Everything You Need To Know About Pasta

When you think of Italian cuisine, pasta in one of its glorious forms is probably what springs to mind.

Pasta is the staple food of Italians and has found a place as the ultimate comfort food for many more people. Made simply using flour, eggs, and salt it comes to life when accompanied by the wonderful sauces from the region.

Marco Polo is often credited with introducing pasta to Italy from China in the 13th Century, however pasta was already gaining popularity in the region before that. Others believe the nomadic Arabs brought it westwards, but wherever it originated, it found its place in Italy as an affordable, versatile food.

Chef Luigi, head Italian chef at Belfast’s newest Indian/Italian fusion restaurant Mumbai Milano said: “Pasta dishes vary depending on the region of Italy they come from with stronger flavoured dishes containing lots of garlic and chilli being popular in the south, fish-based sauces from the coastal areas, and more delicate, creamy sauces with filled pasta such as ravioli and tortellini in the north.

“Pasta comes in a range of shapes and in authentic Italian cuisine long pastas such as spaghetti and linguine are used in quick-cook, light sauces while short shapes such as penne are paired with more robust sauces.”

What varieties of pasta shapes are there?


Long strands of pasta often serves in Italy with a fresh tomato sauce or just drizzled in olive oil with garlic and chillies, or with cheese and pepper. You will never find Spaghetti Bolognese on an authentic Italian menu


Long like spaghetti, but thicker and flatter which makes it a good pairing with creamier sauces, giving them a larger surface area to coat.


Short, hollow tubes of pasta cut at an angle often served with thicker tomato and vegetable sauces.


Little corkscrew twists of pasta which are perfect for sauces containing meat, or for use in pasta bakes.


Shell shaped pasta, their cup like shape perfect is perfect for catching heavier sauces or for using in baked pasta dishes.


Twists of pasta with crinkly edges hold sauces on their wing like shape. They are also great to use in pasta salads.


Tiny tubes most commonly found baked in a luscious cheese sauce in what has become one of the world’s favourite dishes.


These sheets of pasta give the name to one of the most famous dishes when layered with meat or vegetable sauce, topped with white sauce and cheese. 

Mumbai Milano, 11 Wellington Place, Belfast is open 7 days a week. Lunchtime is an all-you-can eat buffet every day and their a la carte menu is available from 5pm. Book your table by calling 028 9031 1101 or log onto mumbaimilano.co.uk for more information.

Biggest Q-Con Ever Attracts More Than 7,000 Visitors

The UK and Ireland’s premier gaming and anime convention, Q-Con, celebrated its 26th year with a record number of visitors to the Queen’s campus, including loads of successful events for all ages.

More than 7,000 people attended over the August Bank Holiday weekend, an increase of 10% on the 2018 event.

Hosted by QUB Dragonslayers, Q-Con included a host of events, including an appearance from the creator of the classic game ‘Doom’, John Romero, who challenged people “to beat him at his own game”.

“Since we began in a few rooms at Queen’s and 150 people, Q-Con has exploded in popularity and excitement…” said Ben Harrison. “We are delighted to see so many enjoy the weekend.

“After this year’s success we promise we’re working hard to make sure that 2020 will be even better!”

Among the many successes for 2019 were the family events.

“The family tickets proved really popular,” said Ben. “We worked hard to make sure that families and people of all ages interested in anime and gaming had events they could enjoy and take part in.”

Designed by gaming and anime fans Q-Con attracts people from across the UK and Ireland and further afield, with last year seeing a five percent increase in attendees from other countries. People from all ages are present throughout the weekend, with Sunday having extra events for families.

With BBC airing a special on cosplay as part of its True North Series (10th September), Q-Con also saw several events showcasing the talent of fans and designer making and wearing the costumes of their favourite games, anime, TV and film characters.

“We saw so many people around the university district coming in on trains, buses and in cars dressed up as their favourite characters showing just how popular gaming and anime has become, and how Q-Con caters for a demographic so often missed by the mainstream media,” added Ben.

