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Food & Drink

Slemish Market Supper Club Hosts Exclusive Summer Fine Dining Experience

The popular Slemish Market Supper Club is set to offer food fans a new experience next month as their exclusive dining experience returns for another six-course event featuring well known chef Rob Curley.

Based in the beautiful surroundings of the greater Ballymena area, the unique pop up dining experience, Slemish Market Supper Club, creates an array of bespoke meals using only the finest local produce. 

Hosted by the award-winning chef, Rob Curley, Slemish Market Supper Club runs across a number of venues across the greater Ballymena area in County Antrim. 

At each fine dining experience, Rob will be on hand to allow you to learn more about each dish by explaining the ingredients, where they are sourced and the inspiration behind the creation of the distinctive cuisines.

“I love surprising people by taking a humble ingredient and turning it into something extraordinary,” said Rob.

The delectable dishes consist of six courses that will include a drink, a wee bite, a starter, a fish course, a meat course and a dessert. 

“We want our diners to have more than a meal,” explained Rob, adding: “We want them to understand what is on their doorstep, what they too can prepare and have a great time as well as great food.” 

Each event differs from the rest, as the ingredients used are done so when the produce is at its finest, making each experience special. Not just that, the menu is a surprise which Rob reveals on the night.

Offering the best summer creations, the next pop up event is due to take place on Saturday August 7 at Incredible Edibles Community Gardens in Cloughmills, Co. Antrim. The unique event not only offers the finest of cuisines but creates an intimate setting allowing you to meet new people and learn top tips from an award-winning chef. 

“It Is a delight for me to showcase what we have on our doorstep,” said Rob. “And when our diners experience the freshness it can be a revelation.”

Northern Ireland is renowned for its quality food and hospitality, and with Slemish Market Supper Club, they combine these two elements to create innovative and unforgettable experiences.

Tickets for the Slemish Market Supper Club at Incredible Edibles Community Gardens are £60 and can be booked at slemishmarketsupperclub.com 

To find out more or book a place, ​​phone Rob Curley on 07547804975, go to their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter 

Food & Drink

Lidl Northern Ireland Crunches New £11 Million Supply Deal with Newtownards Producer

Pictured celebrating the announcement is Enya Rooney, Senior Buyer at Lidl Northern Ireland, John McCann, Founder and CEO of Willowbrook Foods and Tanya Neilson, NPD & Hub Innovation Manager at Willowbrook Foods.

Lidl Northern Ireland has awarded Newtownards-based fresh food producer Willowbrook Foods an expanded supply deal worth £11 million – almost double its previous contract – to supply 25 new lines of fresh convenience foods across its network of 210 stores throughout the island of Ireland.

Established in 1968 by the McCann family, Willowbrook Foods is the largest salad and vegetable processing company in Ireland, operating from its two sites on the shores of Strangford Lough. The local company has been supplying Lidl Northern Ireland with premium bagged salads and fresh deli products since 2011.

The new contract with Lidl Northern Ireland represents an 83% boost on last year – taking the former £6 million annual contract to a cool £11 million – and will see 25 new product lines introduced across its premium range of ready meals, stir fry and deli salads.

Enya Rooney, Senior Buyer at Lidl Northern Ireland said:

“Lidl Northern Ireland has held a long-standing partnership with Willowbrook Foods and over the years we’ve seen the company enjoy exponential growth. As a proud supporter of local agri-food producers, we’re delighted to reaffirm our commitment to the partnership and provide a significant sales boost through this expanded new contract.

With a strong focus on new product development, Willowbrook Foods is continually innovating to introduce new lines in response to changing consumer demand. We’ve seen a real increase in demand for our fresh convenience foods range and we’re excited to now launch an expanded line of great tasting, home-grown salads, cold deli foods and stir fry meals to thousands of customers across the island of Ireland.

Through this new supply deal we’re thrilled to offer shoppers even more choice of fresh, quality convenience food at the same great value customers can expect from shopping with Lidl Northern Ireland.”

Headquartered in Killinchy, Willowbrook Foods opened its £5.5 million state-of-the-art production facility in 2011 to support its ambitious growth plans and enhance production capability. The site is also home to its dedicated New Product Development hub where it operates an innovation centre utilising the latest food production technology. In addition, the company operates a cooking facility at its site in Newtownards where it manufactures ready-meal products.

Lidl Northern Ireland crunches new £11 million supply deal with fresh food producer Willowbrook Foods: Pictured celebrating the announcement is Tanya Neilson, NPD & Hub Innovation Manager at Willowbrook Foods, Enya Rooney, Senior Buyer at Lidl Northern Ireland and John McCann, Founder and CEO of Willowbrook Foods

John McCann, Founder and CEO of Willowbrook Foods said,

“Since the early days Willowbrook Foods has been a leader in providing premium prepared fresh vegetables and salads, cooked and ready to cook products. Over the last 50 years we have focused on mastering our craft of growing the highest quality, great tasting vegetables and continually developing our product offering.

