, ginger and garlic, I added to my washed lentils. I had already added chopped tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala, salt and coriander. Then this was topped up with 2 litres of boiling water and 50g butter. Lid was placed and cooked for 1 hour.

The best way to eat this, as I did, was with chapattis and achar (pickle)….

Family fun day

I took my two girls to Go Outdoors on Saturday. Go were celebrating their first birthday by having a bouncy castle, a kid friendly play area and a barbecue. The weather Gods were very good, it was warm and sunny with a lovely breeze. The kids had a ball and we all had tasty hot dogs and drinks, all cooked on Barbies, provided by Go Outdoors. They also ran some amazing offers-Go check them out!!!

Healthy wraps

I made a very healthy and nutritious meal for me and my gals. It was turkey sausage stirfry topped with cheese,tomato and onion in wraps served with a side of slaw and roasted sweet potato. 

Now I pan fried the sausages in a little basil infused Rapeseed oil then I seasoned…..this really added flavour to the very wholesome and healthy turkey sausages.

Suffice to say we all loved it!! So go on and give it a try!!

Lunch/coffee at Knags

Knags continues to do well and on my visit today was busy. I met a friend for lunch. We were served complimentary water in customised porcelain/rubber stopped bottle and glasses with the Knags logo. He had lunch-I an Americano coffee. The coffee was fab,had it with cream. 

My mate had chicken tikka pita pocket with salad and sweet potato fries. The fries and salad were lovely, as was the garlic sauce over the chicken however the chicken was not chicken tikka, more like fried spiced chicken!

The place was spotless, great staff and reasonable price with a super menu selection.

Crayfish Carbonara 

Yep you read correct……my upmarket crayfish carbonara made with penne pasta, chopped ham, lots of cream and crayfish tails spiced up with my hot chilli pickle and salt n pepper to taste. All for under a fiver and enough to feed a hungry family of four!!! Ps it was amazing mmmmm…..