Taking place across the Queen’s campus, including the Whitla Hall, Elmwood Hall, Queen’s Film Theatre, the Computer Science Building and many other venues, planning for 2020 is already underway

Fashion with Patience: 5 Things To Consider When Choosing An Outfit For An Event

When choosing an outfit for an event, it is important to consider a number of factors. Will what you are wearing be suitable for the conditions and season. What type of look you want to go for. Here’s some factors to consider when choosing your outfit your an event:


Usually when planning my outfit for an event I lay out around 5-6 options of what I might wear and that I should consider. In my wardrobe I usually have around 5 or 6 outfits that I’ve never worn in my wardrobe anyway, so these will be some of the first things I’ll look at.

Match to Partner

Often for more formal events I like to match what I’m wearing with Ivor. I pick out his clothes for him to make sure that what we are wearing matches. If you are not comfortable completely matching your looks, even consider getting your husband or partner a pocket square that matches your dress.


When planning my outfit for any occasion it’s always important to take the weather into account. This will definitely impact what type of outfit you choose to wear. If it’s going to be raining you don’t want to wear a material that will simply get ruined in the weather. Or if it’s going to be sunny you don’t want to wear a heavy material that will only make you too warm.

Temperature of the Venue

As well as the weather, it’s important to consider hot warm the venue will be. If you are unsure if can be a good idea to wear layers so you can easily remove your jacket, scarf etc. if you are too warm or keep it on if you are cold. 

Walking Distance

Another thing I like to consider is how far I will have to walk to get to the venue from the car or how I will be getting there. This will definitely impact on what shoes you’ll want to wear, if you have a long distance to walk it might be better to wear a pair of flats or trainers, whilst if you are only walking a short distance say in the evening time you could wear a heel.

Belfast Gets Ready To Make Purple Flag Bid

Belfast’s bid for Purple Flag accreditation kicked off recently as a number of stakeholders in the city completed an initial self assessment.

A delegation from the City’s Business Improvement Districts Linen Quarter, Cathedral Quarter and Belfast One were joined by representatives from Hospitality Ulster, Belfast Chamber, Translink and the PSNI took part in the exercise to health check the City Centre in the self-assessment.

Similar to the Blue Flag scheme for beaches and the Green Flag scheme for parks the Purple Flag accreditation displays that a town or city is a safe and pleasant place to visit, night and day, for residents and visitors.

The self assessment involved examining the post 5pm Belfast experience including retail, hotels, licensed venues and cultural spaces.

It also considers elements around safety, accessibility and place which all contribute to the City being a welcoming and vibrant space.

The group heard the regular weekend briefing sessions that happen between PSNI and a vast array of volunteer organisations including a briefing around missing and vulnerable persons which has helped dozens of individuals this year alone.

Chris McCracken, Managing Director at Linen Quarter BID, and Chair of Belfast’s Purple Flag steering committee, said:  “Purple Flag status for the city would recognise Belfast as a truly international destination to live, work and shop. Belfast has a safe and vibrant night time economy with brand new destinations, such as the Linen Quarter, starting to emerge. However our self assessment indicates we need further investment in transport, signage, cleansing and promotion, as well as additional initiatives to support the evening offer for families, culture and arts, and non-alcoholic alternatives.”

Gareth Neill, CQ BID manager said: “It was with great reward to meet the fantastic organisations SOS BUS, Street Pastors, and Community Rescue Service who give up 1000 of volunteer hours to ensure the night-time economy is a welcoming and safe space for residents and visitors. The City Centre has significant growth ambitions for residential, commercial and tourism markets. With a significant increase in city living through the private residential market over the next 12-18 months and the ever expanding hotel sector there is a requirement to ensure that Belfast meets the aspirations of new residents, employers, and tourists, along with what is expected from an international city.”

A multi-stakeholder steering group, led by the Linen Quarter BID, is managing the business-funded project with the aim of applying in October 2019 to the governing body, the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) to secure Purple Flag status in February 2020.

Belfast has a significantly younger population so part of the task force’s outcome will be ensuring there is a vibrant, mixed use and quality City Centre which is vital to catalysing additional economic rejuvenation.

Clare Maguire, Managing Director at Belfast One said: “Providing a quality and unique offering will also be of huge benefit to some of the 250,000 business visitors to Belfast annually or for the national conference market which currently stands at 60,000 attendees (£45m p/annum) who all want a vibrant and enriched experience of the City.

“Currently the City Centre does not have one managed approach to its evening economy strategy. There are a vast array of stakeholders and partnerships in play and Purple Flag allows a coordinated and programmed opportunity.”

