May 20 In the Press Year of Food & Drink 2016

Did you hear the one about the Lough Neagh Eel which married the Bramley Apple?

By Eleanor McGillie

Neither did we – but we are about to find out when our very own Australian chef marries the pair next week to create a unique dish as a flavour of what’s to come at this year’s Northern Ireland CountrySports Fair at Scarvagh House in Banbridge.

Dean Coppard, the Australian chef who has been making waves across our region’s cooking scene since he arrived in Armagh 12 years ago, will be showcasing his authentic cuisine by combining two of Northern Ireland’s  finest PGI products at next week’s Fair – the Lough Neagh Eel and the famous Orchard County Bramley Apple.

The Sydney ex-pat, who runs Uluru Bar & Grill and manages a kitchen full of passionate chefs cooking produce with an Australian twist, will demonstrate his rationale for pulling together these two unique products to celebrate our connection with our land and our loughs.

Dean, husband to Sara and father to Mia, 6, and Dylan, 4, is continuing his monthly celebrations of  Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink initiative by cooking to May’s theme ‘Places and Landscapes’, to create this speciality dish which is guaranteed to whet the appetite of the crowds on May 28thand 29that Scarvagh House.

Speaking about the event, which is a must in the Northern Ireland country events calendar, Dean said: “From sourcing new products from the field, sea or loughs and cooking them with an Australian twist, this year’s CountrySports Fair is about to be served up something completely unique.

“The dish I’ll be cooking – ‘Lough and Apples’ – was created out of our desire to show people what we believe – and that’s with so many great local producers our job is made a lot easier.

“We champion our producers because they deserve the credit for all the blood, sweat and tears they put in to produce, what we feel is, the very best produce, not only in Ulster but, in Ireland.

“With our recent ability to be able to source Lough Neagh Eel we have developed this dish which Uluru Bar& Grill customers are loving so we know it will go down a treat at the Fair.

“To showcase the authenticity of our cooking, we have married the Lough Neagh Eel with the flavour of the Bramley Apple wood from local orchards, which have been worked by generations of apple farmers in the Co. Armagh area. This creates a really authentic dish, which people at the CountrySports Fair will love.”

Dean’s style and authenticity created a storm in the Food NI marquee at this year’s Balmoral Show. In March, his chefs at Uluru Bar & Grill in Armagh, returned to the ecclesiastical city with two gold medals, two silver medals, seven bronze medals and one certificate of participation from this year’s IFEX Exhibition.

The Michelin Guide recommended Uluru Bar& Grill, headed by Dean Coppard, is going from strength to strength, and, the dish on offer at the Northern Ireland CountrySports Fair 2016, has already been  recognised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s ‘Food Heartland’ initiative and is on the shortlist at the first ‘Food Heartlands’ awards.

Dean added:  “We’ve always been big believers that we have some of the best produce right here on our doorstep. We take pride in our ingredients and I am proud to say that every element used in our ‘Lough and Apple’ dish is a match made right here in Northern Ireland.”

Attending the popular country fair will also be Armagh Cider, Baked in Belfast and Peppup Sauces and joining them in the food marquee will be many other producers showing the results of their hard labour.

The Northern Ireland CountrySports Fair will showcase the very best in country sports, crafts and local food. It will incorporate new events such a Country and Western concert on Saturday, May 28 the world’s first ferret ‘Grand National’ and a charity Donkey Derby. For more information, visit



  • For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR on 028 3756 9863 | 07709805379 | | Consumer PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts  | PR Northern Ireland | Telling Your Story | Year of Food and Drink Northern Ireland |




“Lough and Apples”

Dean’s celebrated local ‘Lough and Apples’ recipe features MacIvors Cider, Bramley apple box, wood chip smoked Lough Neagh Eel, Abernethy smoked butter, caramelised Armagh Apple, Broighter Gold truffle oil, burnt onion puree and textures of local beetroot


  • 1 x Lough Neagh Eel
  • Smoking chips
  • One cup of arborio rice
  • 4 Bramley apples
  • 100g of dark brown sugar
  • 100ml of MacIvors medium cider
  • 100ml of AJ Apple Juice
  • Abernethy smoked butter roll
  • 100ml of Broighter gold truffle oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 red beetroot
  • 2 golden beetroot
  • 2 rainbow beetroot


For the Smoked Eel

Fillet the eel by slicing down each side of the spine, leaving the skin on.  Slice away any remaining belly, then cut the eel into 3cm pieces and set on a cake rack that will fit into a deep baking tray. Cling film the tray tightly

Place the wood chips onto a large piece of tin foil with the arborio rice and fold the tin foil to make a parcel. Place this in the bottom of the baking tray then place the cake rack loaded with the eel over the top. Place the lid on top and place the tray directly on to the gas burner. Leave to heat until smoke starts to escape

For the Caramelised Apple

Peel and dice the apple into small pieces.  Melt the smoked Abernethy butter in a deep sauce pan. Once the butter starts to foam, add the brown sugar. As the butter and sugar start to create a caramel add the diced apple and stir. As the apple starts to soften add the cider and apple juice in equal amounts. Once a jam consistency is reached remove from heat.

For the beetroot

Peel all the beetroot and steam each type separately until soft. Place the red beetroot in a food processor and blitz until a puree is created. Cut the golden beetroot into wedges and slice the rainbow beetroot wafer thin.

For the onion puree

Peel and cut the onions into quarters. Drizzle with Broighter gold oil and roast until soft. Place in the food processor and blitz until smooth.

To assemble

Create a swipe of the red beetroot puree across the centre of the plate. Arrange the golden beetroot wedges around the puree and sprinkle the apple around this. Place the portions of eel around the plate and use a squeezy bottle to place dots of the onion puree around all the ingredients. Garnish with micro cress.

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