Causeway Coast and Glen speciality food market provides a taste of NI

Quail is an unrivalled local product
Quail is an unrivalled local product

Causeway Coast and Glens Council host a food market in Coleraine on the second Saturday of every month.

It’s been running since 2006 and now has over 25 speciality food stands.

A van with glisteningly fresh fish sits beside Coleraine based Ballinteer farm with their succulent quail meat and dinky eggs.

Just down the road, Galbraith Farm sell Sharpe’s Express potatoes, dirty carrots with verdant green tops, beautiful turnips, purple fronded beetroots and the biggest scallions you’ve ever seen.

Traditional and indigenous to the region, North Coast Smokehouse sell their award winning smoked salt, pepper, dulse and hot salmon.

Other local companies include Broighter Gold rapeseed oil, Kooky Kook pesto, Infuse Teas and the Gourmet Mallow Company.

Ballycastle based Broughgammon Farm are a stalwart of the market and they come fresh from winning the Northern Ireland heat of the British Street Food Awards.

They’re leading the charge on food innovation with their ethical veal and goat butchery.

Last time I was at the market I picked up some beautiful smoked garlic from Provence from Tom and Ollies deli stand.

Plump to bursting with delicately infused cloves – roast chicken has never been the same.

In Northern Ireland we’re not cut out to grow that sweet, fat garlic and sometimes “local” can still mean the south of France.

Two iconic Tyrone cooking women, Catherine Finnegan with her light as a feather “Fluffy Meringues” and Joan Boyd with some of the best traybakes in the country, make the journey up from Augher to showcase their produce.

Kennedy Bacon from Omagh also come over the Glenshane Pass bringing their naturally cured pork products.

Their jewel in the crown bacon collar is worth the trip alone…

Today there are food demonstrations from 12 o’clock kicking off with the chef from Bartali restaurant in Portballintrae and I’m on from 1.30pm, cooking dishes using ingredients from every stand.

My recipes this week are based on the unique local produce available at the Speciality market.

I’m going to be unapologetically biased and say you have to come to my home turf to pick up the ingredients if you want to try out the recipes.

You can buy carrots and turnip elsewhere but they won’t be as good as those from Galbraith Farm’s on the Boghill Road in Coleraine.

Ballinteer Quail is an unrivalled local product and I’ve finished it off with my own rowan berry jelly (recipe from last week’s column) – the only way you’ll be able to taste it is if you make your way to the market today.

Pot roast Kennedy bacon collar is about as comforting a dish you’ll find this side of Christmas.

Turnips with a crispy scallion crumb completes this heart warming meal.

Hopefully you’ll be able to make the trip to the Diamond in Coleraine, where buying these gems won’t need a second mortgage.