Antrim The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain


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Antrim

Si and Dave explore County Antrim, where they cook a traditional favourite at Carrickfergus Castle, pick potatoes and head to the coast in search of dulse seaweed.


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We're on the road to find regional recipes to rev up your appetite.

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We're riding county to county to discover, cook and enjoy the best of British.

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Come on!

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We're here to define the true taste of Antrim.

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Ha-ha! Look at that! You can see the docks.

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-Titanic, the White Star Line.

-It was built there, wasn't it?

-Yeah.

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If you're going to explore Northern Ireland, what better place to start than County Antrim?

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It's fantastic. You've got the cosmopolitan city of Belfast to the south

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and in the north you've got the Giant's Causeway - one of the wonders of the world.

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In between you've got the eel-rich shores of Lough Neagh, the biggest lake in Britain.

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-It's got everything. But where do we start?

-You know where we start, let's smarten ourselves up,

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get our dancing shoes on and get in to the city of Belfast and rip it up.

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On our quest to define the true flavours of Antrim,

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we're under siege at Carrickfergus Castle from the locals

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who have strong ideas about their traditional dish.

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That should be in the oven by now!

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Heading to the coast, we comb the beach for some of Northern Ireland's famous dulse seaweed.

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And we climb aboard a harvester and help sort the spuds from the stones.

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Hold on! Hold on!

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And representing Antrim in the cook-off later is Niall McKenna.

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Will we be able to beat him using the county's finest ingredients?

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-Bonny Belfast. St George's Market.

-Yeah, it's one of the most famous in Britain.

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-I've been longing to come here for donkey's.

-Here we go!

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-Look at this cheese here, man.

-Irish cheeses!

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Look at these potato cakes!

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-I'd love to. Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

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-Look, mine's all stuck together.

-That's OK. Go for it.

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They're delicious.

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Look at this.

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Box of chocolates.

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-Are they very good?

-Very good.

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Fab. What's that?

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-This is a traditional yellowman.

-Look at the colour.

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Just watch the fillings.

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-I love it.

-It's like rock crossed with honeycomb.

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What, to you guys, is Antrim on a plate?

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Fish.

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-The Ulster fry.

-Yes!

-Can't beat a good old Ulster fry.

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-This market, you want for nothing, do you?

-I know, it's brilliant.

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We come down every Saturday.

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Look at those sausage rolls.

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I know it's not Irish but it's making me hungry!

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No time to get distracted. We need to keep hunting for the true taste of Antrim.

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Look at that.

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-That is good, good meat.

-That is wonderful pork.

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-Thank you very much.

-I love it here.

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-What's good that comes from the sea?

-You could try some Irish dulse.

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-Particularly good around the Antrim coast.

-What's dulse?

-Seaweed.

-I love dulse.

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-How do you do dulse?

-You just buy it.

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At the seaside, you'd go down to the rocks and they're drying it out there

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-and we always buy it fresh. You eat it as is.

-You just munch it?

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-That's lovely. Could you give us a guided tour of your produce?

-We've got some soda farl.

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When you eat it, you can taste the soda after a while.

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We've got some potato bread. It's got flour, potato, wee bit of salt, some water, that's basically it.

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The Irish eel. Where are these beauties from?

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They're from Lough Neagh, the biggest freshwater lake in the UK.

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-Most of them are exported out of the country.

-Really?

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These have been pan-fried with fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes.

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They're very rich, aren't they?

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I'd like those as a little starter with a glass of chilled fino sherry.

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Would work really well, wouldn't it?

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They work equally as well with a pint of Guinness, believe you me!

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Ladies, ladies, ladies.

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Is this our lucky day?

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What's good to eat in County Antrim?

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-Lamb.

-Lamb. Salmon.

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-What traditional dishes do you have here?

-Champ.

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-What's the difference between champ and colcannon?

-It's the same.

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One has cabbage in it.

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So champ's spring onions, colcannon's got cabbage.

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See that lettuce, still got the dew on. It's so fresh and crispy.

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Would be nice with a few bits of bacon, poached egg on the top. That's proper, isn't it?

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They've got to be picked last night.

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-What would you say is typical Belfast food?

-Fry.

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-Fry? What's on a good Ulster fry?

-Everything!

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-Eggs and sausages and bacon...

-Potato bread, soda bread.

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Soda bread is so good!

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An Ulster fry on a Sunday morning.

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-It's hard to beat a bit of soda bread and potato bread.

-Bacon and eggs, sausages...

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What's in a good Ulster fry?

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Well, potato bread and the soda bread.

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It's the potato bread and the soda bread that seem to make it different to your average fry-up.

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But it's very unhealthy, boys.

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-Very, very unhealthy!

-How dare you, madam?

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These are two honed athletes on a fried breakfast.

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You look it, right enough!

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We're off to Carrickfergus Castle to cook a traditional Ulster fry.

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But we're focusing on the two elements that make this fry-up unique.

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Soda bread and potato farls.

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The bacon, sausages, black pudding, tomatoes and mushrooms are already in the oven.

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It's time to get baking!

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We're at Carrickfergus Castle.

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Behind me, we've got the harbour, Belfast Lough.

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Belfast is over there. Giant's Causeway is up there.

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We've had a great time at the market and we've got everything we need to make an Ulster fry.

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We're really going to concentrate on the potato farl and soda bread.

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What we'd better do is get the soda bread on.

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"Let's get the soda..." That's why we're here!

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The other thing is, as time is at a minimum, with soda bread, you don't have to leave it to rise.

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You mix it, knead it, bung it in the oven, half an hour later you've got a loaf. You start with flour.

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The primary ingredient is bicarbonate of soda.

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Not baking powder - bicarb. Sprinkle your bicarb in.

