I would like to humbly present this blog on behalf of the great work that Cancer Fund For Children do, please support them this festive season:

Diners are being urged to put their money where their mouth is this festive season and support local families affected by cancer.

Cancer Fund for Children is once again running its Dine and Donate campaign whereby customers dining out this Christmas in restaurants can support the charity easily by adding a few pounds on to their bill after they finish their meal.

Already this year, numerous restaurants across Northern Ireland have signed up to take part in the initiative.  Deanes restaurants, owned by chef Michael Deane, will once again be taking part in the campaign this year.

Money raised will enable the charity to continue providing practical, emotional and financial support for local families whose lives have been devastated by cancer.

Cancer Fund for Children’s Corporate Fundraiser Lauren Cunningham said:

“For families living with a cancer diagnosis Christmas can exaggerate negative issues they are already dealing with such as isolation, loneliness and financial strain. Cancer Fund for Children understands this and strives to support families through providing practical, financial and therapeutic support to help them cope with the impact cancer has on their lives.

“We receive less than one per cent of our income from the government. Without campaigns like Dine and Donate, and support from people like Michael Deane, we would never be able to provide these vital support services so that families in Northern Ireland don’t have to face cancer alone.”

Michael Deane added: “This is the fourth year running that our restaurants have got on-board with this fantastic campaign. All of us at Deanes feel very strongly about the work Cancer Fund for Children carries out and we are extremely proud to be part of it. It’s great to know that by eating out this Christmas, you are making a difference to local children with cancer.”

To find out more about Dine and Donate, call Cancer Fund for Children on 028 9080 5599 or go to www.cancerfundforchildren.com

Caption: Michael Deane (centre) with his wife and business partner Kate Smith join Cancer Fund for Children Volunteer Sorcha MacLaimhin to help launch the charity’s Dine and Donate campaign. Michael’s chain of Deanes restaurants are participating in the Christmas fundraising initiative once again, and are encouraging diners to give generously to support local children affected by cancer this Christmas.

For more information please contact Cancer Fund for Children’s Marketing and Communications Officer, Gail Whyte on 028 9080 5599 or 074 2345 9530.

Cancer Fund for Children is the leading children’s cancer charity in Northern Ireland that provides practical, financial and therapeutic support to children, teenagers and young adults living with cancer, and their families.

• Every week in Northern Ireland, three children, teenagers or young adults, aged between 0-24 years old, are diagnosed with cancer.

• Every week in Northern Ireland, Cancer Fund for Children supports another nine children who have a parent diagnosed with cancer.

• Cancer Fund for Children supports over 350 families and 800 young people at any one time.

• Cancer Fund for Children understands the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have on the whole family and that beyond the essential clinical care there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt at home and in the community.

• Their team of experienced Specialists help families cope with the impact cancer has on their lives, supporting them through life during and after treatment and, in some cases, bereavement.

• Cancer Fund for Children’s Specialists deliver a range of support at home, in the community and the hospital setting to children living with cancer, and those who have a parent diagnosed with cancer, including:

– Individual Support, Residential Group Work, Community Group Work, Sibling Support, Bereavement Support, Therapeutic Short Breaks, Self-Catering Breaks, Financial Grants

Best wishes and please support generously!!!!

Excellent Buffet Sunday lunch at Sanjha

I brought my two girls for lunch here last Sunday and we three thoroughly enjoyed it. The restaurant opened at 2pm and there were a few people eagerly waiting to get in.

For £10.95 the range was excellent. There was poppadoms, salad and chutney to nibble on. Then Chicken tikka,  Chicken 65, onion Bhaji and potato vada for starters. These were exquisitely and perfectly cooked and tasted superb.

For main course we were spoiled-there were 4 non vegetable dishes and 2 veggie. The non veg was chicken tikka masala (typical local palate), Chicken Rogan josh (mild), fish Amratsari curry (monkfish) and karahi lamb Angarh. The last three were exceptionally authentic in taste and flavour. The veggie options were aloo Mattar (spiced potatoes and peas) and daal Tarka (lentils tempered with spices). The accompaniments were nan, steamed and saffron rice. For kids there was chicken nuggets and chips. For dessert there was cold saffron infused rice pudding-my favourite!!!

For £10.95 this is an absolute bargain. The proprietor was telling me that from next Sunday 19th November the Buffet will start at 12.30 and end at 5.30pm and may be £11.95. Still extremely great value for truly authentic Indian cuisine.

