Indulge in Indulgence for a special cause

I get to meet some wonderful and special people on my travels and today I met a lovely mother and daughter. Meet Natasha and Annie aka Indulgence.

Natasha and her daughter Annie were sampling some luscious sweet delights at my local Tesco in Glengormley. I happened to try the caramel square and was blown away. The best caramel I’ve ever tasted-it was rich, creamy and sumptuous!!! I got chatting to Natasha,who is from Ballyclare and she was telling me that this endeavour was a non profit one which was to help Cameron’s Haven.

Their son is 17 now and has some challenges and has greatly benefited by his time at the respite cottage, as have other benefactors.

This is a wonderful, local, family run, not for profit social enterprise which I would thoroughly commend and definitely ask all my readers to support as they sell amazing home baked products and support a very worthwhile cause. Indulgence offers custom made, luxurious home baked cakes, buns, tray bakes for weddings, special occasions, corporate, gifts or just for ones self to indulge in!! Please visit Indulgence here.

I’m very much looking forward to sharing the variety box with my family and friends and to spread the word about the fabulous venture that is Indulgence!!

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Mumbai Milano

My wife, two daughters and I attended this newly opened Indian and Italian fusion restaurant on Sunday. It was for the launch of the Indian,Italian and Carvery Buffet with entertainment from an opera singer and Mehndi (Henna) by International Henna Artist Binder.

We tucked into some classic Indian dishes including Lamb and chicken dishes accompanied with nan, rice and salad. Kids went for pizza and I tried the roast turkey and ham with trimmings. For after a there was chocolate cake, caramel cake and ice cream.

The singer gave us a rendition of fine opera songs and then Binder kicked off with a saree talk and then demo of how to wear them. After some audience participation it was onto the Mehndi/Henna talk and followed by live application on lots of budding volunteers!!

The food, ambience and entertainment was an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The Buffet price was very reasonable and is available all week with Carvery on Sunday. A take out box is also Available and keenly priced and is excellent for local office workers, students and visitors alike.

LegenDerry Street Food Festival to spice up Walled City this weekend

Ireland’s only completely Walled City is turning up the heat for food and drink lovers this summer with its first street food festival and it’s going to be LegenDerry!

The LegenDerry Street Food Festival will take place in the heart of the historic Walled City in Guildhall Street from 19th-21st July, serving up a totally unique dining experience for visiting foodies seeking authentic local cuisine with some extra pizzazz.

The three-day festival will offer mouth-watering local and exotic street food with lots of added spice from Latin-American, Indian and Asian inspired culinary talent based in the city.

All the delicious food on offer from the participating vendors including surrounding local businesses, will be washed down by craft beers and spirits served from pop up bars. A double decker bus will even be parked up for some festival seating with a view of prominent local landmarks including the 17th Century City Walls which are 400 years old this year.

Live music performances and DJs will help festival-goers dance their way through the weekend under outdoor heaters and festoon lighting complemented by some specially commissioned street art which will provide a vibrant backdrop to the celebrations.

There will be two quirky new food trailers on the block for what is believed to be the first street festival of its kind in Northern Ireland. Lo & Slo and the White Horse Hotel will both be debuting their foodie destination wheels in what will also be a ‘first’ for a hotel in the region.

Selina Horshi, Managing Director of the Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel, said: “It is a perfect time duringthe Open golf championship event to engage locals and tourists with great quality local produce prepared by our finest local chefs. 

We have a new summer menu that showcases some amazing super local ingredients and we are using the expertise of Head Chef, Noel Ward, with the unique spicing skills of our Sous Chef, Umesh, to turn two starters from our summer menu into street food.

“These include Donegal Cod in a Spiced Gram Flour Batter with a Coriander Chutney served with Indian Tea Blackened Chickpeas and Fresh Pomegranate. This dish showcases fresh, local fish but uses Indian flavours to bring a twist to the dish. We are combining the best produce with the best skills – utilising the talent we have with the White Horse and within the city.

Emily McCorkell of Lo & Slo will be unveiling four new products to add to her existing range of authentic smoked barbecue sauces and dry rubs for enhancing meat flavours developed at the city’s FoodovationCentre. These include a Ghost Chilli and DulseSeaweed Blend, mustard and paprika based blends and a Ghost Chilli and roasted ginger pepper sauce.

Emily, a native of Pennsylvania who has been living in Derry for the past four years, is passionate about American BBQ cooking and will be serving her deliciously flavoured pulled pork and beef brisket. There will even be cotton candy for those with a sweet tooth!

“I love anything to do with street food and can’t wait for the vibrancy this festival will bring to the city at night,” said Emily whose small business has grown so quicklyshe now needs more staff and a production unit to supply local stockists of her hot sauces which are also now being incorporated in some local restaurant menus. 

North west-based Irish Venezualan mobile catering business La Tia Juana’s will also be bringing their authentic Latin American cuisine to the street food festival. Juana was first taught to cook by her grandmother from the Warao people of the OrinoccoDelta, picking huge avocados and ripe plantain from the local rainforest.

“We sell authentic Latin American street food using fresh, locally sourced gluten-free ingredients with options for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans,” she explained. 

Jennifer O’Donnell, Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council which has added the LegenDerry Street Food Festival to its award-winning events calendar, said:  “We are really excited about our inaugural LegenDerry Street Food Festival which we hope will also become an annual event following the success of our LegenDerry Food Festival and Slow Food Festival. Our ultimate aim is to become the number one food destination on the Island of Ireland by 2025.