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The second chemical - it's cream of tartar.

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Next, a teaspoon of salt.

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LAUGHTER

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It's got damp!

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Lastly, with the dry goods, a teaspoon of sugar.

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Do you know, County Antrim is very famous for its damp climate, isn't it?

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It's lovely, it's green, it's fertile.

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-It's wet, that's what it is!

-Aye.

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Now, with perfectly clean hands, mix your dry goods together.

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If a gust of wind catches this...!

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That's us.

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The liquid in soda bread is good old fashioned buttermilk.

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Buttermilk it is.

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It's a good sticky mix, this.

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Now, just knead it a bit.

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I'm still trying to combine mine! I'll not be a minute.

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It's all right. It'll come right, Kingy, it'll come right. Work it.

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Watch this, watch.

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Good that, wasn't it? Now, is there any tips that you can give me?

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You're working it too hard.

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LAUGHTER

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It should be in the oven by now!

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I'm sorry for working you too hard!

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-Mine's ready for the oven?

-Yes, go on!

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Thank you.

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I'm just going to oil the sheet to make sure it doesn't stick.

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I want a nice round shape and I'm going for the traditional cross.

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We would divide it in four... flatten it out and divide in four.

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-Flatten it out and divide...

-Put it on a griddle.

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No, no, no.

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No, we're doing it in the oven.

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That's OK.

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We were going to do the farls on the griddle.

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-Are you? The potato ones?

-Yeah.

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All right then, fine. Go ahead!

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You might need to flatten it out a bit.

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Funny, actually. If you look, you can see it's going bubbly already.

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Now, soda bread for half an hour in a hot oven about 200 degrees C.

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Right, that's it, we're going home.

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We're not. We've got the nice bit. We're going to do the potato farl.

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THUNDER ROARS

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-The rain's set in. Are you wet?

-Yes!

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Oh, look... I think you should huddle in a bit.

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What we need to do now is to make the potato farl or potato scone.

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You're up north. Potato bread.

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-Potato bread?

-Potato bread.

-Potato bread.

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Potatoes go in, but these are just cold mashed potatoes.

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The flour is combined with the cold potato. There you are. Crack on.

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-In bowl. That's it.

-Potatoes need salt.

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-What do potatoes need?

-Salt.

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Now, to that, add some melted butter.

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Work that in, son.

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That seems a bit moist, doesn't it? Do you think a bit more flour?

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-The boss said more flour.

-Yes, the oracle of all farlness.

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Is that enough?

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That looks fine.

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-Thank you.

-Now, that's better.

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I can feel it now.

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-Do you think that's rollable?

-I think we're there.

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Yeah, flour your dry board, take some of this dough.

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Just roll it out to the desired thickness.

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Being a Virgo, I want nice, tidy farls.

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Cut round it. Now cut it into quadrants.

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Now, you want to lift this off and place it

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there and we fry it.

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And repeat. I'll get on with that, mate.

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It looks like a bread, it's rising, it's soda-like.

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-Is it monster, Kingy?

-Oh, it's awesome!

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Sternest critic. What you think of it so far?

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-It's wonderful.

-Thank you!

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I'll make some more, then.

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-They're a thing of beauty, aren't they?

-They're lovely. Look at that.

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By my reckonings, the soda bread's finished.

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-Go and have a look, go and have a look.

-Top one's done.

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TAPS ON BREAD

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Look at that.

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Oh...

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WOMAN LAUGHS

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That's lovely.

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The one that was on the bottom isn't cooked so much.

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Shall we put them in the oven... Oh, crikey!

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LAUGHTER

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-Sausages are done, Kingy!

-Oh, no!

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-They so are. Get them out!

-They're all right, actually.

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-I don't know what all that steam was from.

-Oh, no. The sausages!

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-They're not. They're all right, look.

-Ohhh!

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-That's all right. It's hot!

-Argh! Ooh, ahh!

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Those farls look brilliant.

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-I'll get the soda bread out. It'll be done now.

-Great.

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There we are.

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Oh, look at that. That's soda bread.

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-That looks lovely, doesn't it?

-Yeah.

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-Shall we fry it?

-Yes.

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Just in case this breakfast isn't going to kill us, let's put a bit of butter in there.

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I can hear the arteries hardening from here.

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Yeah. But they're singing a lovely song, aren't they?

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LAUGHTER

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Couple of nuggets of black pudding and a beef sausage.

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Two eggs just lapping over one another like they do in the commercial.

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This is it. The Irish breakfast of death.

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We'll just garnish it with a fried soda bread and this one cheekily on there.

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-And there we have it - the Hairy Bikers' Ulster Fry.

-Come on!

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Now it's the moment of truth. What will the locals make of our take on the Ulster fry?

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-Is that how it should be?

-It is. Absolutely lovely.

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-Which do you think is the best bit of the Ulster fry?

-Potato bread.

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-That's the best compliment.

-Is it like your mam makes?

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No, better. Shh!

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-That's it, you've just ruined your weekend there.

-Sorry, Mum!

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There you go.

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-Have a nibble of the soda bread.

-Good job, lads. Well done.

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Guys, what are you doing tomorrow for breakfast?

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Oh, I think we're on the ferry!

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I don't want to buy it from a shop any more. It's totally different.

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-It tastes like potato.

-The soda bread was fantastic.

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-It was so light and fluffy and beautiful.

-It's delicious and light on the inside.

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Now, this, ladies and gentlemen, is the deputy mayor. How is it?

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-It's actually better than my mum's.

-Don't say that too loud!

-She's standing over there!

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The Ulster fry was a complete hit, thank goodness.

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We didn't want to get that one wrong.

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An even bigger challenge is around the corner.

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As always, we're taking on one of the county's top chefs in their restaurant,

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using local ingredients to see who best can define the taste of the region.