For more information go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com

First Dates On Local Mums Chat Show Event Mother Tongue Released

A unique and fun night for mums, Mother Tongue, goes on tour this autumn with dates in Belfast and Omagh.

The event, created by Mothership Events, gives panellists and attendees the chance to talk about the challenges of being a mother in 2019.

From hilarious stories and serious discussions to interesting revelations, the Mother Tongue events are a chance to meet other mums and talk about issues that affect them every day and enjoy a laugh together.

The Belfast event takes place on September 19 at the Black Box, while the Omagh show on October 10 will be at the Silverbirch Hotel.

Founder of Mother Tongue, Treena Clarke explained that there are too few chances for mums to get together that these events are a must.

“How often do we, as mums plan to meet up with our girlfriends and we need to get a date in the diary months in advance. It’s so hard juggling everything and we often forget about ourselves in the midst of work, kids, family and life in general,” she said

“The Mother Tongue events were created as a space to give mums the chance to not only get together but to meet other mums and talk about everything that affects us as mums – one guest from the last event called it ‘Like Loose Women only talking mums stuff with wine’.

“We talk about stuff that matters but we also have a laugh”.

Both the Belfast and Omagh events are packed with fascinating expert speakers –  as well as a virtual goody bag of discount vouchers worth £150 and the chance to win prizes with the ‘Treat Seat’ special.

Event host is business owner, commentator and mum Tina Calder.

“When it comes to being a mum it’s easy to think you’re the only person in the world worrying about the small stuff.  It’s also easy to think you’re failing when you’re trying your absolute best,” she said.

“What I love about these Mother Tongue events is that we can all just sit back, relax and be honest with one another about the things that worry us, annoy us, scare us or just generally make us laugh.

“Becoming a mum was the single most amazing thing that’s ever happened in my life and for reasons I’ve never been able to explain it gave me a confidence, drive and ambition that I’d never had before.

“Mother Tongue is a safe place to talk about all those things that bring us joy and heartache through our powerful journey of motherhood.

“Not just that, there’s a glass of wine and a lot of laughs, it’s the perfect girls’ night out.”

Both events will see five speakers take to the stage, with supper included in the price – with the bar open when the event starts at 7pm.

Tickets for both events are available here: https://mothershipevents.com/events

Speakers in Belfast will be:

Maria Rafferty – The Healthy Hormone Coach
Michelle Bradley  – Author
Sinead Sharkey Steenson – Generation Women/Career Reboot
Mags McAlpin – Creating Retail Magic Laura Steerman – Quaint Baby Ultrasound Steph Willis Lawlor – MumsNI

Speakers in Omagh will be:

Sinead Wilcox – Sinead Wilcox Consulting
Orla McIvor – Eden Energy Practitioner
Sinead Sharkey Steenson – Generation Women/Career Reboot
Sinead Norton – Mums at Work Laura Steerman – Quaint Baby Ultrasound

Lunchtime Learning Returns With Packed Autumn And Winter Programme

Destination CQ (Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District) has launched its autumn and winter programme of the popular ‘Lunchtime Learning’ events to support businesses in an ever evolving landscape.

Focusing on the challenging digital footprint the free 45 minute events are designed for all businesses in the Cathedral Quarter, and are held in the Black Box.

CQ BID manager, Gareth Neill, said that these sessions have been designed to help all to enhance their online marketing profile particularly around positive engagement with new and existing customers.

“After the fantastic success of our first season of Lunchtime Learning, we are back again with a new batch,” he said. 

“Evaluation after our last series, merited further  sessions based on marketing and digital media and we are delighted to have curated a range of industry leaders from across the Cathedral Quarter to take part”

“This is part of the BID’s commitment to provide additional training and business support to businesses operating in Cathedral Quarter & Smithfield; we have an energetic and enthusiastic business community who are keen to learn, upskill, and share best practice amongst each other in the area.”

“The sessions have been sold out; with an average rating of 4.5/5 across all our speakers and content choices. It’s a great opportunity to escape the office, learn something new and network with neighbouring businesses.

Full details and how to sign up are here: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/lunchtime-learning/

The upcoming sessions include:  

11th September – An Intro to Google Ads 

18th September – SEO for Beginners

25th September – Email marketing

2nd October – Brand & Design for SMEs

9th October – LinkedIn for Business 

16th October – Websites for SMEs 

In addition to the Lunchtime Learning series there will be bespoke ticketed three-hour workshops for advanced social media learning.

