Masquerade Christmas Ball Belfast Launch

This evening I was invited along to the launch of the opulent and decadent themed Masquerade Ball. This is a totally new concept for Northern Ireland (I was extremely fortunate to attend one at University many moons ago!!).

The venue was the HQ of Q Radio in Fountain Street, Belfast.

The company behind the concept is Best Parties Ever who have over 20 years experience across England in Masquerade Ball parties.

On arrival there was a selection of cocktails and mocktails and I opted for a delicious, refreshing strawberry mocktail. These were served up by the Blaklist lads Ryan and Soda.

After some mingling we sampled some canapés which were blinis with salmon and prawns and mini skewers of mozzarella, sun dried tomato and olives. Other nibbles included cheese sticks and pretzels with delicious pesto. For sweet there were fruit skewers and mini chocolate tartlets.

I managed to catch the lovely sales rep Amy from Eventist Group who explained the concept. From the 5th through 20th December (for 8 nights) the S13 building on the Boucher Road, will be transformed into a stunning venue for the Masquerade Party night Ball.

Arrival at 18.45 for 19.00, drinks reception, canapés, 4 course meal, live music, acrobatics, dodgems, casino…….count me in!!!! Then carriages at 1am all for a great price starting from £38.50. The capacity of the venue is 800 and can be booked out for very small groups right up to single companies booking out for a private event.

Eventist Group have been successfully running these Masquerade Ball party nights all over England for 20 odd years. I’m very excited about this concept and know ‘Norn Irish’ folk will love it… check them out. Big thanks to my chum Michelle for the invite!!


Delicious Rainbow Chilli

I received a box of goodies from Flavour First yesterday. In the well packaged little brown box was a tin of kidney beans, tin of tomatoes, small tin of tomato purée, a fresh red pepper, onion and 2 large cloves of garlic as well as fresh green leaves, coriander, a spice bag and a bag of rice and one of lentil, quinoa and bulgar wheat.

The preparation instructions were very straight forward and the resulting vegetarian chilli was absolutely delicious and I served it up with a barbecue!! Definitely a great idea for a stand alone meal or as part of a bigger meal. Very easy to use instructions and it’s great that it’s all in one box and is delivered to your door!!


Desi Food On The Go

There are so many different ways of ordering food to go from the traditional high street takeaway and delivery outlets, to restaurants, Independant shops and supermarkets. Whilst these are excellent in their own niches a gap in the market existed for authentic South Asian or Desi food. Enter a mother and son partnership in South East Belfast called Desi Food On The Go.

The concept is simple. One visits the Facebook page @Desifoodonthego and chooses what to order then calls +44 7912 885123 to place order and it’s delivered!!

The USP here is that these dishes are tailored for the Asian market especially those that have come here to work, study or live and miss real home cooked fayre or can’t cook won’t cook!! However all are very welcome to try.

All ingredients are fresh, meat arrives fresh on the Friday and is prepared and cooked on Saturday and Sunday and personally delivered on the Sunday. Larger orders during the week and parties can also be catered for.

I was really lucky to have been invited to see and meet the team and to try the food. The mother and son are a young and dynamic duo and are very well prepared. The kitchen has passed a stringent assessment by Environmental Health and rates highly on Scores On The Doors. All best practice procedures are adhered to.

Onto the sampling!! I was presented with delicious starters of lamb samosa, chicken spring rolls, vegetable pakoras, aloo tikki and tasty mint sauce.

The starters looked fantastic, they had been heated as per instructions and were full of flavour and importantly crispy on the outside and hot on the inside. The spring rolls had shredded chicken, cabbage and peppers, the samosa had minced lamb and spicy potatoes and the vegetable pakoras were full of flavour. The mint sauce accompanied them well.

If starters were this good I knew the mains wouldn’t disappoint!!

As there were a number of dishes to savour I wisely chose to have small samples. First was chicken tikka masala and cumin pilau rice.

Now the chicken tikka masala is not a traditional Asian dish, this was more a butter chicken. The six large pieces of chicken tikka were in a spicy, thick, rich sauce and were devoid of artificial colour, sugar and oil-a perfect dish. The rice was fragrant and aromatic. Next sample was chicken biryani and chicken madras.

Again the biryani was aromatic and tasty, contained plump succulent chicken and was accompanied by the mint sauce. The madras was tasty and well flavoured and not overly chilli hot. Lastly I had kadhi (pronounced kari) pakora and roti.

Kadhi is basically a dish made with spices, onion and gram flour and varies in thickness from region to region. This was thick akin to Punjabi or North Indian/Pakistani style. The roti was thick yet soft and moist.

As I only sampled the food I got to take the rest home and share with my family. At home the next evening I heated the chicken biryani, chicken tikka masala and chicken madras in a microwaveable dish for 4 minutes and heated the starters in my halogen oven to ensure a crispy exterior.

This I shared with my two daughters (as above). The food was delicious and as tasty as if it were just cooked!! The starters were crispy and very tasty. Note they can be microwaved in their plastic dishes if one is in a rush.

The following day I had the kadhi pakora with rice and roti.

I microwaved the rice and kadhi in a microwaveable dish and the roti was wrapped in a tea cloth (to keep it moist).

The food looked, smelled and tasted amazing. No artificial colours, preservatives, excess oil or sugar added. All very natural and very tasty. It’s definitely worth ordering!!!!


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

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!!!!