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It will be up to local diners to decide whose dish best represents the true flavours of Antrim.

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Our opponent today is...

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..Niall McKenna, the award-winning chef and owner of James Street South in Belfast.

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Niall's restaurant is a stylish and popular spot in the city.

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He makes use of local produce as much as he can.

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James Street South has been now going for five-and-a-half years.

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I decided to move from London back here.

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County Antrim is to me a beautiful place to live.

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It's a beautiful place to work in and get all your ingredients from.

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You drive through the glens of Antrim and they're just so green

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and the whole backbone of County Antrim are farmers, fish suppliers.

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The quality of the land, the quality of the soil, is key to everything.

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Your milk, your butter, your cream, it's just so rich.

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The quality of fish, meat, lamb and beef is just amazing.

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It really is. The best quality I've ever worked with

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is the stuff I can get on my own doorstep in County Antrim.

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Finding suppliers within Northern Ireland is easy because it's small.

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Everybody knows everybody. It's about building relationships with your supplier.

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They tell me what they've got coming in and I'll put it on the menu.

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The season everybody starts getting excited about is spring into summer.

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You're just biting at the bit when the asparagus is coming on and then comes summer.

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The colours come out, the flavours come out and then off you go.

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It's all about light dishes.

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Low in fat. Quality, but at the same time flavoursome.

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It's the healthiness of it. Not using too much butter, not using too much cream.

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It is airy, it's healthy.

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To take on the Hairy Bikers today, my taste of County Antrim is

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locally caught John Dory with hand-dived scallop, mussel nage.

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Beautiful.

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-It looks very swankificacious.

-Let's go in and meet him.

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-Niall.

-How you doing?

-Hello, Dave. Pleased to meet you.

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Hello, mate. I'm Si. How are you? Nice to see you, how are you?

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Right, Niall, headline your dish. What are you cooking for us, mate?

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We're having native Irish John Dory with hand-dived scallop,

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just caught off the Antrim coast, mussels from Belfast Lough

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and we're going to serve the mussels with nage.

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From the seas of Antrim. You can't get better than John Dory.

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Right, here we go.

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We've got a bit of John Dory first.

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Straight down like so.

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Just cutting it off like so.

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Straight round. Haven't taken my finger off yet!

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Cor! That's quick.

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Where did you learn to fillet?

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-Over in London. Living there for 12 years.

-Where did you work?

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I worked for Gary Rhodes, I worked at Canteen, the Avenue restaurants. I loved it.

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Great time. Filleted - ready to go. There's our portions ready to go.

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Next thing is our scallops.

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-We're just going to chop the scallops.

-Crikey!

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-Now that takes me about 15 minutes to fillet.

-Straight through.

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Look at that. It's still going. It's still pumping.

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The roe and the skirt, I'll rinse off and use that up in the stock.

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It's just perfect for us. Look at that. They're still going. Everything's there.

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Take it off at the muscle like so

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and we take it off like so. Totally clean.

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These here I'll take to the side, trim up like so.

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Just take that off.

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Take the skirt off. Done.

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-This is where you see a man who cooks for his living, can't you?

-Oh, yeah.

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-It's fabulous.

-I love what I do. So, this here, I'm going to rinse off.

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Next we'll get the basic stock veg.

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Star anise, leek, carrot, onion, shallot.

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Infuse with herbs and then we pass it off. Just let it infuse.

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How do you get your stock so clear?

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By not boiling it. Gently just over time, gently doing it so it's perfectly clear.

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Lot of flavour there. So there's a base for a cream sauce. Just keep it simple.

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So the carrots we're going to get ready to go.

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Just nice and fine like so.

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You've got your carrot, your turnip.

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Now I've got everything ready. I'm going to make two sauces.

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-One is a clear nage.

-What's a nage?

-It's a clear stock.

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You start with water, wine, vegetables, you infuse it together and then you bring it on the fish.

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Very healthy, in other words.

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From this one stock, I'll make two sauces. One will be cream, one will be clear.

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So, it's a very simple but very, very, very delicate sauce.

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Done like so.

0:18:080:18:09

I'm going to add bay leaf, parsley, all in there.

0:18:110:18:16

I'm going to add the scallop and the skirt plus all the juices from it.

0:18:160:18:20

So just going to let that infuse. In with our cream.

0:18:200:18:23

Just going to bring out the heat first of all. Get it ready to go.

0:18:240:18:28

Get a wee bit of garlic. So that's on heating.

0:18:280:18:31

Next thing is, we'll get our mussels going now and this is going to be a very quick way of doing it.

0:18:310:18:36

In they go.

0:18:360:18:37

With a wee bit of nage. Like so. And just the quick version is

0:18:410:18:46

to get another pot and we just put it on top like so.

0:18:460:18:50

-And you just steam them?

-Steam them gently.

0:18:500:18:52

That will take two minutes. We'll take them out, I want to shell them and they're ready to go.

0:18:520:18:57

The nage itself, we're going to start with a clear stock now.

0:18:570:19:00

This is beautiful, pure food.

0:19:000:19:02

Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

0:19:020:19:05

I'm trying to keep all the flavours in the pan.

0:19:050:19:07

It's all different timings. Things take longer to cook.

0:19:070:19:10

I'm going to put the carrot in first because that'll take a bit longer to cook.

0:19:100:19:14

Carrot goes in. A bit more here.

0:19:140:19:16

In that goes. Carrots in there.

0:19:180:19:19

Bit of swede. That can go on the side.

0:19:200:19:24

Now, that's two kinds of sweet root veg, aren't they? Nice.

0:19:240:19:28

We're going to counteract them with touch more garlic.

0:19:280:19:31

Just a wee bit. Little bit of shallot as well.