A bespoke sold out 3-hour workshop taking a Deep Dive into Instagram Ads with expert Gil David was held last week, with further workshops around Google Ads & Email Marketing; these are hands on session walking you through the steps needed to create a great campaign and maximise your results.

How to Write a Brief for Your Graphic Designer

For those unfamiliar with graphic design the thought of writing a brief for the talented wizards can seem a little daunting. But it should not be. Like drafting any other part of your marketing and communications plan it is about explanation.

And, that explanation should be broken down into similar steps to your marketing.

The first thing to include is your company profile. A short synopsis of what you do, including history and your clients or customers. This will help the graphic design team focus on the industry you operate in.

Perhaps the most important area in the brief will be the aims: what you and your company want to achieve with the design. Is it a complete re-brand, is it a new brand or is it for a campaign?

This will explain what you expect in terms of scope of the project and helps once consulting with the design team later on in the process.

Equally as importance is your company’s target audience. Young and funky, edgy people, a business-to-business campaign, or an older audience all will influence the design. This is time to consider carefully that audience. A short audit of your type of client may help clarify this.

The media format is something that you should also consider. A full suite of material could include stationery, leaflets, stands, website and other key elements. It could also be as simple as a leaflet and well-designed advertisement.

As you consider the breadth of what you want, do not forget social media. Whatever you want designed must have elements that work across multiple social platforms appropriate to your target audience.

At this stage it is important to include others in your team. They can provide valuable input, and help you revise the brief.

Of course, this is the hard part – money. You need to be clear about how much you have to spend on the design and the products it is to be used on. Be clear on this and be certain about the timescale that the project has to be delivered. Above all, remember that the cheapest option may not provide the quality you expect.

The life of the design brief does not end once you have appointed a designer. Before they start work meet with them and agree all of the above elements. An experienced graphic designer will be able to tweak the brief and help you work through what is exactly to be delivered. Chiho Tang, Owner of Oranga Creative said: “It’s great to meet with a client for coffee, to understand what they want, cause often the client can’t articulate what they actually want in just their brief alone and having a chat with them can fully allow us to understand their needs and be able to meet them with our designs.”

Also agree with the design team progress reporting, presenting of drafts and keep in contact – without pestering them. Let them get on with producing a design right for you.

To find out more about Oranga Creative’s Graphic Design services visit: https://www.facebook.com/orangahq/

Made In Belfast Launch Weekend Brunch Menu After Social Media Storm

Pictured is bloggers Emma McGladdery, Patience Bradley and Louise Vance at the Made In Belfast Sunday Brunch Party

After owner Emma Bricknell sent social media into a spin with her provocative ideas for advertising, Made In Belfast launched their weekend brunch menu recently.

The risqué and controversial concept ad campaign involved imagery of both men and women “licking” a sausage.

And when Emma uploaded it to social media sites like Facebook, the commentators went wild.

Pictured is Emma Bricknell, Matt McAnea and Lina Lemming at the Made In Belfast Sunday Brunch Party

“When I floated the idea of a sausage about to be eaten in a provocative manner it was a bit of fun designed to promote the idea of weekend dining outside the normal lunch and dinner menus,” she said.

“And, after the success of the launch we have people wanting to know more about it and be there come Saturday and Sunday.”

Offering a range of dishes on Saturday and Sunday, the brunch menu at the Talbot Street venue was launched last weekend and already interest is burgeoning.

Attendees at the launch also got a further taste of Emma’s cheeky side with napkins emblazoned with Made In Belfast’s iconic lips and the slogan “bite me”.

Made In Belfast Sunday Brunch Party .

Emma believes taking risks in business is essential and sometimes it’s important to stand out from the crowd.

She added: “It’s up to everyone in business to keep on innovating and using the immense creative talent here in Northern Ireland to develop. I firmly believe that being continuously able to change and shape the business is key to the ongoing success of Made In Belfast. That, and the amazing team we have. We’re very lucky.

Pictured are bloggers Emily Desmond, Chloe Patterson and Trazanne Norwood at the Made In Belfast Sunday Brunch Party

Featuring outdoor bred meat in sausages and bacon, fresh produce, the brunch menu retains Made In Belfast’s ethos of supporting local sustainable farmers. Vegetarian and vegan options are also included.