Food experts John and Sally McKenna of the prestigious McKenna Guides have described Derry as the ‘Next Foodie Capital of Ireland’, hailing the destination as “the most happening urban place in Ireland, so get yourself up there before the hordes start to arrive”.

Participating food and drink outlets at the LegenDerryStreet Food Festival include: Café Guild, Warehouse, Nonnas Wood Fired Pizza, Burrito Bar, Lo & Slo, 2 NorthStreet Food, Silverbean, Doherty’s Meats, La Tia Juana’s, White Horse Hotel, Mekong, Walled City Brewery, Northbound Brewery, Muff Gin, Dopey Dick/Guildhall Taphouse and Baronscourt Brewery.

The festival will run from 5pm-11pm on Friday and Saturday,19th and 20th July and 2pm-10pm on Sunday, 21st July 2019. Admission is free.

For more information visit www.derrystrabane.com/streetfood

Sublime South Indian Cuisine

My dad treated us all to a fabulous South Indian meal last night at this amazing eatery.

On arrival we were treated to fresh, crispy popadoms accompanied by a spicy onion chutney, a tangy red sauces and a cooling yoghurt dip. As a special treat the chef made us fresh vegetable pakoras with a green spicy coriander chutney which hit the spot.

We ordered a chilli paneer dosa, a chicken dosa, a masala dosa and idli, these were the South Indian specialities. For balance we also ordered lamb karahi, garlic nan and pilau rice.

The dosas are basically large pancakes stuffed with paneer, chicken and spiced potatoes respectively. These are served with a tangy sambhar and a creamy sauce. The idli is a steamed rice cake also served with sambhar and sauce. The dosa was cooked to perfection-form on the outside and soft on the inside. The fillings were exquisite and sambhar was perfect as was the chutney. The idli was nice and fluffy. The lamb was lovely and tender and full of flavour and rice and nan were beautiful.

The taste of the dosa and idli was just as if we were eating in Chennai whilst Lamb,rice and nan as if eating in Delhi!!

Service was excellent, place was spotless and it’s a bring your own alcohol restaurant. The bill was a very modest £50 which was great value for 5 adults!! They also deliver and do take out but sit in is the best!!

The 148th Open

I was really lucky to be at the 4th practise day at The 148th Open being held at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Around 165 golfers will battle it out for the Claret Jug over the next 4 days and the winner will be crowned on Sunday 21st July.

The infrastructure is very impressive, both getting to and within the venue. There are lots of very helpful Marshalls (blue jackets) at hand to guide and help all throughout.

This Open is the first to have sold out within a month, has the largest number of spectators at the four practise days and has the second largest numbers of spectators for the real competition (outside of St Andrews). There has been a lot of construction to get the course ready and ready for the world it is!!

The course is a very challenging one. It’s geography is such that it is very exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and the winds. It is set in large undulating dunes and coupled with the inclement weather will test the temperament and skill of the worlds best golfers.

There are a myriad of stands selling some very nice and reasonably priced food from sausage rolls to pizza to chicken and fish inside:

The Open Bar is where one can quench the thirst!!

Outside the venue are stalls which showcase some excellent local food stalls:

There is plenty to see and do in Portrush when not watching the golf 🏌️‍♀️ so please go check out the beautiful North Coast of Northern Ireland.

#TheOpen

Chinese Steamboat in Belfast

This place is class!! It’s speciality is the hot pot/bbq. This was the first time for my two buddies, I’m a seasoned veteran!!

It all starts off with the soup base. I had hot, my two buds had tomato and satay. This is served in a metal bowl which is heated on a hot plate in front of you at the table and can get very hot and can spit out!! Then a selection of sliced beef and lamb is presented. The meat can either be cooked in the soup and then place into the directly heated,inverted bbq in the middle of the table or vice verse. This really is how all the meat and veg is cooked.

We then went up to the cold/raw food section and carefully picked from a variety of meat (pork, beef, chicken-including chicken feet), fish (squid, prawn, white fish and balls to game a few), vegetables (mainly Chinese) then sauces and spices. The sauces and spices acted as marinades or dipping.

Then it was literally sit back, dunk the food into the soup and then the bbq or vice versa and let the evening go by. Very reasonably priced at £16.88 per person.

A word of warning don’t go there in your Sunday best, as there’s lots of smoke and your clothes will smell. Don’t go there if you are really really starving and want to eat lots, quickly as you can only eat what you cook and also the service is ok and can be a bit of a problem with lingo.

Otherwise a gr8 spot and experience!!

The Steamboat can be found on the Donegal Pass in Belfast. Tel 028 9023 0862.

Daughters’ first music gig

My 10 and 7 year old daughters attended their first music festival/gig earlier today. It was to watch Sean and Conor Price who were performing at The Stormont Hotel as part of the East Belfest Music Festival.

Before the brothers came on we got to hear a young, 15 year old, lad called Ben Cutler. Ben played a 5 song set, four of which he played the guitar and the last the keyboard. He was fantastic, the screaming girls loved it and he really had a superb stage persona!!

Then the main event…..the two Price brothers, Sean and Conor from Wicklow. The boys started busking in Dublin at the ages of 11 and 13 and now are internationally acclaimed and have appeared on X Factor and all at the ripe old age of 17 and 19!!! They have a mum and dad, who said that the two lads work hard and study hard!!

They were superb, my daughters loved it, as did the other girls and I have to say all three boys have special voices and will go far. Sean and Conor will be playing The ICC aka Waterfront later in the summer.

Once again a big shout out to Michelle for making it happen!!