0:19:310:19:34

Like so.

0:19:340:19:36

That goes straight in.

0:19:360:19:38

So just let that infuse now. That's coming together now nicely.

0:19:380:19:41

-The cream sauce is just heating up now.

-So that's a real good base, isn't it?

0:19:410:19:45

Mussels like so.

0:19:450:19:47

Drain the liquor off. All that flavour from the mussels.

0:19:470:19:51

Beautiful. I then add that there,

0:19:510:19:54

-this as well.

-Nothing's wasted.

0:19:540:19:57

Nothing's wasted, everything goes in.

0:19:570:19:59

There we have it, like so.

0:19:590:20:01

-This is the part where I burn my fingers. Shell them.

-Do you want a hand?

0:20:020:20:06

Please. Off you go.

0:20:060:20:08

One in the pot, one in the mouth.

0:20:080:20:10

These are from Belfast Lough, up the Antrim coast.

0:20:100:20:13

Some of these here I'll keep back for garnish also on the plate.

0:20:130:20:16

They're good, meaty mussels, aren't they? Are these from a bed or ropes?

0:20:160:20:20

These are from a bed.

0:20:200:20:22

Brilliant. Lose that one?

0:20:220:20:23

Yep. That one can go. If it doesn't open, get rid of it.

0:20:230:20:26

When it comes to shellfish you don't take any chances.

0:20:260:20:29

We've got everything going here. Taste this here.

0:20:290:20:32

The cream sauce. Taste that as well.

0:20:320:20:35

It's getting there. There's no seasoning, we're gonna start working it with the wine.

0:20:370:20:42

-So wine in both sauces?

-Both sauces, just a wee touch.

0:20:430:20:46

Not a lot. Touch of Pernod, just a hint. Boom, boom.

0:20:460:20:51

A touch of salt.

0:20:510:20:52

Then pepper into both of them.

0:20:520:20:54

Everything's coming together nicely. A wee taste.

0:20:540:20:58

It's getting there. In with the oil.

0:21:000:21:05

Some dishes we just leave alone. This is one of those dishes.

0:21:050:21:07

-It's fish, it's best to.

-Just leave it. A bit of pepper.

0:21:070:21:11

Getting a colour there.

0:21:110:21:13

Then we're just gonna go with the John Dory. One, two, three, four.

0:21:130:21:20

Season the fish now. Boom, boom, boom.

0:21:200:21:23

-Bit of pepper.

-Just simple.

-Just so simple.

0:21:230:21:26

Just leave it. They're coming along nicely. Just turn the John Dory.

0:21:260:21:31

Caramelising beautifully. I'm just gonna take it off the heat a bit.

0:21:310:21:35

A bit too powerful. At this point here I'm gonna add some tomatoes to it.

0:21:350:21:40

Nice wee cherry tomatoes to give it a bit of sweetness.

0:21:400:21:43

I'm gonna add some leek to it from County Antrim. Beautiful.

0:21:430:21:48

Lemon juice. It's just so clean. So clean.

0:21:480:21:53

A wee drop of capers.

0:21:550:21:57

-Simple. Simple food.

-I love the colours in that.

0:21:570:22:01

Finish it off with a few knobs of butter, just to enrich it slightly.

0:22:010:22:05

I'm just gonna pass this off here.

0:22:060:22:08

Just like so. That's what's left from the sauce.

0:22:080:22:13

-So all the flavours are in there?

-All the flavours are in there.

0:22:130:22:17

Then I'm gonna add the mussels into this now. Ready to go.

0:22:170:22:20

All the flavours in there. Then I start plating it up. Spoon...

0:22:200:22:24

Look at the colours on that!

0:22:240:22:26

It's so fresh.

0:22:260:22:28

You just want to eat it now!

0:22:390:22:41

Coriander...

0:22:410:22:42

This is the noisy part.

0:22:420:22:44

Top tip, put the ladle over your blender, stops you decorating the kitchen.

0:22:440:22:48

Instead of a big, heavy cream sauce it's a lot lighter.

0:22:480:22:51

The flavour's still there, it's a hell of a lot more healthier.

0:22:510:22:55

Just put it over like so.

0:22:550:22:57

It's very simple. Done.

0:22:580:23:00

There you have it - John Dory with hand-dived scallops, a mussel nage, all from County Antrim.

0:23:020:23:09

It's magic!

0:23:090:23:11

The sauce is gorgeous.

0:23:150:23:17

The John Dory is perfect. It's firm, it's fresh.

0:23:170:23:22

The flavours unfold on one another.

0:23:220:23:25

It's delicate. You don't feel it's lacking satisfaction.

0:23:250:23:28

The veggies,

0:23:280:23:31

I think they go superbly well.

0:23:310:23:34

Wouldn't you say this is a perfect example of modern Irish food?

0:23:340:23:39

-I would say. And if this is the standard of the produce...

-We're in for a treat.

-We are.

0:23:390:23:45

It's the locals who'll decide whose dish is best in the blind tasting coming up.

0:23:450:23:50

Niall is going to be tough to beat so we need some special local favours.

0:24:000:24:04

Let's try some of that dulse they told us about in St George's Market.

0:24:040:24:07

We can't come to Ireland without sampling the dulse, the dulse is special enough.

0:24:120:24:17

But the thing is which one do we eat?

0:24:170:24:22

-I think we need the help of an expert.

-Who?

0:24:220:24:26

There's a fellow collecting seaweed.

0:24:260:24:28

That could be a dulse farmer. There's always one around when you need one.

0:24:280:24:32

What's he doing? There's loads here.

0:24:320:24:34

He's getting fresh. Shall we give him a shout?

0:24:340:24:36

-What are you gonna call him?

-Bob?

0:24:360:24:38

That's what he's doing.

