Our Christmas lunch

It’s the 27th December and I can’t believe all the hype and festivities are over!!! So much build up, shopping and money just for one day…..rant over!!!

I wanted to share our Christmas lunch. For starters I served up “surf n turf” with a salad. My wife diligently prepped a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot, lettuce and slaw. I prepped the meat the day before. For the surf I used smoked salmon slices rolled up with cream cheese and chives inside, salt and chilli prawns with homemade Marie Rose sauce on top and scallops in basil butter. The turf was white pudding discs.

Main course was turkey and pork Ballantine, roast potatoes, carrot and parsnip battons and shredded sprouts and gravy, not to mention pigs in blankets.

The meat was prepped the day before. I used two turkey breast steaks, a pork fillet and good quality, flavoured stuffing. This was rolled, tied, seasoned and doused in honey before being rolled in foil and refrigerated.

Suffice to say it was a fab meal!!!


Belfast is Back!!

Two pronged title ie I’ve been without a mobile for approximately 3 weeks-a digital detox and it was very refreshing…..however I was still able to access my lap top, sporadically!!!

Secondly because after the Primark fire and cordon,which split the heart of the City Centre, a new tunnel was opened to reconnect. This has breathed more life into the city.

Belfast is certainly in the throws of Christmas and we (wife and two girls) ventured into town to experience Santa at Castle Court and the Christmas Market. The market has extended and there are extra activities to partake (my daughters had a go on the slide!!)

Get into BELFAST and support the traders!!!!

Freight IS Pot Kettle Black

This place is a restaurant which punches well above its weight……indeed it knocks on the door of the likes of Ox and Deanes and in our opinion is just as good!! That was the combined opinion of the four of us after we dined here tonight.

It is only in its first year and has had to change its name from Pot Kettle Black to Freight. I like the new name as its housed in converted containers!!

We went for the three course meals for £16 (supplement £5 for steak and £3 for cheese). To start we had crab sliders and poached pear. The sliders (2 per portion) were superb and the pear salad was refreshing.

For mains we had three pork belly with wild rice and brown shrimp curry and one flat iron steak. The pork was so soft and melt in the mouth and full of flavour and the steak, I was told, was also exceptional. We had some delicious sides being truffle and parmesan fries, crispy piri piri potatoes, roasted sprouts and curry noodles and these sides alone could have been mains themselves-they were that delicious.

Coffees and cheese boards followed and we all had a superb time. All four of us would definitely recommend this place….and its byo, by the way our bill was £94.

Highlights of the Belfast Continental Market so far

So a day in and I’ve discovered some class new food ideas as well as rekindle old favourites!!

First an old favourite has to be the kangaroo burger with onions at £4.50. Still meaty and tasty and hopping good!!

A new idea from an old favourite is next up being pulled pork, stuffing, gravy, roasties, apple sauce and cranberry…….all on a giant Yorkshire pudding….mmmmm delicious and messy, you have been warned!!

A new and novel idea I can reveal….Noisy Nuts, these are peanuts with a difference!!! Aimed at the more discerning palate and are ethically sourced peanuts served in box with a sachet of oil and one of 5 flavours. You pour sachet contents over nuts and shake!! They are very tasty!!

Lastly, for now, is freshly fried scampi with a choice of sauces from Donaghadee….crispy batter and meaty scampi…delicious.

The 2018 Belfast Christmas Market

It’s that time of the year again!!! The 14th Belfast Continental Christmas Market……and I’m really excited!!!! it’s in its usual home, Belfast City Hall. Had a wonder around today and the buzz was amazing. Lots of stalls, food from all around Europe and beyond, stuff for kids to do, Santa’s Grotto and gift stalls as well as confectioners and pastries and drinks!!!! Had my Kangaroo burger going to give the Yorkshire pudding a go!!! What will you have?

Who pays for your Christmas party?

Survey finds that 37% of NI companies will cover all costs at the Christmas party


When it comes to the work Christmas party almost one third of Northern Ireland businesses have booked their work do by September!  A new survey* by Ireland’s leading foodservice wholesaler, Musgrave MarketPlace, with sites in Belfast, Lurgan and Derry~Londonderry, reveals that 80% plan to have a work Christmas party this year and a generous 37% of companies cover the entire cost of the Christmas party.


The Musgrave MarketPlace survey was carried out among 200 Northern Ireland consumers.


A massive 80% will opt for dinner and drinks in a hotel or restaurant while 7% will opt for drinks and nibbles. The work Christmas party is such a landmark occasion in the office calendar that 45% admit to starting to talk about what they are going to wear, and who is going to the party months in advance!The survey also reveals that as a nation we love to dine out with 44% saying they will dine out up to four times over the Christmas period in addition to their work party.


The Musgrave MarketPlace Christmas party survey finds that 45% spend up to £40 per person on their Christmas party meal excluding drinks. One third (33%) pay for their own work party, while 28% say their company contributes to it. A further 37% say their company pays for everything.


Wine is the most popular drink with 32% opting for a glass of wine to get them into the festive spirit at the office party. 25% say champagne or prosecco is their Christmas party tipple of choice followed by cocktails (14%) and spirits (11%).


According to the Musgrave MarketPlace research, 27% of party goers would like to see more variety on the menu, 60% want traditional Christmas fare such as roast turkey and Christmas pudding on the menu. 27% said they would prefer to see steak chicken and fish on the menu during the festive season.


Commenting on the findings, Desi Derby, Marketing Director, Musgrave MarketPlace said:


“Christmas is one of the busiest times for the foodservice industry and our survey reveals that many of us have already booked or are in the process of booking our Christmas party. It was also interesting to see that the demand for gluten and dairy free options on the menu continues to grow and over half of restaurant owners are planning to add these options to their set menu this year. 


In our own business, we have seen the free from sector grow significantly. In the last three years we have added 200 new products to the range and sales in this category have grown by 80%, concluded Desi.


Gerard Campbell, Head Chef, Jurys, Belfast said: Our Christmas preparations are already well underway at Jury’s Hotel. We start getting calls for bookings as early as July, but September and October are our busiest times for Christmas party reservations. This year diners at our restaurants can expect classic Christmas favourites along with contemporary dishes, great drinks and a festive ambience. We would urge those thinking of coming to one of our restaurants over the Christmas period to book early to avoid disappointment.”