The partnership between Cancer Fund for Children’s Daisy Lodge and Taste of Ulster is nothing short of delicious.

The facility which is situated at the foothills of the Mourne Mountains in Newcastle, Co. Down, opened in April 2014. It has now provided more than 500 families from across the island of Ireland with a free therapeutic short break. This break enables families to spend precious time together away from the pressure of hospital visits and treatment.

The delicious and nutritious menu on offer at the facility was devised by Hospitality Manager Joan Burden along with top chef Joery Castel as well as Taste of Ulster and Vital Nutrition’s Jane McClenaghan.

The combination of Jane’s expert nutritional advice and Joery’s practical knowledge has resulted in families leaving Daisy Lodge with glowing reports about the food they enjoyed there.

The meals all use fresh locally-sourced ingredients from Northern Ireland producers such as Jilly Dougan who recently planted a beautiful herb garden at Daisy Lodge. We use it to freshly pick a range of herbs and salads for our dishes.

Cancer Fund for Children continues to enjoy great support from Yellow Door who supplies fresh bread for the families at Daisy Lodge. Moy Park supplies fresh chickens and Finnebrogue supplies the charity with an amazing array of fresh meat products free of charge.

Joan explained why healthy meals are so important for families dealing with the effects of cancer.

“Many of the families have spent months in isolation or on the ward and have been living on hospital food. When they are at home they probably don’t have the time or energy to prepare cooked meals. When families arrive at Daisy Lodge all they have to do is relax and enjoy these delicious and nutritious meals…restoring them for whatever lies ahead.”

Belfast mother, Emma McCrea whose little son Charlie has battled cancer, praised the food at Daisy Lodge: “The food was amazing. It will be especially appreciated by families who have been living on tea and toast or hospital food. It was great not having to clean and cook.”

The menu boasts such delights dishes like Trio of Finnebrogue Sausages on a Buttery Mourne Champ and Roast Red Onion Gravy. Moy Park Chicken Tournedo on Julienne of Carrot and French bean, fondant potato and a white wine cream. The menus are refreshed every six weeks.

The Daisy Lodge hospitality team recently successfully catered for a fundraising night at the facility hosted by top golfer Rory McIlroy and The Rory Foundation which has donated over £1m to help with the running costs of the centre. The team didn’t disappoint, serving up a range of mouth-watering canapés that included Charred Strangford Lough Prawns with Wasabi and Soy Bubbles, Organic Glenarm Oxtail Rouleaux and charred Celeriac and Rockvale Chicken, Strangford Lough Lobster and Mushroom Sausage Rolls.

Sharon Machala, Taste of Ulster Coordinator said

“We are delighted to have been able to help Joan and the team, in achieving their goal of providing nutritious locally sourced food to the families staying at Daisy Lodge.”

“We have received amazing feedback from families about the quality of the meals here at Daisy Lodge. I am so glad Taste of Ulster, Joery and Jane are on-board, they have enthused and energised the team” said Joan Burden.