0:24:380:24:41

Bob?

0:24:410:24:42

-Result.

-Robert.

-That was lucky.

0:24:430:24:46

-How are you?

-I'm all right, how are you?

0:24:460:24:48

-Wet. Pleased to meet you.

-We need to learn about dulse.

0:24:480:24:51

-I've just picked this out of the waves to see the growth rate.

-Is that dulse?

-Yes.

0:24:510:24:55

So it's purple?

0:24:550:24:57

-Purple in colour, yes. Nice and salty.

-I like that.

0:24:570:25:01

So how big is your farm?

0:25:010:25:04

My garden is 15 miles at least.

0:25:040:25:06

-All of Ireland, if you wish.

-Fabulous.

0:25:060:25:09

You pull it all of the kelps. These small plants, in one month's time,

0:25:090:25:13

they'll be 30, 40 centimetres long.

0:25:130:25:15

-Very quick growing.

-Medicinally it's really good as well, is it?

-It is indeed. It's full of iodine.

0:25:150:25:20

You get a lot of Americans asking for pure iodine.

0:25:200:25:25

Or the likes of the hospitals, pharmaceuticals, or even cosmetics.

0:25:250:25:29

We actually have 316 species.

0:25:290:25:33

This one is a La Maria Saccharina. It grows along with this one.

0:25:330:25:37

-If anybody's heard of Watami?

-Yes, the Japanese one.

0:25:370:25:39

Yeah, well, we call it Tangle.

0:25:390:25:41

Tangle in this country because it tangles around everything.

0:25:410:25:44

It's a very walnutty taste.

0:25:440:25:46

Cook it in the pan with a bit of garlic, maybe.

0:25:460:25:49

It's nice. What's this, Robert?

0:25:490:25:52

That's sea lettuce. It's absolutely amazing in anything to do with eggs or quiche.

0:25:520:25:57

Once you heat it, you get a hungry smell.

0:25:570:26:00

I know exactly what you mean.

0:26:000:26:02

It hits your taste buds.

0:26:020:26:04

Although you can eat seaweed fresh, most is sold and eaten after being dried out.

0:26:040:26:09

Here is our traditional one, dulse.

0:26:090:26:11

-Used for soups, gravies, stir fries, maybe chopped into the colcannon...

-That would be good.

0:26:110:26:18

Instead of the spring cabbage. Or with a bit of spring cabbage and a bit of dulse.

0:26:180:26:22

-This is all going well.

-That's a keeper.

0:26:220:26:25

This is one we roast. It tastes like bacon.

0:26:250:26:27

-Really?

-Could you deep-fry it?

0:26:270:26:29

You can indeed. The best one for deep-frying is the green sea lettuce one.

0:26:290:26:33

Right. So we would just rehydrate this, yeah?

0:26:330:26:36

Just whack in the bowl, five minutes, it will blow up like a leaf.

0:26:360:26:40

More calcium and iron than any other vegetable.

0:26:400:26:43

So not only will our tasters have culinary satisfaction, they'll leave us as fit as a fiddle!

0:26:430:26:48

Bob's idea of using at seaweed varieties with potatoes is great.

0:26:500:26:53

Spuds are an important part of Northern Irish food production so we need to get hold of the best.

0:26:530:26:59

Potatoes are so versatile, man, you can have them mashed, dauphinoise, boiled, baked...

0:26:590:27:05

Lovely with a bit of meat and gravy!

0:27:050:27:07

So to find the finest potatoes in County Antrim, we're off to see an expert in his field.

0:27:150:27:19

Literally.

0:27:190:27:21

-Hello, Robin.

-Nice to meet you.

0:27:210:27:24

-Lovely day!

-Nice to see you.

0:27:240:27:26

-Would you like to see our potato field?

-Yes.

0:27:260:27:28

I want to learn about potatoes from an expert.

0:27:280:27:31

Robin Cherry is king of the spuds - in his 40 years of experience he's bred his own varieties

0:27:310:27:36

and has been awarded an MBE for his services to the potato industry.

0:27:360:27:41

What lies beneath this soil, Robin?

0:27:410:27:44

-Sunbeam potatoes.

-What's a sunbeam potato?

0:27:440:27:47

It's a special new variety I have bred, especially for the table,

0:27:470:27:52

and it also is good for crisping.

0:27:520:27:54

It takes a long time to breed a variety, many years.

0:27:540:27:57

The first thing we look for is virgin land that's high up, so we don't have a problem with aphids.

0:27:570:28:03

-What else do you look for?

-Nice fine soil, if possible.

0:28:030:28:06

Free-draining soil.

0:28:060:28:08

I've got to say, I haven't... look at that.

0:28:080:28:11

Irish peat. It's like a grow bag.

0:28:110:28:14

This particular field hasn't been in any sort of crop for at least 30 years.

0:28:140:28:18

-Really?

-We're fortunate in that respect.

0:28:180:28:20

So what's going on over there?

0:28:200:28:23

Well, we're harvesting today.

0:28:230:28:24

Come on, you.

0:28:240:28:26

I want you to pick out the soil, stones, anything that shouldn't be there, take out.

0:28:260:28:31

-You understand what you have to do?

-I'm there.

-Yes, sir!

0:28:310:28:34

Good. Let me see you in action.

0:28:340:28:36

Spark it up.

0:28:360:28:38

All the taties are falling off!

0:28:540:28:57

Get the stones!

0:28:570:28:59

There's loads of stones.

0:28:590:29:01

Hold on!

0:29:040:29:06

Pick the stones! Pick the mud.

0:29:070:29:09

-That's a stone. That goes there.

-All the potatoes are falling off!

0:29:090:29:15

With that we can win.

0:29:150:29:18

It's firm.