Dinner sausages mash and noodles

I was very fortunate to get some pork sausages from Kennedy Bacon at The Good Food Show this weekend.

Decided to cook up some bangers and mash with veggie noodles as my kids love this.

I boiled my spuds and mashed with mustard, milk and butter whilst the sausages (10 in 400g pack) we’re cooking on low heat in my frying pan. I cooked up the noodles with sprouts at the same time. To serve I added some chicken gravy and dinner was served!!

The sausages were exceptional, cooked well, retained shape and form and were meaty and little fat exuded!! Kennedy Bacon sure know how to make sausages!!

Quick lunch using Brady Family pork and Maggi noodles

At the Belfast BBC Good Food Show I was very fortunate to taste lots of great local foods. I managed to pick up some traditional shredded ham (110g) from Brady Family Farm. So today I decided to cook up a quick lunch using the ham and Maggi noodles

After adding the contents of the noodles packs (sauce, vegetable and oil), I added a pack of the shredded ham. Them popped in microwave for 3 minutes. Then mixed and further 1 minute and hey presto!!

Give them a go!!!

Day 2 of BBC Good Food Show Belfast

The second day of the second BBC Belfast Good Food Show at the Waterfront was very good.

There were a few tweaks to the layout which were all in all for the better. Once we (my two daughters and I) entered we checked out the map and timetable for the live shows. I wanted to see Michel Roux Jr, local Chef Steven Jeffers from Forestside Cookery School and John Torode.

There was a buzz about the place and plenty of people sampling the many delights, checking out new gadgets, tasting drinks of the alcoholic and non alcoholic types and nibbling on bakes and cakes and savouries. We sampled quite a few items (more in future blogs).

First up in the Live Kitchen was Michel Roux Jr who cooked up a chicken ‘coq au vin’. Must admit it looked superb as did the brioche and apple sweet dish.

After his set we saw local man Chef Jeffers cook up fresh pasta with mussels and chorizo. Again an amazing dish and Chef made it look so easy….I’ve been on one of his classes and he really does know how to cook, talk and teach all at the same time!!

My two daughters favourite was up next….the one and only Aussie Mr John Torode. I’ve sent him many times and tasted his food and it’s amazing. Today he cooked up Fish fingers, sautéed spuds with fresh tartare sauce (my girls now know that mayo is made from eggs, mustard, vinegar and oil!!) and jam doughnuts for dessert. I really wish I could have tasted it…guess am going to have to make it!! John explained a lot of what he did and why which was great.

We saw a number of household names like Tayto and Moy Park (who had a very small presence today?!?!) as well as newer artisan producers.

Kids loved the apple juice and ice cream well kids will be kids!!

I think I shall head down tomorrow and watch the Hairy Bikers!!

Dinner at the new Bull & Ram

Kelan McMichael has really struck Gold with the latest eatery in South Belfast. My wife, two daughters and I dined there last night and were thoroughly impressed!!

As we approached we saw the A board with some tantalising offers. On entry the place was busy and had a good vibe about it. We were warmly received and seated.

The menu was printed on a single large card (which I’m a fan of). There was also a small specials menu and a kids menu (Calf & Lamb – superbly titled!!).

I decided on three panko cooked oysters and my wife had the cured trout. Kids had the fish and chips and chicken and chips at the same time. We asked for regular fried chips and not the beef dripping ones, which was duly obliged.

The presentation of the two starters were superb and the oysters were soft and moist and the panko was crispy-all four of us loved them!! The sea trout salad was very tasty-although my two girls are smoked salmon fans!!

The kids meals were just right portion size and tasted great-girls plates were emptied!!

For my venison I asked for it medium, served with peppercorn sauce and mushrooms, my wife had the fish and chips. My venison was flawless, soft and ‘melt in your mouth’. It was well complimented by the peppercorn sauce and mushrooms. My wife really enjoyed her crispy fish and chips with real tangy tartare and peas.

We shared a delightful banoffee, which was eaten at great haste and rounded off an amazing meal. It was all washed down with sparkling and regular water. All for less than £70 as well.

A huge big thank you to Mars, Kelan and all the team, this will be a huge success!! The Belfast Bull & Ram is situated at 44 University Road (the old Beatrice Kennedy).