Meanwhile Made In Belfast looks forward to expanding to four restaurants with the forthcoming Lisburn Road development.

“While we are planning our fourth city restaurant we never rest on our laurels. The brunch menu is something we’ve been developing for some time” said Emma.

Made In Belfast Sunday Brunch Party

“Next up I think will be a refurb at our city hall restaurant, it’s important to keep things fresh.”

The brunch menu is on offer Saturdays from 10:30 am to 12:30pm, and on Sundays from 10am to 12:30 pm at Made In Belfast in Talbot Street, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast.

The full brunch menu can be found at madeinbelfastni.com

Hair Friendly Owner Raises Thousands For Macmillan Cancer

The owner of the Hair Friendly salon in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter has raised almost £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by opening her garden to clients, family and friends.

Christine Boyles explained that after her mum passed away from cancer several years ago, she invested much of the money she left her into her beloved garden – and had an ‘open day’ in aid of the Northern Ireland Hospice.

After doing more work to the garden in recent years she thought she’d organise a similar venture.

“The Macmillan Cancer Support nurses really helped my mum so much so this time I thought I would do it for them.

“It was forecast to rain and I was praying like mad – but in the end it was a lovely sunny day.

“I was just so pleased for everyone who had helped that their hard work paid off – people who washed the dishes, did the baking, sold the ballots, etc. They were all amazing,” said Christine.

Maria Small, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support – who called at Hair Friendly to collect the cheque for almost £3,700 – said: “Without people like Christine and the support she received from local people and businesses, Macmillan wouldn’t be able to fund our personal services.

“We don’t get any government funding so we rely on members of the general public holding events to help us provide things like our Macmillan nurses, patient grants and vital information services right across Northern Ireland.”

Brunch: What Is It & Why Is It So Popular?

Brunch may appear to be a millennial phenomenon, but it actually goes back much, much further.

Originally, brunch was the 19th Century hangover cure. The term, which are the words breakfast and lunch sandwiched together, was allegedly coined by an Englishman called Guy Beringer in 1895. The meal was reputedly designed for “Saturday-night carousers” who were too hungover to get out of bed on Sunday morning.

Other sources credit early 1900s New York reporter Frank Ward O’Malley with coming up with the term as a way of describing the odd eating habits of newspaper journalists.

Popularised and (supersized) by Americans, this stylish Sunday hangover cure was quickly exported throughout the world. Comic books in the 1960s, cooking books and even smash-hit 90s TV shows such as Sex in the City has helped make brunch mainstream. Today, everywhere from the UK and Dubai to South Africa and China enjoy their own version of brunch.

With that said, brunch has taken millennials by storm. So, what is behind the explosion of this generation’s late elevenses? Emma Bricknell, Owner of Made in Belfast, has the answer after launching her new brunch menu: “Maybe it really is the best hangover cure on a Sunday. Perhaps it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and recap the previous night’s shenanigans.”

Or maybe it’s just a sign of the times. Income is meagre and prices are steep, then after squandering all of Fridays paycheck in the bar, getting up and eating later saves money on a couple of meals. If brunch is timed right, it could be the only meal of the day. So it’s possible it ticks a box that says ‘all of the above’. Or simply, it’s an excellent excuse to make drinking before noon socially acceptable.

Alternatively, it could be a case of a lifestyle change among 20-somethings. Over the previous decade, brunch has quickly overtaken breakfast, lunch and dinner as the most popular meal of the day. Restaurants everywhere are reporting longer lines than ever before, proving that the love affair with brunch is far from over. A study by Fahrha Ternikar, who wrote the academic; Brunch: A History, claims that brunch’s popularity has been steadily on the rise since 2004.

The two most popular days for brunch were Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday. Ternikar also noted that there is a correlation between those with disposable income and those who eat brunch. After all, brunch has its roots firmly planted in high society, who possessed both the time and the money to drag breakfast into lunch as a social affair. While modern-day vape-toting hipsters may not have the income – they do have the time.

What’s clear though, is that brunch represents a culinary pillar of our society. So, sleep in a little longer, skip breakfast, then let’s have brunch.

Book now for brunch at Made In Belfast, Talbot Street, Belfast at www.madeinbelfastni.com or just call in.