All posts tagged: the mcbride guide

A guide to Belfast, bite by bite

This article was originally published in The Irish Times. Imagine a meal that begins with the snap of crusty sourdough spread generously with Co Down’s golden Abernethy butter. Then move on to a plate of just-out-of-the-water Carlingford oysters, before a main of Mourne mountain lamb with buttery local potatoes. Round it off with a chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream from Glastry Farm from the Ards Peninsula or, for cheese lovers, Northern Ireland’s only raw milk blue cheese, Young Buck. This is just a tiny example of the endless bounty of Northern Ireland’s food produce you will find on menus these days in Belfast. Its restaurant scene has never shone brighter, making it the perfect time to visit. OX restaurant in Belfast. The past decade has seen the growth of the relationship between Northern Ireland’s producers, suppliers and restaurants. As the political situation stabilised, Belfast saw a surge in tourism with visitors taking in tourist attractions such as the Titanic visitor centre or stopping off in the city before a trip to the Giant’s Causeway or …

Dining in Donegal 2018

Donegal is magical, majestic and full of mischief. My home county is the most beautiful in the country. Of course I’m going to say that, but it’s true. You’ll find warm people, freezing North Atlantic waters crashing onto dreamy beaches, good food, cosy pubs, rich Gaeilge and the song and story that comes from it, and us. Then there are sights like Mount Errigal, Malin Head, Sliabh League and the magnificent Glenveagh National Park. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve been warmed by a Donegal turf fire, its fizzing and crackly breath embracing you into the very heart of its mountains, its sea, its people and its soul. Grá mo chroí.   Here are some of my favourite restaurants: Harry’s Bar and Restaurant What can I say about Harry’s? I’ve written a longer piece here about this fine restaurant, but what makes it so special is how much they care. The owner Donal Doherty and head chef Derek Creagh are passionate about using local produce that comes from the surrounding area of Inishowen and …

Recipe – Coffee cake

One of my favourite things is a cup of scalding hot, delicious coffee, the type you could inhale all day, and a slice of buttery, indulgent coffee cake. This recipe is one I make based on two of my favourites from the queens of baking, Darina Allen in Ballymaloe and Mary Berry. I leave out walnuts because I can’t bear them, but like to decorate with pecans. Coffee cake with mascarpone icing Ingredients 250g real butter, softened 300g self-raising flour 4 eggs, beaten 250g light soft brown sugar (Or I like to use 100g dark muscovado sugar and 150g caster sugar) 1 tsp real vanilla extract 200ml of very strong coffee, (real or instant) cooled For the mascarpone icing  250g mascarpone 500g icing sugar Cooled, sweetened coffee to taste Cocoa powder to decorate Pecan nuts to decorate (optional) Method Preheat oven to 180C or Gas mark 4. Butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper. Beat the butter and sugar together until light, pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract. …

Forgiving and forgiveness

We are in the twilight of the season of goodwill, the season where we reconnect. We are to be good and generous, we embrace family and friends, old and new, and spread good tidings and kindness. Everything is amplified in two weeks of love and understanding and supposed to be a peppermint flavour of perfect. But, thankfully, life is not perfect and with reconnection comes memories, good and bad. We realise that some wounds have healed, some are nicked open, and forgiving, and forgiveness, can be a huge challenge during this period. A mince pie and gulp of mulled wine do not always help the spiky swallow of anger or pain in the name of Christmas. What is forgiveness? You wrong me, I wrong you. Whatever the response to either of these is where forgiveness lies. Forgiveness is hope. And about how much you care about the person, and they for you. The absolute key is the acknowledgment of the hurt. Then to apologise and to try to learn from it, and behave better. The …

Recipe – Michael O’Meara – Monkfish poached in saffron nage with langoustines, cockles and mussels

Michael O’Meara, the talent behind Oscar’s Seafood Bistro in Galway, recently published one of the finest seafood cookery books I have seen, an absolute must for any seafood lover’s Santa list this year. ‘SEA Gastronomy Fish & Shellfish of the North Atlantic’ is a beautiful journey through the precious bounty we have surrounding our island with everything you could possily dream of from the sea. Here he shares this very tasty, and very pretty monkfish recipe. Monkfish poached in saffron nage with langoustines, cockles and mussels  Serves 1 170g monkfish fillet, fully trimmed and cut into bite size pieces 5 fresh cockles in the shell 5 fresh mussels in the shell 3 langoustines, medium-sized 75ml turbot stock or fish stock 40ml white wine 40ml fresh cream 40g kale, lightly blanched and refreshed 40g spinach, lightly blanched and refreshed 10g samphire 4 sugar snap peas, lightly blanched and refreshed 1g powdered saffron 25g butter Sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground, to season The French term à la nage translates as ‘while swimming’ and refers to …

The Glasgowist features The Mc Bride Guide

A dear friend Paul Trainer left our Irish shores for his native Scotland and his latest Guide to the great and good of Glasgow is an absolute must for locals and if you are visiting. He kindly featured me on the website glasgowist.com By Paul Trainer Billy Connolly once said “if you ever want your flagging spirits lifted, go to Ireland” and thousands of Scots take that advice every year, hopping on one of the steady stream of cheap flights linking the two countries or taking the ferry. There is a particular connection between Donegal on Ireland’s wild west coast and Glasgow with cultural and work related links dating back generations. Caitriona McBride chronicles the finer things on the Emerald Isle at the McBride Guide. We caught up with her to talk about Irish restaurants, family ties and cheese. What was the idea behind the McBride Guide? It’s a celebration of the best of Irish food and beautiful things. I think we are living in one of the most exciting eras for Irish cuisine so …

Recipe – Domini Kemp – Ham hock terrine with celeriac remoulade and salsa verde

The very wonderful, talented and beautiful Domini Kemp shares this fantastic recipe for Ham hock terrine with celeriac remoulade and salsa verde and how she discovered it in The Wild  Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna. Ham hock terrine with celeriac remoulade and salsa verde A few years ago, I finally made it to The Burren, in Co. Clare, for the first time.  I felt like some crazed tourist, oohing and aahing at the breathtaking views, and was delighted to find plenty of gorgeous places to eat. One of the best was the Wild Honey Inn in Lisdoonvarna, where chef Aidan McGrath’s ham hock terrine was, hands down, the nicest I’ve ever had: moist, unctuous and not too ‘hammy’, and perfect with his celeriac remoulade and salsa verde.  When I left, I asked for the recipe, and true to his word, Aidan sent it up, ready for my grubby paws to test. It really is an absolute winner.  Capers, cornichons, parsley, shallots and English mustard all play their part in lifting this keenly priced meat into something light …