Food: Ambassador chef brings fresh flavour to stores

Nigel Maxwell, SuperValu Sales Director, Musgrave NI, announces a new partnership with top, local chef Noel McMeel
Nigel Maxwell, SuperValu Sales Director, Musgrave NI, announces a new partnership with top, local chef Noel McMeel

Leading foodmarket convenience brand, SuperValu, has revealed a new partnership with top Northern Ireland chef Noel McMeel, who here shares one of his tasty recipes with readers

The announcement of Noel McMeel as SuperValu’s ambassador chef was made at a recent event hosted at Tedfords Kitchen in Belfast to celebrate Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, attended by tourism officials, media and stakeholders.

SuperValu is undertaking a major upgrade of its 35 stores across Northern Ireland over the next 12 months which will see a significant increase in its fresh offering in store and a wider range of quality produce to appeal to all customers.

Categories which have been developed in-store include fruit and veg, food to go, meal solutions, coffee, bakery and the ‘free from’ range.

McMeel, who is currently executive head chef at the prestigious five star Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, will share his passion for local produce with SuperValu customers, promoting its extensive range of fresh, local and quality ingredients and encouraging consumers to shop local.

Michael McCormack, managing director of Musgrave NI, which operates the SuperValu brand announced the partnership.

He said: “SuperValu has always been at the heart of the local community, supporting real food and real people and we are now going that extra mile to put great food on your table, with inspiration from our very own SuperValu Ambassador Chef.

“We look forward to working with Noel to provide the best in foodmarket convenience for our customers, whether they are cooking from scratch or want to grab and go, our aim is to provide local produce and expertise,” he added.

Chef McMeel said: “SuperValu, like me, is all about keeping it real – real food for real people, so I am delighted to be able to share my recipes, top tips and cooking twists with you to bring the best ingredients and fuss-free meals to homes throughout Northern Ireland.” Here’s one of Noel’s scrumptious recipes to try at home....

Traditional meatballs with tomato and herb sauce

For the meatballs

2 tbsp Rapeseed Oil

150g/5oz onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

900g/2lb freshly Northern Irish minced beef

2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, such as marjoram, or 1 tbsp rosemary

1 free-range egg, beaten

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp Rapeseed Oil

For the tomato & Herb Sauce

3 tbsp Rapeseed Oil

3 Beef tomatoes

110g/4oz onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp Dried Mixed Herbs

150g/5¼oz fresh mozzarella, grated

1 tsp sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 x 400g/14oz cans tomatoes


Heat two tablespoons of Rapeseed Oil in a heavy stainless steel saucepan over a gentle heat and add the onion and garlic.

Cover and sweat for four minutes, until soft and a little golden. Allow to cool.

In a bowl, mix the minced beef with the cold sweated onion and garlic. Add the herbs and the beaten egg.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Fry a tiny bit to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Divide the mixture into approximately 24 round balls.

Cover the meatballs and refrigerate until required.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a stainless steel saucepan.

Add the sliced onion, dried herbs and the crushed garlic, toss until coated, cover, and sweat on a gentle heat until soft and pale golden. Slice the fresh & canned tomatoes and add, with all the juice, to the onion mixture.

Season the contents with sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Cook the tomatoes uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until the tomato softens (while this is cooking make the meatballs).

Heat a frying pan and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes in about three tablespoons of Rapeseed Oil.

When they are cooked, put them into an ovenproof dish with the tomato sauce and top with the grated mozzarella. Place under a preheated grill until the cheese has melted. Serve with spaghetti or your favourite pasta.