Food: Ulster chefs cook up a festival of fine flavours

Head Chefs, Danny Millar from The Parson's Nose, Andy Rea from Mourne Seafood Bar, Derek Patterson from The Plough Inn, and Karl Banks from The Hillside, prepare for Hillsborough International Oyster Festival's first Gourmet Pop-Up Restaurant.
Head Chefs, Danny Millar from The Parson's Nose, Andy Rea from Mourne Seafood Bar, Derek Patterson from The Plough Inn, and Karl Banks from The Hillside, prepare for Hillsborough International Oyster Festival's first Gourmet Pop-Up Restaurant.

The world-renowned Hillsborough International Oyster Festival which runs until tomorrow has become the gastronomic event of the season. Here we feature a tempting recipe which was on the menu at the festival’s first ever Gourmet Pop-Up Restaurant

Now in its 23rd year the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival is famous for the oyster-eating competition that attracts competitors from all over the world, but has also featured a plethora of other events including all new Oyster Festival Musical Evening and back by popular demand the Flash Harry live concert and BBQ.

This year marked the Festival’s first ever Gourmet Pop-up Restaurant which showcased the best in culinary talent from Hillsborough and the surrounding area.

The event featured a course each from the chefs from The Plough Inn, The Hillside, The Parson’s Nose, and Mourne Seafood Bar.

Derek Patterson, from The Plough Inn, who cooked at the event said: “Each chef was given the challenge of creating a signature dish with one core, locally-sourced ingredient at the heart.”

He went on, “Each of us used our unique talents and creativity to transform one hero product into a delight to tempt any palate on the evening.”

Having founded The Plough Inn along with his brothers Derek has a 25-year culinary pedigree in Northern Ireland. Passionate about food and a trailblazer for bistro-style restaurants in Northern Ireland, Derek is also a Michelin-recommended chef who has created the ultimate family eatery in the heart of Hillsborough.

Also on the roster was Danny Miller, director of Balloo Inns and chef at the Parson’s Nose in Hillsborough. Named Best Chef in Ireland by the Restaurant Association of Ireland, Danny joined the company in 2006 and has since brought it from strength to strength. He has even won the Parson’s Nose a mention in the 2014 Michelin Guide. This is not Danny’s first outing presenting his fare to a public audience – he has frequently appeared on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.

Andy Rea, who also took part in the Pop-up, made his name by providing simple but deliciously fresh fish and seafood in the two Mourne Seafood Bar restaurants in Belfast and Dundrum. His is best known for buying his produce directly from the fishermen’s boats at Portavogie and Kilkeel ensuring the best of local produce for his restaurants.

Finally the chefs were joined by The Hillside’s head chef Karl Banks. Part of the Beannchor Group, The Hillside has been a public house since 1752. The devil is in the details with Karl as he creates sumptuous pub grub created with Northern Ireland’s local produce, giving each dish an individual twist.

At the Pop-up Restaurant, each of these chefs gave live demonstrations throughout the evening as they created and served their signature dishes. Guests enjoyed the show – including entertainment from the hilarious Faulty Towers dining experience – before relaxing and enjoying each delicious course as with its perfectly paired wine.

For the this special event, The Plough’s Derek Patterson created a dish using shorthorn beef ribs, one of the oldest breeds from Hannon Meats in Moira.

You can try this at home using Aberdeen Angus or even traditional Hereford. At the pop-up gourmet restaurant diners also enjoyed Derek’s dish paired with a 2011, Concha y Toro, Marques de Casa Concha Syrah.

Jacob’s ladder shorthorn beef ribs, Korean marinated

(Serves 6)

6 meaty Jacob’s Ladder beef ribs – 1 per portion

1 lemongrass stalk

1 bay leaf

1 clove of garlic

2 chillis

Marinade:

6 tbs tomato ketchup

6 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs honey

2 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs 5 spice powder

1 tbs diced fresh ginger

2 diced cloves of garlic

Mix all ingredients together and toss ribs in marinade so they masarate. Leave for 24-48 hours so flavour can truly infuse into meat.

To cook

Remove from marinade and set to one side, allowing the ribs to drain for 20 minutes. Next, sear on a hot pan to add colour. Place in roasting tray with just enough beef stock, to cover ribs so they don’t dry out during cooking. Add other ingredients to stock and cover with foil. Slow cook in low oven for 8 hours at 130c, checking every few hours to ensure they dont dry out. Ribs are fully cooked when the flesh starts to separate from the bone and meat is soft and tender. Drain excess stock, coat ribs with the residue of the marinade and place back in oven until golden brown to serve.