Crème brulee with Armagh bramley apple puree


Ingredients :

500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar (plus extra for topping)
6 free range egg yolks
I large bramley apple, peeled, cored and diced
Further 150g caster sugar for puree
2 or 3 cloves

Method : Preheat oven to 150C. Pour cream into saucepan, split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds in to cream – the vanilla pod can also be added to the cream for the cooking process. Bring the cream to the boil then reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl until pale and fluffy. Bring the cream back to the boil and pour it over the egg mixture, whisking continuously until thickened – this indicates the eggs have begun to cook. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a jug – this can then be used to fill the ramekins to approximately ¾ full.

Place the ramekins into a bain marie ensuring water bath comes up to ½ way on their outsides. Place the bain marie into the oven for approximately 35-40 minutes or until custards are set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Remove ramekins from bain-marie and set aside until to cool to room temperature – chill until needed.

In a separate saucepan add the chopped apples, caster sugar and cloves – heat until apples are ‘stewed’ or to a point when they can be easily crushed with the back of a fork.

When ready to serve, top each ramekin with a teaspoon of caster and caramelise with a chef’s blow torch – garnish the ramekins on top with the pureed apple.


Slow braised pork belly with fondant potatoes, baby vegetables, black pudding ‘bon bon’s’ and Armagh cider reduction



Pork Belly : 1kg pork belly off the bone (your friendly butcher will do this for you)
Rough mirepoir of vegetables
Chicken stock
330ml of Long Meadow Armagh cider
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
2/3 cloves garlic (crushed)

Potato Fondant : 3 large Maris Piper potatoes
Chicken stock

Baby vegetables : Baby carrots
Trimmed green beans
Seasoned water
Butter (unsalted)

Black pudding ‘bon bon’s’ : medium sized black pudding
Flour, eggs and pin head breadcrumbs to pane

Cider reduction : Rib Bones from the pork belly
Long Meadow cider
Chicken stock
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped or crushed
Seasoning and butter


Pork Belly : Score and season the pork belly and seal well on a hot non stick pan.  To a roasting tray, add the rough mirepoir of vegetables, cider, garlic and chicken stock.  Place the pork belly on top of the mirepoir and cover with tin foil.  Place in a pre-heated oven at 150 C for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove from the oven – remove the cooked pork belly onto another tray.  Place another well weighted tray on top of the pork belly and once cooled to room temperature place in the fridge until chilled.

Strain the roasting juices and when cool, skim any excess fat – set aside to make cider reduction later.

Fondant potatoes : Takes 2 or 3 large Maris Piper potatoes – wash and peel.  Carefully cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes.  Add approximately 50g of butter to a hot pan and colour each side until golden brown.  Add chicken stock to pan to a level which covers half of the potato cubes.  Cover and gently simmer for 20-25 minutes until soft in the middle.  Constantly turn the potatoes during the cooking process and maintain the level of stock at all times.

Baby vegetables : Wash vegetables and add to a pot of boiling, seasoned water.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until cooked through.  Strain and toss in melted butter to serve.

Bon bon’s : Place black pudding (skin off) in a bowl and add seasoning and cream – mix well.  Roll mixture into a small ball and pane in flour, egg wash and pinhead breadcrumbs.  Place in a deep fat fryer at 160 C until golden brown.

Cider reduction : To a hot pan add the pork ribs, onion and garlic.  When cooked through, deglaze the pan with about 200ml (or so) of cider – reduce by half over moderate heat.  Finally, add the strained and skimmed roasting juices and simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Strain the contents of the pan into another pan and add a knob of butter to add shine.

Assemble dish as per photograph above

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!!’