Key to our success is our established partnership with Lidl Northern Ireland. As the region’s fastest-growing supermarket, we’ve been able to realise our ambitious growth plans, break into new markets, reach new customers and grow our brand exponentially through the partnership.

Willowbrook Foods is delighted to secure this increased supply deal with Lidl Northern Ireland and embark on a new period of growth whilst providing its 300,000 weekly shoppers in the region with a fantastic new range of locally grown, quality products to enjoy.”

Since the beginning of its relationship with Willowbrook Foods in 2011, Lidl Northern Ireland’s supply deal has helped to create 100 new full-time roles, in addition to providing access to sales in the UK and Republic of Ireland markets.

Lidl Northern Ireland is a major supporter of local food suppliers.

An independent report into the economic impact of Lidl Northern Ireland’s operations revealed that the retailer spends at least £290 million annually with suppliers across the region while also supporting 3,500 jobs.

In 2020, Lidl Northern Ireland announced a £24 million contract with Fermanagh-based bakery, Crust & Crumb, to supply an expanded line of pizza products across more than 1,000 UK and Ireland stores whilst top Northern Ireland horticulturalist Greenisland Flowers secured a new supply deal with Lidl Northern Ireland to ship over four million stems of freshly cut tulips, lilies and scented stocks, building on their existing partnership worth more than £7.2 million.

Earlier this year Lidl Northern Ireland confirmed a new and expanded contract with Irwin’s Bakery after a successful 20-year partnership deal worth more than £50 million. Under the new supply deal, worth £2.7 million annually, the family-run bakery will continue to supply customer favourites including Nutty Krust batch bread, Irwin’s Veda malted loaf and Jammy Joey’s buns to Lidl stores across the island of Ireland.

In addition, Lidl Northern Ireland announced a new supply deal worth more than £500,000 with Antrim-based coffee producer, SlumberJack Coffee in 2021 to supply their premium Italian Espresso whole bean and ground coffee across all 210 Lidl stores within the island of Ireland.

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Food & Drink

Anthony Flinn Set To Cook Up A Storm With Asda at Balmoral Show

Join ASDA at this year’s Balmoral Show, taking place from 22 – 25 September and enjoy a range of cookery demonstrations from renowned chef Anthony Flinn. 

With years of experience, Anthony has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants throughout the UK and Europe including the esteemed 3 Michelin Star, El Bulli in Barcelona. Having attained 3 AA Rosettes as well as numerous regional & national accolades, Anthony has a first class reputation for creativity, quality and attention to detail.

ASDA will be situated on Alexander Avenue in the centre of the Balmoral Showgrounds and during the four days of the Show, Anthony is set to cook up a storm using the best of British beef that is readily available from local ASDA stores.

Why not try his mouth watering Dirty Burger recipe for yourself and get a taste of what the Show has to offer.

Dirty Burger Recipe (Serves 2)

  • 1 pack of ASDA Extra Special 4 Seasoned Beef Burgers
  • 2 brioche buns
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 2 kraft cheese slices
  • Sliced gherkins

Beef Stock Mayonnaise

  • ½ Oxo Cube
  • 100gr Good Mayonnaise

Crumb the oxo cube into a bowl and add 1tsp of warm water and mix until fully dissolved and smooth. Add the mayonnaise and mix until the stock and mayonnaise are fully incorporated.

Crispy Onions

  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • Toss the sliced onions in the flour and deep fry until crispy. Season with salt.

Cheese Sauce

  • 8 kraft cheese slices.
  • 150ml double cream.
  • Warm the cream in a pan. Add the cheese slices and whisk until the cheese is fully melted and smooth.

Simple Steps

  1. Cook the burgers as per the cooking instructions on pack.
  2. Toast the burger buns.
  3. Spoon the beef stock mayonnaise on to the top and bottom halves of the burger buns.
  4. Place a burger on to the bottom half of the bun and top with cheese.
  5. Stack the second burger on top and drizzle the BBQ sauce.
  6. Add the crispy onions and finally the bun lid.
  7. Skewer through burger to stop it from tipping over.
  8. Pour the warm cheese sauce over the whole burger and serve.

The Balmoral Show will run from Wednesday 22nd September to Saturday 25th September, that’s four action packed days of family fun.  Come along and visit us this year, whether you’re from the city or countryside, a first time visitor or repeat show-goer, we hope to see you there.  Tickets are now available to purchase online at www.balmoralshow.co.uk. Please note this year tickets are day specific only and must be purchased prior to the Show. Conditions of entry can also be found online.

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