0:29:180:29:19

Don't let the stones in.

0:29:220:29:24

I'm not. I was chatting! This one, look!

0:29:240:29:28

-You're the mad professor of potatoes, you, aren't you?

-No.

-You are.

0:29:290:29:34

Robin, we want to celebrate the Northern Irish potato,

0:29:340:29:37

make it the star of the dish, so what we need to do is find a potato for each function.

0:29:370:29:43

Now, I suspect first on the oche will be some form of mash, a colcannon or a champ.

0:29:430:29:47

Well, I think we should go for the Sunbeam in that case.

0:29:470:29:52

Me little lovely. Right, now the next one.

0:29:530:29:57

Roastie, with goose fat and semolina, a little bit of salt.

0:29:570:30:00

Fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, what d'you reckon?

0:30:000:30:03

I think your Arran Victory, which is an old variety and will bring in

0:30:030:30:07

one of the traditional varieties of Northern Ireland at a time when they were using goose fat.

0:30:070:30:13

A nice story behind it.

0:30:130:30:14

Last thing we want to do, dauphinoise potatoes.

0:30:140:30:17

We want something that'll stick together when we cut it thinly on a mandolin, then cook it with cream.

0:30:170:30:23

I think we should go back again, possibly.

0:30:230:30:26

Have a look at the Sunray.

0:30:280:30:30

This wouldn't break down.

0:30:300:30:32

-Brilliant, just what we want.

-A nice shape as well, Dave.

0:30:320:30:35

That will bring in your dish from the very latest variety right through to the traditional.

0:30:350:30:40

That's brilliant, we'll go and have a good cook up.

0:30:400:30:43

So, guys, what are you going to cook?

0:30:430:30:46

It's a trio of potatoes.

0:30:460:30:48

And we're doing some dulse three ways with our potatoes.

0:30:480:30:52

Now we've got a supporting act, we're going to do a daube of local beef, so we can get

0:30:520:30:56

lots of gravy, because you can't have potatoes without gravy.

0:30:560:30:59

But it's the locals who will decide whose dish is best in a blind tasting, coming up.

0:30:590:31:04

-Shall we get the beef on first, mate?

-Yes, let's do that.

0:31:040:31:07

What kind of beef are you using?

0:31:070:31:08

We thought we'd go for shin, because what we want is the gravy.

0:31:080:31:13

Two shins of beef, boned out, rolled up and put together like that.

0:31:130:31:17

-A little bit of olive oil in the pan.

-Why olive oil?

0:31:170:31:19

It's the only thing I could find close to hand!

0:31:190:31:22

What we have here is some seasoned flour. I'm just going to roll the beef

0:31:220:31:27

-in this seasoned flour.

-Any residue from flour on the beef is going to thicken the gravy.

0:31:270:31:35

Two ends first.

0:31:350:31:37

While Kingy's doing the meat, baby onions, mushrooms go in there.

0:31:370:31:42

We're just going to fry these in butter and olive oil until they're golden.

0:31:420:31:47

-Nearly there.

-I'll take this off. Set that aside.

0:31:500:31:57

Two shins like that, a very cheap way of getting a massive Sunday joint.

0:31:570:32:02

In this pan I've got some celery, some carrot and onion.

0:32:020:32:07

Wasting none of the flavours, use the beef juices just to sweat this down.

0:32:070:32:12

I'm going to take the zest and the juice of this orange and stick it into our lovely pot.

0:32:120:32:17

These are the building blocks of flavour for the best gravy ever.

0:32:170:32:22

Just let all the juice out of it.

0:32:220:32:24

And you end up with really clean hands if you do it with lemons.

0:32:240:32:27

Just for one minute, I'm gonna sweat down some garlic.

0:32:270:32:31

Right, I think we're ready to do the daube.

0:32:310:32:33

-Right, dude.

-We have the juice and zest of an orange.

0:32:330:32:36

To that, we throw in Bully.

0:32:360:32:38

To that, I've got the sweated-down carrots, celery, onions and garlic.

0:32:380:32:44

The liquids, stock of beef, a nice Cotes du Rhone.

0:32:440:32:51

-Look at that.

-It's beef and red wine, it's...

0:32:530:32:56

A good slug of Madeira.

0:32:560:32:58

About 50 ml.

0:32:580:33:00

We're going to put star anise.

0:33:000:33:03

-A cinnamon stick.

-And we're going to put a little bouquet garni in. Bay, thyme and flat-leaf parsley.

0:33:030:33:08

Just goes in like that.

0:33:080:33:11

Look, you could almost eat that as it is.

0:33:110:33:13

That's just the browned onions and mushrooms. We lob those on.

0:33:130:33:17

All of that lovely fat, as well.

0:33:170:33:20

Oh, yes.

0:33:200:33:21

Cover that up now, put it in the oven, about 160 degrees for about six hours.

0:33:210:33:26

You'll be pleased to know we do have a "here's one we've done earlier".

0:33:260:33:31

Now to the stars of this occasion, the spuds.

0:33:310:33:36

These are gonna be the most perfect roast potatoes in roast potato-dom.

0:33:360:33:41

Golden rule, goose fat.

0:33:410:33:43

These are the potatoes, Arran Victories, and we're barrelling them.

0:33:430:33:47

Because it's a high-end restaurant, we can't just throw them in.

0:33:470:33:50

You waste loads, but you can make soup out of it,

0:33:500:33:53

-and we barrel them.

-I'm gonna put the goose fat in to heat.

0:33:530:33:57

We want it absolutely blistering.

0:33:570:33:59

Oh, it'll do! The next step in a perfect roast potatoes is, you blanch them for about

0:33:590:34:04

four or five minutes, then rough them up, then put them in the goose fat.

0:34:040:34:08

You get super crispy skins.

