Poached Armagh bramley apple on winter berry compote with a rich butterscotch sauce




400 ml of good red wine (only cook with it if you would drink it)

250ml Armagh cider

1 vanilla pod split

1 tsp cinnamon

6oz caster sugar

1 orange, zest and juice

2 medium sized bramley apples – peeled, cored and cut in half

For the butterscotch sauce :
200ml of single cream
160 g brown sugar
100g cubed butter
3 tsp vanilla essence

For the compote :
200g mixed (frozen berries)
100g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon

Method :
Heat the red wine, cider, cinnamon, caster sugar, orange zest and juice until the sugar dissolves. Add the apple halves and poach for 15 minutes or until soft – be careful not to over cook.

To ensure an even colouring, leave apples in cooking liquor for a further 45 minutes – then remove and set to one side

For the butterscotch sauce – place the sugar, butter, cream and vanilla essence in a heavy based medium saucepan, stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until well combined. Increase the heat and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until sauces thickens. Remove from heat and set aside

Place the frozen berries in a medium heavy saucepan, add the sugar and lemon juice. Heat mixture until fruits are well softened and cooking liquor becomes ‘syrupy’

To serve, carefully slice apples and arrange on top of fruit compote – finish by adding warmed butterscotch sauce


The Perfect Steak

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How to cook the perfect steak :

We use an array local suppliers for our restaurant however, all our red meat comes from the Hewitt Meats ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ range. These hand-picked sirloins and fillets are minimum 21 days hung on the bone in a state of the art dry aging chamber where not only temperature but humidity is strictly controlled.
When choosing a steak, make sure you ask your butcher how long the meat has been hung – if possible, heifer (female) beef is preferable – these animals tend to be smaller therefore when the steak is cut, you have a smaller surface area of meat and the steaks tend to be thicker – I feel this rule is a great start to cooking the ‘perfect steak.’
Ok, let’s not muck about – if you are going to eat a sirloin steak, it needs to be 10-12oz. Also ensure the meat is a deep red colour and has a good marbling of fat throughout. This will melt during the cooking process and ‘self baste’ to ensure maximum succulence. In addition, a good layer of fat around the top of the sirloin is essential.
The cooking process : Heat your griddle over a high heat until it begins to smoke.
Brush the steak with some olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Please don’t griddle more than 2 steaks at a time – this will only serve to drop the temperature and your steaks will boil rather than fry.
Only turn your steaks when good sear marks appear – only then turn the steaks and cook the other side.
The last point is vital – the steaks need to rest for a good 3-4 minutes to allow the juices which have been drawn to the surface during cooking to permeate back into the steak again.

How long to cook :

Blue – 1 minute each side
Rare – 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side
Medium rare – 2-2 ½ minutes per side
Medium – 2 ½ – 3 minutes per side
Medium to well done – 3-3 ½ minutes per side
(Note – for blue or rare steaks, make sure they have been removed from the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking)

Over at Sally McNally’s…

Meet the Sally's team

Sally McNally’s

Since its re-branding in December 2011, Sally McNally’s has continued to establish itself a premier country pub and restaurant known and loved by locals and customers further afield.

Operated by John McNally and his family, the pub developed from a 2 room operation in 2007 to a sprawling restaurant with lots of inviting nooks and crannies which have bags full of charm and character.

Being passionately in charge of his kitchen John, with his brigade, has aggressively developed his menu’s making the most of his local supplier network.

‘Some speak loosely about growing their own – we just do it in our purpose built poly-tunnels. This combined with our loyal band of suppliers (who we proudly call friends) ensure the freshest of seasonal ingredients are available at all times. Special mention goes to the Ian Richardson’s, Andy McKeown’s, Hewitt Meats, Dolce & Gelato ice cream

and many more of this world – sincerely, thank you!! You know who you are.’

Sally McNally’s (named after John’s youngest daughter) has carved its niche in the local hospitality market. Those who want a leisurely pint, great food without pretention and quality live music are amongst the reasons why this establishment is on an ascendancy.

‘Sad and clichéd as it may sound but, and as much I curse it sometimes, I actually love what I do!! The most important thing about my cooking is being proud of each and every dish which leaves the pass – if pride isn’t there, simply don’t do it!!’