Today is publication day. It’s been a few years since I published a book, and today, I’m please to say, I have a new book out. It’s a book all about the Lough Neagh Eel, the story and recipes. All to start my journey to record 2016 – Northern Irelands Year of Food and Drink.
Belfast is fast becoming a food capital of the world, Northern Ireland with it’s spring of artisan food products are winning a host of awards for quality and innovation. And, 2 Michelin stars have come back to Belfast after a 4 year lapse.
Anyone form my native Northern Ireland will know the jingle. “Pick Punjana Tea”. Why? Because it was part of our growing up and heritage. But It’s more than that as I discovered. Many at home would condemn the rain, but as I have learnt recently its one of the main ingredients that makes ‘Our Food So Good’ as Food NI use in their marketing campaigns. You see rain makes the grass grow, that makes the beef so good, the flour so good and that leads to breads and everything else we produce on the farms in Northern Ireland unique and world class. Other brands of drinks need to create an ‘occasion’ for consumption in their marketing like “eleven thirty” , but when nature produces a daily stop in Northern Ireland with the rain, Punjana had a natural marketing campaign. That’s why we all know to “Pick Punjana Tea”.
Readers will know how much I love the food and culture from my native Northern Ireland and also how I often travel to China to present TV and launch food products for Great British and Northern Irish brands in China. What a surprise when I stumbled upon a Northern Irish restaurant in China. A Home from home, I was even greeted at the door in my mother tongue of Ulster Scots with a big smile by Eddie the Chinese owner who lives in Belfast now saying in broad Belfast tone ‘bout ya’, slightly different to the ‘Ni Hao’ I have been greeted with the past 10 days. Welcome to the land of BT8 in Shenzhen, just above Hong Kong.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has served up a new initiative aimed at giving more tourists an appetite to visit Northern Ireland. And I for one am excited the world can discover Northern Ireland’s food and beautiful scenery with it’s many tourist attractions.
Announcing that next year, 2016, will be Northern Ireland’s Year of Food, the Minister called on everyone to get involved in giving visitors a taste of what makes our local menus so special.
I’m what they call an early adopter. I like technology, new things and new ideas. When there is an update for my phone or computer I’m one of the first to try it out. In 2010 I was one of the first to produce an iPhone app for my recipes that include AGA and Rayburn timings. Today Angus the AGA City60 was cooking trans-atlanticaly on FaceTime with Judith McLoughlin in Atlanta.