0:34:080:34:10

The wonderful barrelled spuds, soft on the outside, give them a...

0:34:100:34:14

Why are you roughing them up?

0:34:140:34:17

-Because all those little ruffled bits are going to form a crust.

-Stand well back.

0:34:170:34:21

-Hear that. Perfect.

-That's what we're after.

0:34:210:34:24

For super duper crispy roasties, sprinkle them with semolina.

0:34:240:34:29

-Never heard that before.

-It's great.

0:34:290:34:31

Just a little bit of seasoning, not too much, just a little bit.

0:34:310:34:35

Put them in a hot oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, they'll be golden and crispy.

0:34:350:34:41

What temperature is the oven?

0:34:410:34:43

It's on about 200.

0:34:430:34:44

Now the dauphinoise. We're using a waxy potato, the Sunray.

0:34:450:34:49

Now it's comedy time, Mr King with a mandolin. Have you got the plasters?

0:34:490:34:54

-Butter the dish...

-Plenty of butter?

-Oh, yes.

0:34:580:35:00

The dauphinoise... just start layering the potatoes up.

0:35:000:35:03

-How many do you reckon?

-I reckon about three layers.

0:35:030:35:06

I'm going to put cheese in, a nice Irish Cheddar.

0:35:060:35:09

-Where did you get that from?

-Erm, Ireland!

0:35:090:35:11

-At St George's.

-Great cheese.

0:35:110:35:14

Season between layers.

0:35:140:35:15

White pepper.

0:35:170:35:19

This is a lovely cheese.

0:35:200:35:22

-Look how thin that is.

-Did you use the mandolin for that, Kingy?

0:35:220:35:25

No, I just sliced it by hand.

0:35:250:35:27

If you keep your blade wet, it's much easier to slice.

0:35:270:35:31

If you dot it, you can guarantee a couple of bits in each slice.

0:35:310:35:34

-It's a very indulgent dish, isn't it?

-It is, it's great!

0:35:340:35:38

It's like a salmon's back.

0:35:380:35:40

Nutmeg in the cream.

0:35:400:35:41

I'm gonna season on top of this, put that on.

0:35:440:35:47

Are you not putting any eggs in?

0:35:470:35:49

-No.

-Do you normally do that?

-I'd normally put an egg in.

0:35:490:35:51

-Just to bind it?

-Put some little knobs of butter on the top.

0:35:510:35:56

Pop this in the oven with the roast potatoes for about an hour.

0:35:560:36:01

-I'll just turn the roasties.

-They're lush.

0:36:010:36:03

They look absolutely gorgeous.

0:36:030:36:05

Now we're going to take the beef out of the oven. This is the one we did earlier.

0:36:050:36:09

Six hours. It'll need to rest for half-an-hour.

0:36:090:36:11

That's what we're after, to do justice to the potatoes.

0:36:110:36:15

We've got the wonderful onions, the mushrooms and gravy.

0:36:150:36:19

-We'll work on the gravy element later.

-What's next, Dave?

0:36:190:36:23

-Colcannon, but the extra thing is, we're doing it with dulse.

-Different.

0:36:230:36:28

That'll really make it savoury and lush.

0:36:280:36:31

-Some shredded cabbage.

-Some dulse.

0:36:340:36:37

The this is a pan of cold mashed potato, so we've pre-done the potatoes.

0:36:370:36:41

What I'm gonna do, I'm gonna just shred this,

0:36:410:36:45

then we're gonna blanch it slightly before the cabbage,

0:36:450:36:48

because it's gonna take longer to cook.

0:36:480:36:50

Meanwhile, I've got some cream, chopped shallot,

0:36:500:36:55

and I'm just gonna chop some chives.

0:36:550:36:58

I'll just add that to the water.

0:36:580:36:59

At this point, we have to add the cabbage.

0:36:590:37:02

-You can smell the iodine, can't you?

-It's fabulous!

0:37:040:37:07

I used to go out with a nurse, she smelt like that.

0:37:070:37:10

Just bringing the cream, the chives and the shallot to a boil, simmer it for five minutes.

0:37:100:37:15

This is the Sunbeam. Look how floury that is.

0:37:150:37:19

-Has the dulse gone back?

-The dulse has gone right back.

-I'm gonna drain it, we need to get

0:37:210:37:26

all the moisture out.

0:37:260:37:28

This is gonna make the colcannon really aromatic.

0:37:280:37:31

-Totally different.

-Completely different.

-Let's have a taste, mate.

0:37:340:37:40

It's gonna be a Marmite thing, you're either gonna love it or hate it.

0:37:400:37:44

Where are we act, dude?

0:37:440:37:45

We need to pop the dulse and cabbage into the potatoes.

0:37:450:37:49

Cream, shallots and chives.

0:37:520:37:54

-Bung that in.

-Beautiful.

0:37:540:37:56

Now it's coming together. We need plenty of seasoning now, Kingy.

0:37:570:38:01

We know the potatoes are cold, but just before serving we're going to

0:38:010:38:05

bring this all up to temperature.

0:38:050:38:07

Set aside. Right.

0:38:090:38:12

We're gonna make a celebration of two Antrim seaweeds, the sea lettuce and the sloak.

0:38:120:38:19

And we can prepare this the same way as you do laverbread.

0:38:190:38:23

-We've got some chicken stock in this pan, get that to the boil.

-We'll cut this bacon into lardons.

0:38:230:38:28

-You want that ripple of fat going through it.

-Absolutely.

0:38:280:38:31

This is up to temperature, so I'm putting the sea lettuce and sloak...

0:38:340:38:39

-Look at that.

-The colours are going to be beautiful together.

0:38:390:38:43

It's like two-tone laverbread.

0:38:430:38:46

-A little knob of butter and a little oil.

