My BBQ tips

We have been very spoilt with the weather lately and that means bbq season!

I wanted to share a few tips…. firstly a bbq has to be charcoal fired. I’ve used Gas with lava rocks etc and all sorts of other permutations and combinations and have to admit that the traditional charcoal IS the best!!!!

I know that lighting the said bbq can prove challenging so I advise using good quality charcoal, an accelerant such as non odour blocks or liquid and the trick here is wood chips (preferably flavoured). If this doesn’t light properly use the lighting tower (viz picture). This is easy to use. Place paper in base, invert, add charcoal and light base. It takes 10 mins to light, then place in bottom of bbq.

To prevent burning/ over cooking your food add a layer of thick foil. This will allow dissipation of heat and cook the food evenly by indirect heat.

So I’ve shared a few tips….happy bbq’ ing!!!!!!!


Indian Food at Ambrosia- the new offering

We dined here around 5.30pm this (Sunday) evening. Ambrosia has recently added Indian cuisine to its offering and my wife and I were keen to try it. The kids wanted Italian but were keen on trying the Indian food.

We didn’t order any starters and had water with our food. My two girls wanted pepperoni pizza and penne Carbonara. My memory of the Italian food served here was a good one and I knew portion sizes were generous.

I chose Butter chicken and pilau rice, my wife went for the king prawn karahi and garlic nan and my little one insisted on chips also.

The food duly arrived and as expected portion sizes were very generous and presentation excellent. The kids loved the Pizza and Carbonara and I must admit this is one of the better Carbonaras I have eaten.

Chef Jainal is at the helm of the Indian kitchen with over 15 years in the hot seat. He is Bangladeshi by origin and this comes through in his style. His butter chicken is a good attempt at this traditional Punjabi dish with the right amount of buttery creaminess and spice.

The king prawn karahi was superbly presented on a hot plate and the prawn were big and meaty and cooked to perfection. The rich, thick, spicy sauce was finger licking good!! The nan was puffy and garlicky. Overall the Indian dishes are definitely worth trying out. The four of us were very impressed.

Friday Fish Fayre

I want to share a couple of fish dishes I recently made. Friday is traditionally a fish dish day, hence my blog.

The first dish (top two pics below) is my smoked haddock with boiled ordinary and sweet potatoes, roasted fennel, pan fried caramelised onion, green beans and broccoli with gravy. The saltiness and smokiness of the haddock was offset by the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and caramelised onions, whilst the vegetables and gravy complimented the dish well. A very healthy and balanced meal-my two girls loved it!!

My second dish (above bottom two pics) was 3 types of salmon with baby corn, broccoli, fat oven chips and gravy. The fish being salmon and I cooked this three ways; first was salmon tikka, second was salmon with lemon and third was salmon skin crackling. The fat chips I blanched then finished in halogen oven and veg was boiled and water used to make gravy. Again Delicious and nutritious!!

National Avocado Day dinner at Cuffs Restaurant

This evening a group of us were treated to a private tour of the Gaol, a three course Avocado meal in Cuffs Grill Bar and live music by Michael Kerr. The event was hosted by i3 Digital. Adrian, the MD, was telling me that they employ 30 people and one of their clients is The California Avocado Commission, an organisation which has 5000 members. What a great way to pay homage to the avocado.

I’ve visited the Gaol a few times, last time was a few years ago and I must say there have been many good improvements. Firstly there’s a dedicated car park further up the road and easy access to reception.

Our guide was excellent and certainly knew his history. He showed us the tunnel, the circle, the 4 wings, some cells, the execution room and hanging ropes (17 men were executed here). Also he showed us roughly where the bodies were buried. He also explained that when first few men were executed it was in public and this was treated as a party and lots of drink was consumed. The next day after the hanging was over people suffered with a “hang-over”!! If your lucky you might see the ghost of Isobel or the warden!!!!

After our tour we were treated to a lovely 3 course avocado based meal to celebrate National Avocado Day!!

The restaurant itself was very intimate with low ceilings and there was a nice vibe about the place.

The menu was a set menu. The starter was a salad of smoked chicken, a fan of avocado with leaves and a raspberry dressing. The presentation was lovely and the sharpness and sweetness of the dressing worked well with the creamy avocado however I didn’t detect any smokiness in the chicken, which was moist and succulent.

The main course was poached salmon, broccoli, carrot, potato dauphinois served with avocado cream. Again presentation was good, all the components were piping hot, vegetables were crunchy, dauphinois was superb, salmon was nice and firm and the avocado cream really brought the dish to life. The portion size was perfect.

Instead of dessert we were served a California Avo Colado. This is a twist on the classic pina colada and consisted of pineapple, cream, avocado and rum. I chose the Mocktail (no rum). Again a refreshing, creamy and tasty drink.

The staff were fantastic and a credit to the restaurant. As an Avocado fan I loved the meal!!

Big thanks to Michelle for the invite.





Twilight Market at St Georges

The Twilight Market is here today and tomorrow and I spent a good hour taking in the sights, sounds and smells!!! The place was packed and there was a great vibe about the place.

I’m glad I ate before I went as the choice of food was spectacular-lots of meat dishes and sweet and savouries to choose from. Really loved the Parmesan stand-have to check it out!!

Lots of choice with soft and hard drinks (no under 18 after 9pm). There was live music and a live cookery demo as well as plenty of places to sit and eat, drink or just to chill. Nice play area for kids. If you can pay it a visit!! #twilightmarketbelfast

Amazing country pub and grub

I was coming back from the Sunflower festival after having packed all our stuff and just had to pop in for a bite!! My wife and I passed The Pheasant every day as we travelled home from the festival.

Today I got my chance to pop in…was I in for a treat. The interior decor is definitely period and works really well….check it out!!

It has a great location and there is ample car parking. Absolutely superbly decked out inside and staff excellent. I went for the calamari and Caesar salad. When it arrived it was huge and delicious-the Caesar must have been the best (tastiest and creamiest) I’ve ever had. Calamari cooked to perfection and in a lightly spiced batter (I was expecting more).

As a starter it was excellent value and big portion well presented. Will be back for more!!!!

Sunflowerfest 18

Hi all just wanted to let u all know that the @sunflower_fest is taking place Fri 27 thro Sun 29th just outside Lisburn. Gr8 music, food, entertainment and craic for all the family……Come get your Authentic henna tattoos and drink some Real Masala all there!!!! #SFF18