-We're gonna dry roast

0:38:460:38:49

some of the smoked dulse, gonna have that as a crispy garnish on the roast potatoes.

0:38:490:38:54

-They're looking great.

-It's all happening.

0:38:540:38:57

I must say, this does stink.

0:38:580:39:01

Rock pools and...

0:39:010:39:03

-vegetation.

-It's beautiful.

0:39:030:39:06

I've seen this done in a Chinese restaurant once.

0:39:110:39:14

Return that to the bacon fat and fry.

0:39:140:39:18

With a big knob of butter.

0:39:180:39:21

-We just mix that through.

-It certainly doesn't need salt.

0:39:220:39:25

It certainly doesn't.

0:39:250:39:27

What I'm going to do now is reduce the juices

0:39:270:39:30

from the beef and gravy.

0:39:300:39:32

What we do now is sprinkle the smoked dulse over those lovely roast potatoes.

0:39:340:39:40

-Victory will be ours!

-Yeah, right!

0:39:400:39:43

Right, we're ready for plating. Pass us the beef, Kingy. I'm cutting thick slices.

0:39:450:39:49

-Taste that, what do you think?

-That's perfect.

0:39:490:39:52

-Do you think that's enough meat?

-Yeah.

-Because, after all, the beef's the bridesmaid.

0:39:560:40:01

The dauphinoise.

0:40:010:40:03

Chives just down the middle for that touch of Berni Inn chic.

0:40:030:40:07

Lovely and creamy, lovely.

0:40:090:40:11

I'm sure it tastes beautifully. Presentation wise...

0:40:140:40:17

-you've got your own style.

-Own style? He's cheeky, isn't he?

0:40:170:40:21

There's a lot going on, but it's a healthy, hearty dish.

0:40:210:40:26

-There we have it, mate.

-Antrim on a plate, a celebration of the potato and the dulse.

0:40:260:40:31

With a supporting act of boeuf en daube with mushrooms and onions and gravy.

0:40:310:40:37

-Tuck in, Niall.

-This is interesting. It's semolina, isn't it?

0:40:370:40:40

Yeah, for super crunch.

0:40:400:40:42

Beautiful. Let's just try this wee baby here.

0:40:450:40:48

I wasn't too sure to begin, but it was spot on. Absolutely beautiful.

0:40:520:40:56

You get the star anise, cinnamon and orange juice coming through.

0:40:560:40:59

Beautiful. Very nice.

0:40:590:41:01

It's crunch time. The diners here will taste both dishes, but without any idea of who cooked which.

0:41:020:41:08

First up is Niall's John Dory with hand-dived scallops and a mussel nage.

0:41:080:41:13

I loved the combination of fennel and capers. There was a kind of subtlety.

0:41:130:41:17

I dunno what the purpose of the foam was.

0:41:170:41:19

It probably added to the presentation, but I didn't get a taste off it.

0:41:190:41:23

The scallop was lovely.

0:41:230:41:24

Although, by the time I got through to all of the flavours, I thought there was too much going on.

0:41:240:41:29

Antrim on a plate... Maybe I'd have liked some eel from Loch Neagh.

0:41:290:41:34

I particularly liked the nage, the sauce, it was slightly sweet

0:41:340:41:37

and it complemented the taste of the John Dory and scallop very well.

0:41:370:41:41

The flavours that we got were beautiful.

0:41:410:41:44

I think that anyone who's presented with a dish like that

0:41:440:41:47

-would be proud to say it was Antrim on a plate.

-That seemed popular.

0:41:470:41:50

How will our dish fare? Let's see.

0:41:500:41:54

I thought it was pub grub.

0:41:540:41:56

-It wasn't what I thought of as fine dining.

-Definitely a different spin on meat and two vegetables.

0:41:560:42:01

I was disappointed with the roast potato, it got a bit waxy.

0:42:010:42:04

The saltiness of the seaweed really did something extra to the potato dish.

0:42:040:42:09

It's the first time I've eaten seaweed.

0:42:090:42:11

I liked it, but I felt it didn't go with this particular dish.

0:42:110:42:14

If you're gonna come to Northern Ireland and cook potatoes,

0:42:140:42:18

don't do dauphinoise.

0:42:180:42:19

Hello, how are you?

0:42:190:42:22

-Thank you.

-Thank you so much, and thank everybody in Belfast and Antrim,

0:42:250:42:30

we've had such a wonderful time. We started out in St George's Market.

0:42:300:42:34

That's got to be the best market in Britain. It has to be. It's absolutely fabulous.

0:42:340:42:39

We had such a great time, didn't want to leave.

0:42:390:42:42

Now, for the John Dory and the scallop, can I have a show of hands, please?

0:42:420:42:46

That's five for the John Dory and the scallop. And for the potatoes and dulse and the beef?

0:42:480:42:54

One, two, three, four. OK. Well, the John Dory and the scallop was...

0:42:540:42:59

-Niall's.

-Thank you.

0:42:590:43:02

And the spuds were ours!

0:43:060:43:09

We'd very much like to say a very big thank you to Niall and all the guys here.

0:43:090:43:15

It's been absolutely fabulous.

0:43:150:43:18

A round of applause, I think. Well done, mate.

0:43:180:43:21

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:350:43:39

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:390:43:42

Series following the Hairy Bikers as they visit a different county across Britain in every episode, sampling the best of local ingredients and meeting the people keeping culinary traditions alive. Here, Si King and Dave Myers explore County Antrim, where they cook a traditional county favourite at Carrickfergus Castle, pick potatoes and head to the coast in search of dulse seaweed. Finally, they use the best local ingredients in a cook-off against top chef Niall McKenna. Restaurant diners decide in a blind tasting who has created the dish that best defines their county.